World Tour USA 2012- Part II

Our red-eye flight from Sacramento got into Boston around 10:00am and once again we hopped the bus up to Maine. The next day we headed out to Great Spruce Head Island with most of the Hewey/Chebuske clan. Dave’s family has been traveling to this island for more than 50 years now and I’ve been lucky enough to tag along the past five years. It’s about a 45 minute boat ride from the main(e) land out in Penobscot Bay. The week’s activities consist mainly of hiking around the island, hanging out at one of the many beaches, game playing and eating delicious dinners that Melissa makes on a wood-burning stove every night. Another great thing is that it’s pretty much impossible to charge electronics and there is no internet access at the big house- it’s probably the only time of the year we’re completely “off the grid” and I love it! I also love visiting the island because it’s such a special place for Dave and his family and it’s so interesting to think about the history of island.

We had a fantastic week at Great Spruce Head, but left a couple days early so that we could make it to the second wonderful wedding of the summer- the McGrath/Fitta affair. The wedding was held on Friday night and while the weather had been holding all day, the rain started to fall just minutes before their outdoor ceremony. We weren’t sure what the bride would decide to do, but Melissa was awesome, threw up an umbrella and marched down the aisle in the downpour. They even headed to beach after to take photos! One of the groomsmen (Dan) captured this moment, which I love!

Rain couldn’t dampen the spirit of the party and we had a ton of fun at their reception. Highlights included the best man’s speech, the amazing cake bar and their awesome DJ who spun oldies and classic favorites into the night. Thanks Seamus and Melissa for inviting us to be a part of your day!!

The following days consisted of our first real down time of the vacation and we enjoyed relaxing, catching up on a few movies and pigging out on our American favorite (buffalo wings, fried pickles, Amato’s Italians etc…). On Wednesday we welcomed the first part of the Chebuske clan who drove up to Maine for Cara and Will’s wedding (our third wonderful summer wedding, which took place on August 18). I had met Dave’s uncle Greg and aunt Evette when they graciously let us stay with them on our way to DC five years prior, but it was wonderful catching up with them and Jamie and getting to meet Dave’s aunt Marguerite, uncle Chris and cousin James at a big family BBQ at the Chebuske house. Thursday I headed up to the wedding site with Mary and Anina for Cara’s bachelorette festivities (which included a cooking class that allowed us to indulge in all the delicious food we created and enjoy some wine along the way). Dave joined us Friday and we got to explore a little bit of Southwest Harbor and Acadia before the rehearsal and subsequent dinner. At the dinner I finally got to meet Dave’s grandmother, Grandy- who was wonderful to finally talk to in person. I also met the rest of Dave’s cousins, who were so much fun and I’m looking forward to seeing again at our wedding next year!

Saturday brought the big day and it was absolutely beautiful! The wedding was held on the family blueberry farm of Cara’s husband (so exciting) Will. The location provided stunning views of Blue Hill. The backdrop was beautiful as was the bride. Dave served as part of the “wedding team” and I was honored to be asked to do a reading of Cara’s favorite poem, Wild Geese by Mary Oliver. The ceremony was short and sweet, but incredibly touching.

The cocktail hour was held in the beautifully decorated barn on the property and the reception in a gorgeous tent with great views of the sunset. The food was delicious, Dave had the steak and I went with the lobster- yum!  Music and merriment went long into the night and we had a absolutely wonderful time!

A brunch for all the wedding guests was held Sunday morning. After taking part in the delicious food and saying our good byes to family and friends we headed a bit more north to check out Darthia farm, where Jack has been working for the past few months. Darthia is a family-run farm on the downeast coast of Maine. The day we stopped by they were having a big party for friends and neighbors. We got to enjoy some local music and meet a number of Jack’s co-workers and he was able to show us around the property. The farm houses a number of animals plus a variety of gardens. We sampled some of the tomatoes, which were delicious!

Following our tour of the farm we drove down to Schoodic Point in Acadia National Park for a brief climb across the rocks and some swimming. The scenery was gorgeous and the park not too crowded.

After our short side trip to Acadia it was time to head back to Portland. We dropped Jack off and headed south. The next few days consisted mainly of packing and picking up a few “only in America” items (i.e. buffalo sauce, graham crackers, solid deodorant etc…). We had a fun last couple of days just soaking up the sun, spending additional time with family and getting ready to go before we took off for Deutschland.

We’re back now and trying desperately to get on Berlin time. Luckily I have a week until my job starts, so progress is slowly being made! We’re hoping this year in Germany brings more comfort with the language, more opportunities to travel and hopefully some visits from friends and family (wink, wink:)). It felt really good to get back into our apartment and start to think about the upcoming year. Last year when we arrived we had no idea what was in store. I think by now we feel much more settled and comfortable and Berlin feels a bit more like home. We’ll keep you updated!

