Friday, October 31, 2008

Bernie Wonka and the chocolate factory

Happy Halloween!

Our new friends and driveway campground hosts, took us to see a few places in North Jersey today. We saw a gorgeous castle owned by a local silk tycoon, a lovely park on a mountain with trees in every fall color, and the last and best stop of the tour: a chocolate factory!

Our new friends happen to know the owners of the Bromilow’s chocolate factory. It smelled so good when we opened the door. Of course since today is Halloween and this is a candy shop, we got to see a few trick-or-treaters come by while we were there (see pics).

We got the full tour of the factory. We met one of the chocolatiers, Gloria, who let us sample one of the broken pieces of chocolate she was working with. The milk chocolate was delicious.

Then Barb, another chocolatier, offered us some chocolate to take with us. Bernie picked two pieces and Barb doubled it. Then she asked us what we like (we said chocolate with peanut butter) and she kept finding more and more candy to give us. We could not believe it, our eyes were getting bigger by the handful, and we couldn’t stop grinning. We were like little kids in a candy store!

By the time Barb was finished our bag was fuller than if we had gone trick or treating for Halloween! Bromilow’s chocolate is heavenly and it was so much fun to visit the factory on Halloween. Their website is

Then our hosts took us back to Bella where we got packed and ready to go.

While packing we noticed Bernie was in sugar shock because she was walking around in a daze and could not think straight. She had "tasted" all the candy in the car on the way home and we think that might have something to do with it. She even put the outside step in and then forgot it and walked right out expecting the step to be there. She did not get hurt but that’s what you get for eating too much candy on Halloween…

After finally getting everything ready we were sad to say goodbye. Janis and Lenny were such wonderful hosts: dinner, laundry, water, and electric. They were willing to help us with our every need. Lenny gave us some homemade chicken noodle soup to take with us, he is such a great cook.

We then drove about three hours to the York County School of Technology in York PA, found a spot in their parking lot, and parked for the night.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Today started out rather rushed. We wanted to get to the city earlier than we did yesterday, so we tried to make the 2:15 pm bus today. Once we got to the bus stop we only had to wait a couple of minutes to watch the bus pass right by us, going the wrong way. The bus went by and never came back around to pick us up. We had rushed for no reason. We had to wait for the next bus in this cold weather with nowhere to sit for over an hour.

Then we got to thaw out on our ride into the city. Once there we speed walked to catch the last tour bus of the day to uptown Manhattan. This one did not have a cover on the top so we had to sit downstairs which is never any fun because you can't see as much but at least you get to stay warm. The tour guide knew a lot about where movies and TV shows have been filmed and where some real stars live or hang out.

Two of the places we drove through were the Upper West Side and Harlem. At least from the bus, it’s kind of hard to tell the difference between these areas and any other place in New York City. Today we got to see where John Lennon was murdered and the place where his wife still lives. We saw Will and Grace’s neighborhood. We saw where Jackie O lived. We saw Central Park and Strawberry Fields. We saw many of the things that make NYC what it is.

Our feet hurt and we were very tired so we decided that after the tour, we were just going to grab a quick bite to eat and return home. But when we got off the bus we saw a Hershey store right across the street from the M&M store, so we had to go see both. They are both fun places with bunches of cute stuff, but the M&M store is much bigger.

During two of our tours they mentioned that the best hot dog in NYC can be found at any of the places that has the word Papaya in the name. So we set out to find the closest one. We got their recession special, two hot dogs and a drink for $4.45. The only things you can get on your hot dog there is sauerkraut or onions. The hot dogs were pretty thin. As for the taste, not bad as hot dogs go, but certainly not the best. There is no place to sit, you eat your hot dogs standing up or a lot of people just eat them while walking.

For dessert we got a couple of sweet pretzels from Aunt Annie's. We decided to take them home to have with our own coffee. Bernie makes the best coffee and it will be great with the pretzels.

Because we got an earlier bus back tonight, we were able to catch the express bus, it saved us a lot of time because it skips over a bunch of stops. The bus was so packed we couldn’t even sit together, but it sure was worth it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


We spent the day in Manhattan. It only rained for a little while but it was still really cold all day. Going anywhere in Manhattan is an adventure. At times our tour bus got close to hitting a car, a person, a curb, or another bus. There was hardly any reaction from the locals. However, us the visitors, the tourists all gasp at each near miss.

