Finding the Perfect Piece of Luggage May 27, 2014

If you knew me well, you would know, I am obsessed with
luggage. Always trying to find just the right one.
Sort of like us women trying to find the perfect pair of
jeans or the perfect purse. Sometimes you are
successful and sometimes not.

I can be anywhere, a Department Store or small Boutique,
watching HSN or QVC, the internet, airport, or even
a hospital gift shop, if they sell luggage, I’m right
there looking. Will this be it, will this finally be
the perfect piece of luggage?

Do I want 2 wheels or 4 wheels, spin or not spin, hard
or soft? How about the size, 20 inch or 25 inch?
Then there is the matter of the inside of the luggage.
Do I want drawers that slide out like a commode, (yes
I have one of those) or do I want two separate
compartments in the lid or one full size zippered
compartment, the entire size of the inner lid, that
way I could put several tops, a lightweight sweater
and even a nightgown or two?.

I guess this all started in 1993, when I went with a
friend to Europe for three weeks. We would be
traveling by train to different countries and I needed
a new piece of luggage. I bought a 28 inch rolling
suitcase that cost over $300.00, which was a lot in
those days. I didn’t know better than, so I didn’t
think much of the fact that it was pretty heavy
empty, let alone filled with clothes.

In those days, packing for three weeks for me, was
what I thought, pretty simple. I would pack
at least 12 complete outfits, maybe wearing them each
twice, with a few extra thrown in. Let’s not forget
about the shoes, but I won’t even go there. Needless
to say, by the time we arrived to our first hotel
in Amsterdam, I knew I would not be leaving this
Country with this luggage. There would be no way
I could lift it on or off a train for the three weeks,
not to mention up and down hotel stairs.

I went into a department store in Amsterdam and
bought a lightweight rolling duffel bag. I spent
the rest of the evening going through my clothes,
making choices, what would I take and what would I
leave behind. In the end, I left behind not only
the luggage, but several outfits and tons of
toiletries, trying to make it manageable. I am
sure the maid was shocked and thrilled when she
cleaned the room the next day. Jackpot. I would
continue to leave clothes behind in almost every
country, trying to continue to lighten the load.
By the time I would return home from the trip, I
would have left over half my clothes and shoes in
Europe. I could almost picture my cute little outfits
walking the canals of Amsterdam, crossing over the
little bridges of Venice, or maybe even walking
along the River Seine in Paris.

This was a lesson well learned and an experience I will
never forget. Now don’t get me wrong, I have on
occasion overpacked a time or two since, but being
older and wiser these days, I packed differently.
I’ve learned it’s not a fashion show, it’s a vacation.

That experience in the 90’s was probably the start of my
obsession with trying to find the perfect piece of
luggage. Throughout the years, my quest for this has
always continued and because of that, I have collected
many pieces of different types of luggage. Let’s just
say, I will probably never use them all.

These days, I’ve narrowed this all down to a 21 inch spinner,
lightweight with a full zippered compartment in the lid.
I realize now, maybe it’s not really finding the perfect
piece of luggage, maybe, just maybe, it’s my packing skills.

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Perrysburg, Ohio. Sept 23, 2013

After breakfast, we went into downtown Perrysburg,
an attractive historic town set right on the Maumee
River. The Main Street of town is approximately
three blocks of shops and restaurants leading
directly to a small park, Hood Park, ending at
the Maumee River on Front Street. The park sits
right on the River, with a dock and benches to
sit and admire the view.

Walking through this park was made comfortable by the
paved walking path for joggers and walkers. We walked
around enjoying this beautiful morning, admiring the
flowers and Statue of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry,
who cleared the British from Lake Erie.

We then walked along Front Street, going in and out
of some very nice shops. The downtown area also has
many Historical Homes with beautiful architecture.

We later went to an outdoor mall area, Levi Commons,
on the edge of town. This was a great shopping
destination with plenty of stores, restaurants, and
even a hotel.

