WARNING: What follows is a very long and rambling post about our trip to Vermont. LONG. Seriously long. You have been warned.
Well, we are home again, safe and sound from our trip to Vermont. It was a good trip, a whole heck of a lot of fun, and the wedding went perfectly! All in all, really a fantastic trip.
The first day was difficult because we had to leave the house around 1:00 in the morning to make it down to Jacksonville, Florida, to catch our 6:15 flight. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive and we had to make it down an hour ahead for check-in, so it made for an early morning. When I got home Tuesday, I went to bed for about 2 hours so I’d be a little rested. Justin had an awful day on Tuesday, starting work at 7:30 and not getting done until 10:30. So he had to pack and get ready to go after he was done working. After that, he took the bags down to the car, along with a pillow, and slept in there. He woke up briefly when I got into the car to start driving us south, but he slept most of the way down.
The flights were uneventful, all our luggage made it in, and we got our rental car picked up without too many issues. I mean, they gave us the wrong key and told us the wrong car type and put my middle name on the contract instead of my first name, but the car we got was cute and functional, even if there wasn’t cruise control, power locks, or power windows. Funny how we get so used to those functions.
Anyway, we spent most of the rest of the day meeting up with the bride and groom, going out for lunch and chatting. We had some time to spare while they took care of some errands so we went to the most AMAZING Barnes and Noble EVER. Huge! Used books sections! Bargains up the wazoo! It was beautiful. We spent a lot of time just wandering around looking at all the wonderful books. And, of course, found a few good deals to bring home with us.
It didn’t take too long, though, before we were just wiped. Staying up all night can do that to a person. So we went to Justin’s family’s home about 45 minutes away from Burlington, and spent the night there. The next morning, after letting me sleep in a good while, we went out to lunch with Justin’s mom where I had my very first maple-dipped hamburger and I think I might be in love. I mean, seriously. Maple. Dipped. Hamburger. With grilled apple. On a freshly-baked bun. LOVE.
That evening was the bachelor/bachelorette parties. The boys went to play paintball while the bride and her court went out to dinner. I took a nap on their futon. The boys then went to the groom’s parents’ home for a barbeque. The girls went to the groom’s apartment and played a game for a while before heading downtown to make the bride do a scavenger hunt (get a photo with a cop, get a photo standing behind the bar, get 5 people to do shots with you, etc.) before going back to the apartment to chat. The boys definitely had a better time of it. They had more fun and better food—burgers and cake, even breakfast in the morning. We had crackers and a handful of cookies, and only English muffins in the morning. The only advantage of the party I went to over the party Justin went to was that at the end of the night, I got to sleep on the futon and he had to sleep on the floor. Otherwise, he had the better evening.
Friday, I waited around at the groom’s apartment waiting for the boys to get back so Justin and I could go back up to his parents’ and we could shower and get ready for the rehearsal. Once there, I steamed my outfit and he went to lay down for a nap. We set out a little later than anticipated and got a little confused about where exactly we were going for this shindig, but fortunately one of Justin’s friends loaned us his GPS navigator so we were able to find it. And even through we were 15 minutes late, we drove in just behind the groom’s parents. You’re not late if you arrive at the same time as the parents!
I sat in a pew and read while they did the rehearsal and then we set out for the dinner, which was delicious! Lots of chatting with friends, hearing stories tossed back and forth from when they were in school together, chatting with people we were just meeting because of the wedding. It was a really fun evening. And afterwards, after sitting at the groom’s place for a few minutes playing Mario Cart, we once again drove back up to spend the night at Justin’s parents’ house.
Saturday morning, we packed up all our luggage, ate breakfast with Justin’s family, and then went back to Burlington. The groom, best-man, another groomsman, and Justin worked on learning how to tie a full-Winsor knot and I stood outside chatting with Erica and Dad and then watching the boys get ready. It’s amusing how differently things go for the guys than the girls.
We left for the church and got there in plenty of time, and I wandered around, not having a function, taking a few pictures and then just sitting in the church. It’s this cute Catholic church out in the middle of nowhere with beautiful stained glass windows. If my pictures turned out, I’ll post some later. A few more clouds came in around the time of the wedding and I didn’t want to use flash to mess up their professional photographer, so none of the pictures I tried to take during the wedding worked out and then I gave up trying to take pictures and decided to just enjoy being in the moment.
