After having been outside of Europe for the first time ever, New Jersey to be precise, I decided I would write a little post about it! Apologies for it being more like a journal post than anything, but if you've ever been to New Jersey (The Lambertville side of it!), or even New York (I got to spend two days there and travelled through Princeton on the way back to NJ), then you might recognise some of the spots here!
So I went over to the States to visit my good friend Matt aka Lazy Guy from Lazy Guy's Somethings! I stayed mostly with him and his lovely family, and here is what I got myself into whilst there *takes out her random little notes scribbled down in notepads and a Sudoku leaflet*
Pretty much arrived late at night, was greeted warmly by my hosts and now very good friends. I was poured a glass of red and served some blue cheese in classy fashion before excusing myself to just let my head hit the pillow. Thankfully both the flights went super smoothly, and I had managed to cram in watching both The Bookthief and some other movie that has completely slipped my mind now!
I woke up and had breakfast with a beautiful view out at an open plain field, the birds feeding outside. Seeing cardinals and blue jays were like spotting these exotic birds to me, but my favourites were the mourning doves, such petite little things.
My coffee loving friend and I decided to just let me ease into the whole holiday by visiting the nearest town, Lambertville. So we walked into Lambertville and stopped at Lambertville TRading Co. coffee shop, and were greeted by a lovely woman behind the till. I got my cappuccino on, and also snuck to mini Ritter chocolates with me to have with it. Afterwards, we decided to walk over the bridge to Pennsylvania. One day into my stay and I had already been in two States - how's that for prolific!
We found this nice little restaurant called Sprig & Vine, which served up lovely vegetarian meals. An older lady told us that we HAD to try the chilli, and I was immediately convinced. I am usually so indecisive that I was easily persuaded by this little tip. And so I had a monster of a burrito filled with a delicious chilli, mmmm. Who says vegetarian food can't be soul food?
We wandered around for a bit, and came across this little peculiar shop called Mechanic Street Mugs, and I was immediately intrigued! As we entered, we were greeted by a lovely elderly man who was surrounded by a couple of friends and probably at least a thousand different mugs in all shapes and sizes. I decided that I HAD to get one, it was the perfect souvenir, and after about half an hour (did I mention I am indecisive?) I settled for a genuine Kent Harris mug! I don't know how famous he is, but I have decided he has great things in store! We then, went to a little vintage shop around the corner from it, and got talking to a really nice woman working there called Jackie. On the way back again, we pretty much invaded this organic shop called Big Bear Natural Foods, there were sooo many goodies there! In the evening, we had a lovely salmon dinner, home made margheritas courtesy of the (Mix) Master of the house, and later we played poker and gambled with mini peanut butter cups - why waste money, right? Plus, these were darn delicious, which made the competition even more interesting.
OK, one thing you must understand is this - if in New Jersey and think you've spotted a majestic eagle or falcon....it is 99% chance that it's "just" a turkey vulture. This is in no way a nice name for any creature to be named, and if I was a turkey vulture, I'd be offended. They were lovely though, and all over the place!
We went for a walk in the neighbourhood, and walked up to Woods Edge Yak, Alpaca and Llama farm. Unfortunately they were closed, but I later got a hold of a pair of alpaca socks - score! Apparently alpacas are less fortunate when it comes to intelligence, and therefore they needed the llamas there to see them through. The yaks seemed to be in a bit of a mood that day, and made a lot of grumpy noises.
Later on that day, we went out to a shooting range (in a Hummer no less....passing a trailer containing nothing less than a BATMOBILE!), I got my sharpshooting on, and got bull's eye at least once. I was a happy bunny, and later on we went out to a great little diner/pub called the Cassville Tavern. The staff there were great, and we ended up with awesome burgers, and tasty drinks. I discovered the Malibu Baybreeze, and we bought some of the glasses that we had pints in. The evening consisted of watching The Heat in my friends' friends' house, as they had a home cinema in the basement (with the most comfortable seats, I might add!), it was such an eventful day, and the people could not have been any nicer if they tried!
