Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Fine Day for a Swing

Tim has always been good at planning little last minute surprises. When we first moved in together, the little surprises usually consisted of a snack or special drink he had waiting for me in the car when he picked me up from the airport. As we both started to travel, it would be little notes left for me when I got home. Now that we are both supposed to live in the same place, but still manage not to see much of each other, he has moved on to planning date nights.

We had both taken Friday off work, and so this time he planned an overnight trip. This was partially to celebrate the long Memorial Day weekend, partially to celebrate our happiness at selling the house, and partially just because we are both tired and could use a getaway.

He didn't tell me where we were going. My instructions were:
  • Wear an outfit and bring supplies to spend Friday hiking, and
  • Bring a "biker type" outfit for Friday night*.
So, Thursday night I arrived back to the apartment in a rush after staying too long with a friend from work celebrating, completed the paperwork for the condo sale, started packing, and tried to get some sleep.

We woke up on Friday, finished packing, made sure Elora would be OK while we were gone, and got on the road. Before the adventure could officially begin, though, Tim needed to drop somethings off at work, and we needed to get breakfast.

So, finally we were off!

Tim had printed out directions to take all beautiful, scenic back roads to our destination. It was really beautiful. Since all the states (PA, NJ, DE and MD) are pretty close to each other, I had no idea where we were going or what state we were in. We passed the next two hours looking at all the trees and listening to the radio.

[Gorgeous Blue Sky, Lush Green Grass, and the Open Road Ahead]

Ultimately, we ended up in Maryland at the Susquehanna State Park. The setting was not a surprise to me even if the location was. I knew we would end up in the woods and I knew we'd be near water. It is where we met, the essense of our life together, and a setting that always brings me some measure of both peace and sadness. Tim and I are essentially guarded and solitary creatures - even to each other - and this is only emphasized on such a trip. Let me try to explain...

"Come on, Bee-Bop." Tim said to me, and we walked towards the trail head. He invites me to walk with him as we head down the trail (or behind him when it gets too narrow), but he retreats into himself (like the squirrels disappear into the woods when we walk too close to them) and I only really know of his thoughts and feelings left on the trail (and those are not many). Take only pictures, leave only footprints.

We kept walking, and I knew that soon we'd be at the river. I could hear it and I'd already spotted about 5 blue herons through the gaps in the trees. I seemed to have a sixth sense for them on this trip. We crossed a little creek on our way there, which was fun. We had to balance on several logs and jump from rock to rock - some of them slippery.

I developed a love for rivers in college when I would take many walks to sit near the Mississippi River and think. It was my therapy. Rivers are on a journey to somewhere else. The are all at once turbulent, calm, rushing, taking, keeping, giving up, and crashing themselves against rocks that wear down over time. They are doing all of this at once, but you only really experience the one part of a river you can see in your location, and few people have the dedication or desire to follow the length of one.

Tim tried to take a picture of an elusive blue heron while I looked at the river.

Eventually, it was time to head back on the trail. We decided to follow the old rail lines back until it connected much farther up with the main road and a path to the picnic area where we were parked. This part of the walk had a much more open trail and it was a more relaxed walk and the air didn't feel as heavy as it did up on the ridge.

[A straight and level trail of old railway tracks through the forest....]

[...some parts of the supporting ground had been washed away, necessitating some good balancing skills.]

In all we spent about 4 hours hiking. We hadn't eaten lunch and it was close to 4:30pm by this point, so we decided to head into town for our Bed & Breakfast. We got there earlier than we were expected. Since no one was home, we left our car at the house and decided to go find some food and a drink. Port Deposit, Maryland was a small town with quite a lot of the variety even in the 3 blocks we walked. It had everything from the quaint B&B and dining establishments to the row homes full of people sitting on the porch (and sidewalk) talking.

[C.M. Tug's Grub & Pub..ordered a hamburger topped with a crabcake- delicious!!]

We stopped at a little pub that had a wide variety of food and each ordered a beer. We tried to catch each other up on what was going on in our jobs. We almost never talk to each other about work. Tim has apparently been doing some really cool things at his job and helped create and publish their first print ad and has his digital signage videos up all over their office. He has a little video editing room where he can do all of these. His boss showed me when we stopped by in the morning. Everyone there is very proud of him.

Before long it was time to head back and check into the B&B. There was a nice, chattly lady there to greet us and show us the place. It was beautiful and thankfully not too full of lace even though it was called Granite and Lace Bed and Breakfast. It was actually very tastefully decorated.

Our room had a jacuzzi tub, so I took a bath right away. I had gotten a pretty nasty bruise on our hike by falling on a rock, and needed to soak it. The bath was full of wonderful bubbles just as I like it!

Tim fell asleep. He has been very tired. I barely got him awake at 9:30pm to see if he still wanted to unveil his surprise that required the "biker outfit." He eventually woke up and we headed to the Union Hotel Tavern. This seemed to be essentially a bar for the Harley lovers in the area who work hard and just want a good place to unwind, bring their dogs, and listen to some music. (Probably without the likes of us, "blessed" though we apparently were... At least so said the bartender who asked for our IDs, looked at the DOB, looked at us, looked back at the DOB again, and just shook her head). It actually reminded me a lot of the Rusty Spur in Arizona, except minus the ladies' undergarments in abundance on the walls.

We had a couple of drinks and listened to the live music before heading out again to find something to eat, since the kitchen was closed. The only thing we could find open and serving food was a Denny's where we shared a massive breakfast plate.

We were pretty exhausted by the time we got back to our room even though it was only 11:30pm. We fell asleep immediately and woke up in the morning to the wonderful smells of breakfast coming from the kitchen.

The food was GREAT. Judy made a florentine omelette, organge pancakes, fruit, and great coffee. It was delicious!
[Fresh, Aromatic rosemary on the plates!]

After breakfast, we packed our things and headed east, through Maryland, into Delaware and around the outskirts of Wilmington before turning north into PA.

It was a very nice surprise planned by Tim and great start to the holiday weekend! I'm looking forward to the couple additional days that we have to relax and do fun things before returning to work.

[Oh, yeah, we saw a snake hanging out on a tree trunk!]

Have a great weekend everyone!

*For all of you expecting this, I assure you what I wore was exactly this.


These last few days have been very happy ones for Tim and I. On 5/22/2008 (exactly one month after we put it on the market) we finalized all paperwork/negotiations for the sale of the condo, and now all we have to do is attend the settlement (scheduled on our anniversary date, actually) and remove the last few things we still had at the house to help it show nicer.

We consider ourselves definitely fortunate considering the housing market and were very pleased with the outcome. It was like the stars aligned just right.

Thanks to everyone who wished us luck and kept your fingers crossed!!!