Sunday, September 18, 2005

Wedding in the Berkshires

Thurs morning Joe & I loaded the trunk of my convertible and set off on our second trip this week. The purpose of this trip was to attend the wedding of our friends Michael & Jamie, in the Berkshires. And since our directions took us within a short distance of Albany NY, we decided to leave a day early to see could incorporate a visit with our friend Rachel.

The drive to Albany was beautiful and easy, for the most part. Rather than taking the NJ Turnpike through NJ and NY, we followed the suggestion of Michael & Jamie to take the western route through PA instead. Although the NJ/NY route is likely shorter, it is much more hectic, trafficky, and stressful to drive. (We knew that from our trip to Vermont in Jan.) The route through PA was beautiful, not trafficky at all, and was a pleasure to drive.

We headed north with the roof down, our sunglasses and visors on, and the CD wallets full of good music for the drive. The weather was quite pleasant through MD and PA, with large periods of alternating sun and clouds. Several miles before approaching Frackville PA (yes, that's really the name of the town), we saw a huge billboard sign for "Dutch Kitchen - Voted Best Roadfood". Joe & I got a chuckle out of this, wondering what exactly was "roadfood". Was that something like roadkill? Who votes on that? We decided they likely meant road-side food, since the sign was on a major highway. Intrigued, we decided to stop there for lunch.

Since it was about 2:30 on a Thurs, there were only folks at a few tables. Our waiter was this 60-something looking many with impeccably styled hair. After taking our order, we overheard him talking to another employee, lamenting that he was the only server that day, and that if there were a rush, he'd be all alone to handle all the tables. Then he added that he was simply not having a good week. Just the previous day he had done a perm and had forgotten to mix up the perm solution, so he wound up having to do the whole thing over again. We didn't realize this lunch would include entertainment!

Back on the road again, the periods of sun were becoming fewer and fewer, and the clouds were getting darker. Joe asked me if I thought we should stop and put the roof up. But being the eternal optimist that I am, I said no and that I thought we'd be fine. We'd crossed the NY state line and I figured we'd be in Albany soon. A good while later as we were sailing east on I-84, we drove right into an absolute deluge of rain! Neither of us saw it ahead of us, and there were no tell-tale drips or drizzles on the windshield to warn us. Before we knew it, we had driven into the pouring rain. I immediately pulled over to the shoulder and pushed the button that automatically opens the 'boot' and raises the convertible roof, but it just wasn't fast enough. It takes 14 seconds to open or close the roof, but when you're sitting in the pouring rain, 14 seconds feels like 14 minutes. We were both soaked. There was only like 2 fast food napkins in the glove box with which we could attempt to wipe the streams of water from our faces. It was really shocking how fast we drove into that. About 15 minutes later the rain stopped and the sun came back out. We stopped for gas and while I was fueling up, Joe went inside and got some napkins to wipe off the inside of the car. Confident that the shower was over, I pushed the button and sent the convertible roof back to its resting spot and headed back out.

Not even an hour later, as we were heading north on I-87, we saw the first of a few drips on the windshield this time, so I immediately pulled over so we could get the roof up again. Just as we merged from the shoulder back onto the highway, it began to pour again. We decided the roof was going to stay up this time, even if the rain stopped and the sun came out again.

We reached Albany and met up with Rachel. She used to work with Joe, but took a better paying job in Albany back in July. She'd lived in Albany before and has several close friends and relatives there. We walked from her apartment in a gorgeous old Victorian a few blocks to Sadie's, where we had to yell to compete with the loud music from the bar next door, as we ate pizza, chicken tenders, and an assortment of fried foods. Good times! It was nice to visit with Rachel. We stayed at an inexpensive hotel near the highway.

Fri morning, after breakfast at IHOP, we headed over to a cute, 'up-and-coming' neighborhood where we'd seen some cute stores the night before. Much of Albany looks to be in a state of disrepair. What were once gorgous Victorian houses are now apartment buildings needing lots of care. Its such a shame, since Albany is the capitol of NY, and since the city has such potential to look like San Francisco. We did a little browsing and then decided to head on over to MA. From Albany we took I-90 and got to Lee, MA in less than an hour.

Michael & Jamie had sent us this wonderful and invaluable map of The Berkshires, which includes several little tiny towns, one of which was Lee, the location of our hotel. We checked into our room, and called Michael & Jamie to let them know we were in town, then set off to explore the quaint little villages that make up the Berkshires. We had dinner at a Greek restaurant, then headed over to meet up with Michael & Jamie, their families, and other guests who had already arrived for the wedding. They both seemed a little nervous, likely because their ceremony was scheduled to be outdoors the next day, and it had rained earlier, and the forecast called for scattered showers on their wedding day. But it was nice to see some familiar faces of the guests we'd met before.

Sat morning, we had breakfast at a coffee shop/smoothie place/bagel shop, then headed out for some more exploring. We stopped at a tag sale (yard sale) and as we were leaving, Jamie and his two friends Amy and Caryn pulled up! Apparently Michael & Jamie had planned a little time on their wedding day for each of them to spend with the two friends who were 'standing up for them' at their wedding, and being the consummate bargain hunter, this was Jamie's idea of quality time with his friends.

Michael called 45 minutes before the wedding was to start to let me know they had decided to move the ceremony indoors, due to the threat of rain. We arrive a few minutes before it was to begin and took our seats. Michael & Jamie each had a sibling give a reading, and then the officiant gave the sermon. I took pictures as discreetly as possible.

Then we had a cocktail hour, followed by a sit-down dinner, followed by dancing, the cutting and serving of the wedding cake, and an open bar. It was a wonderful event.

We got the opportunity to meet all of Jamie & Michael's parents. I say 'all' because both guys' parents are divorced and remarried, so there were 4 sets of parents. There were also many relatives, friends, former co-workers, and college roommates/friends. We really enjoyed talking to many of them and seeing how wonderfully supportive everyone was for these two guys who decided to get married in the only state in the United States where gays can marry.

We left this morning at 9:30, stopped once for lunch and gas, and got home at 5:30. We logged over 1,100 miles. I'm really not looking forward to returning to work tomorrow.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Mark-
We are so pleased you and Joe were able to celebrate with us! Thanks for making the trip.