Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Roadtrip to New Milford, PA

Grandma is always right.  Despite my Grandma having traveled quite a bit overseas, she has told me many times that I don’t need to go overseas because we have beautiful, amazing places right here in the U.S.  I always smile and tell her that once I’m retired I’ll travel the U.S. I know she’s right about one thing though, there are also beautiful, amazing places on my home soil.  It was a packed weekend.  Not only a holiday weekend, but a quick road-trip-to-a-wedding weekend as well!  My younger brother was originally to go with me (we love a good road trip), but due to a change in employment he ended up having to work.  Thankfully, my sister convinced her husband to let her join me.  It was really quite perfect, because her and the bride had actually gone to college together and she even spent some time at our house on college breaks.  Our families have known each other for years – our parents actually share their wedding date, July 26th – and despite rarely seeing them we’ve known them since I was about 6 years old.  I can’t quite remember how our parents met or what exactly created their bond, but I, for one, and quite glad they became friends.  

I attribute my love of traveling – or perhaps my realization that I love to travel – with my first trip to Japan. Coincidentally, it was also my first trip overseas; for this reason, I always refer to Japan as my “first love”.  I don’t know what it was exactly, I can’t really pin-point any specific moment of that trip, but the exotic language and local, even the culture that was so completely opposite of the United States, all collided to create the perfect soil for the seed planted in me to grow.  You might be wondering at this point, and rightly so, what in the world a trip to Japan has to do with a road trip to New Milford.  So boil it down, and to save time, here’s the condensed version.  God called the bride’s parents to be missionaries to Japan. If our parents had never become friends, my family would have never gone to Japan the first time in 2004.  We also would never have gone in 2006.  They wouldn’t have visited us on furloughs (the bride had an unfortunate horse-riding accident at our house one time, now that I think about it) and probably would not have asked me to live and minister with them in 2008.  Admittedly, my sister and the bride might have still gone to the same college, but I think you get the point by now. As they say, everything happens for a reason.

Anyway, back to the roadtrip….

A bit of time has passed since my sister and I were on a trip together, or any trip for that matter - she's now got a husband and a baby!!  It was great to have so much time together to chat, catch-up, and create some new memories.  We started out Saturday morning with the GPS and my co-pilot offering conflicting directions.  We soon decided a quick call to our father was in order.  He confirmed that although both were correct ("all roads lead to Rome" sort of thing), my co-pilot had chosen what he deemed to be the better route.  Seven years later and she still knew how to get to Clarks Summit :)  I doubt I could say the same thing if the roles were reversed.  

In preparation for our trip I'd done some internet surfing to try and find any interesting stops along our route and found a great little place called Dr. Doolittle's Roadside Cafe & Creamery.  Nothing like an ice-cream stop on a road trip!  We decided not to take the time out of our day so far from our destination (we'd been warned of possible traffic on 81), and unfortunately, on our way home when we stopped they didn't open for another half-hour.  It will definitely be on our list of stops to make if we ever have to drive out that way again - home made ice cream has to be delicious, right!?  The scenery along 80 (and 81 for that matter) was beautiful, but taking photos out the window is a bit tricky: all the ones we took turned out blurry or showing a reflection in the window...

Our hotel in Gibson/New Milford was very nice despite its odd location.  Situated in the back of  a large field and right next to Spectacular Fireworks USA which claims to be PA's largest fireworks superstore.  Granted, on an Independence Day weekend that shouldn't seem so odd, but it did.  I missed the turn onto the road that leads back to the hotel twice (not very well labeled) so we did a U-ie (or is it U-ey?) by cutting through the fireworks warehouse parking lot.  The co-pilot thought some of the characters stocking up on fireworks looked a bit shady, and I can't say that I didn't agree with her.  Anyway, back to the hotel: free cookies in the lobby and free coffee and hot chocolate in the dining area 24/7!! Our room also had a mini Keurig, fridge, and a microwave plus some wonderfully fragranced body lotion in the bathroom.  Anyway we arrived at our hotel with just enough time to freshen up and change before hopping back in the car and hoping we could find the wedding location.  
We had some very generic directions and an address of a nearby church - thankfully we didn't have a too much trouble.  An insufficient number of signs pointing the way (and the general size of the signs) were our biggest hindrances, but we did locate it and we weren't late (we decided that was a win).  It was a beautiful location back-dropped by the large, private lake.  It was a very sweet ceremony and very God-honoring.  Although neither of us knew many of the people there we ended up sitting next to two members of another family that serve in Japan with the bride's family.  They are home for college and barely remembered us from our 2006 trip, but we had enough in common to carry on some conversation for a bit after the ceremony.  We recognized another couple (and ended up sitting next to them at the reception), we were finally able to deduce that we'd met in Japan in 2006 as well!  They're now missionaries in the Seattle area working with Iranians, which I thought was very cool. We had a nice, but too short, chat with bride and her family as well, of course.  The food was delicious and even the cupcakes (I'm not a cupcake fan) were fantastic. For those readers who are native Western Pennsylvanians: the reception, to our dismay, did not contain a cookie table.  We really must spread that tradition to the rest of the state.  

We didn't stay too long at the reception before deciding to head back to our hotel.  Our only real disappointment with our stay was that there was no hot tub or Jacuzzi.  While we appreciated that they had a heated swimming pool, when we got in the water we quickly realized that what we both wanted was a hot tub; tepid pool water just wasn't what we were seeking at 8pm on a Saturday night.  We determined that (decaf) coffee and some free cookies from the lobby, consumed while each of us enjoyed a large Queen bed to ourselves, was a better option.  With 4 pillows for every bed (2 soft and 2 firm) we were quite comfy.  A plethora of breakfast choices greeted us in the dining room the next morning and we were soon on our way back home.

wedding (noun)
1. the act or ceremony of marrying; marriage; nuptials.
2.  the anniversary of a marriage, or its celebration
3.  the act or an instance of blending or joining, especially opposite or contrasting elements

wedding (adjective)
1.  of or relating to a wedding