Side Adventures

Portland

We didn’t get a lot of pictures of Portland, but we absolutely loved Hipster central. We spent a great deal of time at Powell’s Books (if you haven’t heard of this, check it out! It’s by far the coolest bookstore around) and ate some great vegetarian food. We even found Ellie some much needed bubble tea. And, we took some beautiful pictures on the way down to California on Highway 101 on the Oregon Coast.

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Wyoming

Wyoming proved to be a much needed time to collect ourselves, see the outdoors, and do some laundry.

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South Dakota

The road to South Dakota was a long one, but we enjoyed getting to drive on the open roads and see some smaller towns!

Throughout our drive, there have been endless fields of corn. But what we hadn’t seen before was a Corn Palace!

After stopping at the world famous corn palace, we headed towards the Badlands National Park!

As soon as we entered South Dakota, we began seeing signs for the famous Wall Drugs. There were continuous signs for 355 miles. Of course we had to stop. The entire town of Wall, South Dakota is dominated by this drug store — though it is a drug store that includes ice cream, leather goods, jewelry, and even fudge!

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Just a few miles past Rapid City is the famous Mount Rushmore and we couldn’t resist spending our morning hanging out with a few presidents.

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Chicago

We had a lot of fun in Chicago! We spent some time exploring the city and eating a lot of great food! We interviewed Renee, Claire’s friend’s mom, and then got to go to dinner with her family at a Chicago style pizzeria. We spent our first night in Wilmette, which is where North America’s only B’hai temple is located.

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We also got to take a nighttime architecture tour from the Chicago river. The skyline is beautiful. Our guide looked like Bradley Cooper and was named Brad!

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Our friend Amelia who goes to school at Northwestern met up with us for a lovely lunch and showed us around campus and Lake Michigan.

Pittsburgh and Cleveland

The drive from Oneonta to Pittsburgh was probably our most scenic drive so far. We stopped for lunch in the middle of nowhere  Pennsylvania where the only vegetarian items on the menu were grilled cheese and fries. We had a short stop in Pittsburgh as well, but the two people we interviewed were great. Not a whole lot has happened in Cleveland, but we spoke with a lovely speech pathology grad student and got to meet up with our friend, Maddie, from Impact to see fireworks!

Oneonta, New York

We made a short stop in Oneonta, New York to visit a school – Springbrook – and interview a few people. It was a bit far and pretty rural, but was definitely a worthy stop. Oneonta and the surrounding area is beautiful. We were hosted by the lovely Margo Kolenda (pictured below) and her parents, so thanks Margo!

New York City, New Jersey, and Boston

When we arrived on Princeton’s campus, we were greeted by Claire’s boyfriend, David, and these delicious cupcakes he baked for us!

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We spent some time in the city and around Princeton’s campus. We took a tour of the Google office, thanks to Claire’s friend Stefani, tried driving through the city (don’t worry, it was a NIGHTMARE), and hung out at a scenic park near campus. We also stopped by the Autism Speaks office!

We’ve taken to advertising whenever and wherever we can. We shared our information on an LED drawing board in a random store at a Princeton mall. We also chalked all over the streets in New Jersey.

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Also, turns out Ellie and I are the same height as parking meters…

We’ve spent lots of time by the water in Boston. We read by a lake (well, I napped, they read) with Ellie’s cousin, Sasha, and then stopped by another lake with ducks.

Unbeknownst to me, the roof of the Tufts library has a beautiful garden and view of the city, so after getting dessert at J.P. Licks we hung out up there!

If you’re looking for something fun to do on a Sunday morning in Boston, head over to the SoWa Market. It’s three lots – one of food trucks, another with jewelry, crafts, and art, and a third with a farmer’s market! Since beginning our trip, Claire, Ellie, and I created a bucket list of fun stuff we want to accomplish throughout the summer. This list includes taking a picture with a fireman, so when we saw the South End fire station on our way to SoWa, we had to stop. The firemen were so friendly and even let us wear their jackets for the picture! Then, as we walked back to the car, we stopped by again and they brought us water and ice pops! We also bought t-shirts from them and with every purchase, they were giving away books, so Ellie picked up a book with Hebrew on the cover (obviously), Claire picked up a brunch book, and the firefighter Mark brought me a book about Texas in honor of the Longhorns.

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xo,
Renee

North Carolina and Washington D.C.

