Saturday 10 November 2012

Think You Can Rampage? NLP's Rampage Team Fitness Challenge!

Coming across a LivingSocial deal, I somehow roped three of my semi-athletic male friends to join me in one of the toughest fitness competitions in the nation: The Rampage Fitness Challenge!

The NLP Rampage is a team fitness competition in Manchester, New Hampshire that benefits the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Comprised of 12 events, participants compete in teams of four to push and pull cars, roll monster truck tires, and carry teammates on stretchers across parking lots (this was my favorite event as I was the petite one relaxing on the stretcher which ultimately led to a win in the event).

 Pushing Monster Truck tires - not for the weak!

Competing on a team, each member will bring strengths and weaknesses to each event.  In our case, it was clear to see that John led us in rock climbing, Max won the sprints, Dan quickly chugged the beer (yes, that's the final event!), and we all failed in weightlifting!

 I rock climb while Max outlasts the other sprinters!

What I enjoyed was that this race provided a strong sense of cameraderie as the four of us would sometimes compete shoulder-to-shoulder, and in other events, we'd compete individually allowing the others to cheer on.  This setup also let us get to know the other teams through friendly banter.

Fearing we'd come in last, it turns out we tied for fifth place out of ten!  Mission accomplished and sore bodies to be had!

Enjoying post-race drinks at Milly's Tavern, the only brewery in Manchester!

Saturday 3 November 2012

Newport, Rhode Island's Restaurant Week

If it's one thing I love, it's visiting small towns all over America. With the New England autumn weather in full swing, Kevin Bradbury and I headed to the resort city of Newport, Rhode Island for its Restaurant Week.  

A port town from the 18th century, Newport has the most number of colonial buildings still in existence.  Former presidents such as JFK and Eisenhower held properties in the area which others dubbed the "Summer White Houses." 

Thus, when in Newport, one must visit "The Mansions." Equivalent of touring Beverly Hills' homes, these "summer cottages" are some of the largest and most opulent homes from the 19th and early 20th century. We drove up and down the streets, but for the more inclined, tours of the interior of ten houses can be made through The Preservation Society of Newport County.

The most famous mansion of them all, the Breakers, the former residence of the Vanderbilt family.

Every car that passes by (including ours) reversed to make sure that the camel wasn't real!

In the midst of the mansions lies Newport's Cliff Walk!  A 3.5-mile walk, the road winds behind the homes alongside the shoreline. We entered at Narragansett Avenue (at Ochre Poing Avenue) for a quick photoshoot before moving on.

Cliffwalk View from Narragansett Avenue

Unfortunately, though we wanted to go wine tasting at Greenvale Vineyards (live jazz on Saturdays!), Kevin's car wouldn't start!  Long story short, it has this problem where when the ignition key is put in, the car alarm sounds off, and the only way to stop the alarm is to use the key to unlock the trunk. Usually, the ignition will act up a couple times and then start, but this time, zilch! Stranded on a Saturday afternoon, we decided to walk (whew, small town!) to the restaurant where we had reservations, The Grill at Forty 1 North.

For Restaurant Week, Forty 1 North offered a special menu of a three-course lunch for $16 (money-saving tip: Restaurant Week lunches are usually 50% the dinner price!).  Located on the harbor waterfront, the chic restaurant is a must-stop for anyone in the area with welcoming customer service, quality food, and good views! 

Quote on a mirror outside of Forty 1 North

So excited for the wedge salad at Forty 1 North

Like magic, after we walked back to the car, it started to our surprise!  We were able to bring it back to the hotel and walked over to the Newport Grand Casino for dinner and attend a tribute concert to Zed Leppelin.

Sold-out tribute to Zed Leppelin at the Newport Grand

Kevin's 1997 Jetta. That is the interior (or lack) of the passenger door.  And he wondered why his car wouldn't start...

Luckily the car started again the next morning, but not wanting to take our chances, we headed back to Boston instead of spending the day in Providence.  We'll save that city for another day!