It was a beautiful wedding. They’re both apparently strong Catholics so there was a full mass, complete with communion and kneeling on those little benches attached to the back of the pews. The bride and groom actually sat down most of the wedding, only standing up in the middle for the vows and the rings. It was interesting because I’ve never been to a full Catholic wedding. It’s quite a bit different from most other weddings I’ve been to, but I’m having trouble explaining it.
Anyway, afterwards, I got a little lost getting to the reception at the Hilton in downtown Burlington. Fortunately, I had the GPS thingie. The maid of honor’s husband followed me and I felt sorry for him because there were so many times I just had no idea where I was supposed to be going. But we made it in, I dropped the groom’s luggage off at the desk so it could be delivered to his room, and we sat around waiting for the party to start. There was cheese and fruit served on the mezzanine. The bride and groom and court finally made it back from getting their pictures taken, and we went into the ballroom for another delicious meal. They did their first dance and the dances with the parents. There were toasts. They didn’t smash cake into each other’s face. I sat at the table with a bunch of people I didn’t know ahead of our trip but got along with very well (mostly) and had a lot of fun. And then the DJ started up the music and everybody danced and danced for the next several hours. I’m pretty sure the bride and groom only left the dance floor a couple times—to gobble up the cake once it was handed out and grab something to drink, and to get a few pictures taken with groups of guests. Otherwise, they were on that floor for about 4 hours straight.
Justin and I don’t really know how to dance, and we get tired quickly. We danced enough to get worn out, sat down and chatted with friends, watched the party happening, and then went back up to dance again once we’d caught our breath. I kicked off my shoes because I kept falling over and ended up with black soles by the end of the night. One of the bridesmaids kept trying to make me jealous because she walked down the aisle with Justin, and any time she saw someone sitting down, she’d go grab them and try to get them back up dancing. The flower girl, this shy little thing, jumped and spun around and danced in the back with her mom and dad, until the bride picked her up and danced with her for a while on the dance floor. And we just partied the evening away, not caring how sweaty we all were getting, how tired our feet were, how absolutely foolish we looked. We were celebrating! And it was so much fun.
The DJ finally played the last song and we started saying our good-byes to the people still at the party. We congratulated the bride and groom again, shook hands with their parents, said good-byes to old friends and new friends and stumbled our way back out to the car. We spent the night at the groom’s place, on that same old futon, with one pillow and one blanket between the two of us.
We got about 4 hours of sleep before getting up and heading back to the airport for our 6 AM flight. We dropped off the rental, checked in, and got ready to head back home. Home, where we’d be able to sleep on a real bed again. And shower in our own shower. And just relax and recover from the chaos of the weekend. And with the exception of turbulence that pulled me from a dead sleep and made me think we were going to crash, the flight back was pretty easy.
The weather while we were in Vermont was amazing. It’s been hot and humid here lately. But when we got up north, it was in the 70s, slightly cloudy, with soft breezes. The entire time we were there, it was absolutely beautiful. I got to sit on a porch for a while when Justin was napping and I just couldn’t believe how beautiful the weather was.
And renting a car was one of the best decisions we made on this trip. We saved money by not staying at a hotel in town and just driving the 45 minutes up to Justin’s parents’ to sleep. And the freedom we had because we had that car made it more than worth the expense of it. We could head out at any time and not have to rely on anyone or inconvenience anyone to get a lift to wherever we needed to go. It was great.
And now we’re done traveling for a while. No more graduations. No more weddings. We’re happy that we’ve been doing better financially over the last few months, making it so we were able to make these trips, these once-in-a-lifetime events. But we’re looking forward to a few months of not traveling. Justin’s family is coming down to us for Thanksgiving, so we get to stay at home now until December. Then we’ll catch a plane and go up to Minnesota to celebrate Christmas with my family—something we’ve been looking forward to doing for a long time. It seriously could not get here fast enough. We’re already thinking about how we’re going to schedule it—whether I’ll fly up alone ahead of time if Justin isn’t able to take the time off, what we could do that would let him stay longer, exactly how long we’ll be able to stay up there, whether we’ll rent a car again, and so many other different things. One thing is for sure, though: We ARE spending the holidays with family this year. Wild horses couldn’t keep us away.
But I am glad that we have a few months to recoup, get a little rest, make some plans, get a little more padding in the checking account. And did I mention sleep? Because I am still so tired. But it was still a lot of fun. And it looks like the only thing that we lost was my hairbrush, which disappeared somewhere between the Hilton’s parking garage before the reception and home. It’s a little disappointing because I loved that brush, but if that’s the worst thing that happened the entire time, I call that a win!