Archive for the ‘Where they Went’ Category

Aping around in Africa

July 20, 2009

(“Where they Went,” published May 24, 2009, Boston Globe)

Debra Walk on safari in Seregeti, Tanzania

Debra Walk on safari in Tanzania

WHO: Debra L. Walk, 60, of Revere.

WHERE: Tanzania and Uganda.

WHEN: Three weeks in November and December.

WHY: “When I turned 50, at a spa in Utah, I thought, in 10 years, you’ll be 60. Where do you want to be?” Walk said. An African safari was the answer. “Elephants are my favorite animal, and the thought of being so close to them was really exciting, with me being confined and not them. I saved for 10 years, and it was worth every penny.”

Debra at at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania

Posing at Ngorongoro Conservation Area

INSTANT KARMA: Walk started with a two-week “classic safari” with Thomson Safaris, which featured several days of wildlife viewing. When she spotted an elephant the first day, “I screamed,” she said. “Later we were so close to them we could see their eyelashes. Our jeeps were surrounded by them. It literally took my breath away. We spent four days on the Serengeti, and we were there during wildebeest migration.”

Debra with guides before boarding the plane to leave the Serengeti to Arusha, Tanzania

Debra with her Serengeti guides before boarding the bush plane for Arusha

KINFOLK: Walk arranged for her final week to be in Uganda, and set up gorilla and chimpanzee activities through Adventure Trails. She’s drawn to the animals because “they’re our cousins and I think eventually they’re not going to exist anymore out in the wild. Humans are destroying their habitat.”

GROUP OUTING: She spent the first few days in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a rain forest known for its mountain gorilla population. “You’re allowed to spend up to an hour with them. You can’t eat anything, run around, or make eye contact with the silverback, the leader, and you can’t use a flash. There’s a good chance you’ll see them, but it’s not guaranteed.” Walk was lucky enough to see gorillas on both outings. “We spent an hour with the second group. The silverback’s first-in-command was no more than five feet from us and actually posed for us.”

Debra standing on the equator in Uganda

Debra straddles the equator in Uganda

PERSONAL ATTENTION: Her trip ended with three nights at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Lake Victoria. “Even though elephants are my favorite animal, my favorite day was on Ngamba when I got to walk with the chimpanzees. One of them jumped on my back and I gave her a piggyback ride. I have a tattoo on my wrist, and she was grooming me, trying to get it off with her fingernails. She untied my shoes, pulled out my laces, and tried to relace them.”

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Artist’s-eye view of Art Basel Miami Beach

June 4, 2009
Arden Gallery in Boston represents Joanne Mattera

Joanne Mattera wakes up Newbury Street with this piece at Arden Gallery in Boston

I met artist Joanne Mattera when I went to her 2003 show at Arden Gallery in Boston (one of my first outings with Wessel). I’m drawn to colorists, and she’s one of my favorite. I love, love, love her paintings. Joanne works in (and introduced me to) encaustic, a method of painting with translucent layers of wax. She literally wrote the book on it — “The Art of Encaustic Painting.” Coincidentally, this weekend Joanne is holding the third annual Encaustic Painting Conference at Montserrat College at Art in Beverly, Mass. I took an encaustic workshop last year in Chapel Hill, NC, with Lynn Bregman Blass, whose work I also greatly admire. Let’s just say that I’m sticking to writing (which Joanne also does a great job of in her blog).    

When Joanne sent me this idea for my “Where they Went” column in the Boston Globe, I thought it was great. So, enough intro, here we go:

(“Where they Went,” published April 26, 2009,  Boston Globe)

Joanne Mattera at Art Basel Miami Beach, reflected in screen by Mark Fox

Joanne Mattera gets artsy with a Mark Fox screen at Art Basel Miami Beach

WHO: Joanne Mattera of Salem, Mass., and New York City

WHERE: Miami.

WHEN: A week in December.

WHY: To attend Art Basel Miami Beach and related shows. “My life and my art life are intertwined,” said Mattera, a painter mostly in encaustic who is represented by Arden Gallery in Boston. “Look what I do for fun: I go look at art.”

