Jackson 5 Friday: Chick-Ooh-Lay and the Perfect Two-Day Vacation

A few months back my family traveled to Michigan for a weddding that occurred on a Friday. We left on a Thursday and came home Saturday morning.  It was like spending a weekend away and then coming home for a weekend.  It was fantastic..  And so we are repeating that grand little scheme again.  Yesterday we drove three hours from home to ski and tonight, we’ll drive home.  We got a great deal, are avoiding the weekend crowds, and we’ll be home for the weekend.  I feel like I’ve struck gold in my own backyard with this double-weekend game-plan.

Yesterday morning we started out numerous times because I forgot Sammy’s coat and because Will kept forgetting whether or not he’d closed the garage door.  It made me laugh to think about what our neighbors might have thought if they saw all of us in the minivan coming and going and coming and going and coming and going between six-thirty and seven.

Then we stopped at a Chick-Fil-A in Cumberland, Maryland for breakfast.  Cumberland looks exactly like Allentown, PA and if you’ve never been to Allentown, you could probably just listen to the Billy Joel song and get a rough idea of the general spirit of the town, which is to say, it’s had better days.  Far better days.  But there’s something sweet and also sorrowful about seeing such a town, with its steep hills, remnants of enterprise and its steeple row — Cumberland has church after church, with spire after spire.  But my whole family loves Chick-Fil-A, most of all my husband and my Sammy.  Will loves the food.  Sammy loves the slide.  In fact, Sammy can spot a “Chick-Ooh-Lay”–as he calls it — a mile away.  So he got his few trips down the slide before we hit the slopes!

Upon arrival we got all three boys decked out in their gear and ready to go, which seems to take about sixteen hours and burns roughly 4,000 calories.  But of course it’s well worth it.  We put Sammy right in ski school and skied a few runs with the big boys before feeding them lunch and putting them in their afternoon lesson.  Then Will and I took a few runs by ourselves which feels to me like the most wonderful, most extravagant date in the world.  The isolation, beauty and quiet of a chairlift is a special thing, and I love that totally uninterrupted time of conversation and contemplation with my man.

Then we tried to have a nice lunch together  We went into the lodge and looked over the menu.  We decided that I’d get a cup of chili and a soft pretzel and he’d get the gyro, and then we’d share.  Yes, I know it sounds like something my grandparents would do, but we can’t help it, we’ve been married 1.5 decades.

But wonder of wonders as we stood there waiting to order, the woman behind the counter asked the girl in front of us (evidently also an employee): “Do you like the gyro?”  We did not hear the response, but the sour-faced questioner went on to comment, “Ughh.  I don’t know what it is about it.  I just can’t get past the smell!” Then another co-worker concurred with the first by acting like she was going to be sick.

I mean what are the chances?  I felt so blessed not to order the gyro!  After that we were quite content with two brick-like pretzels and a cup of watery chili.

Perhaps it’s obvious, but we left the resort for dinner.  In short, slopes — five out of five stars.  Food — half a star, maybe.

Morals: (1) Plan a two day, mid-week getaway.  It can be more of a vacation that you’d think; and (2) Always, always stop at Chick-Ooh-Lay!

4 thoughts on “Jackson 5 Friday: Chick-Ooh-Lay and the Perfect Two-Day Vacation

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