Mr. & Mrs.

Hi everyone!

For the few of you who are still left reading my sporadically updated blog, I’d like to share some news. Alex Miller and I finally tied the knot. On October 4, 2014, we said “I do” at the Chebeague Island Inn in Maine! The ceremony was very intimate and lasted about 5-7 minutes. It was perfect! I’d gush about how two souls became one and all of that jazz, but I’d rather not make anyone sick. So instead I’ll share a recap of our trip!

The Millers Do (Did) Maine!

We decided to drive to our wedding destination, which was a decision that was carefully thought out and considered. In fact, a PowerPoint was presented to the future groom informing him of our travel options. Once we nailed down the method of travel, we had to map out our route. My dear friend Abigail, who lives in Worcester and attends Clark University, advised us against any routes that would take us through or even close to New York City. (Spoiler alert: after a very unsuccessful trip “to” Boston, we figured out pretty quickly that driving in any city larger than D.C. or Pittsburgh is probably a mistake for us.) We chose the route that would take us through Scranton, Pa. (yay Office destination) and would only cost us about 30 extra minutes.

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Passing through Bedford, Pa.

We split the drive up into two chunks. The first was from Morgantown to Scranton and the second was on to Portland, where we filed for our marriage license. The drive to Scranton was picturesque! We took a lovely drive through Bedford, Pa., en route to our destination and took in every single sight of the leaves changing. Once it became dark, the trip became much less about adventure and more about finding a darn town. We knew we were close to Scranton, but what we failed to realize was that most of the state of Pennsylvania up to that point had forgotten to turn on the lights. We could barely see the road at times! After we made it to the Electric City, we got settled in and rested up for day two of traveling.

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The next morning, we headed out. I got a little anxious when my officiant called to report “weird” weather in the Portland area. She informed me that it had been drizzly most of the day, but that you could never really tell what the weather was going to do in that state. Ok, fair enough, but what she didn’t realize was that we were more interested in a chilly, autumn wedding day.

We drove through about a million tolls that second day, until we finally hit the straight stretch from New Hampshire to Portland. The crossing moose signs started popping up and I knew we were in heaven. Once we reached Portland, we were ready to put our house on the market and send for the cats. We instantly fell in love with the place! It reminded us of a mix of Morgantown and Pittsburgh, but much cleaner and with much friendlier people (friendlier than Pittsburgh — people in Morgantown are actually pretty pleasant). We headed over to City Hall to file for the license and then had a delicious dinner at a place called Timber.

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Wasabi peas!!!

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My dish combined vanilla and garlic with seafood. At first I was skeptical, but then, after a few bites, I was in heaven! Alex got some kind of cowboy steak, which was pretty out of this world. We stuffed ourselves to the brim. Shortly after finishing our dinner, we got word that Alex’s sister would be heading to meet us so we could all ride to the ferry together. We took off and just barely caught the shuttle to the ferry site. Water travel definitely took some getting used to! We arrived at the Chebeague Island Inn that night and settled in for the weekend of fun!

The next day, we were able to explore the island a bit. Boy oh boy was it gorgeous. During their “off” season, only 300 people reside on the island. That’s a huge difference compared to their 3,000 summer population!

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The beautiful Chebeague Island Inn.

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After realizing that we were going to freeze our pants off, we decided to head inland to buy some warmer clothes. We met my parents at the shuttle site and headed to the fabulous Freeport, AKA, the shopping mecca. I’ll fast forward to the good stuff.

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We had a fabulous ring bearer! 😀

We got married! Woohoo! On Saturday, October 4, 2014, we said “I do” on the porch of the inn. So fun. After that was just a lot of champagne, food and enjoying each others’ company. The next day we all headed off in different directions. Most headed home, but Alex and I headed north, towards Bar Harbor.

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It was night time when we arrived, but we could tell just from our brief lap around the main street that we were going to love this place. We were so right. We spent the entire day walking around the town and then driving through the Acadia National Park. So fun!

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I ate every bite.

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The amazing view from our room in Bar Harbor!

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Ok, so after we left there, we headed to Salem, Mass. We were sooo excited to go during October, because we had read that the entire town is just one big Halloween party the entire month. They weren’t kidding. We decided to stay at the haunted Hawthorne Hotel, which was pretty centrally located to everything in town. In Salem, we visited a witch museum, stopped at a local witch shop, toured the House of Seven Gables, walked past a million old buildings (the first established Episcopal church in U.S., the Witch House), walked through the graveyard where Giles Corey was pressed to death, and made a sad attempt to go visit Gallows Hill, which we later found no longer exists.

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Hawthorne Hotel had only two haunted rooms, but we definitely felt a creepy vibe in the hallways!

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This is where Gallows Hill used to sit. Apparently the town just wanted to forget this awful period in it’s history and decided to build a park for the community.

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“The Witch House” was home to the judge, Jonathan Corwin, who prosecuted the accused witches.

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The House of the Seven Gables tour was really fun!

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Tombstones back then were so creepy.

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The Old Burying Point Cemetery is over 400 years old!

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We didn’t have a chance to tour this museum, but it looked really interesting. Definitely going back next year!

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After Salem, we headed west to Hartford, Conn. There we stayed the final night of a our vacation. I didn’t get to do anything Gilmore Girls themed, but I now have a great plan for our next trip to NE!

We arrived home to find very happy cats. Apparently the grouchies missed us! We took our time getting settled in and then immediately decided we were going back as soon as we were able. Yes, the Millers LOVE New England. We highly recommend a trip like this to anyone interested in our country’s rich history. You honestly can’t turn a corner in any of the towns without running smack-dab into some historic landmark.

