Well what a wonderful month August has been so far! We went up to Maine for a baby shower and then went to Salem for a couple of days. And just a couple of days later, my son and family came down here for a wonderful four-day visit. Plus some hiking in between!! And there is still a week left in this glorious month….
We broke up the trip up north by leaving mid-afternoon on Friday, planning to drive around three-quarters of the way and finish the drive Saturday morning. I did this because the shower was at 11AM and a straight-thru drive would have meant leaving around 4 or 5AM. While sound in plan, the execution was left lacking: I did not consider that a LOT of people leave work early to head north on a Friday in August. What should have been a 3.5 or 4-hour drive turned into almost six hours! Traffic was horrible.
But, despite the traffic delays, we got to our hotel, hungry and tired, but happy to check in. Now, I always research hotels before booking. I have all sorts of criteria depending upon where and why we are going. In this case, I wanted a nice place, easy on and off the highway, no big city driving, and I wanted a decent restaurant in the hotel so I didn’t have to check in and then immediately get back in the truck and drive someplace again. This place listed what looked like a very nice place that looked great in the pictures and listed steak and lobster on the menu so it won out over the others in the same general area.
I asked about the hours and location of the hotel as I checked in and his quick reply was that it was closed – no other comment. Great. So I asked about getting dinner in the area and he shrugged and told me there was Taco Bell “over there” with a non-specific wave at the wall behind him. Great. No problem, I’ll find something on my phone once we get to the room.
The room. Damn. The room. I won’t go into a huge amount of detail but: the window sill above the AC unit was rotted and moldy, the shower had stains and mold, the toilet paper was on the top of the tank because the holder was broken, and ….there was no sink in the bathroom. You have to exit the bathroom to get to the sink by the closet and room door. Oh – and the bed sheet was stained. What a disappointment.
My wife needed to take her allergy pill and discovered there were no glasses, cups, or mugs anywhere in the room. I called down to the front desk to have some sent up and was told to “come get them.” Sigh. Ok, I went downstairs to the front desk and was handed a few flimsy plastic cups – not glass and not even sturdy plastic. Wow.
Happily, we only needed to be there for about ten hours or so. We went out and found a fantastic sports bar and grill that had great food and extremely nice and fast service. The website had advertised free breakfast buffet in the morning, but my wife always wants a cup of coffee as soon as she wakes and is getting ready to go out. She went to the coffee maker but there was no packs of coffee – just tea bags. I headed down to the front desk because I had seen a coffee pot (with cups) on a table when we checked in. Sure enough, there was coffee and the breakfast buffet – a plate with some sort of bread or cake. I grabbed her a cup of coffee and we finished packing and left.
The rest of the drive up was only two hours and was effortless. I dropped my wife off at the shower and headed to my nephew’s house where my son and grandkids were going to meet me. I had brought the dirt bike and ATV up to Maine in early July and almost immediately, my oldest grandson hit a rock hidden in a mud puddle and bent the front rim.
I bought a replacement and had it shipped to my nephew’s house so they could replace the wheel, but the brake rotor did not bolt up to the rim – wrong bolt pattern. I bought a different wheel and my plan for this short visit was to get his dirt bike running again. I bought this rim from the same place I bought the bike, so I knew it would be the right one and sure enough, it bolted right up. He was back in business.
The two boys took off on the bike and quad to my sister-in-law’s house and the rest of us followed where we spent a nice hour chatting and watching all the cousins driving dirt bikes, bicycles, ATV’s, and every other form of riding fun toys. We eventually headed over to the shower to see the women and eat some leftovers. We had around a four-hour drive to Salem and it was already 2PM so it was time to say our goodbyes and hit the road.
Salem is – pardon what seems like a pun – pure magic. It is lively, visually captivating, loaded with history, easily walkable (no driving needed once you are there), and has a seemingly endless population of shops and restaurants. Even the hotel we stay in – the Hawthorne Hotel – is amazing. It is a 100-year-old hotel filled with the architecture, grandeur, and charm of the 1920’s. (And is allegedly haunted!) It is also famous for the stars who have stayed there and for the TV show Bewitched being filmed there for a few episodes. We ate, we drank, we shopped, we walked, and had just a wonderful time.
But the fun was not over yet – my son and family arrived Thursday night. They all scattered on Friday where they went to see friends, to see her family, and so forth. Friday night was a special night for my oldest grandson – for his birthday his dad bought him tickets to see Disturbed in concert. So the two of them headed up to Xfinity Center in the afternoon for what turned out to be an awesome concert.
Saturday, we sent mom and dad off for some alone time while we took the three grandkids to our local county fair. We ate cotton candy and doughboys, we rode rides, we shopped little tents selling all sorts of crafts, and had a fantastic time. Then it was back home to get ready for a birthday family night where we celebrated both Robbie’s and Raelynn’s birthdays with our entire family and one of their cousins. It was an amazing night with family laughter and love and will remain burned into my mind forever. They say you can never go home again? Well, my kids did it for a night and it was awesome!
Time to get this from laptop to published – been dipping in and out too often! I will wrap it up and ship it today.
The summer is over. Note that I didn’t say summer is over, I said “the” summer is over. Summer is a season, but “the” summer is bound by personal commitments and obligations that can, and usually do, impeded summertime activities. In most people’s lives this hinges on children and school; kids go back to school and summertime activities go back to existing solely on weekends. And doubly so if your employment is within a school system.
Although my kids are long-since and fully grown, my summer hinges on school. It used to be my son’s kids – my three older grandchildren – that brought about the change. But since they are now in Maine, that is no longer the case. And of course, my 2-yo grandson is not in school yet, but his mom is. And she returns to work tomorrow and we will have Teddy every day again. This year though, it will only be two weeks because mom will having her C-section in mid-September and welcoming her second child – our fifth grandchild – to the world. So today ends the summer for me – at least for a few weeks. Once mom and baby Charlotte are home and fully settled, the summer will resume for me to its natural end (which may be only a week).
I hope your personal summer is going great and you are out and enjoying it dear reader. Stay well!