Friday, July 31, 2009

Spider Gates Cemetery

Chances are that if you live in Massachusetts or like ghost/haunting stories, you’ve heard of Spider Gates. It is a cemetery that has eight gates to Hell! And a hanging tree! And cult sacrifices! We both love to scare ourselves but Caitlin will only investigate a ghostly story/place as long as it is away from our own home and during the daytime; so we decided to go to Spider Gates during the day – obviously so that the cults wouldn’t murder us for their gods and the ghosts wouldn’t capture us and bring us down to Hell.

One thing scarier to both of us than ghosts and haunted places are homeless people who might be angry at us for trespassing in their home and psycho murderers. I tried to convince Caitlin that encountering either of those would be impossible. Why would anyone want to hang out in an obscure cemetery during the day when it’s not even cool or scary? Despite my insistence that we would not find anything out of the ordinary, Caitlin wanted to be prepared! So she brought an exacto knife. You know, the kind used by housewives for scrapbooking crafts. It would surely protect us against a serial killer who was skilled in murder or any other threat to our safety…

We eventually got to the gates, after taking several wrong turns and walking the “long” distance through the woods. After staging pictures at the gates we went in to find a bunch of old graves and branches all over the place.

We were creeping around and trying to scare ourselves and each other when Caitlin turned pale and froze. She gripped the exacto knife in her hand and said in an urgent and loud whisper, “THERE’S PEOPLE OVER THERE!” She was actually holding the exacto knife as if she were a gang member who had been stabbing people her whole life and had no problem cutting someone. I peeked over to where she was pointing and saw two people sitting on the ground and crying in front of a grave. I then looked at one of the gravestones closest to me and saw that it was pretty recent. We knew that the cemetery was still owned by Quakers but had no idea that people were still buried there!

After the initial terror wore off, we instantly felt like a couple of jerks for sneaking around this cemetery and taking pictures while these people mourned their loved one(s) and left a couple minutes after we got there.

Moral of the story: sometimes when you set out to scare yourselves on an adventure, you end up getting scared by something you never would have expected.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

There's No Fun Like Canada Fun

We picked the worst week in the history of the world to take a vacation in Eustis, Maine. It rained almost everyday and, I don't know if you know anything about Eustis, but there are only four things you can do when you're up there: go to the lake that has leeches in it, shop for antiques, paint rocks and go moosin'. None of these activities are particularly fun or amazing (although seeing 10+ moose in one night is kind of cool), especially when it's raining and cold.

So, we decided to take a drive on up to Canada because...well, why not? We were on one straight road for what seemed like forever and when we finally got to the border, we realized that we still had to drive for about another hour on one straight road to actually reach some sort of civilization. We figured that this much driving in the forest must mean that we were headed for something AWESOME!

........We went to the dollar store.

We also stopped at a cheese factory and bought some "squeaky cheese" - called that because it squeaks against your teeth with every bite. It was actually really good but we soon got it stuck in our heads that we were eating curds and grossed ourselves out.

We even went to a restaurant! A real Canadian restaurant! They spoke French and everything!

.....we got hamburgers and french fries.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ultimate Roadtrip Singalong Playlist

We are big fans of the road trip. We’ve taken long ones to Louisville and Atlanta, medium ones to Maine, New Hampshire and New York and short ones to Rhode Island and Boston. It is not important where you go or how long it takes to get there or if you have a good time once you’re there. What matters is the DRIVE and how you spend your time while you’re traveling.

Of course you could bring your pillow and try to sleep so it seems like you get there faster and so you’re sufficiently rested when you arrive. You could also bring your iPod and headphones to listen to music by yourself in the backseat as you watch the world pass by outside the window. You could even bring a book because you might not have that much uninterrupted time very often.

All of these approaches to the road trip have their advantages and we have used each of them at least once. We have found, however, that the best approach lies in the singalong. We have put together so many playlists to keep us occupied while driving and to give us a chance to sing our little hearts out; you’re never a better singer than when you’re in a car belting out a Whitney Houston song with your friends or family. We have put together so many of these playlists, in fact, that we consider ourselves EXPERTS OF THE SINGALONG PLAYLIST. We’ve had many opportunities to test our choices and have come up with a list of 14 songs that have never failed us before.

Ultimate Singalong Playlist

(in no particular order)

-See You Again – Miley Cyrus

-The Story – Brandi Carlisle

- Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

-Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

-I Want it That Way – Backstreet Boys

- Poker Face – Lady Gaga

-Get Up, Stand Up – Bob Marley

-Temperature – Sean Paul

-Gasolina- Daddy Yankee

-Hips Don’t Lie – Shakira

-We Will Rock You – Queen

-Proud to be an American/God Bless the USA – Lee Greenwood

-Just Got Paid – NSYNC

-Shout – Isley Brothers

We decided not to give any particular explanation for why we have chosen these songs but urge you to trust us that you will not be disappointed should you ever decide to use them.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wilhelm Reich Museum

If you ever find yourself in Rangeley, Maine and have exhausted all the resources for having fun that you can find (such as the hardware store and ice cream stand), take a ride on over to the Wilhelm Reich Museum. You will not be disappointed if you are looking for an adventure.
We learned about this place in a book called Weird New England so we expected it to be a little bit wacky but weren’t fully prepared for the amount of weirdness we were to experience.

Wilhelm Reich was a scientist who studied under Freud and then moved to Rangeley. He supposedly discovered an energy he called “orgone” that he used to treat cancer and control the weather He also ended up in prison for the last days of his life.

