Buckey O’Neill Cabin on the Grand Canyon

Wife and I are really excited for our trip down the Grand Canyon to the Phantom Ranch via mule transport. To top things off, we booked a stay in Buckey O’Neill cabin, an actual historic landmark, that sits right on the edge of the canyon with a warm fireplace, king-sized bed and a private patio. We are excited for what should be our first White Christmas!

Here is a little background on Mr. O’Neill and his cabin from Wikipedia:

The Buckey O’Neill Cabin was built in 1890 by William “Buckey” O’Neill in what would become Grand Canyon National Park. O’Neill was, among many other things, a member of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, who had previously been an author and a judge in his native Arizona. He was killed in action in Cuba in 1898, but was instrumental in establishing what would eventually become the Grand Canyon Railroad.

The cabin is the oldest extant structure on the South Rim. It was used as an office for tourist accommodations in the area during the 1890s, which eventually evolved into the Bright Angel Hotel. After the hotel was sold to the Fred Harvey Company it remained much as it was when built. It was incorporated into the rebuilt Bright Angel Lodge complex by Mary Jane Colter in 1935.

The one-story cabin is a wood frame structure on a low stone foundation, right on the edge of the Grand Canyon. The shallow-pitched roof is covered with wood shingles. The cabin is connected to other lodge buildings using compatible, unobtrusive materials, and has been cited as an early example of an adaptive reuse of a historic structure. The cabin is one of the guest accommodations of the Bright Angel lodge.

The Buckey O’Neill Cabin was individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 29, 1975. It is included in the Grand Canyon Village National Historic Landmark District.

Prescott Family Reunion 2011

Back in July, Wife and I flew out to freezing Arizona for another installment of the Bernasconi Family Reunion.

We enjoyed riding the quads, Montezuma Castle National Monument, driving a 50 mph or less Jeep, adult conversation in the midst of chasing small children, avoiding the lava carpet, piñatas and the Prescott Costco.

Once back in Phoenix, we enjoyed touring Ramon and Angela’s new mansion and a calm evening at the Bernasconi’s (Mario, Pam, and Vincenzo) with a little bit of rain:

Now we wait for the next reunion in 2015.

Hiking in Five Towns

Back in 2010, Wife and I took an awesome trip to Switzerland and Italy. Below is one of the days from our adventure.

After sleeping in until around 8, when Manarola begins to stir with speaker announcements, Wife and I prepared for some hiking through the national park.However, we first needed breakfast and once the bags were packed, we walked down the hill and found a little café close to the water.

The woman behind the counter took our order in perfect English (it might help to point out she grew up in New York). As learned from our friend Ricky, Italians have some bread and coffee in the morning, that is it. So Wife enjoyed the toast while I enjoyed the coffee (with some ham and eggs).

With a few calories settling in our stomachs, we began the short hike across all five towns. The first part of the hike, between Manarola and Corniglia, was quite nice until we reached the steps that took us up to the cliff-side town. I don’t remember how many steps there were, but both of us were quite winded and sweaty by the time we reached the top. Before we go next time, we are definitely working on a stairmaster!

The trails became smaller as we left Manarola and made our way to Vernazza. Once in Vernazza, we decided we wanted lunch and found a cafe near the water (you can tell the town was getting bigger with all of the cruise ship visitors). Once the pizza and beer was gone, Wife and I discussed our next move. I said we should continue while she argued that the views would be the same. Lucky for me, I won in the end.

Well, not really lucky for me. Rick Steves suggested to make the hike between Monterosso and Vernazza first and we were doing it last. The trail (if you can call it that) was large enough for one. It was difficult and the hike down the side of the hills into Monterosso went on forever. But we made it!

We arrived in Monterosso in the late afternoon and decided to take a boat back to Manarola. The cool ocean breeze felt great along with the slight spray from the boat. Once back in Manarola, we enjoyed some gelato and walked the La Via dell’Amore to Riomaggiore just so we could say we walked the entire trail in one day.

After a shower and dinner, we relaxed on our balcony, once again enjoyed the view, and fell asleep dreaming of hiking trails and our next destination, Florence.

A Mexican Wedding

Over the Halloween weekend, Wife and I flew to Phoenix to celebrate her 29th birthday (I know, every girls dream right!). On the Friday, we drove down to Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) to celebrate my cousin Mando’s wedding (finally) to Melissa. While lounging at the resort we enjoyed food, drinks, the beach, pools, water slides, a hot tub or two, and of course a mini-reunion of the California and Arizona Bernadine.

As a short side story, I knew this was a lasting relationship almost 12 years ago (at least I am claiming this now). Mando and I flew to Hawaii for a Christmas holiday. While there we ran out of funds and a young woman named Melissa wired us a few bucks. Now, if she was willing to send money to two idiots, then you know she is a keeper.

So here is to the newly wed couple, Mando and Melissa. May they and all their hippie ways bring them a long life and happiness.

Arrival in The Five Towns

After our week in Switzerland, Wife and I boarded another train and headed south to Cinque Terre. After six hours and chatting with some American Royalty (we spoke for a few hours with the daughter of the former Walmart president who brought us the bar code) we arrived in Monterosso.

Another short train ride brought us to our town for the next two days, Manarola. It was nice to finally arrive and have the ability to stretch our legs…once we climbed the huge hill to our hotel (at least it felt huge to us, the 80-year-old women we saw begged to differ). Tired and sweaty we checked into our room and passed out for a few minutes.

Once up and ready again, we explored our village, purchased our trail pass (Cinque Terre is a national park), and walked along La Via dell’Amore which led us through some beautiful views and to the next town, Riomaggiore. Wife also informed me that the thousands of padlocks along the trail were put there by young lovers in hopes of eternal love. Can someone please do a study to see how well that has worked out for most people?

We made the best of our time in Riomaggiore by searching for an ATM and a bottle of wine to enjoy on our balcony. While we did find many bottles, none of them had a screw-top so we could not open any of them, but more on that later.

Back in Manarola, we sat down for dinner (at a Rick Steve’s recommendation) and chatted it up with a couple from San Francisco at the adjoining table. They had just finished the hike we planned for the following day, so it was great to get some real world opinions. Later during the dinner, Wife thought it would be nice to spill her glass of wine on our neighbor (she did not really mean to, but still).

At the end of our dinner, on recommendation from our new friends, we ordered a bottle of wine (only 15 euros) to go. The hostess brought me the bottle and a wine opener. I decided she wanted me to open it myself and proceeded to do so. She came back telling me not to and to take the wine opener with me and bring it back the next day.

At that point we learned we could be gods in the tourism world of Italy. We now had a way to open those corked bottles of wine. Our new friends, now jealous, asked if we could escort them back to their room so they could open their bottles. Luckily, their place was only a few buildings away, and after they opened their bottles, they profusely thanked us. Wife and I then headed back to our B&B to enjoy our bottle on the balcony.

For the rest of the evening, we enjoyed our wine and the breathtaking view (and I do mean breathtaking- I could have sat there all night). The relaxation was definitely needed to prepare for the seven mile hike the next day.