...was Shopping Mall Day! Not officially, but....unofficially! The Bridgewater shopping mall was visited, and Quest bars were bought, we had dinner at this nice little place in the food court called Bajo-B-Que! After a couple of hours of wandering around, we called it a day, and went back to the house. It was National Meatball Day, and so we had that for dinner, it was deeelicious! Cookies'n'cream White Russians were served up for dessert. I think I was still a little tired from the whole travelling half the world, and so we had a pleasant and quiet evening.
I got my college on and we visited the College of New Jersey! Then, we dropped by the infamous Dunkin' Donuts before cinema times. I had a cappuccino, a delicious egg and cheese toast and....ONE cinnamon munchkin. I didn't know you were supposed to order a plastic container or box of them, and one with the coffee was enough for me anyway, hehe. American Hustle was watched (set in New Jersey, we didn't know!). When we got back Lazy Guy cooked up a delicious turkey chilli, which I WILL be sure to make in the near future and post up here. He deemed it a little to much effort for his Lazy Guy's Something's blog, and so I have taken the responsibility to post this delicious dish up, I just hope I do it justice when the time comes - no pressure or anything... I had some Blue Moon to go with it, and the rest of the evening consisted of playing Spyro the Dragon and watching Walking Dead.
Because the Big Apple was awaiting us the following day, we decided to get our Lambertville Part 2 on, and it made for a pretty good day! I got some second hand clothes from Greene Street, and we bumped into the Mechanic Street Mug man again! We asked him where to go for good lunch, and his friends swore by Fran's Bar down the road, and so our quest was given to us and off we went! The food there was delicious, and on the way back I found a bouncy ball and gum ball machine and got one of each... I'm such a child! In the evening there was home made pizza a la Mix Master and we watched Serenity. I think I had watched that movie three times before, but it's just. so. good!
New York, New York
So we took the train into New York, and the first thing we didn was to track down...coffee. We needed it though, as we had to both find the hotel and check in at the hotel AND pick up tickets to go and see Wicked. The latter wasn't done with ease, as we got there before the tickets (which apparently were dropped off only an hour before the show..peculiar). The Bread Factory supplied us with great coffee, and after having checked in at the Marriott (room 2831) and had lunch at a deli down the road from Broadway, the tickets had finally arrived and we got our play on! It was incredible, the set-up, the flawless acting, and it wasn't until the second act that I realised there were musicians underneath the stage, it just seemed to be too well timed to be live music. I really enjoyed it, and felt honoured to be there, were so many great actors and people alike have been throughout the years. In awe? You bet I was!
When the play finished, we decided to explore the shops, and I ended up buying a few t-shirts. I am a sucker for souvenirs and at least these were practical, right? When wanting a Yankees t-shirt with Gardner on the back, they asked me (in both shops) "Why Gardner?!" He must be one of the least acknowledged Yankees players, and so I figured I'd give him a bit of credit. A loyal shadow and great addition to the team who has been playing for them for quite some time now, I'd say he deserves it!
Afterwards, we tracked down this great sushi restaurant in the city centre called Kodama. A woman there recognised my accent and told me that she was originally from Glasgow herself, but had moved over to New York. She said it was nice to hear the Glaswegian accent again, and I was quite surprised that I actually do pull off the accent despite being a simple Norwegian. Later on we had a few drinks in Roxy's, followed by a lovely Irish bar called O'Donohue's. I got an Appletini in true Ross Geller fashion (except not as easy on the "tini"), and they played great music there too. Just what was needed after such a hectic day!
