Monday, July 15, 2013

USA Summer Vacation 2013

Summer is half way over, and it really has been amazing so far. After returning from Scandinavia, which officially kicked off my summer, I traveled to the USA for a bit of work and play.  I found out last April I was being sent to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a work conference. Before I left, I was quite sad to be leaving Edinburgh as summer is the best time of year, but the USA welcomed me with open arms.

My good friend Kim flew in from Texas to meet me on the day I arrived in Minnesota. It was so nice to have a familiar face to spend time with, and Kim and I enjoyed all the things I miss living abroad like going to Target and eating traditional American breakfasts. We spend a couple days exploring Minnesota including visiting Minnehaha Falls. We really enjoyed Minneapolis and were pleasantly surprised what a nice city it is.  We attended a local music and art festival at Minneapolis's famous stone bridge down at the Mississippi river. It was also great having Kim around because she was the first friend in the USA I could celebrate my recent engagement with in person. She even went with me to look at dresses, and I am happy to report I found one! It was exactly what I had hoped for, and I am so glad Kim was there for the moment. (It was just like the movie Bridesmaids wasn't it Kim? ;-)) 

And of course how could we be in Minneapolis and not visit the Mall of America. I did enjoy the gun poster at the entrance. I definitely felt like I was back in the USA when I read this sign.   I did enjoy the fact they had characters walking around. I didn't realize Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were making a comeback! 

 The Mall of America is totally ridiculous. There is an amusement park inside the mall, which is over 4 stories. Did I mention they are building more onto the mall? 

When my conference stated Kim flew back to Texas and I did some work for a few days. Then it was time to fly back to the east coast to visit with my parents. My parents picked me up in Baltimore and we headed back to their new place in PA. It is absolutely gorgeous, but I only had one night there because we left early in the morning in our motor home to go to Boston. Christian flew into Boston after work and we picked him up for our New England portion of the trip. I was excited for Christian to experience a typical Thorne Family vacation in our RV and to see a new part of the USA and getting some quality time with the future in-laws. 

Since we only had one day in Boston we decided to do a duck tour. This is a tour of both land and sea of the city.  

 Boston skyline from the sea

We also ate our fair share of lobster on the trip. Lobster rolls are the best!  

After visiting Boston we headed North to Maine and Acadia National Park. I had been there when I was younger, and always loved it! It is, in my opinion, the best National Park on the east coast. We enjoyed sea kayaking and the 90 degree weather!  

Christian next to lobster pots 

Christian and me during our kayaking adventure 

We also made our way up to Cadillac Mountain

Family shot in Acadia 

Mom and Dad enjoying the views 
This is one of my favorite pics from the entire trip! 

Cool house on a private island

I loved the forest meeting the sea 
There is a beach inside the national park. The water was too cold for swimming but great for enjoying the coastline.  

Ter-Ter was brave enough to put his feet in the water. Then MMT joined.  The water was absolutely freezing!  

American flags were out in full force for the upcoming 4th of July festivities. I think Christian is embracing his new American family life just as I am embracing my new German family life. 

We also made our way to this lighthouse on the coast.  

After enjoying Maine for a few days we hit the road and headed towards New Hampshire. Christian and I did some biking and discovered this little river.  

I love the saying you have never been anywhere unless you have been there by bike. Christian is an amazing biker, but he did put up with my slow, more leisurely biking style while on vacation.  

After a few days in New Hampshire we headed back to Pennsylvania. I was so excited as every day was filled with old friends coming to visit and wedding planning. We had our cake and dinner tasting and also met with our priest for the wedding. My Aunt and Uncle drove up from their new home in Florida to spend time with us and it was a highlight of the trip! I haven't seen them in over a year and loved every minute with them. We even toured the local potato chips factory, UTZ. We can't wait to visit them in Florida, hopefully, sometime in the near future.
Christian and I also enjoyed a local park near my parent's new home in Gettysburg. We rented canoes for and paddled the water on the morning of the 4th of July. With all of the visitors and wedding planning it was tough getting in some alone time, but the canoe trip really was awesome! 

My parents neighbors threw an amazing BBQ on the 4th of July. Christian loved everything from the corn hole, food, badminton and the fireworks. Our last big event of the trip was our engagement party in Vienna, VA that my parents and good friend Donna threw for us. The weather was so hot, but everyone had a great time! 

Amy and Sarah enjoying the party!

Some close family friends 

Adrian, Me, Ortie, and the German 

Michelle and Adrian

The "kid" table 

 Ortie and Me 

My friend Carla couldn't attend but sent these beautiful flowers!  

We are continually overwhelmed by support and well wishes from all of our friends! Thank you to everyone who visited with us during our trip and made it so special. A huge thanks to my parents and Donna for hosting the party! 

There will be so much more to come before our big day on April 25, 2014. Our wedding website is in the works!  

Until next time, we will see you on the internet.