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Category Archives: Travel

Beyond yachts and mansions: a to-do list for Newport, RI

By Kristy

If you’re stuck in preppy, affluent Newport, RI for say, a conference or a visit with an old friend, you may feel like your only option is to embrace the preppy affluence and just tour mansions in your khakis, and then board a yacht for some chardonnay at sunset.  There are a few things to do that are slightly more interesting than this in Newport, but all-in-all, the best way to see Newport is drink in hand, embracing the ridiculous boat-shoe-wearing, 8-hr-workweek life you’ll never live yourself.

1. Start the first day with lunch at the clam shack Flo’s, near Easton beach, then walk to the start of the Cliff Walk at the other end of the beach, following the full 3+ miles of coastline and mansions, past the 40 steps and Salve Regina (which has to be the most gorgeous college campus in the world). If beachside cocktails are more your style, head to the Atlantic Beach Club’s beach bar across from Flo’s. If you’re lucky, a beach volleyball game will be in process.
2. Drive Bellevue and Ocean Drive (pit stops at the Breakers or Rosecliff for tours), then, to imagine the lifestyle you’ve just glimpsed, head to Castle Hill Resort for cocktails on white adirondac chairs outdoors on a plush green lawn that slopes to the boat-filled ocean. Now its time to tick off Mansions from the mandatory Newport to-do list…
6. Browse all the Island named establishments: Island Books is great, as is Island Cinema…then head to the Wharves (Bowens, etc) for some nautical shopping or to pick up some fresh fish at the market on the dock (another great spot for a boat-side cocktail – keep ’em coming).
8. If you head back to Newport for something like the folk festival at Fort Adams (I highly recommend this, albeit a dry event…you can still float nearby in your boat), then be sure to avoid the accidental $8 crossing of the Pell bridge…google maps will trick you every time.
7. In the historic district you’ll find independent coffee shops, Schmear bagels, an art house cinema, many well maintained historic houses, and the oldest pub in the USA, The White Horse Tavern.  By far the most interesting part of Newport.
3. Dinner is a must at Talulah on Thames, or the newest farm-to-table spot TSK (Thames Street Kitchen), both of which serve fresh, seasonal, inventive and endlessly tasty cuisine. TSK is BYO, which can be a plus with all the nice wine stores in town.
4. For a more casual dinner, head to the hip block of Thames St to Firehouse, followed by cocktails and dessert at next door Asterisk (which bottles it’s own flavored vodkas). Then head down the road to ultra-mod cocktail house Christie’s, where you can imbibe outdoors or in a swing-chair.  Cold-fusion gelato is nearby, too, if you need it.
5. What NOT to do?  I was very excited that Newport had its own rhumerie (Tew), but when we arrived 10min before closing we were turned away rum-less.  Later, barkeeps told us the rum wasn’t worth a taste anyway.  So there.

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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Kristy, Travel

 

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The ultimate packing list and travel-planning list for the travel nerd

 
Documents and Purse
Travel itineraries, confirmations for flight, hotel, car/transport, tickets/passes, conference info
Travel info: guidebooks, articles, directions/maps, language book
Phone and chargers (incl. car charger)
Laptop and chargers
Camera and chargers (and card reader and mini tripod and underwater cameras and extra battery)
Ipod, chargers, dock
Wallet, license, passport, money/cards
Notebook and pen
Books/magazines
keys
Medications, tissues, toiletry kit, lip gloss, moisturizer, mints/gum
sunglasses
Comfort/travel
Eyemask
Headphones
Neck pillow
Earplugs
Socks
Snacks/tea/water
Foreign travel: money belt, currency, extra meds, adapters, vaccinations, check credit cards, health insurance, passport, etc.
Day bag/backpack; purse
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A history of Food Blogs (and my 2 local favorites)

by Kristy

Great article on Saveur.com about the history of food blogging.  Did you know the term weblog was coined in 1997?  Me neither.

http://www.saveur.com/article/Kitchen/A-Brief-Food-Blog-Timeline

Two of my favorite local (Boston) food bloggers who were missing from the list:

1. Cheap Beets – a mostly vegetarian guide to eating well in the recession

2. The Food Monkey – Eat No Evil!

10 more great foodie sites:

1. Local Dirt

2. One Big Table

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Batty about Bats – but even Batman can’t save them from White Nose

By Kristy

A white fungus is currently killing most of the bat population across the Eastern US.  Nobody understands why, or how, and there is uncertainty as to how this will affect our ecosystem.

