Tuesday, August 20, 2013

NL Day 3: Butterflies, Rocks and Newfie Hospitality

We've had really amazing weather while here in Newfoundland.  In fact, word on the street is that the locals are complaining about it being too warm.  However, for us Bostonians, the high-60 low-70 degree days with clear skies have been nothing short of fabulous.  But Tuesday was the one day it was cold and just a little wet.  After a quiet, mostly relaxing morning of playing games our thoughts turned to what to do.  And let me just clarify - when I say "quiet morning playing games" - I mean that Lily and Gordon played Settlers while Que and the girls played Scrabble and I did my sorry best trying to keep Quinn from sabotaging all the games while also keeping up with the email barrage from work.  But hey - at least I'm doing it from Newfoundland!!  I think really that the Onion captures the spirit of vacationing with young kids the best (as usual).  (to be fair though - in our house - it's not just me that deals with it - Gordon does his fair share of "housework away from home").

In the end, Gabe & Que and the girls set off with MaMa to hike Signal Hill and parts of the East Coast trail.  I had gotten caught in my usual packing paralysis before a big trip and didn't do so well bringing along clothes that would keep us warm on a soggy/cold day.  So we opted to move Signal Hill to later in the week and set off to the Geo Center with the kids and BaBa.  We started with lunch in downtown St. Johns at Pi Pizzeria, We really wanted to love the place for its clever name, cute atmosphere and the many digits of pi painted along the wall near the ceiling, but sadly the pizza fell flat for us.  The reviews are good and they've won many awards, so I have to wonder if maybe we got them on an off day.  Nevertheless we left nourished and Lily avoided eating yet another grilled cheese sandwich.

Like pretty much everything else here it was a very short drive from our house.  The museum is absolutely charming, interesting and accessible for all of us.  Although I do think that perhaps the adults had a bit more fun than the kids.  Contrasting it to the science museum in Boston it was just so much more approachable.  We paid one price for the family and that included everything - including the 3D films they were showing.  We got there just in time to catch the next showing of Flight of the Butterflies. If you have a chance to check this out I strongly suggest you do.   Even Quinny says the movie about the butterflies was the best part.  I may have enjoyed it more had it NOT been 3D (I have basically zero depth perception so trying to watch one of these things just makes me eyes hurt) - but despite that difficulty I love it.  The story of Dr. Fred Urquhart is so touching - I admit freely to crying by the end (though I was able to cover up all the eye-wiping in the guise of the whole "3D bugging my eyes" thing).

Hamming around with the super fancy 3D glasses

After the movie we ambled around the museum checking out the geology and space exhibits (OK that's pretty much what I focused on).  I enjoyed checking out the replica of the Canada Arm (or SSRMS as I know it).  I kept wishing that I had my EAPS friend Susan Lucas was with me to translate all the cool geology stuff.  It's suddenly even more interesting to me now thanks to our REXIS project at MIT.  They also have a very interesting exhibit about the Titanic.  I honestly had no idea the accident occurred just off the coast of Newfoundland.  The exhibit went through the events that played into the accident and was very cool from an engineering perspective.  Unfortunately it was all posters and reading so the kids were not that into it.  Gordon and I managed to get through most of it, but there were some moments of frustration in there for all of us.  We topped off the visit with a trip to the gift shop (after being hounded by Lily - she had 20 Canadian dollars from Yeh Yeh burning a hole in her pocket) and then headed on home.

Outside the Geo Center - my eyes are closed but the kids are adorable

That evening we were invited to a lovely gathering at the home of Meghan's Aunt and Uncle.  They had a great spread (including some very tasty crackers with smoked salmon, cream cheese and pepper jelly - I ate three!) and were wonderful hosts.  I was a bit stressed at the beginning as Quinn was having a bit of a hard time with the new "go all day with no nap" lifestyle, but we all settled in and had a great time.   It was fun meeting Meghan's family and friends.  We even found someone who lives literally BLOCKS away from us in Somerville - small world, eh?  The kids (older and younger alike) found a room to hang out in and contain the chaos.  It was a great start to the wedding festivities for sure.