Tag Archives: christmas lights

Day 12…. otherwise known as Christmas.

 

So we got up bright and early to make the almost 5 hour drive down to North Carolina.

 

IMG_1854

                                                         Required Christmas selfie.

 

IMG_1747

 

And as we were walking down the sidewalk of our resort it struck me…..

 

IMG_1846

 

I might not be the only one who cursed my husband’s choice of the behemoth rental car.

It was an uneventful trip.

 

IMG_1867

 

But we saw lots of cotton.

 

IMG_1870

 

Really, a whole lot of cotton.

 

IMG_1869

 

And absolutely nothing else. Nothing for miles and miles… except cotton… and I was starting to sweat the steadily dropping level of gasoline.

Behemoths be thirsty.

I also took issue with Apple maps when the GPS put us in the middle of a National Forest and told us to turn around.

 

IMG_1873

 

WTF?

When the rental beast was pretty much running on fumes, we finally found a service station to fill it…. and us, since we skipped breakfast. The only choice was Subway, where I ordered a rotisserie chicken wrap and managed to leak half of the sauce on my blouse resulting in a large greasy stain.

My first words upon arrival in N.C. weren’t “Merry Christmas!”  but….. “Let me raid your closet.”

 

IMG_1874

 

My second words were “What you would like to drink?”  as I unpacked my carton of holiday cheer.

Destiny chose a bottle to match her sweater, because coordination is everything.

 

IMG_1875

 

We gave them our gifts…. and Gracie liked the books.

 

IMG_1880

 

Though I think she liked the pig a little bit more.

 

IMG_1881

 

We spent time with our daughter of the heart’s step children, John being home on leave from the Army.

 

IMG_1910

 

As you can see they aren’t young enough to be hers…. because like me, she married an older man. Which her mother thinks I’m responsible for and never lets me forget, but hey.

It worked for me.

 

IMG_1890

 

An old Marine Corps buddy of the husband’s came with us….  and it was a laid back country Christmas with lots of love and laughter.

A few highlights:

 

IMG_1913

 

My bartending skills were highly rated.

 

IMG_1908

 

And strange toys were questioned.

Does a llama really need to shake her booty?

But more importantly, why was this horror voted toy of the year in Australia?

Watch  the bizarre commercial that looks like a Saturday Night Live skit  and decide for yourself.

 

IMG_1904

 

Numerous pictures were taken.

 

IMG_1906

 

Some with prominently placed bows. (These may have been alcohol induced)

 

IMG_1888

 

Rick posed with his namesake shirt.

 

IMG_1923

 

Dogs with serious underbites begged for treats from a wonderful brown sugar glazed  ham dinner I completely devoured and forgot to photograph.

Sorry Martin.

Blame the carton of alcohol, not me.

 

IMG_1895

 

Animated discussions of politics took place….. (Which might also have been alcohol induced)

 

IMG_1916

 

But my husband smiled wider and laughed more than he has in a while, and that made my heart full.

 

Then before we were ready, it was time to say goodbye.

Hugs and tears….

 

IMG_1929

 

 

And we were back on the road.

For the longest almost 5 hour trip ever.

 

IMG_1946

 

The only bright spot?

 

IMG_1938

 

This house…

 

IMG_1940

 

That gave new meaning to the term holiday decorating.

 

IMG_1939

 

Truly an extravaganza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hell…. continued.

 

It was finally dark enough to check out the lights we’d paid a small fortune to see at Busch Gardens.

 

IMG_1271

 

Have you ever stood in a freezing cold circle of strangers and stared at a tree?

We did.

And I felt like a Who.

 

dec

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas as much as the next person.

But Christmas in Busch Gardens? Loud and crowded, filled with screaming, unruly, sugared up children as well as their rude, cell phone addicted parents…. and utterly devoid of the old world charm they were attempting to replicate?

No.

 

 

But we smiled… and enjoyed the company of those we love.

 

IMG_1252

 

If not the techno extravaganza.

 

 

I read there were 10 million lights in Christmas Town…. and I believe it.

If it stood still? They lit it.

 

IMG_1274

 

Admittedly there were some pretty spots.

 

IMG_1277

 

But the crowds pushed you along at a pace not conducive to enjoying them.

 

IMG_1292

 

There were numerous theaters you could enter and view a show…. for a large price.

But we did stumble on this extremely blue one for free.

 

IMG_1289

 

Naturally there was no place left to sit…

 

IMG_1287

 

So we stood off to the side and listened for a while.

 

 

Until our teeth were chattering again.

 

IMG_1260

 

Thank God for the warm up stations.

At least they got that right.

 

IMG_1294

 

This was an impressive section of lights.

 

IMG_1297

 

Although I was constantly getting bumped into when I stopped and attempted to focus a shot.

 

 

That tree at the end?

 

IMG_1299

 

Shone like the sun.