Joanne reflected in Anish Kapoor sculpture

Joanne reflects on Anish Kapoor sculpture

HOT SHOW: The prestigious Art Basel in South Florida, an international modern and contemporary art exhibit and sister show to Art Basel in Switzerland, has grown exponentially since its start in 2002, said Mattera, who has attended for the past four years. “It came out of nowhere and made this huge splash in the art world here. But then who wouldn’t want go to Florida in December?” Over the years, the show, held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, has inspired more than two dozen “satellite shows” both in surrounding venues and in Wynwood, Miami’s growing art district.

EXHIBITING THRIFT: “This is the first year I’ve been that I haven’t had work there, but I love the opportunity to go. My galleries weren’t participating, and fewer were overall because of the economy. Some dealers were saying they were going to sit it out this year.” Mattera has another reason for attending – she writes about the scene and the shows for Joanne Mattera Art Blog.

Joanne reflected in Garden Mirror by Olafur Eliasson

Joanne puts herself in "Garden Mirror" installation by Olafur Eliasson

ALL INCLUSIVE: “Except for a few art fairs, there is no other time and no other place that you can see art from dozens of countries and you get to chat with dealers, collectors, other artists, critics, and curators. Even though people are working, their guards are down, they’re relaxed.” The public attends, too, with tickets $35 a day or less. Many of the smaller shows are free or nominally priced.

MAJOR TO MINOR: A change this year, Mattera said, was fewer boundary-pushing pieces. “I think the economy made dealers bring some of their safer work.” Art Basel also is a market for dealers to sell big-name work for millions. “You might have a Picasso or a Miró or a Warhol. But at the smaller venues, you find work from galleries like in Boston and other regions at prices of $10,000 and under, much under.”

SEE, SEE, SEE: Mattera doesn’t seek or find inspiration at Art Basel. “I have a path for my work and an approach and it doesn’t really matter what I see or where I am. It’s an interior dialogue. So for me it’s not about getting ideas, but it is about connecting with the larger art world to see what’s going on. You want to know what’s out there, and see it all.”

With Troubles over, Northern Ireland thrives

May 4, 2009

“Where They Went,” by Diane Daniel, published April 12, 2009, in the Boston Globe

Trish Gannon (left) and Jean Mello (right) with Paddy, Black Taxi Tour driver in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Trish Gannon (left) and Jean Mello with Paddy, Black Taxi Tour driver in Belfast

WHO: Trish Gannon, 43, of Winchester, and Jean Mello, 43, of Dublin.

WHERE: Northern Ireland.

WHEN: Three days in October.

WHY: Gannon took the opportunity to visit Mello while Mello was living in Dublin as part of her job for a Boston-area bank. The two have been friends since attending College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.

GIANT STEPS: Because the weather was nice when Gannon arrived in Dublin, they decided to head right away to Northern Ireland, where one of their prime destinations was Giant’s Causeway, a lunar landscape of interlocking basalt columns and the country’s top tourist destination.

COASTING: ”We booked a coach tour that took us up the coast of Antrim and stopped at sights along the way,” said Gannon, whose ancestry is Irish. “We stopped at castles and sea villages. The coastline was really dramatic.” About half the travelers were American, including US soldiers visiting from their post in Germany. “About 2 miles from Giant’s Causeway, our goal, this nice new bus ran out of gas.” Luckily, they were at the crest of a hill and coasted a mile down to Bushmills, home of the 400-year-old Bushmills Distillery. “We went straight to the gas station and filled up,” she said.

Trish at Giant's Causeway, Antrim Coast

Trish at Giant's Causeway, Antrim Coast

MILITARY INTERVENTION: ”Apparently when any vehicle, especially diesel, runs out of gas, it’s hard to start. It turned out one of the military folks was a maintenance guy for Apache helicopters, and he got it going,” Gannon said. “We took a vote on the bus and decided to skip the distillery and head straight to Giant’s Causeway. Luckily we got there before dark. You could walk all over the formations. It was really amazing.”

