It's been an exciting 2 weeks, because NY and NJ finally decided to permit the citizens of my apparently COVID-ridden state to visit, so we took full advantage of the opportunity. Susie and I jumped in the car and drove to the Jersey shore, to our favorite beach town, where we stayed cheaply in an almost empty hotel (its being midweek in October).
|Requisite not-so-healthy car snacks
The town was sparsely populated, so no worries about COVID, and it was warm enough (high 60s) to lie out on the beach for a few hours and pretend it was summer. Somehow Susie and I managed to log upwards of 25,000 steps both days we were there, just walking around watching sunrises and sunsets and looking at seagulls and really, these 2 days were just about the perfect antidote for the previous 7 months of pandemic craziness. Highly recommend.
|Oh, just one of the coolest sunrise photos I've ever taken, is all
On the way home, we packed the car full of NJ hoagies (yes, they ARE the best) and NJ bagels (ditto), stopped at a farm market to pick up half a bushel of apples and a package of cider doughnuts, and then drove back to reality, all the while feeling as though we had plundered my birth state. But in a good way...
While we were at the shore, we met up with friends from home who were remodeling their beach house. This couple nefariously lured us onto their new rooftop deck to admire the view from all sides, which was indeed magnificent. While we were up there, however, I - acrophobe that I am - realized that we were trapped. You see, the spiral staircase leading up to the deck was not quite finished - the platform between it and the deck had no railings on either side. Going from the spindly staircase to the solid deck had been only moderately scary. But going down would mean traversing what seemed to be a postage-stamp-sized piece of metal in an attempt to land safely on the narrow top step of the staircase. The mere thought of this maneuver made my legs feel like jelly.
So the whole time we were up on the deck, admiring the view and discussing the furniture to be delivered the next day, my internal monologue was running along the lines of "Pretend there are railings? Scooch on my butt? Live up here until the railings are installed?" Over and over and over.
Susie, it turns out, was doing the same. We're a fun pair.
|Not bad for an amateur, eh?
The next week Larry and I took off on Wednesday night - without any offspring - to go hiking in the mountains of southern NY. Again, hotels were really cheap midweek and we packed food for the first day's lunch, and aren't we frugal?
Not really. Its being Larry's birthday weekend, he got to choose where to eat for dinner the next night, so - lover of beer that he is - he opted for the local brewery/restaurant, which had ample outdoor seating (my requirement). That means we ordered what I considered to be overpriced food that took approximately 11 hours to reach our table, plus we overtipped the waitress, because pandemic. In short, we spent what seemed to me to be a buttload of money and time for no real return - the food was mediocre, at best, and I found myself pining for those NJ hoagies of the previous week.
No matter, I thought, Larry's enjoying himself drinking locally brewed beers. It's his birthday, so it's worth it. The second day, as we were meandering through the town after checking out of the hotel, I said, "Hey, didn't you want to buy some of the local beer to take home?" And he said, "Nah, it sort of sucked."
We're not very good at this vacation splurge thing. I guess you can take the girl out of fast casual, but you can't take fast casual out of the girl.
The hiking was wonderful. I love the Catskills, it was autumn weather, and it wasn't crowded on the trails.
|This was billed as a "scramble over some rocks." Yeah, no. Terrifying.
It was so pretty up there, we got carried away and ended up hiking/walking over 12 miles that first day, although some of those steps happened because we decided to take the scenic route back to the hotel after our sad excuse for a fancy dinner and we got lost. Like, really lost. Like, walking by a graveyard in the dark and not knowing where we were, LOST.
I blame Larry. I wasn't interested in the scenic route after sundown, myself.
Let me point out that this was the first time Larry and I have gone on a trip by ourselves in, oh, 29 YEARS. When we mentioned this to our offspring, I could sense each of them thinking, Yeah, I'm never having kids. All in all, it was very novel to go on a trip and not be worrying about keeping even one child or adolescent happy. Relaxing, even. I could definitely get used to it.
But I'm choosing the food next time, for sure.