It was so damn bright….. I think my retinas actually screamed.

 

IMG_1302

 

In case I forgot to mention it….. trying to stay together and find your way around this place in the dark amidst the crowds of screaming children and oblivious parents? A total nightmare. We had no idea where we were half the time and by the time we decided to head back to the parking lot?

 

6360826008720736931965468980_pic1

 

We couldn’t find a map, no less the exit. And I think they plan it that way. We even went into the stores and asked the staff how to get out …. but they looked at us like the proverbial deer in headlights.

Maybe they never get out…

I don’t know.

 

IMG_1307

 

Asking the plastic polar bears seemed like a waste of time.

 

IMG_1313

 

So we kept walking.

 

IMG_1312

 

Took a right past the ice castle…. then a left…. then a right… and another left…. and backed up… and crossed a bridge…. and turned around….. and found ourselves back at the damned ice castle.

 

IMG_1317

 

We walked and walked.

And shivered and chattered and froze.

 

IMG_1261

 

We also blessed the day man discovered fire.

But then we finally saw something familiar.

 

IMG_1321

 

And I was never so happy to see a fake European village square in my life.

 

IMG_1320

 

Joy to the World my *ss.

 

 

I was only joyful when we found the exit, waited on yet another long line for the shuttle, rode the sardine can to the parking lot with 50 tired, cranky children and worn out adults and got into our car.

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Williamsburg?

Bah humbug.

Overpriced and over rated.

 

 

 

Busch Gardens Virginia….or as I like to call it, Hell.

 

I think we’ve established we are not theme park people.

So spending 6 hours at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg while on Christmas vacation?

 

imagesMZE3PTQ1

 

It’s billed as the prettiest theme park in the country.

 

IMG_1182

 

And while I doubt that’s a very high bar…..

 

IMG_1183

 

It’s plastic fantastic fake European villages failed to impress….. seeing they were less village and more overpriced stores filled with gimmicky tourist merchandise.

It was enough to make me drink.

 

IMG_1184

 

Warm Apple Pie Cocktail in hand… we continued.

(You knew it was coming, don’t look so surprised.  If ever I was in dire need of alcohol? It was then.)

 

IMG_1186

 

So we paid a fortune, had drinks in hand and a 7 year old who wanted to go on some rides. Problem was… most of them weren’t operational for Christmas.

This did not go over well with the little person in our midst.

 

IMG_1207

 

She couldn’t drink, and she didn’t care about fake Europe… she just wanted some rides!

 

IMG_1189

 

We found a few animals to distract her.

 

IMG_1188

 

But it was cold and she was growing more bored with each step. Every ride we passed? Locked up tight.

And then viola!

 

IMG_1191

 

I spotted a gondola.

 

IMG_1190

 

3 adults and a midget. We’re in!

So we get on line.

A long line.

A very long line that took us almost 40 minutes to reach the end.

We boarded, anticipating a leisurely ride over the park.

 

IMG_1192

 

And I kid you not, after taking this picture….

And this video….

 

 

Which lasted 40 seconds, we were done.

One second of ride for each minute we waited on line. Totally worth it!

Not.

 

IMG_1200

 

We landed in “France”.

And you know what? I’ve been to France…. this wasn’t even close.

Still not finding a working ride, I spotted Hogwarts and the child’s eyes lit up.

Yay me!

 

IMG_1202

 

Boo Busch Gardens…. it was blocked off and locked up tight.

I was beginning to hate this place.

 

IMG_1204

 

Psychedelic camera toting bear aside.

Did I mention it was cold?

 

IMG_1232

 

I mean down right freezing for southerners and even quite brisk for us Yankees after a few hours of walking.

 

 

At least this made her laugh.

If we had known all the fun kid stuff would be closed? We wouldn’t have gone in the afternoon but just waited until after dark for the lights.

 

IMG_1215

 

Even the scooter brigade looked disappointed.

 

IMG_1217

 

We did mange to find an old time carousel.

 

IMG_1214

 

Where we waited on line for another 30 minutes to ride for 30 seconds. You could seriously get whiplash from how quickly these things end.

 

IMG_1230

 

Magic dragons were climbed on….

 

IMG_1219

 

Towers were explored….

 

IMG_1222

 

More alcohol was needed….

Okay, maybe that was just me.

 

IMG_1220

 

Rope bridges were crossed….

 

IMG_1226

 

Even by the husband if you can believe it.

 

IMG_1231

 

Another warm up station later, it was starting to get dark enough to see some lights.

And yes, as cold and miserable as I was….. I was going to wait until dark for the lights we paid almost $300 to see.

A preview…

 

IMG_1246

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you ready for a vacation smackdown?

 

You had 2 days off in between trips… and I threw in some Bambi pics as well. Are we good?

Good!

I admit I might have gone a little overboard with the Williamsburg, Virginia vacation photos this time…. like 3,089 pics overboard.

