Posted tagged ‘Travel’

Family Matters

July 29, 2021

A baptism last week. A wedding this week.

Last Friday, we headed to the Midwest. We haven’t traveled on an airplane in over two years because of COVID-19, but when a family wedding celebration is on the horizon, we go! Our destination was not an easy place to get to. We drove our car to the park ‘n ride to catch a bus that took us to the airport. We boarded a plane for a two-and-a-half-hour flight. We then boarded a regional plane for another hour’s flight. Arriving at the small airport, we picked up our rental car and drove another hour and a half to our destination. In all, it took us thirteen hours. We missed the rehearsal dinner, but the Midwest heat and humidity were there to greet us!

Saturday – Wedding Day

The Bride – Our Niece

Parents of the Bride – A Nervous Dad

The Bride and Groom

Father/Daughter Dance

We didn’t get a family photo of my brother and two sisters, but we did play cornhole at the reception. What else do you do in corn country? (Notice the determination on my face.) I lost to a five-year-old!

Me!

Sunday morning, we did a reversal of our Friday travel schedule. I was immediately reminded why flying is not my favorite pastime. Besides delays, cancellations, and turbulence, other problems creep up. On our first flight, all I wanted was a cold glass of ice water. Problem One:  No ice available. Problem Two:  They ran out of water before they got to us! Really?? The second flight had a mechanical glitch that had to be fixed. And so, we waited until it was a go. Twelve and a half hours later, we finally reached home. Even though it was a short visit and there were a few minor problems with our flights, it was wonderful to be able to get together with our family and enjoy a day of celebration! Family matters!

It’s All About Lincoln

June 30, 2016

Last weekend, the Stefanec siblings did a fly and road trip to the town in which we grew up. Brother and sisters came together from California, New Hampshire, Florida, and Wisconsin for a three-day weekend. Our brother had his high school reunion, and the rest of us decided it was a perfect time for a get-together in our hometown.

Going home again can be both a nostalgic and an eye-opening experience. Besides all the belly laughs we shared, we revisited the nooks and crannies of the town that were a very important part of our formative years. “Humor Me” as I share what we saw.

Welcome to Lincoln, Illinois!

It was the first town to be named for Abraham Lincoln before he became famous. On August 27, 1853, Lincoln christened the town with watermelon juice. Sweet!

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Postville Courthouse

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This replica of the original Postville Courthouse can be found on Fifth Street in Lincoln. It’s the place where Lincoln tried cases while he traveled the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Central Illinois.

Across the street from the courthouse is the well which was used by Lincoln when court was in session. Well, isn’t that refreshing!

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Near the grade school, all of the Stefanecs attended is this plaque that commemorates a Stephen A. Douglas Speech.

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Statues of Lincoln can be found all around the town.

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At Lincoln College

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At the Lincoln Heritage Museum

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At the Town Square with my sister

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Along Historic Route 66

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Did you know Lincoln split rails and the local high school nickname is the Lincoln Railers?IMG_0953

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Quirky Lincoln

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Notice the telephone booth on top of City Hall. It was placed there before new weather technology came along. When there was threatening weather, a spotter was sent up there to watch for tornadoes and call downstairs for someone to activate the siren. That just blows me away!

A Little Nostalgia for the Stefanecs

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Our House

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Our Church

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Our Grade School

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Our Favorite Pizza Place

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The Old Lincoln Theater – the only one in town!

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The Logan County Courthouse and Town Square

The nostalgic part of our trip was being with our family, seeing old friends, and reminiscing. The eye-opening part, which was heartbreaking to see, was realizing the once thriving community we used to live in was not the same as it once was. Streets were devoid of cars and people. Stores were shuttered, and jobs are harder to find.  Many of the people we grew up with have left. It’s a sad but true sign of the times for some small towns. Lincoln will always have a special place in my heart, and I’m happy to have lived there when I did!

If your family is interested in learning more about Abraham Lincoln, check out this site for The 10 Best Children’s Books on Abraham Lincoln.

