Monday, October 21, 2013

Ohio Time

Having lived in California and New York, and now residing in New England, you don’t really have the Midwest on your radar, and maybe even hear (or share) a disparaging remark or two about it. I have to confess, however, that having spent some time out there visiting R’s folks, it’s really not half bad. Sure, there are pockets of backward conservatism that make me a bit uncomfortable, not to mention the fairly hardcore pious crowd, but you know what? You find that wherever you go, and there are plenty of nice people in R’s hometown, not to mention a fair number of things to do.

It helps that it’s a college town with a reasonably big international population. If anything, it is perhaps more diverse than Hanover, which boasts an Ivy League college. It’s also fairly progressive with a good cultural scene and lots to do, and we always have fun going there. This time was no different, and we got to stay in hotel with a pool. You can’t beat that.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn, which is your typical chain hotel, with the generic decor that is ubiquitous in most brand name accommodations. The staff is always friendly, and breakfast that is included is like most others except that they do change the hot food every day, and they offer a better cereal selection along with real oatmeal, not to mention real fruit salad, as opposed to the canned stuff in heavy syrup. Sometimes when you stay at really low end motels, the food is really depressing.

As usual, we were looking for the most economical way to fly, so we flew out of Manchester NH doing the park and fly at La Quinta Inn, and though the hotel itself was nice, the park and fly is a bit of a sham. They don’t have their own shuttle service and end up hiring a cab. Plus, the hotel is not that close to the airport. The topper was that they charged us extra for the parking, which was cheaper than long term, but clearly not spelled out in their agreement. After haggling and complaining, they gave us a small break, but in my opinion, in the interest of good customer relations, I think they should have just let us slide. Their efforts to me were largely inadequate and I came away from it with a negative impression. Still, it’s a nice hotel in a great location, so we’ll keep it in mind if we want to visit Manchester, we’ll just skip the park and fly. It’s not worth it.

The flight to Ohio was very smooth sailing, and though connections can make flying a pain, they do tend to break up the flight and make it more manageable. The flight was rough in one aspect, however, and that was the timing. We caught what must have been the first plane out of Manchester at 5:30AM. Talk about brutal, we had to wake up around 4:00AM and catch a cab. The one bright note of flying this early is that you’re the first plane so there usually are no delays, and when you finally do land, you still have the day ahead of you.

It was nice as always seeing R’s folks. We hung out and ate great meals, and had plenty of time to reconnect and chat. The weather was nice for most of our stay, so the kids got to play outside and we even rented bikes from the library. What a great idea. I was hoping to catch a college hockey game, but it didn’t work out, which is a bummer. It wasn’t the end of the world, though, because we had a great time just chilling and catching up on rest and sleep. I tend to get lots of sleep and lose weight when we travel, though this time around I feel like I engorged myself on food. R’s parents must look at me in disbelief and wonder where their daughter found a “gordita” like me. I can’t say I blame them.

I don’t deny that I have a voracious appetite, but when we’re at home, I am moving constantly doing chores around the house. When we travel, I am not moving as much, but usually I don’t eat as much, either. Not so when we visit R&J, because J takes care of us on the food front. I definitely have to get back in shape now that we’re back.

All in all, it was a nice trip but as always, it’s nice to be back home. We landed and celebrated N’s birthday, and now the kids are ready to head off to camp. On to the next adventure, as the saying goes.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Bernie Thomas for the pic.

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