We have had some very busy days here in North Carolina and DC. We took a lovely hike in North Carolina with my sister. It was great to get some exercise and see some nature. We also rekindled our relationship with Mother Nature by hugging some trees.

We took a tour of the UNC, Chapel Hill campus:

Next, we started tearing up DC. We were the classic tourists: White House, Capitol, Supreme Court. Luckily for us, my friend, Sarah, got us some incredible Senate and House passes and we watched the Senate discuss immigration laws for a good hour.

We also stopped by the DC offices for AutismSpeaks!

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We saw a lot of people in DC! We met up with Rachel Hillman, one of our Impact counselors who has known us since before we became “us.”

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We also had a surprise visit from Claire’s mom!

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All in all, we loved crazy, busy, beautiful DC.

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Until next time,

Ellie

Alabama and Georgia

We have decided to mark our territory in every place that we interview, so get ready for some chalk pictures! Below are New Orleans and Alabama.

On Thursday morning, we awoke at the crack of dawn to drive from New Orleans to Lousiana. After leaving our hosts (who sent us on the rode with the epitome of a tourist breakfast in Nola, beignets from Cafe du Monde), we made the drive through the beautiful, green lands of Louisiana and Mississippi. We made the ride even better by listening to some music we brought tilted “oldies” which included such amazing artists from our childhood as Avril Lavigne, the cast of High School Musical, and the Backstreet boys, all of whom received some incredible backup vocalists during our car ride.

We were originally on a bit of a tighter time frame to get to Atlanta as we had an interview scheduled for 4 (note the early wake up). Unfortunately, it was not until we were in Alabama that we remembered that there was a time change between Alabama and Georgia and as a result the interview was looking less and less feasible. Luckily for us, our interviewee was extremely flexible and suggested a time later in the week. Suddenly flush with time, we took the day to explore Alabama a little bit, while listening to our new audio book “Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg. With our new bursting feminism, we stopped in Auburn for a delicious lunch and then found an adorable farmer’s market where we stocked up on organic fruit and Claire’s much-awaited goat cheese.

We also stopped at the Fractured Flamingo harbor in West Point, Alabama to dip our feet into the water and enjoy the beautiful scenery. I, personally, don’t remember making the decision to stop, although that is probably because I was asleep until I woke up and saw the water.

~Ellie

Louisiana

Although the primary purpose of this trip is to create a different narrative around disability and talk with sibs, we will be exploring the cities we’re in during our free time! We created this page for anyone interested in following along in our side adventures. Enjoy!

We had a super fun first drive as we headed out of Houston and towards New Orleans! One of the things Claire and I love most about driving through Texas is the long open roads. On our sides were beautiful green fields that appeared to go on forever. Ellie, our Californian, was pleasantly surprised by all the greenery.

On our way, we passed through Gross Tete, Louisiana and stopped at the Tiger Truck Stop. We needed gas, and they had a sign advertising a live tiger exhibit, so of course we had to stop. There really was a live tiger, but it acted a lot more like a domesticated dog than a tiger. Inside the convenience store, Claire and I found a bunch of Tony the Tiger paraphernalia. We also drove through the gorgeous LSU campus in Baton Rouge. We’re loving all the marshland – it’s very pretty!

Once in New Orleans, we spent some time with our lovely hosts – the Spring family, who is friends with my family – and then had dinner at an Indian restaurant called Nirvana near the Tulane campus on Magazine Street.

We started the day off with a visit to the French Quarter, where we took some pics by the river, ate beignets at Cafe Du Monde, and stopped at a cool secondhand bookstore (more photos to come).

Afterwards, we headed to the National WWII Museum. We saw the “Beyond All Boundaries” film, which is narrated by Tom Hanks. Visitors don’t just watch clips about the war, they experience it. There are fake guns and explosions, the chairs vibrate and shake during battle scenes, and foam bubbles even came down from the ceiling as the movie discussed troop morale during Christmastime. Despite the drama, the movie was pretty informative about America’s role in the war. The museum exhibits were heavily focused on D-Day, but they had some really cool stuff on display, such as old troop uniforms from both the US and Germany, a copy of the first draft of FDR’s famous speech, and some ration cards handed out to American citizens. Finally, we had lunch at the delicious Carmo Cafe, which is a tropical restaurant that boasts local, vegetarian friendly, made to order food.

xo,
Renee

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