Perrysburg is a lovely town that I have been back to a few
times and have always enjoyed my time here.

This has been a short, but great trip. We saw everything
on our list for this trip and I came away with the thought,
Ok, I need to get back to Pittsburg again and wouldn’t Berlin
be spectacular at Christmas time.

Berlin, Ohio Sept 22, 2013

We were up early and back on the road by 9:30 a.m. anxious to
get to Amish country. We eventually made our way to Hwy. 39
which would take us directly to Berlin, Ohio.

It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining brightly and not
a cloud in the sky. We really had no specific plans today,
except to just make this a laid back day, stopping in a few
towns here and there.

Within 40 minutes we were in Berlin. It’s a small attractive
country town with shops, markets, antiques, quilt stores,
bakeries, cheese shops, and flea markets. We parked our car
and began walking the town going in and out of the many stores.

I have been to many Amish towns in the past, but this was
certainly the most unique. The population of Amish in Ohio
is the largest in the world. A lot of them were working in
the stores, doing their marketing, or just enjoying the day
chatting with their neighbors and friends. It was pretty
amazing to see the parking lots full of horse drawn carriages
amongst the cars.
We grabbed a quick-lunch and headed out-of-town, back on Hwy.
39.

Now being from Michigan, I have been to Ohio countless times,
but never to the Northeast area and was amazed at how beautiful
it was. The rolling hills, the meticulously kept farms, the
occasional horse-drawn carriage along the way, makes this seem
like you have stepped back in time. I was trying to drink in
the scenery, enjoying the relaxing pace, and beauty.
I cannot say enough about the loveliness of this area of Ohio
in Holmes County. Was this a well-kept secret that no one ever
told me?

We stopped at a working farm, Yoders Amish Home, it’s a 116
acre farm opened to the public in 1983. It has conducted tours
of two Amish homes and a working barn with animals.

Driving down this scenic highway, my thoughts went to this
amazing day in Amish country. Not only for the beauty of this
area, but where old fashion living, hard work, and honesty
are a way of life for these people. It’s more than a simple
destination, it’s a getaway you absolutely must experience.

We made our way to Perrysburg, Ohio to spend the night at a
Holiday Inn Express.

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A Day in Pittsburg Sept 21, 2013

We were up early, had breakfast, and walked two blocks to
the Andy Warhol Museum. It is the largest museum in the
country, dedicated to a single artist. The museum holds an
extensive permanent collection of art and archives from this
Pittsburg born, pop art icon, Andy Warhol.

Born in 1928, in Pittsburg, he showed his artistic talent by
9 years old. He took free art lessons from The Carnegie Art
School and completed his college years at The Carnegie
Institute of Technology. He received a Bachelor of Arts
degree in Pictorial Design. After college, he moved to
New York City and was working as an Illustrator. In the
late 1950’s he began Pop Paintings, and the rest is history.

Throughout the years, he was commissioned to paint many
Celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and
Elizabeth Taylor, just to name a few. Whether you like his
paintings or not, you can see his art almost everywhere.
It was an extensive 8 floors of exhibits with a media room
that was quite impressive.

After spending several hours in this museum, we were now
headed to the Carnegie Museum of Art, a couple of miles away.
This museum was also quite extensive with a collection of
more than 35,000 objects. We knew our time would be limited,
so we concentrated on the galleries we were most interested in.
We headed first to the Impressionist Paintings. As luck would
have it, they were setting up for a special exhibit and a lot
of the paintings were off the wall, some sitting on the floor
with the area roped off. We saw as much as we could, but
were disappointed we could not view the entire collection.
We then went to the Contemporary Art Gallery. I am not a big
fan of a lot of Contemporary Art, but will say, it was very
interesting.

After spending several hours in this museum, we grabbed a
quick-lunch and was back on the road leaving Pittsburg.

I really enjoyed this city in the short time I was here and
decided I would need to come back. It’s an easy drive from
the Detroit area and would be perfect for a weekend trip.