Trish Gannon at Belfast Botanic Gardens

Trish Gannon at Belfast Botanic Gardens

BANKING ON TOURISM: The friends stayed at the Hilton Belfast in a newly redeveloped waterfront area. Having visited the city briefly a decade earlier, Gannon was impressed with the progress made in Northern Ireland since the peace accord. “It’s officially a tourist destination now. It’s so hopeful and encouraging. They’re even capitalizing on being where the Titanic was built. There are a lot of new hotels and restaurants, but also the city has a lot of beautiful Victorian buildings, including banks converted to hotels and restaurants.” One of their favorites was the Merchant Hotel. “It was so opulent I couldn’t believe it had been a bank.”

TROUBLES SIGNS: They took a Black Taxi Tour to see political murals and other sights around West Belfast, the center of the Troubles, the decades-long conflict between the country’s nationalist (mostly Roman Catholic) and unionist (Protestant) communities. “It was good to see that some of the murals have been painted over with more contemporary political issues. Many of the schools are integrated now, and there’s more integration in the workplace.”

Football and flag waving at West Point

April 23, 2009

From Di’s eyes: I cycled around West Point a few years ago and found the campus to be a beautiful and peaceful place, belying what they teach there. Another terrific stop in the area is Storm King Art Center, a huge sculpture park in Mountainville, NY.   

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published March 1, 2009, in the Boston Globe)

Bill and Diane Reilly (left), and Rachel and Jim Farley in the Michie Stadium at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Bill and Diane Reilly (left), and Rachel and Jim Farley in the Michie Stadium at the US Military Academy at West Point.

WHO: Bill and Diane Reilly,  of Lynn, Mass., and Jim and Rachel Farley of Peabody, Mass.

WHERE: West Point, N.Y.

WHEN: Two days in October.

WHY: To visit the United States Military Academy  and attend a football game.

EAGLE-EYED: The couples, who have traveled together for two decades, had originally hoped to see Boston College  play Army. “Jim is an avid Boston College sports fan, so the original plan was that the next time BC played Army, we’d go there. But then Army dropped BC from its football schedule,” Bill Reilly said.

The traditional cadet review at West Point

The traditional cadet review at West Point

FOLIAGE CALLED: They decided to go anyway, and picked Columbus Day weekend for peak foliage in the Hudson River Valley. It happened that Army would face Eastern Michigan. “It was easy to get tickets online, but what was hard was finding a place to stay because it was homecoming weekend,” Reilly said. They found rooms in Newburgh, about 15 miles north of West Point.

FABULOUS FORMATION: They left home at 4:30 a.m. on game day, and reached the Academy some four hours later. They headed to the traditional cadet review. “They marched in front of a reviewing stand all in dress uniforms and carrying their weapons while the Army band  plays. There are two brigades, about 2,200 total in the formation. It was very moving to see.”

Member of the US Army Parachute Team carries the American flag

Member of the US Army Parachute Team carries the American flag

FLAGS IN FLIGHT: The highlight, Reilly said, was a jump by eight members of the US Army Parachute Team, known as the Golden Knights. “First there was a helicopter, just a speck in the sky, and then eight paratroopers jumped from the sky. They were corkscrewing, with smoke trails behind them. It’s pretty impressive. One of them was carrying the American flag, and it was blowing in the breeze, and another had an Army flag. It was very patriotic.”

LOOKING BACK: Before the game the couples toured the campus of granite buildings situated alongside the Hudson River and visited the West Point Museum, which specializes in military history. “I wish we’d had more time to look around there. I’m a history guy.”

Diane Reilly (left) and Rachel Farley look at memorial marker

Diane Reilly (left) and Rachel Farley look at memorial marker

STORIED STADIUM: Reilly said Jim Farley was especially thrilled to see a game at Army’s famed Michie Stadium. “Before the game about 1,000 cadets march into the field all dressed in white. They line up and then the national anthem is played and they all salute the flag. At the command to dismiss, they go to the seats together, but they stand during the whole game. Sometimes they’d throw some of the smaller cadets up in the air and catch them.”  The couples cheered for the host Black Knights, who won, 17-13.

Little Jack’s big adventure in Maine

March 25, 2009

From Di’s eyes: This warms my heart and makes me wish I had known either of my grandfathers.

