If ever there was a weekend to perfectly exemplify our travel style, this past weekend in New Hampshire was it. True to form, we made a plan, confirmed the details, and abandoned ship immediately upon arrival.
I swear we left with the best of intentions.
The plan: Drive to New Hampshire Friday night, enjoy a day of skiing & a night of red wine and Italian food on Saturday, and conquer another half day of skiing on Sunday. Full disclosure: we never deliver on that half day, but we always plan for it as if this just might be our year.
The reality: None of the above, with the obvious exception of red wine and Italian food.
Here is how things went awry…
1. We discovered the worst waitress in America. Stemming from an absurd dinner stop this summer that was straight out of Deliverance (in Connecticut, no less), we can no longer just eat dinner anywhere. We demand an experience, and we decided to cash in at P.F. Chang’s in Farmington, CT. ”Ask, and you shall receive” is no joke, kids.
Our experience came in the form of a gum drop of a waitress. If you go to the P.F. Chang’s in Farmington and an over-zealous waitress talking louder than is socially acceptable tells you her name is Stacey no less than three times, do not be dissuaded. Stick around and wait for the magic to happen, as it did for us:
- After placing our order, Stacey looked horrified that non-vegetarians would order tofu. Stacey knew we weren’t vegetarians because her response was, “Is one of you a… vegetarian?”
- Stacey grimaced at K for revealing he grew up in Texas–after an absurd amount of prodding on Stacey’s part to reveal where we each grew up.
- Stacey stared at the hubs for an awkwardly long time before frowning and informing him that he “has a very unique look.” When I said, “You mean handsome?” (with fire in my voice, naturally) Stacey replied, “Uh yeah, that’ll work. I guess.”
- After we ordered water three times to no avail, Stacey said “Y’all better drink it if I’m going to do the extra work to bring you water.”
Rather than jab a chopstick in Stacey’s eye, we turned her into a “what WILL she do next?” sort of game… but weren’t sad to say goodbye.
2. Because of our choice to have a longer dinner, we hit near whiteout conditions in Vermont, which meant a 1 AM arrival in New Hampshire. Once K got us to New Hampshire safely, things continued to spiral out of control when our tiny little rental car got stuck at the bottom of the hill up to B’s parents’ house and we had to walk the last 200 feet in the snow, with all our luggage and groceries. The snow trudging meant that a glass of victory wine celebrating our arrival was necessary, which THEN meant a 3 AM bedtime because one glass of wine turned into I-don’t-know-how-many beers. Standard.
3. Six hours later, we rose to our alarm clocks, not so ready to take on the day. What I’m saying is, suddenly snuggling inside seemed much more appealing and zero desire to ski + 100% desire to day-drink = no thank you, slopes. Mathematics!
K surveyed the scene and after a quick debate on whether we REALLY just drove five hours to New Hampshire only to abandon the ski plan (by quick debate I mean a lot of “well, what do YOU want to do” and a Best Out of Seven coin flip that told us FIVE TIMES to go skiing), it was settled. We would go buy a lot of beer and a lot of cheap sleds–and at a New Hampshire Walmart, no less! Guys, this was the real deal.
There were snow angels.
There were sledding races.
There was Cruel Intentions (THROWBACK), serious afternoon naps, and a crazy little cat named Saucy.
There was another year of overstaying our welcome at Three Tomatoes.
The real lesson here: lazy traveler or not, when you hit a domino effect of absurd experiences in a short amount of time while traveling, make sure you’re with people who can roll with the punches (and that you’re one of those people). I can think of plenty of people who would have taken the front end of this trip and turned it into an automatic downer of a weekend–the #2‘s of this world, mostly.
When it comes down to it, there are few people–and no other types of travelers–that I would have rather had with me on a Saturday morning in New Hampshire, debating the pros and cons of skiing vs. day-drinking.
Am I pumped to leave for Paris in just two days? Le duh. This doesn’t mean, however, that I’m not already plotting our next move. As soon as our flight touches down on Monday, you can bet that I’ll be counting down the seconds to what’s next.
Though our next big trip won’t be happening until late summer (and details on that to come), we have a few scheduled weekend getaways to hold us over.
Here’s what we’ve got on the books:
After the hubs
pummeled me to the ground and clubbed my knee with his ski pole tripped me getting off the ski lift, I believe I declared that I would never ski again. It was all very traumatic, but what would 2012 be without Mount Sunapee and Three Tomatoes and lots of red wine? Though this has yet to be officially scheduled, I’m crossing my fingers that February will wrap up with lots of layers and one too many hot toddies. (Never you mind that I’ve never actually had a hot toddy).
Why YES, I will be spending my birthday weekend at a 55+ community. Why? Free accommodations, quality time with the hubs’s grandparents, and HARRY POTTER. I’m unabashedly excited for this, as I haven’t been to Orlando since my 8th birthday when I was scarred for life by the horror that is the Haunted Mansion. I’m kind of a wimp, what can I say?