We drove to Dover, Ohio and stopped at a Comfort Inn for the
night. Another great day!!

Pittsburg, PA September 20, 2013

Arriving in downtown Pittsburg was quite a pleasant surprise.
The city is actually very pretty with a large Waterfront.
I was surprised by how many bridges it has, 446 to be exact.
It is known as “The City of Bridges”. According to, Places
Rated Almanac, Forbes, and The Economist, it is titled America’s Most Livable City”.

We checked into a great downtown hotel, The Marriott Residence
Inn, next to PNC Park and a block from the Andy Warhol Museum.
The hotel was very nice, our suite was lovely, with a fully
equipped kitchen, overlooking PNC Park.

After an early dinner, we walked along the waterfront, very
impressed with the loveliness of this city. We than decided
to go to an area of Downtown, where we would ride a tram up
a 400 ft incline overlooking the city. The Duquesne Incline,
offers a panoramic view of the city and it’s three rivers.
USA Today Magazine, writes, it is the most beautiful view in
America. It is very impressive, and a great way to end our
second day on our road trip.

Fallingwater Sept 19, 2013

We were up early, had breakfast, and on the road by 9:00 a.m..
After a short time on the turnpike, we were now heading on
Hwy. 381 towards Mill Run, Pa., to tour the famous
Fallingwater House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, summer
retreat of Edgar Kaufmann, a successful businessman and
President of Kaufmann Department Store in Pittsburg.

After driving through some small towns along the highway,
we arrived at the entrance of the property. We purchased
our tickets for the tour and made our way through a forest
like area that led us to Fallingwater.

Looking closely at the house, it doesn’t appear to be on
solid ground, but instead stretches over a 30 ft waterfall
nestled in the lush wooded Bear Run Nature Reserve. It is
decorated, very uniquely, with a lot of contemporary
Japanese influence and architecture. The house was started in
1935 and finished in 1939, with an addition built on.
It is a very interesting house with numerous terraces, and
unexpected views of the trees and water, as you move through
the house. It’s uniqueness,certainly sets it apart from
anything we have ever seen.

This is the only Frank Lloyd Wright house that is opened
to the public. It was hailed by Time Magazine as “most
beautiful job” and on Smithsonian’s list of 28 Places to
See Before You Die. In 1966, it was designated a National
Historic Landmark. It is a fascinating house to tour.

After a good two hours of touring the house and vast grounds,
We were ready to get back on the road. We would drive 43
miles to Pittsburg for the night.

Road Trip September 18, 2013

It was time for another road trip. This particular trip would be
a short one to Pittsburg, Pa and the Amish city of Berlin, Ohio.
We would only be gone four nights, so we knew we had to cram
a lot in a short period of time.

We had three specific reasons for this trip. We wanted to see
Fallingwater, a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Mill Run, Pa., a couple
of museums in Pittsburg, and visit an Amish town in Berlin, Ohio.

With a small suitcase packed and some good munchies, we loaded
our Frank Sinatra and Motown music in the CD player, and we were
off.

Because we were limited on time, the turnpike was our choice of
highway. Turnpike driving in one sense is great, good roads, lots
of rest stops and plenty of exits for convenience. The not so good,
is the choice of eateries. Mostly fast food, with a decent one thrown
in here and there.

It seems whenever we are on the road, the conversation always turns
to our past travels from years back. We rack our brains trying to
remember what year we went here and what year we went there.
example: “Ok, what year did we go to California” or “What year did
you go on the Baltic Sea cruise”. It’s almost like a game with us,
and because my travel files, of course, are not with me, this can
prove to be challenging at times. Of course, it has Nothing to do
with age and memory. Haha!! But it’s fun

We drove to Donegal, Pa and spent our first night at a Holiday Inn
Express.

