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.