Walking in Manhattan is quite an experience. On the sidewalks or when crossing a street, we were almost knocked over more than once by the locals who seem to be in such a hurry all the time. And yet each time we had to stop someone to ask for directions, people were very nice and helpful. This is an amazing city.

Not to mention the drivers, they may honk so they won’t hit you but they don’t stop. Mar has almost gotten run over twice already in two days.

We took the bus tour of downtown today on a double decker bus and we sat in the top part of the bus for a great view of the city. We got to see the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, United Nations, Rockefeller Center, Ground Zero, Little Italy, Chinatown, SoHo, and The Village.

After the tour we walked around Times Square, where there are thousands of lights flashing, projecting and reflecting everywhere. There is so much going on and so much to do that we could come here every year for the next ten years and still not see everything this city has to offer.

When our feet could carry us no longer, we headed back to the bus station and caught our bus back to NJ. This time, we knew where to go and what to do to catch our bus, without any delays.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The city that never sleeps

If you want adventure without a passport all you have to do is come to NYC. There is everything you could possibly need to get all of your senses going.

It was raining and cold when we got up today. Since it was not raining too hard we decided to go out and brave the weather. Yes, we Floridians decided today would be a great day to go into the city. We did layer up, we were each wearing about six shirts, two pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, and a jacket or two. So we were prepared for anything the weather would throw our way.

After a five minute walk to the bus stop, we were lucky we didn’t have to wait long for the bus to NYC. The ride was just under an hour and dropped us off right at the Port Authority Bus Station on 8 Avenue. We walked the streets looking in shops on our way to the place where we would catch the bus tour we had scheduled online.

We decided the best way for us to see all NYC has to offer in a short amount of time, would be to do a tour. We decided to do the 72 hour hop-on hop-off tour in the double decker buses, which includes four separate tours of NYC.

When we got there we found out it would be best to go on the 6:00 pm bus which meant we had a couple of hours to kill, so we decided to head over to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, about ten blocks away.

Apple was amazing. The whole outside of the building above ground, including an elevator, is made of glass. The store is open twenty-four hours year round. Inside the store, which is below ground, there were tons of people, the place was packed on a weekday afternoon.

FA Schwartz was right next door so we had our picture taken with the doorman, dressed as a toy soldier. By then it was almost time for our tour so we headed back.

The tour was about two hours long, through Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was informative but it was hard to listen because the guide spoke nonstop and very quickly. Perhaps our next tour will be better. We had packed our afternoon snack so we ate it on the bus tour.

Afterwards we went to a Cuban restaurant for dinner, which we had seen earlier while walking around. We split a Cuban sandwich and it was very good, the pernil was delicious.

It was getting late so we headed back to the bus station. When we got there we realized we didn't know where to find our bus or where to go. There was a nice young man who helped us find our way and then asked us to spare a dollar. While trying to figure out our gate, we missed one bus and had to wait a whole hour for the next one. Oh well, a couple more days and we shall be experts.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Driveway campground

We woke up with excitement dripping from our fingers. Today we are on our way to New York City. We drove almost three hours. During the trip, Bernie got out her paints and pencils and painted a landscape picture of beautiful trees in bright fall colors.

We drove straight to Clifton NJ to meet new friends who offered us the use of their driveway. We stopped for gas right before we got there, at $2.49 per gallon.

After meeting Lenny and Janis, we realized we had left our gas cap at the gas station. Since we had already backed Bella up in their driveway and connected the water and electric, Janis drove us to the gas station and on the way, showed us where to catch the bus to NYC.

When we got back we enjoyed a great dinner that Lenny had cooked for us and we had apple pie for dessert that Janis made. We sat around the dinner table getting to know each other, sharing rv stories, and getting advice about what to do and see in NYC.

After dinner, Mar did the laundry in their basement, and we kept an eye on the weather reports to decide when we can go to the city. It’s not looking good so far, tonight it started raining about midnight.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Second birthday present

What an experience! We saw Robin Williams tonight. This is part of Bernie's early birthday present. Her birthday is on November 9 but this was something she wanted to do and we decided what better time to do it than the present.

