Departing DC, I was incredibly anxious to get to our next destination. Arriving in New York State meant a little bit of settling in, as we’d be there for almost a month in total. Some side trips were planned, and some unplanned days would be sprinkled in as well, but for the most part we would be based at my sister’s place in my hometown of West Winfield, spending quality time with family and friends. Since I’d be ditching my car here, it also meant everything would need to be removed from the nooks and crannies of that little Honda. That hadn’t been done at all for the entire road trip, so it would be pretty interesting to go through all bags and see what a mess we’d made of our belongings and the car! That would have to wait though; first, there would be so much to do while in New York State. Here are my top ten moments, mostly in order of when they happened ((no way could I rank them! I would end up with ten number ones!)).
1. Soccer game in the yard/bowling/ice skating with nieces & nephew
I have three nieces ((Julia, Emma, Jenna)) and one nephew ((Evan)) who live in my NY hometown, ages 11 to 5, so they are at the optimal ages for athletic activities. Not to mention, they are so much fun and so eager to try most things without fear. The four kids, Andrew and I played a three on three soccer match in the side yard one evening after school ((before daylight savings ended and ruined everything)). Safe to say that despite being out of shape, the adults enjoyed the game just as much as the kids did.
Another night, a group of us including three of the kids ventured into nearby city of Utica where we bowled our hearts out. Andrew and I joined the two youngest on the lane with bumpers, you know..for support and stuff, and the older niece, Emma, joined my dad, sister Becky and her partner Druce on the other lane. There were so many laughs that evening. How is bowling that silly and so much fun?!
The last of our evenings in New York, Andrew and I went ice skating with three of the four ((the oldest, Julia, opted out and it is probably for the best until her recent broken leg heals!)) in nearby Clinton, NY. It was the first time skating for the younger two, and their little legs were flying out from behind them so much that they looked like frogs. But I am so proud they never gave up and kept buzzing around that rink saying “one more lap, I am not done yet!” I grew up ice skating and still love it to this day, so it is so fun to share that with Andrew and the kids any chance I get.
2. Ice Hockey Nights at the Utica Aud
I was able to relive my childhood by attending not one, but TWO ice hockey games at the Utica Auditorium. My dad would take us to see hockey games there quite a bit when we were kids, so being there as an adult was highly nostalgic. It is funny how large those places seem when you are a small child, and then the very same place seems incredibly small as an adult ((the Aud seats about 4,000 people for hockey events)). The first game we went to see was the Utica College Men’s Hockey team, and a whole group of us went – my dad, Becky and Druce, the kids, Andrew and I. The two youngest, Jenna and Evan, were cheering their little hearts out. Everyone had such a great time watching Utica College skate to victory. The next game we attended was the newly acquired AHL Utica Comets, and unfortunately that game was not as exciting nor did they reach a favorable result. Still, it was nice to have another night out with Dad watching his favorite sport.
3. Relaxing in Saranac Lake
My dear Aunt Lynne rented an apartment in Saranac Lake for the months of September and October, and I was desperate to squeeze in a visit there before October ended. Andrew and I had such a relaxing three nights with Lynne in her cozy third floor rental. We ate lots of great meals all while gazing out the huge picture window, which overlooked some high peaks in the Adirondack Park. That view was incredible. One of the days there, Lynne took us into nearby Paul Smiths for a fresh air walk through the woods at the VIC ((visitors center)). If you read a previous post about my visit to Hurricane Ridge in Washington State, you know I am slightly obsessed with being in the mountains and smelling that fresh woodsy scent. That crisp pine scent paired with the peaceful scenery along the trails ((AND the lovely company)) made for a marvellous morning hike. Selfishly, I am hoping Aunt Lynne and Uncle Bob always have a place for me to visit in Saranac Lake when I’m in New York! Such a great retreat up there.
4. Dinosaur BBQ with Dad
Perhaps you have experienced this: you grew up thinking all the food you loved was THE BEST THINGS EVER. Until you try it again as an adult, and after being away at college or moving away, you find it repulsive and disgusting. Ok that may be an exaggeration. But to some extent, this has happened many times to me, especially after living in Seattle with such amazingly fresh and delicious food available, and therefore I’ve become a little snobby and picky about what I like. I was afraid that exact same thing would happen with a little place called Dinosaur BBQ. My dad had a day off during the week, so we decided to head to Troy, a suburb of Albany, to try one of Dino’s newer locations. I am happy to report, Dinosaur BBQ was as good or even better than I remember. I ordered the Memphis Pork BBQ Sandwich with a side of maple whipped sweet potatoes. Out of this world. It was, in my opinion, the best BBQ of the road trip. Andrew went with his new fave, BBQ ribs and my dad chose the regular Pork BBQ sammie. I should also mention that I could probably eat Original Dino BBQ sauce with a spoon. Mouthwatering stuff, I tell you. With locations all around New York State plus one each in Connecticut and New Jersey, you New England readers should head to Dino when you are finished reading this post. Not joking! You’ll thank me!
5. Attending my friend’s baby shower
Living so far away from family and friends for the past seven years means missing things like wedding showers and baby showers, and sadly even some actual weddings. It is those times that I really wish I was closer, so when I heard the baby shower for one one of my besties would be during the time I was in New York, I was thrilled. It was a darling little shower, with great food, punch, cake and other desserts. I got to see all my best girlfriends along with some of their moms. Two of my girls brought their little ones which is always good for me since I am one of the biggest baby hogs I know. And best of all, I got to see my little Jenni with her adorable bump, and shower her with love! It was very meaningful that I was there for Jenni’s special day.
Look for Part Two to be posted tomorrow with the rest of my top ten!