Love- Daverian

World Tour USA 2012- Part I

The first leg of my USA World Tour stopped in Milwaukee Wisconsin.  I got to spend an amazing couple of weeks visiting family there and hanging out with my parents and Maddie who flew out for the trip- a perfect welcome back to the good old US of A!

I had a long trip from Berlin, of course because of the distance, but also due to the fact that I had to make two transfers on my way to Milwaukee. Luckily everything was on time and I made it in one piece. My parents and Maddie flew in from LA the same day and our flights were only about 20 minutes apart- so we met at baggage claim, surprising my grandfather, who had no idea I was coming! It was so good to see my family after so many months and we spent the next two weeks catching up, watching TONS of baseball (Brewers, Chinooks, high school and little league!), eating delicious American food and exploring a bit of Milwaukee. Highlights of the trip included tailgating at the Brewer’s game, visiting the Harley Davidson museum, a food tour of Brattle Street and our day at Summerfest. Of course just relaxing and spending time with my whole family, particularly my grandma and grandpa, was the best part and I’m so happy I was able to spend as much time as I did in Wisconsin.

Dave wasn’t able to join me in the Midwest given the fact that his finals went into the first few weeks of July, but we met up on July 10th at Boston Logan. His flight was delayed by 5 hours due to a fire in the control tower at Newark, but thankfully Logan has free WIFI- why every airport doesn’t offer free internet is beyond me!  We spent the next couple days hanging out with family and friends, speeding around Casco Bay in the Spensington and getting ready to head down to Massachusetts for Paul and Robin’s wedding. We went down to Sudbury on Friday for the rehearsal dinner was tons of fun and incredibly delicious. Then since Dave was in the wedding party he spent the day Saturday hanging out with the other groomsmen and the Paul while I had cocktails and gossip with other girlfriends in our hotel room. The wedding ceremony was my favorite part of the day and both Paul and Robin looked great and so in love. The reception that followed was also wonderful and the after party continued back at the hotel bar long into the night. Congrats guys and thanks for inviting us to be a part of your day!

After the wedding we headed back to Boston with friends, Dan and Alix- who were nice enough to let us crash with them for a few days. We took advantage of the weather on Sunday and spent most of the day at the beach before heading up to one of our favorite Boston spots for dinner at Red Bones BBQ. Monday morning I headed over to visit Northeastern and check out the new Visitor Center. It was great to see some of my wonderful old students and catch up with former co-workers and I wish I could have spent longer catching up with everyone!  Beer was calling though and I hopped the T over to meet Dave and Dan for a tour of Harpoon Brewery. After Alix got off work we all headed over to Fenway with the intent of scalping Red Sox tickets. Unfortunately prices were a little high so we opted for beers and the view at Bleacher Bar (the bar looks out into Fenway through a panel in centerfield). The red sox are a terrible team and all their players should be traded immediately. And the Sox actually won one!

The next morning we woke up we woke up early and headed out to Sierra Madre after an absolutely stellar week in Maine and Massachusetts. The minute we landed we went into full wedding planning mode. We’re estimating that we won’t be back in the area until just a month or two before the big day, so our goal was to accomplish as much as possible in the two week period we had! And I’d say we were pretty successful!  We picked a date, found a ceremony and reception venue, picked a caterer and sampled tons of cupcakes. Additionally we have some great leads on a photographer, DJ and flowers and I was also able to find a dress! It was a jam-packed couple of weeks, but really fun to finally get to do some planning!

In addition to all the planning we had plenty of time for fun. We caught both an Angel’s game and a Dodger’s game, made it to the beach, had a big bbq with friends in LA, watched TONS of Olympic events, saw the LA Philharmonic at the Santa Anita Racetrack and enjoyed a great overnight trip with the fam up at Lake Arrowhead. Dave also had the opportunity to travel up to San Francisco for a few days to hang out with friends from college and while he was gone my mom, Maddie and I went to Disneyland (which I hadn’t visited since 2005). And when you go to Disneyland with us- you REALLY go to Disneyland. We were up at dawn to make it to the park for the opening and we stayed past the official close- to almost 1:00am- trying to get on every ride possible…an exhausting, but awesome day!

At the end of our time in California Dave and I drove with Maddie up to Davis. She’s going into her senior year and I couldn’t miss the chance to see Davis and have her show me around the campus and the city before she graduated. We had a lot of fun checking out the local farmer’s market, grubbing on burgers and brew at Burgers and Brew and hanging out with her friends our first night. The next day we biked around the greenbelt and all over campus- stopping to eat a picnic lunch in the arboretum. Our flight left for Maine that night, so we had one last (delicious) Davis meal of pizza and wings at Vito’s before heading to the airport. It was tough to say bye to Maddie since I’m not sure when we’ll see her next, but I know we’ll be talking a lot this year as the wedding approaches…yay for the best Maid of Honor ever!!

This concludes Part I of our World Tour USA 2012 post! Since we did so much on our trip I decided to break our post down into two parts. I’m putting it out here (so I hold myself to it!)- look for part II tomorrow!

Thanks for reading! – Daverian