The Great 40th Anniversary Road trip has come to an end. Despite planning much of it in advance – and leaving a lot to chance – the end result was better than anything we might have imagined.
Let’s start with the weather. We were visiting the Northeast and Canada in April, so we prepared for the worst. After all, it snowed on our wedding day and let’s face it, if the Weather Channel is to be believed, the bad weather seemed to be a continuing saga there.
Instead we brought a touch of Florida with us. Sunshine and temperatures in the upper 70’s and 80’s greeted us everywhere throughout our trip, except Gettysburg where the clouds and light drizzle seemed to suit the mood.
The places we visited were exceptional. Our first order of business was a ride through
Shenandoah National Park. Heavy fog blanketed the park, so much so that we nearly turned around and took another route. As it turned out, the sun breaking through the fog at just about every scenic overlook added to the ambiance.
In Gettysburg, our tour guide brought the history and the war alive. And the weather was fitting to the story: cloudy with a light drizzle.
We didn’t want to miss seeing Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest achievement, Fallingwater,and it was certainly worth the visit. While we were in the area, we got to marvel at the falls at Ohiopyle State Park.
Then it was on to my hometown, Belle Vernon, PA, the place where we married 40 years ago. We actually moved to the area in 1975 and lived there for a year before moving back to Miami. We visited some of our old haunts, including the church where we married, homes where we lived and places we worked. We sampled the wonderful ethnic flavor including Peroghi, ravioli, Sicilian pizza, and of course those yummy lady locks.
So many things were the same and so much had changed. My parents were gone, but the homes I grew up in were still there. Though our time was short, I got to spend a little time with my cousin Louise and one of my oldest high school friends, Candy.
Those of you who have been following this story, know about the saga of the towels. The Holiday Inn where we spent our wedding night closed a few years ago and the closest thing we could find was the Holiday Inn Express. I contacted the GM and she agreed to take custody of the monogrammed towels…and the key…I made off with 40 years ago. I thank Ann and the staff for their sense of humor and the wedding cake and wine!
Our ‘honeymoon’ was on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Since we didn’t honeymoon
the first time around – we needed to get back to class – this was going to be the one we missed. We stayed at the Marriott Fallsview and hoped that their promise of a room with the best view of the falls was for real. It was. Not only did we have a fabulous view of both falls from the oversized picture window, we had a fireplace and chairs by the window enjoy the view in comfort!
We stopped in Cincinnati for Skyline Chili because that’s why people go to Cincinnati. Okay. There’s the Grater’s ice cream too, but time was short.
After spending an afternoon with Marshall’s family in Tennessee – I met them when we drove though 40 years ago before the wedding – we headed home.
For the first time in two weeks, the weather was horrific, making the drive home a little more than harrowing. On route to our 1975 wedding, we stopped at a Waffle House in Forsyth, Georgia. We nostalgically exited to see if we could remember where it was. We were amazed to see restaurant #136 still existed. We did the only thing we could do…we had the waffles!