Stop and Look Around Once in a While

So, it is no secret that we aren’t working on the house everyday. Its true that the folks at Lowe’s don’t know us by our first names. We do however, spend what feels like all of our free time working on or thinking about the house. Between the wedding and the house hunting and the house buying and the house fixing and the yard work, we haven’t really taken much time in the last 6 months to just relax. This weekend we “took the weekend off.” Well, as much as we can take off. I decided to make good use of our time and teach Megan about lighthouses and some of our surrounding areas. We went to Sandy Hook and Fort Hancock, NJ, which are parts of the Gateway National Recreation Area. Without getting too deep into it, Sandy Hook (from the Dutch word “Hoek,” meaning “spit of land”)  is a narrow spit of land that naturally guards Lower New York Harbor and the Raritan Bay from the Atlantic Ocean.

View from Sandy HookThat’s the view from the tip of the hook. The National Park is home to Sandy Hook Light, which is the oldest working lighthouse in the country. It is also home to all sorts of other fun stuff; a U.S. Coast Guard station, an army installment dating back before WWI, a stash of Nike missiles, some crazy flora & fauna and some great views of the greater NY/NJ area. I think my favorite part about Sandy Hook is the feeling you get when you’re mere miles from one of the largest cities in the world, yet you feel quite remote and alone.

Sandy HookThat view is looking back at the mainland. Our house would be somewhere along that far ridge and about 10 miles to the right. As part of our “weekend off” we didn’t bring our camera, so we just snapped a few phone photos. We toured a few more parks in the area and enjoyed the fall foliage before heading home to, you guessed it, get some work done. OK, so we broke our own rule. Big deal. We got some a lot of yard work done and hung some new blinds. For more about that you’ll have to wait for another blog post!

Sandy Hook Beach Megan

Hasta la vista, baby.

Getting hitched 9-30-11

That’s right, folks. We’re getting hitched today, 9-30-2011! Then we’re heading down to Mexico for a week, so we’ll see ya when we see ya! But stay tuned – we may do some tweeting from Mexico, so be sure to follow us on Twitter! We’ll have plenty of great wedding + vacation photos and stories for you when we return!

♥ Megan & Andrew

Panic on the Streets of London

In light of all the horrible riots that have been going on in London, I wanted to take a time out from house stuff and take my mind off our impending closing (this Friday, eek!) by making little post dedicated to one of my favorite cities in the world.

In 2007, Andrew and I spent a semester in London. We studied (a.k.a., did nothing but travel and have fun) in Kingston-Upon-Thames, a Royal Borough nestled away in Southwest London. This place has a lot of historical significance, but conveniently enough for us, pioneer of the moving image, Eadweard Muybridge, was born in Kingston! Being the nerdy film buffs that we are, we thoguht this was pretty cool.

Living abroad was, by far, the best experience of my life and I’m sure Andrew would say the same. In Kingston, we were a 5 minute bus ride away from Hampton Court Palace and a 20 minute train ride away from Central London.

Hampton Court PalaceWe spent 3 weeks traveling around Europe while we were there too. We went to Dublin for a few days where we visited the Wicklow Mountains.

Wicklow Mountains IrelandOur big trip, however, was a bus tour around Western Europe. Andrew and I went along with 3 friends we met through our study abroad program. We started in London and headed down to the Cliffs of Dover where we took a ferry to Calais, France. From Calais we headed to Paris, stopping at Fontainebleau on the way to the beautiful Beaujolais wine region of France. From there we stopped at Avignon on our way to Cannes where we enjoyed the exotic rocky beaches of the South of France.

South of FranceFrom the South of France it was just a short ride to Italy (my personal favorite). There we visited Pisa, Florence, Rome and Venice!

VeniceFrom Venice we hit Munich, Germany via Innsbruck, Austria, home to the Swarovski Crystal World. What a trip that place was!

Swarovski Crystal WorldJust when we thought things couldn’t get any trippier, we then made our way to The Netherlands, Amsterdam specifically (my other personal favorite). What a wonderful city! The most friendly people are from The Netherlands. I felt most at home there because so many nationalities are represented in their culture and I just loved all of the familiar foods. I wonder why? ;-)

HollandBack to London we went, but the following week, we traveled to Barcelona, Spain. I spent most of that trip battling a 103 degree fever. For whatever reason, I was incredibly sick the whole time, but I’d love to go back again some day to really experience Barcelona – another fab city!

Before and after all the traveling around, we were just living out our day-to-day lives in the incredible city that is London. What I’d do to go back again, but meanwhile, the city is being destroyed by these riots. In America, we have historic sites, but in London and Great Britain in general, there are ancient places filled with centuries of history beyond anything the USA could imagine. Not something you want to destroy.

We miss London all the time. I wish we could return one day, knowing that we’d find the city just the way we left it, but as rioting continues, that hope is diminishing. I don’t want to end on a sour note when we should be beaming with excitement over our new house, but the London riots hit close to home in a way. London will always have a special place in our hearts. After looking at the Telegraph’s 50 Powerful Images (big heart-breaker, I wouldn’t recommend it), I’ve decided to remember it this way.

London FundonAnd I’ll just leave it at that.