Go East Young Man! (and Woman!)

Where have we been lately?

Boulder, CO – Philadelphia, PA – New Jersey Shore – Washington, DC – Richmond, VA – Asheville, NC –  Sayre, PA (visits to Gettysburg, Finger Lakes, Geneseo, Niagara Falls),  – Minneapolis, MN – Nisswa, MN

Phew!

It’s now August 8th, 2014. The last time you heard from us we wrote about Alison flying home to Minnesota to attend a conference while I stayed for a week in Boulder enjoying vegan junk food, reading and exploring the Rocky Mountains a bit.

Now we are both back in Minnesota, relaxing at Alison’s family summer home (we call it a cabin, but it is a legit house!) in the northern lakes area near Nisswa, MN.

View from Alison family "cabin" in Nisswa, MN.
View from Alison family “cabin” in Nisswa, MN.
Lower Cullen Lake, Nisswa - MN. This is the view from our pontoon boat from the middle of the lake.
Lower Cullen Lake, Nisswa – MN. This is the view from our pontoon boat from the middle of the lake.

Getting back to Minnesota involved a bit of travel around the East Coast. You see, my cousin was getting married on the Jersey Shore, which prompted our whole adventure back East. Since we were driving to Jersey, we decided to spend a few weeks catching up with friends and family.

We are so used to driving long distances now that the idea of driving across the country is no big deal, it is actually sorta fun!

A typical view of the drive...not too much traffic.
A typical view of the drive…not too much traffic.
Lots of windmills in the midwest.
Lots of windmills in the midwest.
Storm clouds ahead on the drive out east!
Storm clouds ahead on the drive out east!
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Rest stop break.
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Spike and Duke in road-tripping mode.

Since leaving Boulder, CO on June 24th, 2014 – I picked up Alison from the Denver airport upon her return from Minneapolis and we journeyed eastward.

What did we do? Here goes:

1. Spent a few days in Philadelphia to visit my sister and her family, along with many family members who traveled in for the upcoming wedding of my cousin, Rohini and her partner Kevin.

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My niece, Vijaya
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Duke and I taking a nap
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Josh, my sister and Vijaya giving us a tour of the Bryn Mawr campus, where Josh works

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Picnic on Bryn Mawr campus.
Picnic on Bryn Mawr campus.
Vegan take-away from Mom's organic market in Bryn Mawr.
Vegan take-away from Mom’s organic market in Bryn Mawr.
Vegan take-away from Mom's organic market in Bryn Mawr.
Vegan take-away from Mom’s organic market in Bryn Mawr.

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We spent an afternoon at Longwood Gardens, near Philadelphia.

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Most impressive thing about Longwood Gardens? The living walls outside of the bathrooms!!!

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Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens

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Mira and Vijaya showing us their dance moves.

2. Spent a sunny and fun weekend at The Jersey Shore to attend my cousin’s wedding. The venue was awesome, and our motel was right on the beach!

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Wedding! Rohini and Kevin were married on the Jersey Shore.

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3. Went back to Philly to spend more time with my sister and family. We also visited one of my good friends from college, Matt, his wife Andrea and his two kids (the main draw was to taste Matt’s fine homebrew!).

Matt and I were house-mates and triathlon club teammates at Penn State.
Matt and I were house-mates and triathlon club teammates at Penn State.
What a setup! 3-4 beers on tap at any time in his basement.
What a setup! 3-4 beers on tap at any time in his basement.
We met up with my cousin, (his name is also Ravi!) in downtown Philly. Duke and Spike got to meet his dog, "Bernie".
We met up with my cousin, (his name is also Ravi!) in downtown Philly. Duke and Spike got to meet his dog, “Bernie”.

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100% vegan and 100% gluten free bakery called "Sweet Freedom Bakery" in Bryn Mawr!
100% vegan and 100% gluten-free bakery called “Sweet Freedom Bakery” in Bryn Mawr!

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4. Drove down to Washington DC to visit my cousin, Jaya, over the July 4th weekend, along with some epic fireworks in the nation’s capital.

Alison and I with Jaya and Poorvaj (cousins) - at the airport. Poorvaj was on her way back to Delhi, India.
Alison and I with Jaya and Poorvaj (cousins) – at the airport. Poorvaj was on her way back to Delhi, India.
Poorvaj (my cousin) and Spike!
Poorvaj (my cousin) and Spike!
Jaya and Alison relaxing at a garden store in DC.
Jaya and Alison relaxing at a garden store in DC.
July 4th fireworks from a rooftop in Washington DC. Yes, that is the Washington Monument on the left.
July 4th fireworks from a rooftop in Washington DC. Yes, that is the Washington Monument on the left.
Washington Monument
Washington Monument
Capitol Building
Capitol Building
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We didn’t spend any time walking around visiting monuments in DC. It was July 4th weekend and very crowded in the National Mall when we were there. Instead we relaxed at Jaya’s place, went for runs every day and ate great vegan food. We did drive around to see the sights though.
Jaya got us vegan baked goods! Washington DC has some great vegan friendly spots.
Jaya got us vegan baked goods from Sticky Fingers, a vegan bakery and breakfast joint! Washington DC has some great vegan friendly spots.
A 100% vegan diner served southern-inspired vegan food cafeteria style...so many options, so cheap and so tasty!
Woodlands Vegan Bistro, a 100% vegan joint served southern-inspired vegan food cafeteria style…so many options, so cheap and so tasty!
Sticky Fingers vegan bakery in DC!
Sticky Fingers vegan bakery in DC!
Sticky Fingers vegan bakery in DC!
Sticky Fingers vegan bakery in DC!
Sticky Fingers vegan bakery in DC!
Sticky Fingers vegan bakery in DC!
vegan nachos!!!! can't remember the name of the place...but it had a bookstore in the restaurant...it wasn't a strictly vegan place...but they had a ton of vegan options.
vegan nachos!!!! can’t remember the name of the place…but it had a bookstore in the restaurant…it wasn’t a strictly vegan place…but they had a ton of vegan options.

