Tuesday, May 11, 2010
5.11 Ten places that make me happy
1. The 1000 Islands - On the St. Lawrence Seaway, between NY and Ontario, are 300-some odd islands, known as the 1000 islands. Blue waters, lovely scenery, lots of things to do. I'll never forget the day my (then) 8-yo brother took his little kayak and paddled to Canada and back (crossing the sea lane each way) without telling anyone where he was going...
2. Yosemite - One of my favorite places to visit, as long as one avoids the hordes of people on the valley floor. To visit the valley floor, one should go in the off-off season. There are so many different kinds of places to see there, depending on the season and the height one goes to. We went to a star party on Glacier Point - cold but fun, staring at the stars in the clear night. (Before the sun went down, they were letting people look through the telescopes at a camping party across the valley on Half Dome. That is, they were until a couple separated from the rest of the party, went over the edge out of sight from their own party and started taking each other's pants off. At that point, the star party decided it might be best to concentrate on the rising moon in the sky instead.)
3. Washington, DC by night - Having grown up around DC with parents who liked family outings, we spent many a Sunday afternoon in the Smithsonian and visiting the monuments. I discovered visiting the monuments by night as an adult and it's my favorite way to do so. The numbers of people are diminished and the monuments are more beautiful all lit up at night. It's easier to find parking, too!
4. Mendocino - California coastline at its best. I'm not a big sandy beach person, but I love listening to the waves on the rocks, and the restaurants in town are great.
5. Lac Brompton - just north of the Vermont border in Quebec - a long narrow lake with several islands and a cabin on the shore that has belonged to J's family for generations.
6. Powells - the only thing better than a bookstore, is a huge bookstore that goes on for floor after floor after floor.
7. Saturday Market - very few places with lots of people are going to make my top 10, but the Eugene Saturday Market is definitely there. Farmer's market crossed with crafters, along with good food and good entertainment. What more could one ask for?
8. Exploratorium - A wonderful hands-on science museum in San Francisco. We took K&S there several times when they were small. The local science center has a room full of hand-on items loaned from the Exploratorium here in Rochester - not quite the same as having the whole Exploratorium at one's fingertips, but a nice place to go play. It's too bad they've almost outgrown it. When they're in their mid-twenties they might be ready for it again ;-)
9. The Smithsonian - as previously mentioned, we spent many a rainy Sunday afternoon in DC at one or another of the Smithsonian buildings. When we moved back to the East Coast, I seized the opportunity to introduce them to K&S. Doing it from a distance means they've only gotten to each building once, but at this point they've seen most of them, including the big Air and Space museum out near Dulles and the new Native American building.