A weekend in Stowe, VT – Valentines Day

This weekend Kaitlin and I decided to take the later flight from MCO (Orlando, FL) to BVT (Burlington, VT).  The weather was incredibly bumpy, and I think this might have been the first jet I’ve been on where passengers have gotten sick. Upon arrival, we rented a car from Hertz and headed to the Holiday Inn Express, which had a great rate, was very clean, and the location was convenient.  We dropped our stuff off and headed downtown, which was a neat experience, mostly college students.

The following day we woke up to SNOW!  It wasn’t much, but being from Florida, seeing snow is still fun no matter how much it is.  We had a quick snowball fight and then headed towards Stowe, VT, where we walked around the city, and then ate at The Blue Donkey, which was a very good local burger shack.  After lunch, we headed over to Gentle Giants, not far away, for a sleigh ride.  I don’t know if people from Vermont would care much for this, but since we’re new to snow and the winter scene, it was a ton of fun.  The driver was very friendly and told us lots about the horses, local area, traditions, etc.

After this, we started heading home, stopping at a local Apple Mill, where they had delicious fresh Apple Cider.  As a last stop for the day, we headed to Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory tour, which was neat, and focused a lot on the history of the company, their support for fair wage, and how they develop new flavors.

First Chance to Fly!

This weekend one of my coworkers who’s a private pilot instructor invited me to go flying with him in a single engine aircraft.  We met up at Kissimmee Airport around 8am, where Brian showed me the facility as well as the plane and how to go over the check list before flight.  He wanted to see a testing facility that Mercury had, and I wanted to see UCF from the air, so that was our flight plan.  Total flight time was around 1hr 15minutes.

Gaylord Palms – ICE! Orlando, FL

Tonight we went to Gayord Palms for their annual ICE! exhibit in Orlando, FL with Kaitlin, my roommate, and his gf  for .  The experience starts with a short video clip about how they bring in ice sculpting artists from china who are passionate about their work, the massive refrigeration units, and numerous tons of ice to be sculpted.  After that, there is a short video clip about Shrek, since the sculptures are based on the Shrek Christmas.  After watching the videos, you get parkas, which are necessary as the ICE! exhibit is less than 20 degrees inside.  I didn’t bring gloves, but I would highly recommend them.

New York City With The Parents

This weekend we decided to head to NYC.  After my parents drove down to Orlando, we got them in the inflight simulator as well as flight simulator.  The inflight simulator demonstrates the safety equipment on the Airbus A320, and does limited motion, such as a failed take off or a water landing.  The flight simulator is a CAE flight simulator for the Airbus A320, which does full motion and graphics.

Because of the flight loads to JFK, I had to send my parents to New York’s JFK airport on an earlier flight, and then Kaitlin and I would follow on the 3pm flight to LGA, as flight loads were lower to that airport.  Once we got there, we took the express bus to Penn Station and then walked to our hotel where my parents were waiting.   Since it was late, we walked to grab dinner and my parents went back to the room.  Kaitlin and I walked around times square and 5th Ave to take photos of all the amazing Christmas decorations this time of year.

The following morning we ate breakfast at a local cafe, and then my parents went to a museum while Kaitlin and I took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.  The ferry wait was almost an hour, and it was freezing!  We took lots of photos, and after we were each done, we met up for dinner and more walking around times square.  This time we went to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree.  We wanted to ice skate, but the line was so long there was just no way that was going to happen.

Cancun Weekend Getaway – Grand Parnassus All Inclusive

For Kaitlin’s Birthday we decided to head to Cancun, MX and spend the weekend at the Grand Parnassuss All Inclusive Resort and Spa.  The resort was excellent, as was the service.  The only complaint I can think of would be that the buffet food for lunch wasn’t amazing, and the mini golf was closed at an early hour.

The dinner each night was excellent, the beach was excellent, and we went later in the year so the weather was great for laying out on the beach!

Puerto Rico Weekend Getaway

So after going to Puerto Rico last week for work, I decided to return for a fun-only trip with Kaitlin.  I took a few hours off of work, and we caught the JetBlue flight out of MCO to SJU.  Upon arrival at the airport, we took the shuttle to Hertz, where we had a rental car waiting.  One thing we didn’t expect, is that Google maps would not do turn by turn directions,  so finding our way to the resort was a nightmare.  After nearly two hours of struggling, we finally made it to the Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort and Casino, which I highly recommend for the money.

The next morning we woke up semi early and headed towards El Yunque Rainforest, a US National Park which was amazing.  We drove along the main road, and finally parked to hike to the Peak.  During the hike, it started to rain after not having seen a single cloud in the sky!  By the time we got to the Peak, we were drenched, but the rain had backed off.  After about 30 minutes of enjoying the view, things quickly changed and it was yet again flooding.


After a nap back at the hotel, we decided to go kayaking in the Bioluminescent Bay.  To get there, you rent kayaks on a guided tour through a marsh covered lagoon, kayaking in the dark and using glow sticks to keep from hitting each other.  Once you’re in the bay, it’s very dark with surprisingly little light pollution compared to the rest of the island.  Every time you paddle, the bay lights up around the disturbed water and gives off a blue glow, one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while!

Anacapa Island, Channel Islands National Park, California

Recently I was invited by Marc Blackwood and Chris Hersch to attend a dive on the Spectre, which was one of the best dive boats I’ve been on.  JetBlue currently offers a direct flight MCO->LGB, which was about 30 minutes from Marc’s house, so things worked out and it was an easy non-rev flight for me, with several open seats.  Around 7pm Friday night I arrived at LGB, a very small airport where baggage collection and deplaning are both done outside.  Marc was nearby and within a few minutes we were on the road to a friends house to pickup a scooter for Saturday’s diving.  After that, we went to a burger place which had nearly every imaginable topping you could put on a burger, you simply mix and match…kinda cool, we don’t have that in Florida.

Our next stop was the Spectre dive boat, which is kind enough to allow divers to load gear and spend the night on the boat the night before their dive day.  This was very helpful, especially for those of us who have come from out of town and don’t want to pay for a hotel!  While loading, I met Chris and the rest of our group.