Memories From A Long Weekend

April 25, 2013

It’s a mother’s dream to be actively involved with her daughter’s wedding plans. Mother and daughter shopping for wedding dresses, looking for flowers, choosing invitations … I was eagerly looking forward to all of that.

Our visit to the east coast was set. My husband and I got great airline fares. It was going to be a perfect long weekend of wedding planning with our daughter and her fiancé. It was a dream come true.

STOP!!!

Rewind.

Not a dream.

A nightmare.

It began with our arrival at O’Hare Airport in the pouring rain. The day before our airline had experienced a system failure. Travelers were still trying to get out of Chicago. HA! No problem for us. Our 8:20 evening flight was on time. The rain continued, but we were safe and comfortable as we waited to board.

We watched buckets of rain splash on the tarmac. It looked like we needed an ark not an airplane. Lightning flashed, thunder rumbled, and the deluge continued. On-time flights suddenly became canceled flights. Along with hundreds of other people, we found ourselves up a creek without a paddle.

There was a mad dash to get into the rescheduling line. To be safe, we also used our phone to reschedule. We did everything we possibly could to get a flight out of Chicago. Bad news.  According to the airlines, there were no flights available for us until Friday morning. FRIDAY? FRIDAY? That was two days away! Appointments we had scheduled for wedding plans would be missed!

It was 10:30 in the evening — time to rethink our situation. We decided to get a hotel room and keep on phoning the airlines. Alas, there were no rooms at the inns. Full, full, full was the word, and the roads around O’Hare were flooded. With no place to go, we chose the next best thing to pass the time. We headed to the airport hotel. Following suitcases being pulled by other weary travelers, we went straight to the bar. We remained there until it closed. It was then my wonderful husband took me to a cozy corner in the hotel lobby where we camped out on the floor for the night. We were not alone. There were many other flightless people littering the lobby floor. It was romance at its best!

As I watched the lightning and rain, my husband continued to call the airlines to reschedule our flight. At 2:45 am success was ours! He had managed to obtain a flight for us early the next morning. Being persistent does pay off.

I’d like to erase that night from my memory bank, but the memories from the visit with our daughter and her fiancé made up for the stressful events that had previously happened. AND after visiting numerous bridal stores, the dress choice is down to two. Now that’s success!

If you like flying and airplanes, check this book out.

 Moon Plane, written and illustrated by Peter McCarty, was a 2006 Charlotte Zolotow Award winner. A young boy sees an airplane in the sky and wonders what it would be like to be on it. Using muted colors, McCarty depicts the boy on the plane flying over a car, a train, a boat, and all the way to the moon and back home to his mother. The illustrations and simple text produce an overall good feeling. That’s the type of flying experience I would have liked to have had!

I’m Back!

July 31, 2012

True to my word I said I’d return at the end of July to continue to dazzle and entertain with my bi-weekly blogs, and here I am.

It’s been a busy six weeks since I last blogged. During that time, my husband, Tom, and I have been to Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Summer has always been a perfect time for me to catch up on reading, but not this summer. Instead of Fifty Shades of Grey, our summer began with fifty shades of red. I’m talking about red paint.

Our daughter bought a condo in Boston, and “Daddy” agreed to paint. He didn’t realize she wanted him to paint every wall in the condo, using several different colors. Deciding which shade of red to use as an accent wall in her bedroom proved to be the most daunting task. She had every sample from the red color palette taped to the wall. Tom was seeing red by the time she made her decision.

End Result

In between painting and traveling back and forth to Wisconsin, we attended a shower and three weddings. Tom and I measure our life in stages, and we happen to be in – Our Friend’s Children Are Getting Married – stage.

Our first wedding was in the New England area. The groom was from New Hampshire. The bride was from Pennsylvania. The venue of choice was in Connecticut.

Idyllic

Our next wedding was in downtown Chicago right after a wicked thunderstorm. Streets were flooded and trees were down, but nothing stops true love.

Chicago and …

A Bucky Badger Wedding Cake?

For wedding three, it was onward and upward to Minnesota.

Elegant

The best part about attending these weddings in different states was that I could wear the same dress!