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published Feb. 15, 2009, in the Boston Globe)

A grassy lawn is a great place for 5-year old Jack Tuttle to get bike-riding lessons

A grassy lawn is a great place for 5-year old Jack Tuttle to get bike-riding lessons

WHO: Barry Solar, 67, of Boston, and his grandson Jack Tuttle, 5, of Brookline, Mass.

WHERE: Round Pond, Maine.

WHEN: One week in August.

WHY: “My wife and I took Jack there [the summer before] just for a weekend. He really liked it. He called it his vacation.”

JUST THE GUYS: Solar and his wife, Judith, had planned to take Jack together. But when she had to work at the last minute, it became a grandfather-grandson outing.

ON THE WATERFRONT: “I’d rented a townhouse in a complex called Spinnaker Landing. It’s on several acres on a peninsula. We were right on the water. At high tide if you looked down from the bedrooms you saw water. It’s right on a working harbor with a lot of lobster fishing.”

SUMMER SCHOOL: Solar had some important things to teach Jack: rock skipping and bike riding. “Every day I showed him how to skip rocks. We’d go down to the little rocky beach.” In a large grassy area near their townhouse, he helped Jack cycle without training wheels. “I do a lot of biking and I’m encouraging him to learn how to ride a two-wheeler. I had to keep saying, pedal, pedal. He couldn’t believe he could ride.”

NIGHT LIFE: Almost nightly, they’d eat at the Anchor Inn Restaurant. “It’s right on the water, with a screen porch. It’s fabulous,” Solar said. “[On the earlier trip] Jack fell in love with this waitress, named Paige. She still works there, and they hugged when they saw each other. We always sat at her table. She would let Jack help write up the check on the computer. After dinner, Jack, who can’t see stars in Brookline, loved finding the Big Dipper from the parking lot.”

BEFRIENDED: They toured the Damariscotta region daily, taking in sights on land and at sea. “One day we took the Maine Eastern Railroad from Wiscasset to the end of line in Rockland. Jack started talking to a boy his age and they played all day.” The same thing happened on a boat tour. With Hardy Boat Cruises out of New Harbor, they motored to Eastern Egg Rock to view puffins. “You think they’re going to be huge from the pictures, but they’re very small,” Solar said.

One of Jack’s favorite stops was Granite Hall Store

One of Jack’s favorite stops was Granite Hall Store

FROM THE OLD DAYS: One of Jack’s favorite stops, remembered from the previous summer, was Granite Hall Store in Round Pond. “We went a couple times,” Solar said. “It’s a really old store and has candy and toys and gifts, and on the side there’s an ice cream shop.”

Visiting where the eagles have landed

March 3, 2009

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published Feb. 1, 2009, in the Boston Globe)

Betty Gilman (right) and her daughter, Julianne, and son, Lou, at the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.

From left, Julianne, Lou, and Betty Gilman at Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.

WHO: Betty Gilman, 56, her son, Lou, 23, and daughter, Julianne, 17, of Burlington, Mass.

WHERE: Alaska.

WHEN: 10 days in July.

WHY: Years ago Gilman learned about the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, which protects the world’s largest concentration of bald eagles. “I promised myself I would see those beautiful creatures in person.”

FROM THE INSIDE: “I started learning a lot about the state,” said Gilman, who had never been on a cruise but realized that traveling the Inside Passage would be the best way to see the sights. She chose a Celebrity Millennium tour because it allowed plenty of time off the boat and included a trip to the preserve. While Gilman was fulfilling one of her dreams, it was with a touch of sadness. “My husband died two years ago and I realized that life is too short,” she said. “So we went to Italy last year and Alaska this year, two of the places I’ve always wanted to go. And I wanted to show my children, the world is at your feet.”

Julianne, Betty center, and Lou with the the Mendenhall Glacier in the background

Julianne, Betty, and Lou pose in front of the Mendenhall Glacier

CATCH, YOU CAN: They left from Vancouver, B.C., and first docked in Ketchikan. “It was a nice little place, and they all fish up there. The guide took us to spots where the salmon were jumping right out of water and eagles were just looking at them.” Just outside of Juneau, where they docked the second night, they visited Mendenhall Glacier. “You can just walk right up to it.” They were even more impressed by the Hubbard Glacier on the Inside Passage. “You cruise right up to it, and it’s making snap, crackle, and pop noises and pieces were constantly popping off.”