 

 

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Guest Post: How to Stay Healthy on Vacation

Author, traveler and die-hard foodie Cole Millen has recently been looking into how it is increasingly difficult to maintain a nutritious diet when indulging in cuisines across the world from my travels. “As more folks like myself begin trending towards a healthier travel experience, I think it would be great for your readers to learn some tips and tricks of the trade that I have learned in my own experiences of traveling and staying healthy.”

Taking a vacation is a wonderful way to reduce stress and improve productivity at work and at home. Taking yourself out of the normal routine can be exhilarating, but many vacationers end up packing on those extra pounds they worked so hard to get off before their retreat. In order to stay healthy and fit while on your getaway, there are a few simple steps you can follow to retain that pre-vacation body.

Depending on how long you are in transit, one way you can maintain a healthy diet is to avoid indulging in that greasy airport food. Not only is this food expensive, but it’s also designed for speed and convenience. While this is great for travelers in a rush, it’s not good for your diet. One way you can eliminate these unnecessary calories is to eat before you fly. If you have a long day of traveling ahead of you, try and pack healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, and crackers in your carry-on luggage. This can be a great replacement that will curb your appetite. You should also avoid picking soda for your in-flight drink. Stick to juice or water––this will be better for you in the long run.

Since hotels are a staple for any vacationer, this can also end up being a destructive inzfluence on your diet. When choosing a hotel, make sure you research the quality of the pool and workout facilities, since these features will help you stay slim during your stay. If you prefer not to be stuck in the gym, there are usually activities such as volleyball going on at the pool area that can serve as a good alternative. Although the primary goal on a vacation is to relax and socialize, you can always look for group fitness classes that fit your style. Some hotels have complimentary sessions or appointments with personal trainers. Make sure to look into all your options beforehand so you can plan ahead. I recently took a trip to Sin City and found a great site that listed reviews for Las Vegas hotels. The reviews not only gave me insight into which hotels were perfect regarding amenities and offerings, but it also had reviews regarding the restaurants in the surrounding area. This allowed me to plan out how to remain healthy while in and out of the hotel!

One of the keys to having a successful vacation is to strike a nice balance. While you want to indulge, you can do so in moderation. Avoid temptation where you can. Refuse (or hide) the key to the minibar, which will help you stay trim and also avoid making a dent in your wallet. If your hotel has a continental breakfast, skip the pancakes and bacon. Especially if it is early in the day, stick to healthier options such as oatmeal, fruit, and whole grain toast. When eating out, be aware that most restaurants serve food that contains higher calorie content than the healthier food you cook at home. I suggest you research the restaurants near your hotel and check the menu offering in advance. Try and avoid chain restaurants and make sure to stay away from any meals that have stuffed, loaded, smothered, battered, creamy, bottomless, or fried in the description. Choose steamed vegetables as a side and if you have the option, pick salad over soup.

Since most vacations are more than just hotel living and restaurant food, you can use your exploring to your advantage. When out on day trips, try and walk as much as possible. Walking is the fastest and easiest way to burn calories while still enjoying your vacation. Also, eat when you’re hungry. It’s easy for busy travelers to forget to eat, but maintaining a regular meal schedule is especially important on vacation. Regular meals will help you cut down on snacking and keep your body in better shape as you sightsee. Drinking water is also very important. If you want to keep your energy up, staying hydrated is the easiest way to keep your body going.

It’s important to unwind while you’re on vacation, but remember to relax your body and mind without relaxing your diet. Stay disciplined, and you’ll come home to an even healthier you!

Thanks for the useful information, Cole!

Eating Well on Vacation

During my travels this past weekend (pics to come!), I indulged in carbs, carbs and more carbs. I did not go on vacation to eat salad and I stand by that. Now, could I have cut back a little bit on the appetizers? You bet! Hey, hindsight and such, right? Anyway, I thought about how I actually do wish I would have controlled myself a little more and ended up finding a few helpful tips for future trips.

Share Your Meals

One thing that I am always guilty of is “You order that and I’ll get this so we can share.” Unfortunately, I usually always end up ordering an oversized entree and feeling like I need to clean my plate, plus picking the leftovers off of Alex’s. The fix? Ordering an appetizer, salad and an entrée is plenty of food for two people, especially considering Alex usually orders steak and I end up eating his steamed veggies. By doing this we spend less on dinner and can spend more on drinks! (Hey, it’s vacation. Deal with it.) So even though Karen and Grace aren’t wild about the idea of splitting a meal, it’s definitely something I’m going to try to do more often.

Split Dessert

Again, there is no reason to order two desserts if you and your dining partner know you can only make room for one. Although we rarely do this, I must say, we are great about splitting something indulgent.

Avoid Fast Food

This is a no-brainer for us once at our destination, considering we love trying local cuisine. However, the traveling part is usually where we fall short. It’s always so much easier to save time by driving through a restaurant, rather than actually taking the extra effort to pack something. The fix? I would suggest a compromise. You don’t want to waste time at a sit-down restaurant, but you also don’t want to eat a greasy fast food meal either. Try somewhere like Sheetz, Subway or Panera. These places are guaranteed to have better options without slowing you down too much.

Get Back on Track

If all else fails and you’ve completely blown it, just try to get back on track as soon as you return home. I took some squash, a can of tomatoes, chopped onion and a can of beans to make my healthy (and easy) dinner last night. The verdict: I already feel better!

 

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Keep frozen and canned staples on hand: frozen spinach, canned beans, tomatoes, etc. This will not only save you time in the kitchen, but will also help you stay away from a bowl of cereal for dinner when you haven’t made it to the grocery store.