We also got together with my sister and her husband for a mini vacation in Boston and Portland, Maine.

The Freedom Trail and good food were on the Boston menu.

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

Tall Ships

Lobster Mac ‘N’ Cheese

That was followed by a trip up the coast to Portland, Maine, the Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, and more good food.

Portland Head Light

Lobster Linguine

I have literally eaten my way through this summer. This is NOT good. I need to keep my girlish figure because we have yet another wedding to attend in November. (And, yes, I’ll probably wear the same dress!)

Right now it’s home sweet home for us. Tom is taking care of the parched lawn, meager garden, and dead flowers. I am busy chasing the dust bunnies that have multiplied since the last time I cleaned. I’d better hop to it!

The Pat-down

April 10, 2012

When I was young, my father once referred to my chest as two golf balls on an ironing board. After childbirth, my look changed. The two golf balls morphed into something much larger. For many women, the opposite happens, but I’m never one to follow the crowd. There are some woman who would love my look (and some men who would love to look), but I consider my chest annoying. Why, you ask? It’s called the security pat-down at airports.

Long ago I learned to wear simple travel clothing and leave off the belts and jewelry until after going through security. No problem. Security was a breeze. Then came the installation of the body scanner at airports. Suddenly my minimizer bra was screaming for attention. My last two trips to the airport provided some early morning excitement – the pat-down. I was given a choice of a private pat-down or one in full view of the public. I’m all for safety in numbers so I took the full view of the public choice. (Everyone is too busy trying to get themselves through security to care about anyone else.) In Chicago, the TSA’s hands immediately went to my chest. A quick feel and that was it. When I left Boston, my bra really wanted to show off. I was not only given a full upper body pat-down which included underarms, chest, back and waist, but my hands were swabbed to check for explosive residue. Whoo-wee! What do they see in that body scan that makes them think I’m hiding something? Hey, nothing more can fit into that minimizer!

I’ve determined it’s the wire in the bra that prompts the pat-downs. I have two choices. On my next trip I wear no bra at all (God forbid!), or I find one that has no suspicious wiring in it. Embrace me, sports bra!

To Hull and Back

April 3, 2012

Last week I went to Hull, and I must say, I had a Hull of a good time! My husband and I took the Harbor Express Ferry from Boston to Hull, MA to visit my good friend, MaryBeth.

Boston Harbor Express

My mother and MaryBeth’s mother grew up together. They went to the same grade school and the same high school. Our fathers were friends in school, and her father was best man in my mother and father’s wedding. Even though our lives have taken us to different places, our parents planted the seeds of our friendship when we were young, and it has continued to blossom over the years.

MaryBeth and her husband, John, have a beautiful home on Hull Bay with views of downtown Boston. The two have worked meticulously to create a warm and inviting environment. We arrived in the late afternoon for an overnight stay. MaryBeth settled us into what they call The Nautilus Room. Comfy luxury enveloped us. The room was perfectly appointed with views of the bay. Sail away, sail away, sail away!

We then took a tour of the house to see the changes since our last visit. Their home has an eclectic combination of accessories and furniture, and the architectural details are amazing.

Extra cubby in our room

Nautical details

MaryBeth has a flair for decorating. She even added nautical rope molding in the bathroom! She admits she loves to hunt for just the right items to enhance the look of the rooms.

From May through October, they open their home as a bed and breakfast – Drop Anchor Inn. There are three charming rooms from which to choose. The care and attention to detail in the rooms and common areas are evident.

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Stairwell

After the tour, we joined MaryBeth and John in the country kitchen that includes a hearth area where the two of them relax, read, and watch television.

The heart of the home

We were offered a glass of wine while MaryBeth checked on preparations for dinner and finished filling a plate with a variety of cheeses, crackers, and grapes. We then moved to the living room where a cheery fire crackled in the fireplace.

Cozy

Soft music, tasty hors d’oeuvres, the warmth of the fire, and conversation with good friends primed us for a delicious, gourmet dinner prepared by our hosts. In the oversized dining room, MaryBeth had set a cozy table next to a window, overlooking the bay.

