After several months of quarantine, I imagine everyone has a bit of wanderlust. Despite the travel bans in place, my heart longs for a destination beyond the grocery store. As we have seen lately, it’s human nature when someone tells us we can’t do something that our natural instinct is to say, ‘oh yes I can!’
I thought long and hard before hitting the road. There is no doubt the virus is real and frightening and I fully understand the need to follow the rules. But my closets are clean, my cupboards are straightened and I’m up to date on my seasonal chores. I am definitely ready for some fun. So, I packed up my hand sanitizer and face masks along with some books to read and other travel essentials. Mr. Smith kindly helped me load up the car, kissed me goodbye and I was off. I grabbed a latte at Starbucks and before long found myself on I-80, headed to Michigan.
The drive across Pennsylvania was stunning. The brilliant colors of the trees were near peak in the mountains, the traffic was light, and the weather was sunny and clear. Pennsylvania is a wide state. From Wilkes Barre, it takes around four hours to hit the Ohio border. The foliage in Ohio wasn’t as far along as that in Pennsylvania, but that left me something to look forward to later on the drive back.
After an easy-peasy drive (as easy peasy as an 8-hour drive can be), I arrived at my sister’s home for 12 days of girl time. Saturday night was filled with catching up, eating and sipping wine. Sunday was a chilly, dreary day that made for a perfect “disappearing day” which was a pleasure in itself but also allowed us to settle into our time together.
We are smart enough to realize that a visit during COVID was going to be different. We would normally be out and about on an almost daily basis – shopping, visiting, going to movies and dining out. Not this visit. I did read two books, binged watched a couple of TV series and tried my hand at gougeres. They were delicious, but not quite perfect. I will compare a couple of recipes and give it another go soon.
We had beautiful fall weather allowing me to get out for some afternoon walks. I love looking at all the different houses, the fall leaves and creative Halloween decorations. This one was my personal favorite.
We worked at cleaning and organizing her basement. I don’t want to say Jeanne is a hoarder, so I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.
I had recently purchased the 2020 Somerset Holiday Magazine Vol. 14 and we were inspired to try our hand at some Santa making. We spent a pleasant afternoon hunkered over her kitchen peninsula with our felt, pipe cleaners, glues, tapes and assorted other supplies. Our glue gun injuries were minor. Making the first one is always a learning experience and we both have thoughts on things we would do a little differently in the future but were pleased with our initial creations.
The biggest highlight of the visit was Jeanne’s birthday. Her oldest son and daughter-in-law are part of her pod so we invited them to birthday dinner. I baked her a birthday cake and made a big pan of lasagna. We set the table, lit some candles and celebrated my favorite sister’s 78 years on earth.
Suddenly our 12 days had passed. It was Friday morning and I was loading my suitcase into the car to head home to Mr. Smith. As eager as I was to see Mr. Smith, it was a bittersweet parting. With the shocking rise in COVID cases nationwide, we didn’t feel like making any holiday plans that we might have to cancel. Like families everywhere, we are feeling “on hold.”
Mother Nature provided me with a beautiful drive home, the miles and miles of magnificent fall foliage the perfect back drop for my wandering thoughts. I am so very happy that I was able to make my Autumn Escape happen. I spent less money than I usually do (you’re welcome Mr. Smith) and we watched less news than I feared we would (thank you Jeanne). I am extremely fortunate that I can simply pack up and head out. And I’m grateful that while I can’t currently fly to Paris or drive to Montreal, I can always escape to my sister’s home to recharge and indulge in girl talk.
C’est la vie.
Sounds wonderful. You are very fortunate to have a sister. I miss just heading out on small adventures…listening to a favorite podcast, wandering through stores, window shopping…etc etc. I hope those days happen again……
Hello, Nancy! Yes, I am very lucky to have my sister. I’m afraid it’s going to be some time before we can be out and about without some level of worry. What are your favorite podcasts? This is something I haven’t really taken advantage of, but this may be the winter. I hope your Sunday weather is as beautiful as mine is today. A little chilly and windy, but clear and sunny. Have a great week…
Sounds like a wonderful visit! I am glad you were able to make the trip and have some fun. What a good idea to make crafts. I am going to keep this idea in mind as an activity to do with others. Thanks for your post, and enjoy your day!
Hi, Betty. It was a wonderful visit. We rearranged her furniture, fussed with her fireplace mantle and mused on her landscaping. It was different from our normal visit, but I think we’ll both remember it fondly. Thanks for reading.
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Loved every word of this, felt a vicarious road trip thrill, and nestled in for some sister time in Jeanne’s comfy home. I have sisters too…but a great distance yawns between where I am and Indiana so, no road trip for me!! I recognize Jeanne btw (never forget a face!!). The images you choose – in all your pieces – really perfectly support your writing (slap me if I sound too much like a retired teacher 🙄). I’ll throw out a personal request for you to ponder. I’ve never had the opportunity to visit Montreal and know little about it except that Leonard Cohen grew up there, I think…Still, the vague idea of it, the unfounded mental image I have of Montreal puts it very high on my bucket list. Maybe I’ll go there to live! says the footloose dreamer in me. I’d wager a blog piece of yours on Montreal would have me packing my bags. Yawning stretch of endless highway be damned! C’est la vie!!
Hi, Barb! So, did you notice that the photo on her cake was when she was runner-up for Miss Rolling Prairie??? It was probably 1960. Mr. Smith and I did spend our 40th anniversary in Montreal, mainly Old Montreal. It is beautiful, very old world. I didn’t know that about Leonard Cohen so thanks! Do you see yourself leaving California at some point? I’m sure we have a move or two still in our future. Luckily we are both good with that! Have a great week…
I DID notice Jeanne in her birthday cake pic and LOVED it!! THE GOOD OLD DAYS!! I most certainly could leave California at some point, though I don’t think any of us are going very far, very soon. I can’t think past a few pending personal and political events – the pre-election anxiety is truly getting to me! I learned so much from the two opportunities I’ve had to live outside of the United States, I’d love to do that again when it doesn’t feel like an impulse to “run away”. I love Scotland and I’ve never really spent much time in Canada. I’m drawn to Montreal because it’s a bilingual/bicultural city. I’m also drawn to visit, maybe do a retreat or study session (if they have them) at Gampo Abbey Monastery in Nova Scotia, home of American born Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, though I believe she has recently retired, even becoming critical of some of the monastery’s decisions re leadership (related to male shenanigans), so – maybe not!! These pandemic days certainly have underscored how lucky we’ve been to “get up and go” when we pleased. However, there is much to be said for staying “home”, wherever that is, to “bloom where you’re planted”. Thanks for a great musing!
I’m so glad you were able to visit your sister. Sounded like a wonderful time:)
Thanks, Sheryl. We did have fun. Hope you have a great week.
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