Bald eagles in the Chilkat Valley

Bald eagles in the Chilkat Valley

A THREE-HOUR TOUR: From their stop in Skagway, the Gilmans caught a boat to Haines, where the preserve has a visitors center, and then hopped a bus to the Chilkat Valley. “The skies just opened up and it was gorgeous. We had a three-hour tour with a Tlingit native on a boat along the Chilkat River. The eagles were flying and swooping and gazing at you from onshore. The natural beauty of this valley is just indescribable.”

The Ruth Glacier is like a huge river of ice

The Ruth Glacier is like a huge river of ice

PEAK EXPERIENCE: After traveling by boat for a week, the family took a three-day bus tour of Denali National Park. A highlight was taking a single-prop airplane tour out of Talkeetna to Mount McKinley, at 20,320 feet, the tallest mountain in North America. “We flew among all these peaks, alongside cliffs, through the clouds, and 400 feet above the Ruth Glacier, which is like a huge river of ice, with all these crevasses. We were dipping in and out, having a ball.”

This family is silly for Segways

February 18, 2009

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published Jan. 18, 2009, in the Boston Globe)

Bob, Ginny, and Chris McDermott on the Venice Beach Pier,

Bob, Ginny, and Chris McDermott on the Venice Beach Pier in California

WHO: Bob McDermott, 63, his wife, Ginny, 59, and their son Chris, 17, of Sudbury, Mass.

WHERE: California.

WHEN: A week in August.

WHY: To take guided Segway tours.

CATCHING SEGWAY FEVER: Bob McDermott’s first time on one was in 2003, when his mother, now 93, requested a trip to the company’s headquarters in Bedford, N.H. “She said, `Before I die, there’s something I want to do.’ I thought it would be a trip to Paris or the Grand Canyon, but she said, `I want to buy a Segway.”‘ She did, and so did McDermott. She has since given her self-balancing, electric personal transporter to her son.

TREAT FOR THE FEET: Since 2004, Bob and Ginny have spent many hours touring Sudbury and neighboring towns by Segway. His fondness for the Segway is practical. “I’ve got really bad feet,” he said. “I can’t walk around much. With the Segway, it’s like walking, only faster. And you can go right up to things.”

Bob (left), Ginny, and Chris McDermott at Angel Island State park in San Francisco Bay.

Bob, Ginny, and Chris at Angel Island State Park in the San Francisco Bay.

OFF-ROAD RIDING: Bob McDermott located three tours in the San Francisco area alone. The first was around Angel Island State Park in San Francisco Bay, where they tooled around on all-terrain, fat- tire Segways. “I thought it was going to be a flat piece of land, but we started at a beach and then kept going up and up and up, with better and better views. The island has a history going back to the Civil War, and it was used as an immigration receiving area, where they’d quarantine people coming over from China and the Pacific.”

Bob and Ginny traveling down Lombard Street in San Francisco.

Bob and Ginny make their way down famed Lombard Street in San Francisco.

ADVANCED DEGREE: With Electric Tour Co., they went on an advanced- rider tour up and around Telegraph Hill and also down the famed hairpin-turn section of Lombard Street. “The Segway automatically slows to 2 miles an hour on a downhill,” McDermott noted. “At Lombard, there were cars of all sizes and bikers lined up for about a quarter mile to go down. When we came up, seven people on Segways, everyone was taking our photos and saying, `Look at those people.”‘ The trip with City Segway Tours, from dusk to dark, was quite different. “It was all flat, and we went through the financial district and down to the waterfront.”

GOING FLAT OUT: While the McDermotts enjoyed all their tours, their favorite was farther south, along Venice Beach and Santa Monica, with Segwow. “The guide put walkie-talkies on the handlebars so we could communicate without having to stop. He’d give commentary about the architecture and things. We were on this flat, smooth bike trail that went for miles, so we were able to go fast and see a lot of things.”

