1. How I Met Your Mother
2. The Time-Traveler's Wife
3. The Olympics/Michael Phelps
July 23: We flew out of SLC and got into Cleveland in the early afternoon. I'm not scared of flying, per se, but it still kind of gives me the wiggins if I think about it too much. I started reading Marian Keyes' Watermelon and listened to the in-flight radio. It played the Watson Twins, which basically made my morning. We paid a ridiculous amount of money to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and I learned that I should always carry my school ID card, even if you're done with school. Real-life lesson #1! Anyhow, the Hall of Fame rocked (pun!). When it comes to music, I'm an old soul, so I enjoyed every minute of it. I did miss out on seeing Chubby Checker live, because I thought he was dead and it was an impersonator. Guess not!
July 24: We drove from Cleveland to Kirtland, Ohio. Our trip was heavy on the LDS church history sites, which was pretty cool. We did the Newel K. Whitney Store and a bunch of other old homes. Lunch was super late, and I get really cranky when I don't eat on time. It was my first and hopefully last time to eat at Red Lobster. We also went to the Kirtland Temple, which is owned by the Community of Christ. Fascinating, but it had a completely different spirit than the other sites. I got sick from something I ate and spent the car ride to New York writhing in pain. That's a tad melodramatic, but it still wasn't fun. I watched Lars and the Real Girl at the hotel--it's a great movie in many respects.
July 25: Niagra Falls! I'd been to the falls before (around age eight) and I remember being thoroughly unimpressed. It's just a bunch of water, right? Wrong! The Maid of the Mist was by far the highlight. It was gorgeous and powerful. We hit the Cave of the Winds (not actually a cave--disappointing!) but before you go, they give you sandals so your shoes don't get wet. That's my kind of tourist attraction--one that provides you with free footwear. Lunch was at this fantastic little restaurant in a hotel, where I learned that I still don't like normal onions, but I LOVE pearl onions and french onion soup. Mmmm. Oh, funny story! My dad wrote my blog address in the visitor book. I wonder if anyone actually noticed it and decided to check it out. The IMAX movie was a complete joke, but I still left thinking that Niagra Falls is amazing.
July 26: Palmyra, New York is another big church history site. We saw where the original Book of Mormon was printed. Since I'm a nerd and love learning about book-making, I had a blast. We met up with some family friends and did some work at the local temple. We also went to the Hill Cumorah and ate at Mark's Pizzeria. (That one's for you, Chilly!) I wanted to go see a movie, but the sole movie theater within miles was only showing The Dark Knight, which my mom refused to watch. Instead, I think we just hung out at the hotel.
July 27: All I remember was that we went to church and the Erie Canal. Oh, we also spent some time in Palmyra at the Joseph Smith homes and the Sacred Grove. Amazingly spiritual and perfect for a Sunday. Another memorable thing was the spectacularly awful ribs that I ate for dinner. (I think it's pretty apparent that I associate travel with food.)
July 28: The morning was spent in Fayette, New York at the Peter Whitmer home. The sister missionaries that showed us around were so good. This was probably one of the highlights of my trip. Not many people get to visit sites where they know their ancestors set foot. We spent some time by the Finger Lakes and went to Ithaca, home of Cornell University and alma mater of Andy Bernard. It is the Ivy League University that he attended, after all. Tip #1: The Cornell dairy makes an excellent french vanilla ice cream cone. Tip #2: There's this restaurant called the Rogue's Inn that was by far the best meal I had during the vacation. It had chicken and olives and pepperoni in a light cream sauce with Rigatoni noodles. Sooooo good.
July 29: There was really no set plan for the day, which usually is how I like my vacations. This doesn't apply if you're in Buffalo, New York. What a downer city! We did take a boat tour, which I spent reading Atonement. I finally got to visit a Dunkin Donuts, which they don't have in Utah. Dear Utah, please remedy that a.s.a.p. Kthx.
July 30: The last day is usually sad, but I was glad to be coming home. We made a short pit stop at the original house where A Christmas Story was filmed. It wasn't open to the public that day, so we just got pictures. There was much quoting of the best Christmas movie ever. My favorite picture is one of the Lil' Bro looking in the mailbox for his Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring. ("Be sure to drink your Ovaltine. A crummy commercial? Son of a...!") The flight back was uneventful, expect for the fact that I was watching The Holiday and our portable dvd player ran out of batteries about ten minutes before it would have been over. Granted, I've seen that movie more times than is healthy, but still! Then, it was back to the land of mountains and deserts.
Overall, it was a great experience. It was a wonderful strengthening of my faith and beliefs. Plus, I have missed the east coast like crazy ever since we moved from Virginia. There's just something about the trees and rain and people that I adore. I don't know what it is, but you guys are doing something right.
Picture preview! Me rocking and rolling at the Hall of Fame: