Sunday, July 26, 2015

Our Annual Visit to the U.S. - MA, CT, & Raleigh, NC

We bid adieu to Mexico and flew to Hartford, CT via Orlando. Once in the Orlando airport, I popped in our new H2O sim cards and activated our phones for the U.S. Sure felt good to be "connected" immediately!  If you want a very inexpensive alternative for U.S. cell phone coverage, check it out at

After landing in Hartford (Windsor Locks actually), CT and getting our rental car, we were off to visit Mike's cousin, Denise, and her husband, Dennis, in Tyringham, MA. We've made this trip every year and simply love the serenity of their location in the Berkshires but especially their property - Santarella Gingerbread House!!  Check it out at

 The Event Center & former sculpture studio.
One of the Silo Suites

The cabin house, where Denise & Dennis live.
The cabin house front.
Mike, Dennise & Denise at cocktail our around the pond.
The pond.
The grounds.
Side view of the Event Center & one of the Silo Suites on the left.

This time we stayed in the big house in the Master Suite and had the whole house to ourselves. We've also stayed in each of the Silo Suites, which are magical! A truly magical place that we are fortunate to be able to enjoy intimately.

Our time there was spent just visiting and catching up with each other since our last visit last summer. However, we did manage to eat out for lunch in Lee and have a fabulous kayak excursion one evening on Upper Spectacle lake. Just the things you do when you're in the country during the summer. Ahhhhh!!

We then journeyed back down to Farmington, CT where we caught up with our daughter, Denise, at her/our friend's, Kandice's, home. Denise took a new job in Raleigh, NC last October and her husband, Michael, and our grandson, Maddox, moved there last January after they were with us in PV. Anyway, that's why we had no where to stay in CT and we all cozzied in with Kandice so we could attend our grandson, Tim's, high school graduation. He'll be attending Florida State University in the fall. That makes 3 grandson's in college. Wow!!

Grandson, Peter, who's a Junior in College; daughter, Denise; Grandson, Tim, who's the high school graduate - soon to be freshman at Florida State University.
Tim being happy with his graduation present. A hand carved marble chess set from Chichen Itza

We also were able to have a wonderful visit with Mike's other cousin, Tom, and Mike's aunt, Louise, who is 92 and all with it!

So after graduation on Wednesday, June 17th, the next morning we loaded up Denise's car and drove down to Raleigh, NC in one day, arriving in time for dinner. Over the next 12 days, we ate out several times, had a nice get together on the new patio with several of their new friends, did a bit of shopping for things we needed to bring back, went to the neighborhood pool several times, drove out for a picnic lunch and to discover Jordan Lake by ourselves, took a day trip with Denise to Old Salem, spent a day again at Jordan Lake with Denise and Maddox, and attended Maddox's "moving up" ceremony from 5th to 6th grade.

Michael, our son in law & Mike on Father's Day.
Having dinner with friends we met in Alausi, Ecuador - Elizabeth & Amanda Johnson, who now live in Raleigh.
Jordan Lake, Raleigh, NC

Downtown Raleigh, NC, State Capital of NC:

Old Salem, NC:

Moving Up is fun to do with friends!

Unfortunately, Maddox goes to year round school and had class every day we were there. Although, he did play hooky one day to be with us. :)  The weather was hot, hot, hot! Just like PV but hotter and a bit less humidity. Still hot! We loved it after being quite cold in MA & CT.

As always, the time goes by way too fast!  It was awesome to see Denise and family enjoying their new life and surroundings. Having moved nationwide 8 times myself, I know the stress of it all. And, yet there's an invigoration and excitement of the new. Congrats, on a great transition!

After seeing Maddox's moving up ceremony from 5th to 6th grade, on Tuesday, June 30th, we flew to Spokane, WA, our U.S. "home". A wonderful time for sure!! After a year's anticipation, it's over in a flash. See you all again next year!!

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