2014 Failure

When Emily asked me the other night how I did with living in the "present" this year, I immediately judged myself a failure since I did not even remember my New Year's resolution for 2014. However, reading last year's blog, I am still impressed with the quote by Lao Tzu.


"If you are depressed you are living in the past.

If you are anxious you are living in the future.

If you are at peace you are living in the present."

But, I still find myself living in the future, while knowing it would be much better to live in the present! Hence, I have printed out the quote to post on the refrigerator so I will not forget it (I am 66) and will work in 2015 to live more in the present!




Katie, David, Henry and Audrey came Christmas afternoon to begin the gathering. The atmosphere of the house changes instantly when grandchildren arrive, with chatter, laughter, running and toys scattering on the floor. Friday afternoon, Kelley, Maggie and Sally arrived and Henry declared, "It must be time to open presents!" What a joy it is for families to gather for the holiday, especially when we are scattered over four states!


Christmas dinner was very merry!


We had a laid back weekend with good food, drink, and enjoying each other's company. Henry loved to build towers with his magnetic blocks, and was otherwise totally absorbed in his Kindle or iPAD. Maggie was constantly telling stories, making faces and laughing easily.



Audrey loved her doll baby, horsey rides and knocking down Henry's magnetic towers! As you can see in the photo above, Henry was quite impressed by my voice reaching his ears from the other side of the playground apparatus!



Thanks Sally, Kelley, Katie and David for coming to spend the holiday with us. Gretchen and I loved having you in Lynchburg! Love to all!



Three Strikes and...

How many times have you been to the ER this year Tom? Let's see, that would be three; stitches from bike mishap #1, punctured lung from bike mishap #2, and a weird intestinal illness that had me under the weather for at least three weeks (haven't been that sick in 30 years). I'm pretty sure I went to the ER more times this year that all the years leading up to this point in my life! Certainly, I don't want to continue this trend. So, no more ER visits in 2015 if I'm to keep pace with my ER visits for the first five decades of my life!


Thanksgiving found Gretchen and I heading for Hillsborough for our traditional celebration. First dinner with David's family...always a great time. Thank you Jim and Linda.



On Friday Gretchen and I took the kids to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham and returned to trim the Alexander's tree with Katie and the kids. The weekend was going well until....


At the Museum.
....the UVA-VA Tech game on Saturday which you can see from the photo below was a dismal affair for Audrey and Grandpa! Oh well, next year!


Thanks for a great Thanksgiving Katie, David, Henry and Audrey!



Baltimore to York Rail Trail

Wednesday, November 5


One of the longest rail trails we have not done in the Mid-Atlantic Region is the one that goes from Baltimore, MD to York, PA following the right of way to the old Northern Central Railroad. We decided to check it out this fall in anticipation of taking the Double Nickels there next spring. In Maryland, the trail is called the Northern Central Rail Trail. Our first stop was to find the southern terminus in Hunt Valley which we did before heading to Gramercy Mansion where we had reservations for the night. Well, Gramercy is a beautiful estate with gardens and an herb farm that serves as a popular wedding venue and B&B. It was built in the early 1900s by the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad as a wedding gift for his daughter! On our arrival, the first thing the owner said to us is we are giving you an upgraded room. She then showed us the room we had reserved which was in the old servant's wing (think small...a double bed filled the space) before taking us to our room for the night; three times the size with a statue in the shower and a wood burning fireplace. I swear I did not mention to her when I made the reservation that today was my birthday!

Just twelve miles north of Gamercy is a restaurant called the Friendly Farm. After Western Maryland football games, my parents would go there for dinner. It is an all-you-can eat, family style, country cooking restaurant located on a beautiful farm. After dinner, my family would head home to PA and my friends and I would head back to Westminister. Gretchen and I have great memories of eating there, so we had to check it out. Well, other than a new entrance and lobby, the restaurant has not changed a bit. We split a chicken dinner (two breasts, two legs, two wings) with all of the normal side dishes including the canned corn and green beans! Our day ended back at Gamercy in front of a roaring fire sipping a good cabernet!


Toasting my 66th birthday!



We had planned to ride part of the Northern Central Rail Trail today but the weather was not in sync with our plans. So we headed to Westminister for another nostalgic experience walking around the downtown and the campus. The biggest change on campus (other than the name change to McDaniel College) was the large trees which now occupy the lawn between the men's dormitories. But then again it has been almost 45 years since I graduated and trees do grow quite a bit over that time period! Lunch at Baugher's ended our tour of Westminister and that restaurant is exactly the same as it was 45 years ago! Gretchen says their ice cream is still really good!


Perhaps I look a bit different than when I roamed these grounds as a student?


After lunch we headed to the Jackson House B&B in Railroad, PA. It's the only lodging on the rail trail, built in 1859. The current owners have done a great job renovating the building and we will definitely stay there with the Double Nickels. Dinner tonight was at a local Italian Restaurant which we will not revisit.



Today dawned clear, cool and a bit windy; a good fall day for a bike ride. We headed to York. The trail winding through beautiful farmland is in great shape and it terminates in downtown York; two blocks from the Mudhook Brewing Company. Lunch with a tasting flight convinced Gretchen and I this was a good place to eat! Yesterday, we talked to a local who suggested Wyndridge Farm in Dallastown as a good place to eat. So we headed there tonight for dinner. It was absolutely packed....and well worth the wait!



We wanted to ride a portion of the rail trail in Maryland to see what it was like, so after breakfast we left the B&B and headed south to New Freedom. Passing through the town, we saw the Northern Central Railway excursion train loading passengers for their history oriented run. FYI, we saw President Lincoln boarding the train! The trail in Maryland is more narrow south of the Mason Dixson Line as it passes through Gunpowder State Park. After a short ride, we loaded the bikes, stopped for a quick lunch and headed to Frederick to meet Sally for dinner.



Sally met us at the hotel and we headed downtown for dinner. We ate at The Orchard Restaurant, another great choice that serves fresh local food with an Asian flare. During our meal, we concluded that we had embarked on a fine tradition, meeting in Frederick to celebrate our birthdays! So with Sally's and mine behind us, we now look forward to getting together in February for Gretchen's birthday! Thanks for dinner Sally, we had a fun time. After dinner, we strolled around the town center, then Sally took us on a tour of her alma mater, Hood College. As always, it was great spending time with you Sally!