Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Trip: Automobile-Part 3

On the road again.
I felt compelled to show my kids to one place I remember being awed by when I was younger: Corning Glassworks. So on the way to Philadelpia* we made a stop at Corning. The museum is totally revamped from my meager memory, but elements of it remained. There were plenty of interesting science-y bits about glass as well as cool arrangements like this periodic table of elements completely made out of glass flasks? beakers? fleakers? (my science-y inlaws are about to correct me here.)

*take out a map, here's where I got a little crazy because it's totally not on the way to Philly.

And another display just out of baking dishes. In an artful array. It was difficult for me to not walk into this display and blurt out "exterminate! exterminate!"

Followed by gallery after splendid gallery of art objects out of glass. All fascinating. All totally not interesting to small boys. Sigh.

But something completely new are glass workshops. Initially we chose to make a glass bead, but by a major snafu which I won't bore you with here (I get exhausted just thinking about the walking we did to clear that up...) we ended up sandblasting instead.

And here is a wonderfully patterned sandblasted glass of his own creation. To be lovingly compared to the Chihuly in the lobby.

Late in the day with a tired demeanor about us, we headed south to my Aunt Becky & Uncle Peter's place. On the map, it really didn't look like we were going out of our way, but really, by the clock, we were. It took forever to get there. It was incredibly scenic and very beautiful but I also had the sense that I would never ever be driving on this road again in my life.  This was also around the time that the ipod, with all the stories on it, went on the fritz (of course.) I am pleased that central PA radio still KLoves its oldies because mom and I sung ourselves silly with golden oldies. But it was still a long drive. I was ready to give up and find a place to stay overnight while my mom urged us on saying "it's not much further now." And it wasn't.

My aunt and uncle have grown children, but still have some remnants of boy things in the basement. Building things and Lego's. Jbird and Nbear were busy for the next few days. Our days usually started with the amish farmer's market goodies like blueberry coffee cake, granola, yogurt and peaches. (I'm drooling again just typing it!) Followed by several hours of the aforementioned building projects, a dip in the pool and a fabulous dinner out somewhere. (charcuterie plate, truffle fries, salmon with white beans and a cucumber gin reduction followed by a tres leches cake with lavender honey ice cream at the Silver Spoon, being one such fabulous meal out!)

Here Uncle Peter is giving J a lesson about baseball. And math. All good.

Then it was the morning of Jbird's 5th happy birthday! Baba was the gracious grandma and hid cash all over the house for him to find. Aunt Becky took him to the toy store to spend it. And then, even better, they babysat the boys while I had a night out with my cousin David. Let me start by introducing you to the meatballs:

I should back up and say that the evening didn't START with the meatballs, but these lamb meatballs were the highlight of my night. David and I first stopped in a swank bar that used to be a bank and had grown-up cocktails before heading out for tapas.     Then we feasted.      Now, I've long joked that I come from a family of eaters and this was certainly true of David and I that night. At one point I looked around us at the other quiet couples, seemingly out on dates, negotiating the last tidbits of this or that dish and trying not to overeat in the eyes of their dining companion. Well. That was not us.  Plate after plate was licked clean and washed down with sangria. I was amazed that it was always the most unassuming looking of dishes that pleased the most. Like the meatballs. They just look like lamb meatballs don't they? ha. ambrosia. And those round flat looking brown things in the picture below? They look like nothing don't they? Squid, chargrilled with chorizo oil and a side of lemon and out of this world.

Honestly? I was completely stuffed. But there was more to be had. We took a stroll (to let that food settle down into those special crevices that we Hubbell-descendants have in our legs to allow dessert to happen...) and wandered over to a sweet, quaint, old soda fountain ice cream shop. Just look at the lovely syrups!

Flavors galore of course, with all types of toppings and phosphates and fizzes. Just about everything to whet your whistle. I ended up with a peanut butter sundae. Served by the cutest girl to ever serve me ice cream anywhere. I wanted to take her home with me (and her ice cream too.)

For all the times I've been to visit my aunt and uncle, I've never technically been TO Philly. They live outside of town in a lovely, lush green suburb on the edges of Amish-ville.  David gave me the nighttime walking tour of the highlights. No, I didn't get to see the Liberty Bell, but I walked by it. Ben Franklin bridge? Lit up in lights. We spent a bit of time down by the water checking out the swans, the boats and the bridge.

Then it was truly the witching hour, the last train back  and we dashed back to the station. Bye David! Thank you for a truly memorable night out!

