I’ve been thinking about visiting family in Connecticut over the Thanksgiving holidays for the past several years. My brother, Bob, and his wife, Joyce, always have a big family get-together, and I hate missing it every year. This year we finally decided to go for it, adding in a few days in New York City beforehand to pick up Tom. Bryan and Maureen were willing to make the trip too, so the most economical option was to drive. First reaction was “Yay, road trip!!” On second thought, the idea wasn’t quite as appealing as it was in our younger days. Spending 18 hours with four adults in our Honda Accord didn’t exactly sound fun. But everything went amazingly well, and we actually enjoyed all that time together. (At least I did!) I kept a journal along the way, so here’s a brief recap of our 8-day adventure. One note: Dan did ALL the driving. Thanks honey!
Day 1 — Sunday, Nov. 24: Dan chose the scenic route through North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania rather than I-95 through D.C., and the trip went well. Took us 10 hours to drive to Chambersburg, Pa. Pretty cramped, but we all survived. Stayed at the Fairfield Inn off the highway and ate dinner at Appleby’s.
You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy the Hershey Chocolate Factory!
Day 2 — Monday, Nov. 25: Left around 9 a.m. Stopped at Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Pa. along the way. Kind of a cheesy tour with singing and dancing cows, but interesting history about the Hershey family. Lots of overpriced candy in the store, too, but we still bought some! It was a fun break. Arrived in NYC around 3 p.m. Checked into the Holiday Inn Midtown. Nice hotel. Went to the trendy Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar across the street because Maureen had a four-square coupon for free wine. Great deal! Ate dinner at Bella Napoli, decent Italian place. Walked around Bryant Park Christmas market and watched the ice skaters. Really cold! Bryan came down with a sore throat overnight. Poor thing was sick the entire week but never complained. What a trooper!
Day 3 — Tuesday, Nov. 26: Dan spent the morning moving the car around so he could get free parking. :( Maureen, Bryan and I decided to walk up to Macy’s and shop along the way. We met Tom and Dan at the Lincoln Center for a free lunchtime Dixieland jazz concert. Very nice. Started raining so we decided to head indoors. Kids and I walked through Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So much culture! Went out to Grimaldi’s pizza for dinner. Great cannoli for dessert! Headed to Paddy Reilly’s pub afterward for Irish music. Also went to the Rodeo Bar but weren’t crazy about the country music. Walked back to the hotel in the cold and rain.
Rainy day in Central Park. At least the Flahertys provided a spot of color!
Day 4 — Wednesday, Nov 27: Lots of rain. Picked the wrong day to drive to Connecticut! Somewhat of a nightmare getting out of the city. Stopped at my friend Donna’s in Ridgefield for lunch and had a very nice visit. Arrived at Bob’s around 3 p.m. Checked in at Marriott Courtyard in Waterbury for the first night. Kids took the train in and had big problems. Train stopped and they had to return to Bridgeport and wait in the rain for a new train. Ended up being a 5-hour trip instead of 3. So much for a nice, relaxing ride! Picked them up and went to Joyce’s for dinner. Mark’s family joined us. Bryan and Maureen went home with them, and Tom came with us to the hotel for the night.
Day 5 — Thursday, Nov. 28: Happy Thanksgiving Day! Went to Dan’s friend Flip’s house to pick up quilts and straps for moving our niece Laura’s piano later on, then back to Bob’s. Ate dinner around 2. They set it up as a buffet in the basement. Really nice. Traditional turkey, stuffing, and side dishes. Joyce did a wonderful job with the cooking! Guests besides our family included Laura and Mark, Mark’s mom Linda, Simone, Maurice, Ricky, Mark, Lorine, Kendra, Eric, and Mom. Cousin Bill came by later. Played games in the evening — Trivia and Maureen’s movie guessing game. Fun time! Dan, Tom and I stayed overnight at Bob and Joyce’s.
Nice to finally get together with my brothers and their families in Connecticut.
Mom enjoyed her time with the grandkids.
Day 6 — Friday, Nov. 29: Wonderful brunch at Laura’s. She did a great job! First the guys moved her piano from Bob’s house. Quite the production but with Dan in charge it went smoothly. :) Laura and Mark’s renovated ranch was very cute. Afterward, went to the Timex factory store and picked up a few Christmas gifts. Interesting to see how it all started in Waterbury! Headed to the mall where 11 of us saw the movie Catching Fire. Dan and Tom went to see Flip and various cousins. Met up at Bob’s for delicious turkey soup and salad dinner. After, went to Mark’s to celebrate Lorine’s 50th birthday. He did a great job with the party and made a wonderfully sweet speech about Lorine. Another fun family get-together!
Day 7 — Saturday, Nov. 30: Woke at 7 a.m. Joyce was sweet enough to made us a big breakfast of bacon, scrambled eggs, English muffins, and bagels. Very much appreciated! On the road at 8 a.m. Long trip to Boone, N.C., for an overnight at Dan’s sister Deb’s, but all went smoothly. Arrived about 7:30 p.m. Deb prepared a wonderful dinner for us. Enjoyed our visit.
Day 8 — Sunday, Dec. 1: Went to church in the morning. Left about 11:30 a.m. Lots of traffic as we joined all the other Thanksgiving travelers on the last leg home. Arrived about 5:30 p.m. Were happy to be home sweet home!