Robin was funny, sometimes laugh out loud funny, really funny. The show was at the Mohegan Sun arena, the place was huge and it was packed. Robin was entertaining and it was a treat to see him.

But we don't think we will spend money to go see any more shows like this. The humor, for us, did not measure up to the price of the tickets. Bernie was very excited when she got out of there though, she was all revved up and ready to become the next stand up comic sensation!

After the show we had a slice of pizza for dinner at the food court and then back to Bella. We are still trying to figure out our new inverter and batteries, and our problems with the new system. Not having it work properly has been very draining and frustrating for us. All this and we still have to use the generator when we boondock … bah humbug!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Can you see what I see?

Today was a totally cool day. We went to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London CT. They have an exhibition there called Games, Gizmos and Toys in the Attic, based on the “I spy” and “Can you see what I see?” children’s books by Walter Wick.

There was information by the author on each of his pictures explaining how he did each shot and how he got his ideas. There were several models set up right next to its picture so you could see exactly how he took the actual pictures in his books. We got to see his large scale photographs, examples of his sets, set ups, and all kinds of props.

When we first got there we were given a “challenge sheet” so we could play I spy along the way. Not only was this an interesting exhibition but watching the people there was fun as well. We saw people of all ages (yes, we weren’t the only adults there) peering at each picture trying to find all of the hidden objects. People came together to help each other locate the hard-to-find ones, or fell silent as to not spoil it for the next person.

Outside the museum there were a couple of really big sculptures where we played I spy too. Can you find Bernie in the picture?

After the museum we drove around Mystic CT until we found a parking spot and then did some exploring around town. It was getting cold and right before it started to rain, we headed back to Bella. Then we drove back to the Mohegan Sun Casino Resort to spend the night.

Friday, October 24, 2008

First birthday present

We had a great day today. First, we went to the post office so Bernie could mail a package to her nephew.

Then we went back to Foxwoods for Bernie's first (early) birthday present. We went to see the Girls Uninterrupted show with Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar in the MGM Theater. They were great. Politics was one of the topics of the night and if you know Whoopi you know she has a lot to say. We had a great time and it was really cool to get to see them both perform.

Then we went to explore the rest of this huge place that we hadn’t seen before. We walked around for a while and this time we were able to take pictures because the last time we were here our camera was out of batteries.

After the show we sat and enjoyed a cup of good coffee at the pastry shop on the skywalk between the MGM Hotel and the Foxwoods Hotel. It is definitely the place for coffee, it is the best we’ve had in a long time. After that we took the free shuttle back to Bella, and tried to stay warm for the night.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's 5 o'clock somewhere

Today we stayed in most of the day. Then we went back to the Mohegan Sun Casino to purchase our Robin Williams tickets for Sunday. Turns out they didn’t have two seats together anywhere in the arena. So we bought two separate seats on the same row and we hope when we get there, people will be kind enough to move. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

Then we had dinner at Margaritaville. It is a really awesome place, the floor is painted as if it is the bottom of the ocean, the music videos are projected onto sails, and there are boats with dinner tables in them. The decor is ocean inspired, truly a cool place to eat or hang out and listen to live music on the weekends.

We walked around this huge resort some more. We saw a 50 foot waterfall which changes colors and the water flows in opposite directions. It was beautiful. We did some window shopping and then we headed back to Bella.

It’s supposed to be really cold tonight, may drop into the 20’s. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Change of plans

We slept in today which is easy to do when it’s so cold outside, and good earplugs help too. When we got up we went to the post office to get Mar's mail, which her daughter forwarded to the general delivery here.

On our way there we were amazed by how beautiful it is here in CT. The trees along the sides of the road have the most astonishing colors, every shade of yellow, orange and red, bright and beautiful. It is a pleasure just to drive and see the changing of the leaves. At the post office, while Mar went in to get her mail, Bernie gathered some leaves to send back home to family.