The next day we compared notes on our evening. The boys had amish made angel food cake with ice cream. I told them about our grown up cocktails, like dirty martinis and manhatans and N quips that David must like the Dirty Sock-y Tinis.

On the road again. We said goodbye to my mom here (she'd been a trooper and a saint to come this far!!!) and went off through Lancaster on my way to see my oldest best friend Jennifer. Memorable sights along the way: barefoot Amish girls pushing their scooters along the road.

We arrived at Jen's a little early and were greeted by all sorts of beauty. Butterflies galore and the sweetest cat ever. (I swear, if I could have figured out a way to take that kitty home with me, I would have!) Nbear somehow fixed the frog fountain in the pond too.

Jen and I had a fun night of catching up. She is one of those friends who I don't see very often, but when we do see each other, we seem to pick up right where we left off. I still feel like I can tell her anything and she would understand.
I also got a sneak peek at some old friends: Willy and Wanda. Jen and I played with these when we weren't playing Barbies. Or dissecting field mice. Or playing chase in the corn. We played a lot. They look remarkably clean, don't they?

I am always sad to say goodbye to Jen because I know it'll be awhile before I see her again. I'm so glad that it worked out that we could see each other. And I'm glad her husband Matt Damon was there too. (Just kidding Don, but great to see you too, albeit briefly!)

On the road again, for the longest stretch yet. We powered through listening to (newly purchased books on CD) Huckleberry Finn and Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing and then got the ipod to work again too and started listening to The Penderwicks again. (this is where I click over to Amazon and give that book a 5 star rating.)  We passed through the rest of PA without event and entered via toll booth (of course) to Ohio. One nice thing about Ohio? Lovely rest stops. Of course, I come from a state with paltry excuses for rest stops. (Oftentimes it is just a picnic table on the side of the road... seriously.)  So yeah! Ohio! The boys even talked me into letting them play some video games while I asked the friendly information guy for some maps and suggestions on places to stay the night. I found what must have been the last hotel room in Streetsboro and we settled in to some good old fashioned Food Network cake challenge: building a cake for the Simpson's movie. We finally tore ourselves away to find some of our own food to eat. I admit feeling worn out and weak. I succumbed to some comfort "Mexican" food. For being in the middle of Ohio, it was not bad. And it wasn't a chain. So I gave it 2 thumbs up.

Somehow on the way back to the hotel I drove to the end of "town" and found an ice cream stand. I don't know what it is about the northeast, but ice cream stands, despite only being open for about 3 months of the entire year, are everywhere. I was going to resist and just let the boys indulge, but they had blueberry. And you know I love me some blueberries. Best. Ice Cream. Ever. (didn't I already say that once in this post? This time I mean it.)

As I was planning this trip and looking at maps and routes and destinations, I  seemed to recall finding an old friend on Faceblech and didn't she live in Ohio? I tracked her down and she met us at a lovely, convenient Ohio State park for a nosh and hello.  Here's Tina and Jbird talking about the lovely qualities of squeaky cheese (aka Amish cheese curds.)

Her brood played with my brood and we got to catch up. Jbird kept warning us about alligators. The boys digged and swung on the swings. Tina is happy and healthy and her kids are awesome. Although it was odd to see her tall boy below. Some of you may remember him as a baby at my wedding... I remember meeting her youngest son when he was barely 2. I'd never met her daughter. whew we're old.

Same as it ever was.


Lisa said...

Great post, Kiki! I really felt like I was tagging along, except for all the fatigue and boredom. Audiobooks are life-savers when you're traveling with kids, aren't they?

We, too, have partaken of some Food Network programming during road trips. Who doesn't love Ace of Cakes?

btw, my word verif. is "conepart". Is that related to Bonaparte?

Sinda said...

I can't believe that's Levi.

So much fun you had! I'm so glad you did it - it sounds like it was worth every mile (and blueberry).

(my WV is CATCLIGN, which I think means you need to get a cat, stat)

dave said...

hey kuz!

dave here. the meatballs were the highlight of the meal. looking at the photos makes me hungry! of course, calling them simply "meatballs" doesn't do them justice. delicate spheres of tender lamb bathed in a silky buttery sauce with a hint of truffle would be more appropriate! glad you enjoyed yourself. i had a great time too. we will have to do it again. talk soon.


ps-cool photos from Franklin Fountain.

Vetmommy said...

This post had me DROOLING. Fabulous food! You really did this road trip right!