September 25, 2009
I got back last night from a trip that I’ve been looking forward to since February, which is when I decided I wanted to take Lisa up on her open invitation to come visit her and the critters at Mack Hill Farm in New Hampshire. She suggested late summer or early fall as the best times, and as it worked out, my friend Jamie was getting married around that time near Pittsburgh, so I decided to combine the two into one big road trip. This was the Fusion’s first time out of Michigan, and we went 1,758 miles through eight states in seven days.
Day 1: Michigan to Pennsylvania
I had procrastinated on my packing (what with not having to catch an airplane at a certain time), so spent the morning loading up various bags in between checking on stuff going on at work. I spent the afternoon and early evening driving to the official wedding hotel in Pennsylvania, only making stops for important things like taking a picture of a Big Boy I didn’t have in my collection yet and getting some Michigan wine for Lisa (unfortunately the store I stopped at didn’t have any Zinfandel, so I ended up choosing two varieties that looked good to me, which I figured she could at least serve to other visitors) and balls for the pups (I did not know what might meet with Princess Kitty’s approval and wasn’t sure she’d even deign to come out to meet me). I met Dorea, my roommate for the weekend, in our hotel room; we’d exchanged e-mail and texts and such but had never met in person. We headed out to dinner at a nearby restaurant and fortunately found that we got along just fine. I tried to stay up to meet the wedding party in the hotel bar for a few drinks after they returned from the rehearsal dinner but I just couldn’t manage it and went to bed instead.
Day 2: All PA, All the Time
Thanks to turning in early, I woke up early and decided to go exploring. I’d come across a quilt show announcement when looking for nearby cemeteries (the show was in a church that shares a name with a cemetery), so that’s where I headed. It was a small show, and most of the quilts were displayed folded and draped over the backs of pews so it wasn’t possible to see all the details, but there were some absolutely wonderful antique quilts there and no barriers to getting up really close to them to study the parts that were visible. When I got back to the hotel, I grabbed a quick lunch and then got ready for the main event, the Team Awesome wedding. I’d brought two dresses and several pairs of shoes so I could put off a final decision about what to wear. I ended up choosing the dress that coordinated better with my purse and the shoes that would be comfortable for the whole time (there was a shuttle bus to the wedding and reception site, which was very convenient but also meant no chance to go out to the car to change things up mid-event; I ended up not bringing a sweater because I didn’t want to have to drag it around until it was chilly enough to need itâ€”that turned out to be a poor decision). Once we were all gussied up, Dorea and I went down to catch the shuttle, where we ran into our friends Sara and Adrienna (I’d never met the former in person before but had seen Adrienna one of the times she came up to Detroit) and Adrienna’s husband Aaron. The bus dropped us off at the reception site in time to greet the bride and have a drink at the pre-wedding cocktail hour. Then it was time to stroll over to the ceremony site and find a seat. The wedding was touching and fun and seemed to reflect the personalities of the couple very well. There was no receiving line, so we guests proceeded directly to pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres before going into the reception shelter (I would say “building”, but it had no walls) to listen to speeches and toasts and eat from the buffet before the dancing started. There was also photo booth setup where guests could go get pictures taken; I’d never seen that at a wedding before and it was a fun thing. Just when I thought I might have to fashion a poncho out of one of the tablecloths to keep from freezing to death (I’d failed to bring a sweater, remember?), the shuttle came to take us all back to the hotel, where I changed into something a little less formal before going to the post-reception festivities in the hotel bar (and later in the bridal couple’s suite after the bar closed). It was a fun night.
Day 3: PA to New York
Poor Dorea had to get up early to make a flight to the rest of her vacation; I woke up just long enough to say good-bye to her before sleeping in another few hours. Then I packed up all my stuff and started toward Lisa’s. Well, I started toward Lisa’s after I stopped at a few cemeteries near the hotel, and then since I’d decided to avoid the interstate for a while I kept seeing more cemeteries (people have been dying in Pennsylvania for way longer than they have around me in Michigan) which I felt compelled to stop at, and then once I did get on the interstate to make up some time I got distracted by stuff at rest areas (scenery and unusually colored hand dryers, in particular), so I barely got into New York before I was too tired to drive anymore.
Day 4: NY to New Hampshire
I was determined to not dawdle so much on this day as I had the day before, so I exercised great self-restraint and only stopped at one cemetery on the way to Lisa’s. It was a rather large cemetery, though, and I also had to stop to take pictures of scenery a few times, so I ended up not getting to the farm until well into the afternoon. Since this entry has gotten rather long already and I still need to get the related pictures uploaded, I’ll stop here for today and continue with the second half of my trip next time.