Still falling in love

February 14, 2009
Wessel's first snow shoe experience

Wessel's first snowshoe experience

I remember it so clearly. On our first date, Wessel arrived at my house in his boxy 21-year-old Mercedes Benz with his rented snowshoes and recently purchased cross-country skis. I was living in Quincy, Mass., near Boston, and Wessel lived a little south of me, in Hull. He’d moved from the Netherlands only a few months earlier for work (medical diagnostics).

Wessel is a big long-distance ice skater, but he’d only recently learned to ski, and he’d never snowshoed. That winter of 2002-3 had been wonderful for snow sports, and I often went to the nearby Blue Hills Reservation to take it all in.

We had first met on Valentine’s Day 2003, at the Delta baggage carousel at Logan Airport in Boston. Two weeks later, we met up for coffee, but mostly it was for an interview for the little ditty I wrote about his crazy ice-skating odyssey for my Boston Globe travel column. Our first “real” date was on March 8, 2003.

Diane takes a break

Diane takes a break

The activities were my idea. Since he’d only recently begun to ski, I figured we’d be equals on the snow, as I’ve skiied like a beginner for a decade now. And, of course, anyone can snowshoe.

The day was perfect, with deep snow, brilliantly blue skies, and little wind. We skied first, gliding slowly over the mostly flat trails, flanked with evergreens and bare branches. The snow sparkled. We talked and laughed and shared life stories.

Out in the Blue Hills as long as daylight allowed us

We didn't leave the Blue Hills until the moon started to rise

The snowshoe portion was all laughs. Wessel thought the sport, featuring giant foot coverings like tennis racquets, was pretty hilarious. We walked through the woods, creating our own trails as we went, then climbed up a hill to a rocky outcrop, where we could see the Boston skyline. We sat on a huge slab of granite to eat our sandwiches and I remember feeling the energy zing between us. I didn’t want the day to end. We left under a rising moon.

I invited Wessel to stay for dinner, figuring, sadly, that he probably had other plans, or had had enough for one date. Instead, he said yes. Woo-hoo! I cooked a simple pasta dish, and we shared a bottle of red wine. We talked and talked and hugged and hugged, and Wessel left around 1 a.m.

We started falling in love that day, and it hasn’t stopped.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you, my dear. Happy Valentine’s to all.

Nova Scotia: big in beauty and size

February 5, 2009

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published Jan. 4, 2009, in the Boston Globe)

I haven’t been to Nova Scotia since my parents took me as a kid. This piece reminded me how it’s time to return, preferably on a bicycle!

Jane Killeen (left) and Robin Killeen at the colorful Tin Fish restaurant in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Jane Killeen (standing) and Robin Killeen at Tin Fish restaurant in Lunenburg

WHO: Sisters Jane Killeen, 60, of Lynnfield, Mass. and Robin Killeen, 54, of Kirkwood, Mo.

WHERE: Nova Scotia

WHEN: One week in July

WHY: “Robin and I live halfway across the country from each other so we try to connect once or twice a year,” Jane Killeen said. “We were both on a budget and wanted to stay closer to home, and everybody said Nova Scotia was so beautiful. At first I thought it was going to be pretty small, but we ended up driving 1,100 miles.”

Robin (left) and Jane loving the lobster at The Fish Factory in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Robin (left) and Jane loving the lobster at the Old Fish Factory in Lunenburg

LOBSTER LAND: From Killeen’s home north of Boston they drove to Portland and put her car on “The Cat,” the high-speed ferry to the southern tip of Nova Scotia. From there they drove north to Lunenburg, where Killeen had her “best lobster dinner ever” at the Old Fish Factory Restaurant. “Lunenburg is on a lovely harbor and is a World Heritage Site,” Killeen said.

Robin is ready for bicycle ride in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

Robin is geared up for the sisters' bicycle ride to Mahone Bay

PAINFULLY PICTURESQUE: From Lunenburg, they visited nearby Mahone Bay, where Killeen wanted to photograph the town’s row of three historic churches. “Robin is a big cyclist so we decided to rent bikes and ride the 10 miles there,” Killeen said. “Although I quickly got my bike legs going there, the way back was like pushing against concrete. Afterward I learned I was in the wrong gear.”

