New England Vacation ~ Part 2 Boston

Today I’m going to recap the second part of our New England vacation.  If you missed Part 1, you can check that out here.

After enjoying 2 beautiful days in Cape, we packed up and headed into Boston.  The traffic was much better Sunday morning heading back in to the city.  The closer we got to Boston the heavier the traffic got, but nothing compared to what we experienced on Friday.  We returned our rental car to the airport and took a Lyft to our hotel.

While in Boston we stayed at the Hyatt Centric, Faneuil Hall.  Our room wasn’t ready so we checked our luggage and headed out to start seeing the city.  It was lunch time so we decided to eat at Union Oyster House since it was a short walk from our hotel.  It is the oldest, continuously running restaurant in the United States.  There is even a booth named after JFK because he ate there so often. The food was fine and we got to see a little piece of history, so we killed two birds with one stone. Next to Union Oyster House is Bell in Hand Tavern and it is the oldest tavern in the United States.

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New England Vacation~Part 1 Cape Cod

If you know me at all, you know that I enjoy traveling.  No, I’m not a crazy international traveler but I do love to get away from home and see new things.  I also love to visit my beloved favorites again and again too.  Now that my kids are older, I feel like they need to start seeing some new things.  We all LOVE going to the beach, but felt like we needed to switch things up.  We decided on a New England vacation this year.

To be completely honest, my husband has always wanted to see Fenway Park.  I’ve learned that if I want him to do something different, I can usually talk him into it if there is some kind of sports involved.  That’s how we decided on Boston.  He’s actually the one who came up with the destination and I was more than happy with that since I had never been there.

We decided on our destination back in December and I started looking at it in January.  Since we knew that we wanted to go see Fenway Park and a Red Sox game we looked at the dates that they would be in town, booked our flights and then our hotels.

The first leg of our New England vacation was Cape Cod.  I have read books set on the Cape and have always had a fascination with it.  When we decided we were going to Boston I knew we had to make it to Cape Cod also.

We flew into Boston and rented a car to drive out to the Cape.  I had heard that traffic was crazy in Boston but I really was not prepared for just how bad it was.  After we got our luggage and rental car I plugged our hotel into my phone for directions and it said it would take us over two hours to get there.  I deleted the address and put it in again because I just knew that couldn’t be right since it was only 72 miles away.  After we made our way out of the airport, I quickly figured out why it was going to take so long.  Traffic was crawling.  This continued for a good portion of our drive to Hyannis but once we finally arrived, it was totally worth it!

We decided to stay in Hyannis because it was centrally located to the towns I wanted to visit.  Since we were only going to have two days, I had to narrow down exactly what I wanted to see.  Chatham and Martha’s Vineyard were on the top of my list.  Chatham was a quick 20 minute drive from Hyannis and the high speed ferry to Martha’s Vineyard is actually located in Hyannis.

Once we checked into the Courtyard in Hyannis, we dropped our luggage off and headed for Chatham.  The Chatham Bars Inn is the most iconic of all the places in town and it is just beautiful.  I forgot to take pictures when we first came in town, but here is a picture a night.  It doesn’t do it justice!

We parked on Main Street and walked up and down the street and visited the shops and looked at the restaurants.  After several people’s recommendation we ate at The Chatham Squire.  It was a funky, eclectic place that locals frequent.  The Fish and Chips and Lobster Bisque were both delicious.

The next day we headed down to the port and caught the Hy-Line high speed ferry from Hyannis to Martha’s Vineyard.  The weather was absolutely beautiful!  It took about an hour on the ferry but there was beautiful scenery to look at.  We even saw the Kennedy Compound!

The house with the pillars is the main house of the Kennedy compound.

The ferry ports at Oak Bluffs.  It is a cute town with a lot of gingerbread architecture.  We caught the public transportation bus there over to Edgartown.  When I had pictured Martha’s Vineyard in my mind, Edgartown is exactly what I saw.

While we were in Edgartown we walked around the streets, shopped and ate.  We had the best day there.  There were lots of cute little shops and restaurants. My son is a big fan of Vineyard Vines so we had to visit the original store while we were there!

We wanted to eat on the water and several suggested the Seafood Shanty.  There is a downstairs area and an upstairs area.  The upstiars had a beautiful view of the water.  It was nice seeing all the boats while we ate.  If it’s nice outside, definitely eat upsairs!  I had the Lobster Roll and it was really good.

After lunch we walked around town some more and looked at houses and checked out the Ferry over to Chappaquiddick.

The ferry between Edgartown and Chappaquiddick

Once we had seen all of Edgartown we took the bus back to Oak Bluffs.  We had a couple of hours to walk around town and check out the beach and another Vineyard Vines store!  The water was absolutely freezing, but I had to check it out since I was there.  Oak Bluffs was a pretty town, but I preferred Edgartown.

We took the last ferry back to Hyannis.  Here was the veiw as we were leaving.  This was probably my favorite day of our entire trip!

That pretty much wraps up our time in Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.  Next time I would like to visit Nantucket as well.  We just didn’t have time to fit that one in.  I will definitely be coming back!

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Grand Slam World Series ~ Panama City Beach, Florida

After a busy travel baseball season, our 10U Southern Illinois Team Dinger finished with a World Series win.  The boys competed in a week-long tournament at Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach, Florida.  The tournament was hosted by Grand Slam Baseball.

This was the largest tournament we have competed in so far.  There were 117 teams from 9 states with age brackets starting with 8U all the way up to 14U.  We played against teams from Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi.

The week started off on Sunday with a skills competition in each age division and that was followed by an opening ceremony and parade at Pier Park.  While waiting for the parade to start the players also were able to trade team pins.  This was kind of like the equivalent to trading pins at Disney.  The kids really enjoyed it.  Our team won the “Around the Horn” competition for our age group!

After the skills competition we were able to get the kids out to the beach in their uniform for some pictures.  I love the way they turned out!  I’m so glad we were able to capture this once in a lifetime experience.

The tournament was set up as a double elimination tournament and every team was guaranteed 4 games with play through at least Thursday.  Each team had a day off on either Monday or Tuesday.  Our day off was Monday and we had our 2 pool play games on Tuesday.  Bracket play began on Wednesday.

Tuesday was a long, hot day.  We played a game, sat a game and then played our second game.  Luckily Frank Brown Park has awnings covering all the bleachers and a large section in the middle of all the fields plus several covered picnic areas near the fields as well.  I was surprised that coolers were allowed.  Most everyone brought snacks and just hung out at the park between games.  If you know me, you wouldn’t be surprised that I left and shopped a little and picked up Chick-fil-a!  Hey, it was my vacation afterall!

Wednesday started our bracket play which was just one game a day.  The only complaint I have is that we were scheduled to play in the afternoon everyday since we were the number 1 seed.  It was so hot, but it didn’t seem to bother the boys too much!  Thursday and Friday were the same.

Since we had won all of our games up to Saturday, we would have to beat three times to not win the Championship.  Thankfully, that was not the case.  We won our first two games on Saturday and we were crowned champions!

The players each received a ring and the team was awarded a 7 foot trophy.  It was the biggest one I’ve ever seen!  It had to be taken apart to get it home!

Overall it was a great tournament.  The boys played great and a lot of memories were made!  Here are the final statistics for SI Team Dinger for this tournament:

Our record was 6-0

The average number of runs scored was 10.33 with a total of 62.

The average number of runs allowed was 1.33 with a total of 8.

These boys played some good baseball!

Of course, it was not all baseball, they were able to have some fun too.  We enjoyed spending time at the beach and pool.  The coaches even took the boys to a movie one night.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone  had a great time and it was well worth the trip!

Stay tuned for my re-cap of the non-baseball portion of our vacation!




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Girls Beach Trip to 30-A



I just got back last week from Seagrove Beach, Florida with some of my girlfriends.  We planned the trip back in the winter (which lasted FOREVERRR).  We needed some warm weather to look forward to so we started planning in March.  One of my friends is a teacher so she wanted to wait until school was out.  We all looked at our schedules and decided the early part of June would work best.

We had all been to this area of Florida before but we usually have our families with us.  Don’t get me wrong, I love going with my family, but it was nice to have some time to just relax.  There was no worrying about fixing someone lunch, making sure everyone had their sunscreen on or breaking up bickering kids!

When deciding where to stay we knew we didn’t need any fancy or elaborate accommodations since we were just staying 4 days.  We found a cute villa just a few steps from the beach at Beachside Villas.  It had recently been updated, it was clean, had 2 bathrooms and the beds were comfortable.  It had everything we needed.  We all agreed that we would stay there again.  Now, I don’t know about any other units in that complex, but we were very pleased with ours.  I booked it through VRBO and Angela, the owner, was very nice and easy to work with.  Here’s the link to the unit we rented.

We pretty much just went to the beach every day and out to dinner in the evenings.  It was so relaxing!

One evening we went to Bud and Alley’s rooftop bar for the sunset.  They have a really beautiful view from up there.  Here are some pictures right before sunset.

We enjoyed some drinks and appetizers up there.  I tried the Frose.  It was refreshing and had a pretty flower in it.  While that was a nice touch, I probably would just rather have had the glass filled up. Ha!  I would definitely put Bud and Alley’s at sunset on your list.  If you are with your family, children are allowed up there until 10:00 p.m.

No trip to 30-A would be complete without a trip to The Red Bar in Grayton Beach.  It is probably my favorite restaurant in that area.  It has such a funky, eclectic vibe!  The menu is not large, but I have been going there for 15 years and never had a bad meal.  The last several times I’ve been there I have ordered the blackened grouper.  It is delicious! Don’t go if you are in a hurry or expecting to relax.  The wait is usually about an hour but they usually have a jazz band. They are loud, but it’s always a fun experience.  They now have a D.J. that plays Thursday through Saturday nights after 9:00.  It is definitely a happening place!

Mother Nature must have thought we needed a break from the sun because she provided a little rain one morning.  We decided to head to Seaside again for an early Lunch.  We went to Great Southern Café which had a great view of Seaside.  Our table wason the porch and you could see everything going on in the village.  I ordered shrimp & grits and they were delicious.  One of my friends ordered the fried okra and I wish I had.  It was whole okra instead of the small pieces I am used to. So good!

Some other notable restaurants we went to were Seagrove Village Market Café and Bruno’s Pizza in Watersound.  Seagrove Village Market Café has been around for years, but they recently opened in a brand new building.  It is nice and bright.  I had the blackened fish tacos and they were good.  They come with a lime poblano tarter sauce that is really flavorful.  Bruno’s was a new restaurant to try for us and we really liked it.  I forgot to take pictures until one of our pizzas was almost gone!  They really load their pizzas up with toppings.

It was so nice to get some time away and relax with my friends.  If you are thinking about taking a girl’s trip…..DO IT!  You won’t regret it!

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