Exploring the world one word…and one mile…at a time

Travel

Exploring Acadia National Park from the Acacia House Inn

Room 5, our third-floor hideaway in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Room 5 at the Acacia House Inn, our third-floor, anniversary hideaway in Bar Harbor, Maine.

A few years ago, on a very lucky Friday the 13th, we eloped to Maine, specifically to Northeast Harbor, a tiny village at the mouth of Somes Sound, where the ladies in the Town Clerk’s office were giddy and gracious in hosting an impromptu wedding for us on just a few days’ notice. They served as officiant, witnesses, photographer, and florist, presenting me with a bouquet of fresh-cut daffodils from outside the building. We spent the rest of the weekend exploring the island by bike and foot. When we arrived back home, we sent the Town Hall crew a thank you note with Portsmouth chocolates and our favorite picture from that day. And so began our May tradition of adventuring on Mount Desert Island.

This weekend, we arrived on Friday for four days of hiking, running, writing, sleeping, and eating. Acadia National Park is the frequent site of the first three activities, while the Acacia House Inn is our preferred site for the last two. We’ve written extensively about our national park adventures at Acadia, but we’ve been remiss in writing about our favorite B&B, the place we stayed that first spring and almost every year since. Let’s correct that right now! (more…)


Back to the Alternative Grind

L to R: Threesunset scenes in Florida; 5K racing on my birthday; my October photo project; and M's new poetry blog

L to R: Three sunset scenes from Florida; 5K racing on my birthday; my October photo project archive; and M’s new poetry blog

We realized today that we haven’t posted an update in close to two months. How does that saying go? Time flies when you’re exhausted, confused, and energized by new ideas? We arrived home from Germany at the end of September, having traveled for 12 of the 15 preceding weeks. Six weeks spent road tripping across the Canadian and American west followed by six weeks in Europe, with three weeks at home in between to do laundry, repack, and taper for the marathon. By the time we finally returned to our cozy apartment in New Hampshire eight weeks ago, we were jet-lagged, burned out, and ready to slow down. And we were supposed to leave in six days for our next adventure: two weeks of national park hopping in the Pacific Northwest. (more…)


Revisiting Rothenburg

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L to R: The streets of Rothenburg; The famous wall; Delicious Schneeballen!

I’ve spent four months of my life in Germany. I visited my family here for one month when I was ten years old, another month when I was sixteen and about two months spread across three visits over the past three years. The large time span between visits has allowed me to experience the strange intersection of memory and reality. Nowhere was this more evident than when I visited Rothenburg ob der Tauber last week with T, S & J. (more…)


Brötchen and Handball: Our German Stay-Cation

L to R: The TVG handball team; morning along the Main; garden scenes and fresh bounty.

L to R: The TVG handball team; morning along the Main; garden scenes and fresh bounty.

We’ve been in Germany for more three weeks, and our spoken language skills have progressed to the point where we can order dinner and drinks in a restaurant (confirming that things are meat-free as needed), handle travel on the bus and train (including reading the many signs indicating the once-mighty German rail lines are running late again), decipher pop songs on the radio (and Adam Sandler movies), and make (limited) small talk.  I can also rattle off most fruits and vegetables and kitchen verbs, thanks in large part to cooking several dishes from a German recipe book. But the true test of our German skills is tackling the morning visit to the local Bäckerei for fresh breakfast rolls (Brötchen). (more…)


Wandering Around Wϋrzburg

L to R: Riding the rails into Wurzburg; street scene on our way to Kult; tasty vegL to R:gie finds; Bavarian beer; posing with the locals (it's election season here...)

L to R: Riding the rails into Wurzburg; street scene on our way to Kult; tasty veggie finds; Bavarian beer; and posing with the locals (it’s election season here…)

A few days ago, M and I took advantage of a regional train pass that allowed us to head anywhere in the state of Bayern (Bavaria) for a combined fare of €26.  We first rode the bus to Aschaffenburg where we boarded a two-hour local train to the city of Wϋrzburg.  We hadn’t done much research before selecting it as our destination for a one-night adventure (inexpensive, interesting, and semi-local were our main requirements), and we weren’t sure what to expect.  Perhaps for that reason, we were quickly captivated by the place. (more…)


Runner’s High, German Style!