Then we headed to a laundromat. We have not been able to do laundry since our first day in Ptown, which makes it almost two weeks. With both of us working there, and the clothes that Bernie’s mom sent her, and the sheets, blankets and towels, we had to do eight loads of laundry today! Thankfully this laundromat had reasonable priced washers and good, quick dryers.

Afterwards we headed to the Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino. We wanted to take a look at it. It was truly a sight to behold. It is impeccably done in an assortment of beading made into light fixtures and decorative accents everywhere. There are several glass cave like structures. One is built so that you can actually walk up through it and into a bar on the third floor. Above the bar is a planetarium, which shows a lighted picture of the night sky using fiber optics. It was awesome to sit, look up, and watch the “stars”.

We thought we’d only be here for one day but we found out tonight that Robin Williams will be here this weekend, performing on his Weapons of Self Destruction Tour. Bernie has decided this is what she wants for her early birthday present, so we are going to stick around to see Robin Williams.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We didn't get to play

Today we hung out and rested until we had to be in for The Price Is Right Live. They ask that you get there two hours early to register, which meant 5:00 pm. The doors open at 6:00 pm for the 7:00 pm show.

We went in and walked around to look at some of the shops we didn't get to see last night because they were closed when we got here. After looking at lots of things we can’t afford nor have room for in the rv, we went to the food court and got a bagel to share for our snack.

While we sat down to eat our bagel we were again marveling at the immense space we were in. We noticed the view out of one of the huge windows. The view was a beautiful landscape of mountains and trees, with yellow, orange, and red leaves, dotting the hillside. This place is so pretty both inside and outside.

The batteries in our camera had died but we wanted to take pictures of the show. We tried to get batteries but they don't sell camera batteries anywhere here. Then we figured the next best solution would be to get a disposable camera. When we asked the price, the camera was $18 plus tax. We quickly decided against that and decided to use our camera phone instead, and hope for the best.

Then we headed for the theater for The Price Is Right Live. We got great seats. They played games for the audience on big tv screens until it was time for the show. Then the announcer came on stage, he made jokes and made us laugh while telling us the rules of the game. Then it was time for the actual game. Each time they called four people up we waited for our names to be called … and alas, neither of us got called. But we had a great time and enjoyed the show.

We were hungry after the show so we decided to have Chinese food at a place we had seen last night. The place was beautiful and the architecture was pretty cool but unfortunately the food was not first rate.

We then decided to head out. We had to get water and groceries today so we found the closest Walmart, did our grocery shopping, and parked for the night.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Moving forward

After two weeks in Provincetown MA, today we spent the day getting ready to leave. It is amazing how much there is to do when you have been sitting in one place for twelve days.

After packing, cleaning up, and a ton of preparations, it was finally time to get back on the road but before taking off, we decided to go see the beach, the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Herring Cove Beach is gorgeous, the sand is like sugar, the dunes are beautiful, and the water is a lovely blue. It was sooooo cold but the sun was out and we were happy to just hear the sound of the ocean once again.

After the beach we headed to Connecticut to the Foxwoods Resort and Casino, where they have free rv parking. We made it there at about 9:00 pm and went inside to check it out. We were like kids in a candy store and we don’t even gamble.

We walked around this huge place and looked at everything we could, there are dozens of different textures and colors and materials everywhere. There are walls made out of lighted beads that change colors, and floors made out of granite and marble. No two areas are the same or even look alike, and everything is so pretty, shiny, and new.

We found out we could get free tickets to The Price Is Right Live by signing up for the free Foxwoods card. So we got our free tickets and then headed to the Keno lounge. We don’t like to gamble but we thought we’d give Keno a try. First, we sat there to observe and learn the game. Then we decided to give it a try. One dollar and 10 numbers later we had no luck. We decided to try again and again we missed. About two dollars is the limit of our comfort level when it comes to gambling, so we gave up and went to explore again, there is so much to see.

When we got back to Bella we realized we had forgotten to fill the fresh water tank. Big bummer. We figured we had enough water for maybe one shower so Bernie made a funnel with a plastic cup and added two gallons of water so at least one of us could get a hot shower. It actually worked and Mar was able to take a nice shower before bed.

Then we piled up the layers and the blankets for the night … it was pretty cold tonight.