5. Drove further down to Richmond, VA to see my aunt and uncle.

6. Drove way further down to Asheville, NC to visit Alison’s close friends Kristy and Seth and their two adorable kiddos. We spent about five days in Asheville, a great little hippy town nestled in the Smoky Mountains. We will write a more detailed post about Asheville.

7. Drove back up to Sayre, PA – my hometown! – to spend time with my mom and dad. We also visited Josh’s family (my sister’s husband and family) in upstate NY near Geneseo, NY….and stopped to visit my friend Dan and Gettysburg National Memorial along the way.

My friend Dan, has a Koi pond in his living room! Duke would spend hours and hours just staring at the fish.
My friend Dan, has a Koi pond in his living room! Duke would spend hours and hours just staring at the fish.
Gettysburg National War Memorial...we did a 2 hour self-guided driving tour.
Gettysburg National War Memorial…we did a 2 hour self-guided driving tour.
Gettysburg National War Memorial...we did a 2 hour self-guided driving tour.
Gettysburg National War Memorial…we did a 2 hour self-guided driving tour.
Gettysburg National War Memorial...we did a 2 hour self-guided driving tour.
Gettysburg National War Memorial…we did a 2 hour self-guided driving tour.
Gettysburg National War Memorial...we did a 2 hour self-guided driving tour.
Gettysburg National War Memorial…we did a 2 hour self-guided driving tour.
The front porch in Sayre, with my parents.
The front porch in Sayre, the same house I lived in growing up, with my parents.
In our front yard at Sayre, PA. Spike likes his jungle hideout!
In our front yard at Sayre, PA. Spike likes his jungle hideout!
Spike relaxing in the front yard in Sayre, PA.
Spike relaxing in the front yard in Sayre, PA.
Duke keeps and eye on my dad!
Duke keeps and eye on my dad!
Alison and I visited the hospital where my mom worked for 30 years...her picture was installed in the hospital as recognition of her service!
Alison and I visited the hospital where my mom worked for 30 years…they have a special place where they put photos of retired doctors with distinguished records of service.
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Yup, that’s my mom!
Mommy!
Mommy!
My high school (7-12th grade in one building!).
My high school (7-12th grade in one building!).
My high school football stadium..they are building a new one.
My high school football stadium..they are building a new one.
My elementary school, Elm Street Elementary.
My elementary school, Elm Street Elementary.
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Spend a lot of time here growing up…this is where our XC and Tennis teams would practice and have meets.
The start/finish of our High School XC course in Waverly, NY...at the Waverly Glen.
The start/finish of our High School XC course in Waverly, NY…at the Waverly Glen. Alison and I ran the course…getting lost only a couple times…we probably did 5 miles and should have done about 3!
The tennis courts where I played in High School at the Waverly Glen.
The tennis courts where I played in High School at the Waverly Glen.
Alison and I with Josh's family...outside their home in upstate NY.
Alison and I with my sister, her husband (Josh), their kids (Mira and Vijaya) and Josh’s family…outside their home in upstate NY.
Alison and I with Josh's family...outside their home in upstate NY.
Alison and I with Josh’s family…outside their home in upstate NY.

8. Drove up to Niagara Falls, en route to Minnesota.

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9. Drove over to Minnesota, via Chicago, were we met up with two cousins, Rohini (whose marriage we just attended) and Sharanya. They are both working in Chicago now.

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We met my cousins at Native Foods Cafe in Chicago...a 100% vegan place with great food. This is a chain...with a few dozen spots, mostly in California, Colorado and Oregon...but they are expanding fast across the country.
We met my cousins at Native Foods Cafe in Chicago…a 100% vegan place with great food. This is a chain…with a few dozen spots, mostly in California, Colorado and Oregon…but they are expanding fast across the country.

10. Finally we arrived in Minnesota to spend time with Alison’s family, first staying in Minneapolis and then heading up north to Nisswa – in the heart of Minnesota lake country! Our highlight of the trip has been a five day adventure in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness! This is quite possibly Alison’s favorite place on Earth and now I know why!

We will write a separate post about the Boundary Waters with a ton of photos.

We went here!
We went here!

 

So…here we are in Nisswa, where we have been relaxing for about two weeks.

Where do we go from here?

On Monday we head out to:

1. Glacier National Park, via Balaton, MN (to visit Alison’s family) and across South Dakota (to see the Badlands, Crazy Horse, Mt Rushmore and of course…the Corn Palace and Wall Drug!). Last time I went to the Corn Palace, the little ice cream parlor had high quality vegan ice cream…I hope they still do!

From there we plan to head south to Yellowstone and the Tetons, before making our way out to the San Francisco area to meet with my brother and his family, and prep for our biggest adventure of the trip so far…more on that in a future post!

-Ravi

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