So sue me.

It was a fabulous trip, a marvelous Christmas and a wonderful place to explore. What can I say? When I’m old and feeble I’ll enjoy looking back on them all. (If I can remember why there are so many pictures of rocks…. and who that strange man is of course.)

Time to fasten your seat belts and loosen your pants!

The trip starts now.

 

1tzqxj

 

Okay… but fair warning, that may not be until June.

Not wanting to put the miles and wear and tear on my car, we rented one. Well, I rented one. A mid size SUV like I always do… but when we arrived at the lot, they didn’t have any and had to upgrade us to luxury.

Cool beans!

We could pick the Audi or the Infiniti.

So what did my husband pick?

 

IMG_0088

 

The Chevy Suburban.

 

 

Which happens to be the biggest, thirstiest, most annoying  lumbering behemoth vehicle ever made. A nightmare to park. A horror show for short people like me to board. A useless third row seat we didn’t need and couldn’t figure out how to fold down. Gas stations? We dreaded the mere sight of them after a few days. So why did my spouse choose it?

Because it was big.

And he’s a man.

Enough said.

Our trip from Maine started out like this:

 

IMG_9871

 

With buckets of the same for the first few states.

 

IMG_9872

 

When we were nearing Hartford, Connecticut it let up, but we hit road construction….

 

80773706_2652910504763678_6074626766494760960_n

 

And this rather precarious way of shoring up of the highway made me cringe.

 

81670183_2652910484763680_7535318523657060352_n

 

I guess I should be glad they didn’t use duct tape, but still.

 

 

Next up was my least favorite part of the trip….

 

IMG_9881

 

New York City.

Don’t get me wrong, I was born and raised in New Jersey… I can hang. But riding shotgun with my  (leadfooted, 2 centimeters from the car in front of us, switch lanes like it’s the Indy 500)  husband…. in the Black Brontosaurus?

Would test Ironman’s nerves.

 

IMG_9885

 

Though I can honestly say it’s the only time in my life I’m thankful for bumper to bumper traffic.

 

80981420_2652910594763669_2712527251949223936_n

 

Reduce speed?

 

80710769_2652910688096993_1144966701188644864_n

 

I don’t think that’s possible.

I’d post some great pics of our trip over the famous George Washington bridge, but the husband always takes the upper truck level…. so basically this was my view:

 

IMG_9886

 

But here’s one peek through the fog.

 

81041008_2652910648096997_4973202439457996800_n

 

After the bridge? It’s New Jersey…

 

80603574_2652910751430320_1714074259027918848_n

 

And the swamps they built the Meadowlands on.

 

80613286_2652910761430319_7536733612301877248_n

 

If you’ve ever wondered where Tony Soprano and his boys dumped the bodies?

It would be here.

 

80715259_2652910794763649_5109104915624493056_n

 

Oil refineries aside, you have to admit that the foul, smoggy New Jersey air does make for a dramatic sky.

Onward through the evening we drove, with the husband choosing our route. If you know me…. you know I’m type A and like to plan. Letting him pick a spot for us to spend the night was torture, but I sucked it up and endured.

I endured him picking a random town in Delaware because he liked the name, Red Lion.

Did Red Lion, Delaware have any hotels you ask?

No.

It did not.

And trust me, we drove around for almost an hour trying to find one even though I Googled it and came up empty. We did however find this:

 

80640896_2652911028096959_2699043047504609280_n

 

A Christmas extravaganza house that was blocking traffic.

 

81007923_2652911014763627_4643948618754031616_n

 

I can barely keep 2 reindeer lit… WTH?

After admitting defeat, the husband drove another 40 minutes to Dover, Delaware and pulled into the first Holiday Inn he saw.

 

IMG_9922

 

I had my doubts when I saw the lounge was decorated in early bordello. Yes… satin furniture and rhinestone encrusted mirrors.

Thankfully our room was toned down from that…

 

IMG_9918

 

But it did have some interesting features.

 

80568185_2652911444763584_3452171421193601024_n

 

Mainly, the lighting.

 

IMG_9915

 

Is it me?

 

IMG_9917

 

Or did this over the bathroom sink fixture look like deer hooves?

 

IMG_9916

 

Come on…

There’s no reasonable Martha Stewart explanation for that.

 

 

And while this corner lamp reminded me of my mother and her pull down hair dryer of the 1960’s…..

 

80695155_2652912084763520_7388661582525366272_n

 

It was these over the bed reading lamps that were a little too proctology/gynecology themed for my taste.

 

IMG_9914

 

And don’t get me started on the art work.

 

IMG_9919

 

Really, don’t.

What the…. what?

So ends day one.

(And before you start screaming Martin…. road trips with my husband consist of a McDonalds lunch eaten in the car doing 90 mph and a perfectly horrible turkey dinner at a Bob Evans next to the hotel late that night. Neither were photo worthy!)