So the tour started in a small dark room with folding chairs set up. We had to watch a DVD about Reich’s life that lasted way too long to occupy our attention. Luckily our tour guide, who sat in the corner, interjected random facts she thought were funny throughout the presentation. After the video, we were brought into the house/laboratory and told not to take any pictures because they didn’t want the pictures to be sold to outside media …. (I hope it’s ok for me to be writing this!)

The first floor had all of Reich’s weirdo machines and contraptions: like the cloud buster that could create or dissipate clouds and an orgone chamber for someone to get locked into. Upstairs was his bedroom, living room, library and examination room – and I don’t believe there were doors to any of these rooms. There were weird books and paintings and pictures of his wives and girlfriends. On the third floor was his observatory and painting room that stepped out onto the roof with such a beautiful view of the mountains all around. After the official tour, we were brought back down to the first floor so that we could quench our insatiable curiosity of his machines – which apparently was not satisfied by the first 25 minutes we spent looking around in there.

We then walked a little way into the woods to find Reich’s tomb and another cloud buster. After we looked at all of his books in the gift shop we left and our watchful tour guide waved wildly and yelled when we went the wrong way – it would have been a disaster if we had continued and met the HOARDS of people trying to make their way to the museum. We went down the road a little way to the conference room because we had to go to the bathroom. This building apparently holds the wackjobs who spend $275 to come to the museum for 4 day long conferences annually to discuss Reich and his work. The door wasn’t locked and it didn’t look like there was anyone in the building so we seized the opportunity to explore.

The reading room housed all of Reich’s writings that they charged $20+ for in the gift shop. I resisted the urge to swipe any of them. There was also the actual ORGONE ROOM! A whole room that we could sneak into – just like the tiny compartment we weren’t allowed to touch in the museum! So, anyway, we were poking around and taking pictures (oops!) when a man burst out of a closed door at the end of the room half-yelling, “MAY I HELP YOU?” He was mad scientist from the neck up and lumberjack from the neck down and he very nearly gave us all a heart attack. We all were semi-nervous due to the ridiculous nature of the situation we suddenly found ourselves in and told him we were just looking, as I hid my camera from him. He very quickly ushered us to the door and asked, “Can I answer any questions for you?” Our mom answered, “I wouldn’t really know where to start!” and he barked, “IT’S REALLY NOT THAT HARD!” And we left.

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary

We didn’t exactly know what to expect when we decided to go to Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick, MA but it far surpassed whatever we could concoct in our heads about what it would be like. Caitlin summed it up well when she said, “Wow, I’ve seen more wildlife in the first 10 minutes than I expected to see all day!” There were trails but no real boundaries so you could pretty much roam free – which is exactly what we love to do. There also weren’t many people there, and no one around us, so we definitely felt like we were alone in the great outdoors.

One of the highlights of the day was definitely “DANGER TRAIL” which really lived up to the name we gave it before we even ventured down it. It was literally off of the beaten path and wasn’t somewhere we were supposed to go, but being the rebels that we are, we had to check it out. We far underestimated the steepness of the hill we would have to walk up as well as the distance to the top. Thankfully our rebel spirit mixed with our curiosity pushed us through when we really just wanted to give up and sit down. When we got all the way to the top, Caitlin discovered a creepy abandoned piano…so of course we had to get a closer look and stage a photo op with it! Emily (our younger sister) stayed at the top of the path and realized that it ran parallel to a closed road and that we had come to the outermost boundary of the sanctuary. Caitlin and I started wondering about what sort of person would dump a piano in a wildlife sanctuary – and how the heck they would accomplish such a task.

Of course, the next logical jump for our minds to make was that a dead body was also dumped up there, which was why the road was closed (for police investigations) and that the psycho killer was hiding up there awaiting his next victims.

We ran down that hill SO FAST – I didn’t think it was even humanly possible. We were vaulting over downed trees and branches and we got to the bottom in, like, 15 seconds. Once the adrenaline wore off and we were a safe distance away from DANGER TRAIL, we realized how exhausted we were…running away from imaginary psycho murderers is probably the best exercise you could get.

Overall, it was an awesome experience and we recommend visiting (although we would advise using the bathroom before you leave the house because the composting black hole toilets are way too scary to actually use.) It even inspired us to adopt the kind of lifestyle we thought fitting of those who frequent wildlife sanctuaries and ate granola bars and apples on the way home.

Thunder over Louisville!

Our family has been going to Louisville, KY to stay with friends who have become family for our whole lives and before we were even born. This year, our parents decided to go down there for 2 weeks so that we could see Thunder over Louisville as well as the Kentucky Derby. We set out for our long trip and before we even got out of our driveway, Kathryn spilled a soda all over herself. She didn’t want to halt the trip to get out and change so she just had to sit uncomfortably until it all dried – a couple hours later.

After 16 hours we finally arrived and headed down to the river. We walked around for awhile, snacking on some chicken-on-a-stick and having some of Wild Bill’s Old Fashioned Soda. We then spent the afternoon on the roof of the Humana building’s parking garage. We played cornhole and ate barbecue as we watched the crazy loud and jack-diesel airshow. Those planes were so tough!

Caitlin had seen Thunder twice before but this was Kathryn’s first time. IT WAS AMAZING. It’s too bad that all fireworks shows have now been ruined because none of them can compare to Thunder over Louisville.