Charming

Even though the day was overcast and dreary, we were treated to an unexpected sunset. For the rest of the evening, we ate, talked, and enjoyed one another’s company.

If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, Drop Anchor Inn is the place to go. Besides the lovely themed rooms and inviting common areas, there is also an enormous wrap-around porch with tables and chairs at which you can relax and enjoy the beautiful gardens and fantastic views. In the morning the dining room is set up for breakfast. There is coffee, tea, juice, cereal, pastries, breads, and a hot dish. Drop Anchor Inn is a delightful place, overflowing with ambiance. MaryBeth and John are gracious hosts who will make you feel at home. What more could you ask for?

That’s why I went to Hull and back. You should too!

Packing Up

March 30, 2012

On the road again!

The Rest of the ABC Travel Tale

October 11, 2011

New England is gorgeous in fall. When you experience it with family and friends, it’s even more so. The past few days, we walked our little tootsies off. We talked nonstop. We laughed until it hurt. Impressive sights, gourmet delights, and incredible memories topped off the long weekend.

Let me start again and give you the ABC lowdown.

 

Apples Galore

Boston Harbor

Covered Bridges

Duck Boats

Elizabeth among the Mums

Fall Colors in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

Glen Ellis Falls in New Hampshire 

Hooker Entrance

Institute of Contemporary Art

John Kerry’s Residence (2 for 1)

Lobster

Movie Set for R.I.P.D.

North End

Old South Meeting House

Pumpkin Picking

Quincy, MA

Rose Kennedy Greenway

Seagulls

Treasure Trove of Colorful Trees

Umbria (Food!)

Vintage Lounge (Libations!)

Waterfall in New Hampshire

XV Beacon, a Boutique Hotel in Boston

Yacht

The Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge

That’s it! My ABC travel tale is finished. I’m tired out and I’m lettered out, but I still have a huge smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart.

If you’d like to peruse an autumn ABC book, check this out.

A is for Autumn by Robert Maass (Henry Holt and Co., August 2011)

An ABC Travel Tale

October 7, 2011

“A” is for American Airlines.

“B” is for Beautiful Berkshires.

“C” is for Culinary Cravings.

What’s this travel tale about?

I’m bound for New England to visit family and friends. Along the way I’ll be taking in the autumn beauty of the Berkshire Mountains, the White Mountains, and Boston Harbor. It’s a short trip, but I’m determined to see it all and find the rest of the travel tale alphabet.

Log in next Tuesday to see what I found. In the meantime, mind your p’s and q’s and check out this cool alphabet book.

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker (Beach Lane Books, 2010)

Lilly’s Big Day in Curacao?

September 6, 2011

On our last evening in Curacao, an island in the Caribbean, the hotel we stayed at hosted a wedding expo. I’m not in the market for weddings, but it was interesting to see what they had to offer. Curacao is a beautiful place for a destination wedding, but I have to admit the wedding expo, which was staged outside, was not to my taste.

The one person I thought would absolutely marvel at the expo was Lilly from Kevin Henkes’ book Lilly’s Big Day.

In this book, Lilly’s teacher is getting married, and Lilly is convinced that she is going to be the flower girl. Lilly practices every day, and when she finds out her teacher has chosen his niece, Ginger, to be the flower girl, Lilly is devastated. Mr. Slinger, being a kind and understanding teacher, tells Lilly she can be Ginger’s assistant. Lilly hopes something will happen so Ginger won’t be able to be the flower girl. To Lilly’s dismay, Ginger is ready and willing until it comes time to walk down the aisle. With a smile on her face and her head held high, Lilly saves the day by carrying Ginger down the aisle.   

As I wandered around the expo, I could see Lilly slowly making her way down the aisle with the sound of the surf in the background.

 

I could see Lilly dancing around the colorful inflated shapes,

 and lounging on the pillows,

or finding the perfect diva style chair to let everyone know she is an amazing flower girl.  

Whatever the case may be, I think Lilly should take a trip to Curacao and show them how to do a wedding “Lilly style.”


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