Newport, Rhode Island July 10, 2013

We left Salem at 9:05 and arrived in Newport around noon.
We immediately went to the tourist office and booked a city tour
along with a tour of the Vanderbilt Mansion.

Newport is a seaside city that is home to many of the great Mansions
owned by the wealthy. There is also a famous Cliff Walk that you
can walk along the shore looking at the Mansions and coast line.
Dwight D Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy both had summer
homes here.

The National Historical Society preserves these wonderful Estates
along with landmarks throughout the city.

We toured The Breakers, a grand Mansion, owned by Cornelius
Vanderbilt II and their seven children. Although it was opulent,
it was used as a summer home for the family. It is a grand 70 room
Italian Renaissance style mansion. The Preservation Society opened
the home in 1972 making it a National Historic Landmark.

We stayed that night at a Holiday Inn Express and tomorrow
we would be making our way back home.

It has been a wonderful vacation. We have had so many high
points on this trip that it would be hard to choose one. I
guess if I really had to I would choose our two days at Bretton
Wood, NH at the Mt Washington Resort.

Now on our way home, I am already thinking about my next trip.
WHERE WILL I GO!!!

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Boston Massachusetts July 9th, 2013

We were up early and on the 9:10 train to Boston. After a very
short ride we pulled into the train station. We purchased tickets
for the Hop On Hop Off bus that would take us all around the
city. We rode the entire circuit, getting a layout of the city and
then started getting off at stops we wanted to see. We were
able to cram a lot of sightseeing that day, including Faneuil Hall,
Freedom Trail, Boston Common, the Old North Church and Paul
Revere’s house.

We had a late lunch at Lemoncellos, a restaurant in the North End
of Boston. The food was outstanding along with the atmosphere.
We then walked over to Mikes Pastry in the North End that was
recommended to us. The fresh cannolis were pricey, but very good.
They have every kind of cannoli you can think of. I would highly
recommend coming to this Italian neighborhood, not only for the
food but also the atmosphere.

After lunch we took a cruise around the harbor. It is always so
nice to view a city from its harbor. I never realized how compact
Boston really is. It is a great walking city.

We were back in Salem by early evening. We grabbed a light meal
and a glass of wine in the hotel and discussed our venture into
Boston.

I would certainly recommend staying outside of the city and taking
a train in. It was a great way to see Boston. I also would
recommend Salem, especially at Halloween. It must be so much
fun. Of course, you must stay at The Hawthorn Inn.

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Salem, Massachusetts July 8,2013

We were on the road by 8:30 a.m. driving towards Salem where we
would spend two nights.

On the way we stopped in Gloucester, Ma to do a little sightseeing.
Gloucester is a city on Cape Ann with a very important fishing
port that is home to Gorton’s of Gloucester. This iconic statue of
the Gorton Fisherman is known throughout the world. You can
see in any grocery store their frozen fish with this image on it.

Back on the road we arrived in Salem and checked into the
Hawthorne Hotel which had been recommended to us. It is a
Historic hotel that opened in 1925. The hotel is named after
Nathaniel Hawthorne , an American author of many novels
including The Scarlett Letter and House of the Seven Gables.

Salem is a delightful town known for its tales of the famous
Witch trials for those accused of witchcraft between 1688 and 1693.
It is also famous for the House of the Seven Gables, the home of
Captain John Turner and stayed with his family for three
generations. It was made famous from the novel in 1851. It
is now National Historic sight.

There is also the Salem Witch Museum and the Salem Maritime
National historic Site. One must see, The Peabody museum.
It is an impressive museum that you are totally unprepared for in
this small city. Although it is small, the variety and uniqueness of
it’s collections are very impressive. The East Asian collections are
the strongest not only for the objects but there is an entire home
from China from the 19th century that was packed up and shipped
here to be reassembled in the Museum backyard. Visitors have a
chance to see how a family lived in China thru the generations.

After a day of sightseeing in Salem, we had a light dinner in the
hotel and prepared our plans for tomorrow in Boston.

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