For five years of my Ph.D., during 7 months out of the year, I would occasionally drive an hour from Boston to capture wild-caught bats at a barn on a rural farm.  A harp trap was set-up at the mouth of the barn, to catch the bats at ‘emergence’, or the time at dawn or dusk when these insectivorous bats arouse in order to feed on bugs.

When autumn approached and the bats were preparing for hibernation, they would migrate to caves in Vermont, and I would also drive there for 2 nights of bat-catching at dark, cold, mountain caves.  This meant carrying the trap up the mountain, along with our supplies and the bat hotel (the small wooden cubbies that house the bats in the close-quarters they prefer).

The flying devil, Myotis lucifugus

These bats are Myotis lucifugus, or little brown bats, named for their Lucifer-style devil ears.  Actually, the bats are quite adorable, quite smart, and are more closely related to humans than most other model research species.  They roost in these barns in maternal colonies, with only very few young males.  In the fall, the bats mate and then store sperm all through the winter, only fertilizing a single egg when spring comes.  This period of hibernation during the winter is extremely energy-intensive, requiring deposition of new fat stores, and making the seasonal hibernating bat a fascinating example of beneficial obesity in the animal kingdom.

Needless to say, I am fascinated by and adore all bats.

Not all people share this feeling.  Sure, Batman is a hero, but usually bats are the scary winged creatures of nightmares and horror movies.  My own husband ran to the car, rolled up the windows, and locked the doors, when I tried to get him to touch one of the bats I was holding at the barn one summer.

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Weird Law Quiz: Maine or Georgia?

by Kristen

Having lived in Maine and Georgia, I believe they’re both politically and culturally wackadoodle places. Our country just celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (or War of Northern Aggression, depending on where you live), and while Mainers and Georgians think they are wildly different, sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference. Maybe we are more alike than we think, in that we govern badly and make weird laws. Take Kristen’s Quiz!

Laws that were or are on the books: Maine or Georgia?

(Note: This fun quiz list was made by doing some very light research on the internets. Please do not send emails.)

You don't own me, man.

1. It is illegal to walk your alligator in public or to own an armadillo.

2. No one may carry an ice cream cone in his or her back pocket on a Sunday.

3. Shotguns are required to be taken to a church in the event of a Native American attack.

4. Firearms cannot be carried in a government building, place of worship, or a bar (unless the owner of the bar says it is ok).

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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Travel

 

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Advice from one beach tourist to another

by Lindsay

After a week-long trip to a resort in Mexico, I made a few observations about my fellow tourists, and learned some lessons that I think others should reflect on before hitting the beach or traveling.

1. If your girlfriend is passed out on the floor, don’t guzzle your wine while two other men attend to her.

2. Male belly button rings are never acceptable.

3. Buying cigars could result in a drug deal.

4. Breast feeding a child the same size as you while on the beach is not OK.

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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Abroad, Guest Listers, Travel

 

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Silly British Traditions to Adopt While Leading up to the Royal Wedding

By Kristy

While I appreciate the argument that as Americans, long ago castrated from our mother-land of Great Britain, we should not give a toss about the Royals (note: Britishism here), it is nearly impossible not to be aware of the fanfare and ceremony of a momentous occasion such as the wedding of a future King.  Therefore, this week I will be adopting these rituals as a salute to my homeland (both ancestrally, and from 2007-9*).  I suggest you do the same.

Silly British Traditions to Adopt While Leading up to the Royal Wedding

1. Throw a “cheerio ol’ chap” into any of your email or phone correspondence

2. 4pm is now Tea Time, whether you like it or not

3. Wear a fascinator or Philip Treacy inspired hat to the office

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