The wino and I ended 2011 as roomies, co-workers, and friends that finished each other’s sentences and just generally made everyone else feel a little creeped out and uncomfortable. When someone referred to us as sister wives, that’s when we knew it was getting unhealthy. But now! It’s been over a month since I’ve seen her shining face, so a trip to her new abode–plus wine and cheese and chain crying to sappy TV–is necessary.
Guess what! Any guilt I felt over caving to the all-inclusive has been washed away, travelers. Washed away by windy morning commutes and jamming myself into a subway car full of puffy jackets and seeing one too many girls wearing dress pants with Uggs. Give me sun and sand and little umbrellas in my drinks. Cure my SAD, Mexico! No but seriously… cure my SAD. Someone. Do it.
You know what? I feel better already about the dread and doom I’m sure to face Tuesday morning when I wake up NOT in Paris.
Moving right along, then?
I was recently lamenting that I’m excited for this year to be over because for some reason, I had decided it hasn’t been particularly exciting. And I guess, in comparison to 2010, how did 2011 stand a chance? 2010 was 9 months of wedding planning and events, followed by 15 days in Egypt & Italy. Of course 2011 was going to seem boring.
But really, I was being completely ridiculous. I have a habit of counting down to the next big thing and skimming over whatever exciting thing in my life just passed by. I could say that my New Year’s resolution will be to live in the moment, but we already have too many exciting things happening in 2012 AND 2013 for me to commit to that (and more on this to come!). So instead of promising to slow down and stop looking ahead, I’ll at least give you this: a moment to pause and review my year in travel.
Las Vegas, New Year’s Eve
The Mirage Resort and Casino - Centrally located, comfortable rooms, surprisingly well-priced for New Year’s Eve weekend.
The Beatles LOVE - My first and only Cirque de Soleil experience and I can’t recommend it enough.
Bouchon Bistro - Seriously yum, especially if you’re into French food.
Mount Sunapee - An annual tradition four years running, this is the perfect mountain for skiers who only make it to the slopes once a season.
Three Tomatoes Trattoria - Just as much a tradition as Mount Sunapee, I’m not sure if I love their bread + crushed garlic & olive oil concoction or their rooster wine carafes more. (You may have already noticed their rooster carafes around these parts).
Hotel Palomar - Great location, huge room, and dog-friendly so monsieur pugface was able to join us.
Beacon Bar & Grill - Bottomless mimosa brunch and walking distance to our hotel? Done and done.
Acqua Al 2 - I dream about the pasta we ate here, and can’t wait to go back with a larger group and try the tasting menu. With a sister location in Florence, this is the real deal.
Orfila Vineyards and Winery - Hubs’s aunt & uncle recommended this as a stop on our way home from the zoo. Completely adorable and reasonably priced.
Georges at the Cove - Loved La Jolla, and George’s was the perfect way to cap our evening. We sat down at sunset and the view was gorgeous.
Poseidon on the Beach - We were originally told we haaaad to go to Jake’s, but we arrived too hungry to wait. Poseidon’s was open air, right on the beach, and without having been to Jake’s, I’m declaring it the better choice.
Vieques, Puerto Rico
W Retreat & Spa - We stayed here right after they opened, and I’m sure that now the kinks of being a newbie hotel have been worked out, it’s perfection.
Abe’s Tours - We opted for the kayaking & snorkeling tour and weren’t disappointed. Our tour guide’s excitement was contagious.
Bio Bay Tour - Canoeing in a clear-bottom canoe out into the middle of the bay in the pitch black, and then jumping into the water to see little organisms light up around you? It felt like something out of Harry Potter.
We stayed at K’s co-worker’s adorable cabin in the woods, and spent the weekend trekking around in the river, drinking beer, and barbecuing. Soo… not much in the way of recommendations aside from “make a friend and do this.” However: we stopped at the Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery on our way home and it was pure perfection.
Truro’s Beaches - We stay at B‘s house in Harwich, and usually spend our day poolside. However, we made it up to Truro on one recent trip and I fell in love.
Pepe’s Wharf - After Truro, we drove up to Provincetown and dined here. Delicious food, gorgeous view, and the perfect town to stroll around and explore post-dinner.
The Starboard - There’s really nothing else you need to do in Dewey aside from brunch and make-your-own Bloody Mary’s at the Starboard. You probably won’t remember anything else you do anyway.
Grotto Pizza – Wait, this is totally something else you need to do in Dewey.
Another situation where we stayed with family and cooked at home, but I recommend Hilton Head in general. It was completely different than I had envisioned, and in all the best ways. OH, and I don’t remember the name of the company we used, but I highly recommend jet-skiing.
You can read all of my Philadelphia recommendations here, but I can’t reiterate enough how important it is to mention when you’re traveling for a special occassion.
Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, & London
We’re capping off our year with a cabin in the Poconos, and though I don’t have anything to recommend as of yet, I can tell you that HomeAway.com was seriously easy to use. Let’s just hope the house is as cute as it looks.
Really, what was I whining about? This isn’t even including the weekend trips to Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and all our official NYC staycations! Not to mention, this was the first year that the wino and I were in the same city for any sort of extended period.
So, 2011: I apologize for wishing you away so quickly. You were a good–if not busy, hectic, and a little bit stressful–year. Even so, step aside, please.
2012, you’re up.