Frank and I drove to Lancaster, PA, on Wednesday. We left at 3am and Frankie (mercifully) slept for the first 3 or 4 hours of the drive. The rest of the day was quite the adventure with seemingly constant stops for diaper changes and nursing. I joked that we stopped at every single rest stop between Chicago and Pennsylvania. The trip took us several hours longer than it normally would, and despite our best efforts, Frankie still had a few meltdowns. But we finally made it just in time for dinner with the family!
Frank grew up visiting the Amish country in Lancaster and was so excited to show it to me for the first time, not to mention revisit his favorite places from childhood with his parents and siblings. He misses his family so much from across the country! We stayed at the Amish View Inn and I highly recommend it—we had a great experience there, and their breakfast buffet was fantastic.
The next morning, we started the day at a pretty riverside spot where Frank's family always used to picnic. We took advantage of the nice location to take a million photos.
The next bunch of photos are from my sister-in-law's film camera:
|All my in-laws!|
|Favorite Barber brother-in-law|
|Love this pic of Frankie|
|I kinda like him|
We noticed this t-shirt in a gift shop and just had to laugh. This is a bit inappropriate (sorry!) but these are ACTUALLY the names of the local towns! No joke!
I somehow don't have any other pictures from our time in Lancaster, but briefly, here's what we did on Thursday: some serious shopping at awesomely cheap thrift stores, bought the best donuts of my entire life from the Shady Maple grocery store, and had dinner at the legendary Shady Maple restaurant buffet. Shopping and eating—that's what vacation is for, right?
We drove to my in-laws' house Thursday evening, where Frank and I got the best surprise ever: his parents had redone his and his brother's old bedroom to be a gorgeous, baby-friendly guest room!
There was this beautiful bed with the cutest bedding, and an empty dresser for clothes with beautiful family photos framed on top (excuse my super professional and high-quality phone photos...):
The most comfortable armchair for my middle-of-the-night nursing sessions (which for some reason I photographed while it had our package of diapers on it?):
A little desk for Frank and me to work at, in case we needed to, and space for our travel crib under the window:
And there was even a little basket of toys and board books for Frankie!
It was one of the most thoughtfully put-together guest rooms I've ever seen. Frank and I were blown away and very grateful! Now we need more excuses to visit them and put it to use. :)
On Friday, Frank and I went into Princeton for lunch with our dear friends Serena, Patrick and Jessica. Sadly no pictures of that, but it was so great to catch up with them, although briefly. I love seeing them whenever we are in town!
That evening, we went to dinner at my in-laws' favorite restaurant La Villa for their famous tomato pie. (You remember how much Frank loves that stuff?) I got to meet Frank's awesome Aunt Sharon for the first time, which was the best since she is seriously the sweetest and nicest lady. (Also, she told me she reads my blog. Hi, Aunt Sharon!!!) On top of that, my sister Lillian was able to drive up and join us for dinner with her husband and baby! They came over for dessert afterward and got to see my in-laws' beautiful house for the first time. That was wonderful.
The next morning was such a treat. So there is this little town in Pennsylvania called Fallsington that has been around since the 1700s. One Saturday a year, the whole town puts on a full-scale historical reenactment of what the town was like in colonial times. It's called Fallsington Day and it is so beyond awesome, like something straight out of Stars Hollow. It's a dream come true for a history nerd like me. This kind of thing does NOT happen in the Midwest! And it just happened to fall on the one Saturday that we were in town.
Aunt Sharon and her family live in Fallsington, so Frank and his siblings used to always attend growing up. I believe they actually used to join in the reenactments and had period-appropriate costumes for the occasion... much like someone else in this family. (*cough* meant to be *cough*)
So, Fallsington Day!
The next two pictures are of Aunt Sharon's house. It was built in colonial times and she has it so beautifully decorated that when I walked in it, I felt like I had stepped into a Felicity novel.
This log cabin down the street is one of the main sights of Fallsington Day. It's the oldest building in the area (built in the 1600s, I think?) and was filled with reenactors carding wool, cooking over the fireplace, making handcrafts, and otherwise being awesome. I was in heaven.
After Fallsington Day (and the best soup of my entire life made by Aunt Sharon), we went back to my in-laws' house to get ready for the reason we were all in town—Frank's cousin's wedding!!
But first, I took a million photos of Frankie meeting his other "twin cousin." This little lady is actually my husband's first cousin, making her Frankie's first-cousin-once-removed, and she was born ONE DAY before Frankie. How crazy is that?
Destined to be best friends, obviously.
As blurry as these pictures are, they are actually the very best of the 20 or so I took. Those little peanuts would not stop rolling around!
I'm pretty sure Frankie has hair envy of that little lady's dark, flowing, curly locks. Such a Barber family trait. Also, she's the only baby I've met who is as big as Frankie (99th percentile, woot woot)—another Barber family trait for sure.
And then it was time for the wedding!
Here we are with the bride and groom:
It was wonderful to celebrate with the whole family, and we are so happy for this great couple! Also I'm crossing my fingers they come visit us soon, because that would be awesome.
There were the sweetest votive candles on our dinner table, honoring Frank's beloved grandparents:
I've heard so many stories about this couple that I almost feel like I know them, even though they died years before I met Frank. This grandpa is the source of Frank's love for cooking, gardening, grocery shopping, Italian food, the Phillies, the Eagles, oldies music, and probably a million other things besides. Frank loves to tell funny stories about his Pop-pop, like how he would compliment good music by saying, "Tough song," or the time that Frank's parents rented pony rides for his little brother's birthday party and the ponies ruined Pop-pop's lawn. It was really special to hear stories about them from Frank's family and see them remembered at his cousin's wedding.
The next morning, Frank and I got up unpleasantly early to begin the odyssey back to Sweet Home Chicago... stopping at Panera for breakfast and to change Frankie into his new Eagles onesie that Frank had purchased with great excitement.
What a great weekend. I'm so glad we were able to visit our New Jersey family, especially since we won't be able to be with them over the holidays this year. We are looking forward to our next visit (hopefully soon!).