....Was less hectic, but it was bloomin' freezing! Minus 2 degrees celsius, and I had not prepared for that. After breakfast (which we discovered after having had it - was not included in the price...oops), we booked out and braved the weather. We managed to get to Central Park, saw a rock, decided to climb it and then head back, just so I could tick off that box. We found cheesecake in Marilela's, provided by the Bread Factory no less, and we heated up a bit, before hurrying down to this place called Lansdowne, to see the Yankees play the Orioles. And you know what? The food was great, they served tea, Mister Gardner was playing, and the Yankees won 6-0!
We caught the train to Princeton, and then the Dinkie further into Princeton, where we walked through Princeton University, were no other than Einstein once went. Dinner was had at the Triumph Brewery there, and I had a New York Strip in true NY style. It wasn't the best steak I've had, but I was just happy from being inside, sheltered from the cold. On the way back to Lambertville, we went through Trader Joe's, which had all sorts of temptations. All I tried was one of the Clif Bar Mojo with delicious nuts, mmm! Once back in the house, I was pretty much defeated and had to once more excuse myself and jump into bed. I put up a good fight though, and New York was immense!
A leisurely day after crazy crazy New York! I slept in, then we played some Spyro, and finally Wolf it Down and Lazy Guy got their cook-off on! It wasn't so much of a cook-off as it was team work though! We made Foul Mudammes, Zingy Avocado Hummous and served it with some quinoa crisps in courtesy of Big Bear Natural Foods, unfortunately this lovely little tapas meal was not photographed and immortalised, but it was pretty darn tasty!
Afterwards, we went for a walk around the park, and then I got to see and play some Journey, a really artsy game. I preferred watching it though, as it was quite relaxing and had some neat music playing in the background.
My official "take-out" thankfully didn't consist of a box of burgers and barrel of fries, but rather - sushi! It was a sight for sore eyes, and I might also have had some sushi for breakfast the following day, just maybe. Thor 2 was watched, and that was the end of that day!
This day, the road took us to a little town called Lahaska. It was a neat little place with lots and lots of nice shops. We almost went to a bakery where they had selv-service coffee, but we decided to hang in there, and quite luckily so, because a little further down the road, we got to The Coffee House!
Then, we made our merry way to the Giggleberry fair, high on caffeine. I played on some of the token machines and in the end had 100 tickets. Now, I thought that would give me an epic prize, but I might have ended up with a tiny, green bead wristband. Nothing wrong with that though, I just...sort of...wanted a stuffed teddy bear or something s'all, or at least one of those Eagles that you can place on the tip of your finger and spin around. I hunted down some chocolate truffles to have for dessert later on. Mediterranean chicken, and buffalo chicken wings was on the menu, with all sorts of delicious sides. It was the last meal in the house as we decided to go out on the final night of my stay. The food was amazing, and a bottle of Wolf wine was opened on the occasion... So it's not so much of a secret that I like wolves, I gerrit! The wine was delicious though! We watched Gravity later on, and called it a night shortly after.
My last full day in New Jersey - sigh! We took it easy like a Sunday mooooorning in true Lambertville fashion. Then, we headed to a local vineyard around lunch time, the Unionville Vineyard no less! We got to try eight different wines each, and the Riesling and the Fields of Fire were definitely my two favourites! I bought yet another t-shirt, along with some pecan pumpkin butter that I cannot wait to try!
Later in the day, we headed to a lovely American restaurant called Jake's. I had the infamous swordfish that thankfully was on the specials menu, followed by a bourbon pecan pie - it was definitely a great last meal before travelling across the seas the following day. When we got back, we watched some more Walking Dead, had popcorn and then I packed up, and set my alarm to 3:45 am.
And so here I am, puzzled, still slightly jet-lagged, and many many life experiences richer. It seems like I have come back from some parallel universe, and going back to work today certainly was interesting.
Whilst unpacking, I took a few snaps of what I got on my journey. It's funny how they immediately bring flashbacks. I know it was only a few days ago, but all these impressions have yet to fully sink in. I had an amazing time, and I thank my friends for having me over, and also you - U S of A! You're a bit of not bad!