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L to R: Ummm…this way to number pick-up, I think; The Start/Finish (Ziel) line; Team “Partner Look” pre-race; The socks post-race; Our race swag.

J and I run a lot of races. However, since many of our races take place while traveling, it’s rare that we get to run with friends. Yes, running is an individual sport, but taking on a race with friends is much better than going it alone. While J and I are always each other’s personal cheering squad, a bigger group means even more positive energy.

Today, we joined T & S for a 10K race in Elsenfeld, Germany, a small town near Groβwallstadt where we are staying. In some ways, the race was like most American races: there were timing chips, a DJ, t-shirts, water stops, etc. In other ways, it was totally different: (more…)


Grüße aus Deutschland! (Greetings from Germany!)

L to R: Our flight from Dublin to Frankfurt; practicing my German;

L to R: On our flight from Dublin to Frankfurt; practicing my German at 38,000 feet; the main street in the town where M’s family lives; exploring the Johannesburg Castle in Aschaffenburg; and the cast of “Spring Awakening”…auf Deutsch.

We’ve been in Germany just ten days, but it feels like a lifetime…in a good way.  We left Ireland last Tuesday after a fantastic week, capped off with two active days in Dublin.  It was a short, productive flight to Frankfurt; M worked on the poetry book he’s co-editing, and I practiced my German (which needs a bit of practice).  Our flight landed nearly an hour late, but M’s uncle and cousin were waiting patiently for us just past customs.  We had initially planned to take the train, but after a long week of travel, we were grateful for their offer to pick us up.  We chatted all the way back to their house in a small town along the Main River south of the city of Aschaffenburg.

We stayed local the first few days, getting used to another time zone and catching up with M’s family.  We’ve traveled here each of the past two summers, but in prior years, our visits have been planned around M’s cousins’ weddings.  It’s a nice change of pace to be without a formal agenda on this trip. (more…)


It’s All About People (Even for an Introvert Like Me)

These pictures illustrate the places where we met them, but this post is about the various people we encountered in Ireland. L to R: the Achill Ultra starting line; the village at Achill Sound; the Galaxy Bar; Gallagher’s Boxty House; and the Yeats exhibit at NLI.

Greetings from Germany…specifically from our cousins’ home south of Frankfurt.  We’ve only been here for one full day, but we already feel settled in and are so grateful for their hospitality and friendship.  We tackled our first post-marathon run together (six scenic miles along the Main River) and enjoyed our first German beers of the trip, including a specially-formulated alcohol-free beer with added vitamins designed for consumption after sports.  Running just got even better!

But before we fill our minds and hearts with new people and adventures here in Germany, we wanted to give a shout out to some of the wonderful folks we met in Ireland.  (more…)


11 Things I Learned on Achill Island

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L to R: Signage just before crossing the bridge into Achill Sound; J and me battling our nerves on race morning; race course signage (the roads were open); the start and finish line as the ultra runners began; mile marker near the finish line showing all three events.

The Achill Ultra race series on Achill Island in Ireland consisted of three events: a half marathon (13.1 miles), a full marathon (26.2 miles) and an ultra-marathon (a whopping 39.3 miles). There were just over 200 runners across all three races, making this a very personal affair. While most of the runners were Irish, we met folks from Ontario and New Jersey as well. And of course, we were in from New Hampshire. (more…)


We’re Off on the Road to Achill Island

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Scenes from our stop at Connemara National Park

We left Clifden Thursday morning with our sights set on tiny Achill Island on Ireland’s west coast.  It was slated as a short drive (less than two hours), but we planned to take our time.  Our first stop—just twenty minutes or so from the inn—was at Connemara National Park.  On any other day, we would have trekked to the top of the park’s famous (and fog-covered) Diamond Hill.  But two days before a marathon is not the time to take on an unknown hike (any hike, really).  (more…)