Jane (left) and Robin kayaking with guides Gordon and Mike Crimp (center) of Cape Breton Seacoast Adventures in Ingonish, Nova Scotia.

Jane (left) and Robin with kayaking guides Gordon and Mike Crimp of Cape Breton Seacoast Adventures in Ingonish

TO THE CAPE: An all-day drive got them to Ingonish on the lower side of Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail, the highway that hugs the coast. “The trail is a long, hilly, winding road that encircles the national park,” Killeen said. “It’s not as scary as they make it sound, but there were a few white-knuckle moments as we drove in thick fog. Without fog, it’s truly one of the most spectacular drives in the world. The whole time you’re on Cape Breton, you’re on the water. It’s very isolated, very pristine.”

OLD-TIME CHARM: They stayed at the Keltic Lodge Resort, on a cliff overlooking the sea. “It’s from the 1940s and just charming,” Killeen said. “The carpet is plaid and the staff wear kilts. At night there’s wonderful music. You could do things in the day, or just hang out in a lawn chair.” They took a three-hour kayak tour with a guide. “We started in shallow water and glided over oyster and clam beds. At night, it’s an activity just to look at the stars. We didn’t want to leave Cape Breton. On the way home, we were already talking about a return trip.”

A quintessential Western journey

January 28, 2009

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published Dec. 21, 2008, in the Boston Globe)

I went on an almost identical trip with my parents when I was around 11, but driving west from North Carolina. The grand Western scenery made a lasting impression.

Jeanne (left) and Harvey Hansen at the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon in Yellowstone National Park

Jeanne and Harvey Hansen at the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon in Yellowstone National Park

WHO: Jeanne, 58, and Harvey Hansen, 61, of Arlington, Mass.

WHERE: Western United States.

WHEN: 11 days in June and July.

WHY: “We love seeing new states, and we’ve always wanted to see Yellowstone and Rushmore,” Jeanne Hansen said.

RODEO ROMANCE: The couple flew into Billings, Mont., and rented a car, which they put 1,300 miles on. In Cody, Wyo., where they stayed with friends, they had a pleasant surprise. “They took us to the rodeo, and at first we thought, whatever, we’ll go because it’s there. It’s every night in the summer. But it was really fun and it was quite interesting to experience another way of life. They involve children, and the riders showed a lot of skill and courage.”

BUSES, BISON, BEAR … : Only an hour away was Yellowstone National Park, where they stayed at the historic Lake Yellowstone Hotel. “There was a lovely dining room, but you have to make a reservation months in advance,” she said, and they missed out. They took two park tours, one exploring geysers and hot springs, including Old Faithful, and the other wildlife. “Last year they started using 1936-37 vintage buses for the tours, which was very cool. They draw a lot of attention.” The couple saw bison, bear, coyote, elk, and big horn sheep.

Panoramic view of the Grand Tetons

Panoramic view of the Grand Tetons

TWISTS AND TURNS: From Yellowstone they drove toward the Teton Mountains. “We went to Moose, [Wyo.], and had dinner at Dornan’s, a restaurant with a lot of windows where the Tetons are right in your face. They’re magnificent.” Snow left from last winter and miles of hairpin turns greeted them on Beartooth Highway heading out of Yellowstone. “You definitely need to be a good driver,” said Hansen, who let her husband take the wheel. “It’s exhausting. I think he even took an Excedrin afterward.” They stopped in Red Lodge, Mont., “a funky little town with lots of shops and restaurants. The flower baskets were magnificent.”

BADLANDS EFFECT: In Rapid City, S.D., they stayed at the historic Alex Johnson Hotel. “It was very pretty and reasonable.” The town near Mount Rushmore is erecting statues of all the US presidents. It’s also near Badlands National Park, which they visited. “The Badlands is so massive, and you feel like you’re on the moon. It was different from anything we’ve seen.”

RUSHMORE HIGHLIGHTS: The most thrilling point of the trip was watching fireworks explode over Mount Rushmore on July 3. “It’s a really big deal there. They have events all day. They drop the fireworks in by helicopter and they go off by a computerized system. We took a bus because there’s no parking. There were about 35,000 people up there. It was just spectacular, a real highlight, and a great way to end the trip.”