Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Apple Picking Part 1

The day of the 5k, Jamie and I went apple picking with our friends Manda and Bryan. We had planned to drive up to this apple orchard in Fort Dodge, Iowa that had a cafe to eat lunch, a corn maze, and apple picking. We drove for an hour and 45 minutes and ate lunch at the cafe there. We were definitely the youngest looking group of people there. After we ate, we walked around the shop for a few minutes and looked for signs for the apple picking and the corn maze. When we couldn't find any, Jamie and Bryan finally asked the lady who worked there where those things were. She gave them a surprised look and said they didn't have either of those and asked where we got our information. They had apples that THEY had picked and you could buy and no corn maze. We obviously got our information wrong somewhere along the way.

Disappointed and confused we walked back to the car to look at our map and info sheet and lo and behold, no corn maze or you pick your own apples at this orchard. =( So we proceeded to find another orchard (since we weren't going to let this ruin our afternoon!) that had both. We ended up at Center Grove Orchard in Cambridge, Iowa. It was a surprisingly warm day so we bought something to drink as well as the other thing I was looking forward to....apple cider donuts. If you've never had them before (like Manda and Bryan) you must try them sometime. These weren't the best apple cider donuts I've ever had, but they weren't bad. The best kind is warm and straight from the oven (or fryer?).

We decided to have ourselves a friendly competition of guys vs. girls. The first task was an apple slingshot. Now the rules were a little sketchy but I believe I (Rachel) won with the only apple actually hitting the target. Second task was completing the corn maze quickest. Manda and I raced against Jamie and Bryan and as you can see ended up at a few dead ends. But ultimately we completed the maze first (unless you ask the boys...). It was a bit confusing as there were two places to exit the maze but we think the entrance and the exit were actually one in the same. So girls 2, guys 0.

We took a hayride back to the entrance of the orchard so we could buy some apple picking bags and then headed to the apple trees. Here we are posing as American Gothic with one of the apple picking devices. Jamie and Bryan definitely enjoyed the apple pickers...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Capital Pursuit 5K

So I know I mentioned I was going to be running a 5K in September so I wanted to let you know how it went.

I finished!! And I ran the whole thing except for 1 minute at the beginning of the 3rd mile and another minute in the middle of the 3rd mile. My time was about 35:30 which isn't great but now I have something to improve upon in the future. My friend Manda ran the 5K with me and Bryan ran the 10 mile run. Jamie was our cheerleader and held our jackets for us. And I got my medal for finishing!

New York City continued

As promised here is the rest of the dish from our trip to NYC....

After the Sex and the City tour on Sunday we met Jamie at the HBO store. He had spent the morning walking around the area shooting some photos of the sights.

We walked around and made a stop at Tiffany & Co. to look at the beautiful jewelry...where's your ring Mandy?

We were near Central Park so decided to walk through the park and go to the Museum of Modern Art before it closed at 5:30.

I really liked Central Park and if I lived in the city I would go there all the time to read, relax, and do some people watching. We walked through the park and got to MOMA only to find out that they close at 5:00 not 5:30...and of course it was 4:45. So we ran in and pretty much the only thing we got to see was part of the Egyptian exhibit (which according what we read and were told was one of the things we should see if we went there).

Sunday evening, Mandy's friend Dara had planned for us to have a nice dinner at Pastis, a restaurant from Sex and the City where Carrie goes on several occasions (we had also seen it on our tour earlier in the day). It was a surprise to Mandy and she desperately wanted to know our secret dinner plans but we sealed our lips until we got there. After dinner, we went to the Empire State Building and did the last thing she wanted to do on her birthday....the SkyRide! We thought it would be something like Star Tours at Disney World but unfortunately it was probably the disappointment of the weekend. Luckily the $30 ticket was included in the New York pass that we bought, but if it wasn't and we had paid full price for it...we probably would've wanted our money back. Let's just say, lame.
After the SkyRide we went to get our tickets to go up to the top of the Empire State Building. We were waiting in line but realized that with our New York pass we didn't have to wait in line, so we asked someone who worked there about that and he said to go here in this part of the line, in front of some other people. Well this one guy was not going to have our "cutting in line" even though we were told to do so. He was a real jerk about it but we got over it when we got to the top. It was pretty cool to see all of the city lights at night from so far up. You have to think of Sleepless in Seattle when you're up there....
After about 20 or 30 minutes we headed back down and walked back to our hotel room for the night.

Monday was spent at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We took the subway downtown and once again with our great New York passes, we were able to bypass the long line to get tickets by going to the little library and pick them up there. We still had to wait in the security line to get on the ferry, but it wasn't longer than a 15 minute wait. We went over to the Statue of Liberty, walked around there for awhile and ate some lunch. Then we took the ferry over to Ellis Island and saw where all of our relatives came in from other countries many years ago. I thought Ellis Island was really interesting and probably could have spent a couple more hours there reading the displays and learning more about what it was like for people to immigrate to America.

Monday night for dinner we went to Lombardi's to get some real New York pizza. Now we've all experienced a good Chicago deep dish pizza so we knew New York pizza would be different. It's a thinner and crispier slice but still yummy pizza. Lombardi's is one of the first pizzerias in the country and still owned by the family who started it. It's actually in the 1,000 Places to See in the U.S./Canada Before You Die book (one more to check off the list).

Tuesday was our last day in New York and we still wanted to go to Chinatown, Canal Street, and Little Italy. Here is Jamie in front of a Sbarro, getting a "real New York slice" in the words of Michael Scott from the show The Office. We walked along Canal Street and were stopped by many a street vendor showing off their wares. We ate lunch in Chinatown and the food was very good. We walked along the streets taking in all the sights. And our last stop....gelato in Little Italy....mmm. Good bye New York we will miss you!