My mom and I like to celebrate our birthdays together since we are only five days apart. (I was born on the 3rd and my mom was born on the 8th.) Sometimes we'll go on a bus trip adventure or schedule a day of shopping. This year, we decided to have Little Lewie join in the festivities, so we booked tickets for the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat Cruise. Then, as a last minute surprise, I asked my Aunty Kiki if she and her best friend Karen could join us for the trip. (They live two hours away, but Essex, CT is only an hour from their home, so it was the perfect place to meet up.)
The trip did not disappoint. Although it was a little chilly (in the 50's and windy), we were perfectly warm enough in the train and in the boat seating area. (Plus, we were able to buy ourselves tea, hot cocoa and coffee at the boat snack bar to warm ourselves up.) The scenery was beautiful, and although many of the trees have not changed color yet, we could still see the hint of yellows, oranges, and reds.
The best part of the day, by far, however, was the company. With our busy schedules, it's hard for all of us to find a day to be just about family. I'm so glad last weekend, we put aside the laundry, the homework, the grocery shopping, the errands, and just about everything else to make family first.
After the excursion, we went to downtown Essex to eat at the Black Seal Seafood Grille and then we took pictures across the street, not far from the town gazebo. Downtown Essex is charming, and they do a great job decorating for Halloween. Scary witches, ghosts, goblins, and even fairies adored their lampposts. Plus, mums, pumpkins, cornstalks, and hay could be seen just about everywhere--especially in front of Essex's cute little shops. My mom and I stopped in one little clothing boutique before leaving for the day. (Little Lewie waited quietly, yet a little impatiently. Shopping is not his thing.)
At it turns out, 41 feels just like 40 and 39 and 38...etc. etc. This is not a milestone year, yet I plan to make it one. This year, my goal is to visit one of our beautiful National Parks and take some other memorable trips. At age 8, Lewie is able to begin appreciating nature's beauty, learning about history and science, and remembering special places. The travel bug has returned, and this is the year, I will begin planning for a decade's worth of amazing trips (at least before Lewie goes off to college). Watch out the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park, we're coming...we are COMING.