Monday, August 23, 2010

Madras Monday: Summer Fun In Review

Get your cup of coffee or tea, sit back and relax and get ready to go on a virtual trip!  I keep promising to write and tell you about where I have been in the past two months, and this is going to be a real "madras" post...lots of different pieces and places that make up the fabric of summer.

There's even music to go with our virtual vacation....These are some of my favorite songs of summer, and all have to do with my trips.  Check out the Classic Preppy play list on I-tunes! (It's also at the very bottom of this page.)  We won't go in the actual chronological order of my travels but will follow the playlist instead!

First (Songs: Magic Moments and The Look of Love), summer 2010 was designed all around love...being in places I loved with the people I loved.  Last summer was a summer of recovery....recovering from losing my mother and my mother-in-law and being inundated (both my husband and I) with the duties of executor. The spring and summer of 2009 were a I was determined that this summer would be memorable!

It was a summer of returning to places I loved!    No trip like that would be complete without a trip to New York. (Songs: Manhattan and Cugi's Cocktail). I have lost count of the many hotels I have stayed in over the decades, but I think this year's stay was my favorite.  So "old New York," and I cannot tell you how highly I recommend the Waldorf-Astoria.  They upgraded our suite and treated us like royalty....and since it was actually the last place we stayed this summer, it was a marvelous way to end our travels.

Ok.....let's jump on the Auto Train and head to Florida! (Song: Calypso) I didn't get to go sailing...or boating of any kind really, but our trip was jam-packed with fun!!  First, Younger Daughter and I took the Auto Train to Sanford (so I could have my car that week).  It was a surprise to her that when we arrived her Older Sister and Treasured Cousin were there waiting for us in Orlando....and that we were going to do two days in Disney World!  My Dear Niece is the world's best Disney expert and the youngest person they have ever had in their internship program who is a full-fledged concierge.  We stayed at the Contemporary in a magnificent room and had the time of our lives at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios!

Then, it was off to Delray Beach....home......and what a homecoming it was.  We were right on the beach and not only was my brother there with his family....but my best friend from growing up (who married Dear Husband's best friend from growing up) was there the same week!  We ended our time in Florida with a short stay at another favorite childhood place, the Lago Mar Hotel and Beach Club....where we also had an ocean front room. Life was good!!

July 2010 also saw me visiting another favorite childhood place.  A place I have been trying to get back to for years....beautiful Estes Park, Colorado! (Song: Rocky Mountain High)  This trip turned out to be a perfect convergence of different loves of mine...historic preservation (work with the RMNA), hiking and riding.  It was also the chance to see some dear family friends whom I had not seen in many, many, many years!  For more on my history with Estes Park, you can read my blog about the McGraw Ranch.

If you find yourself in Estes Park, you have to hang out with Neil O'Malley and his crew at Rocky Mountain Rush.  I wanted to go up Fall River Road and back down Trail Ridge Road, but knew that driving myself in my rental car meant I wouldn't see much, as I would be concentrating on the drive.  Neil has this AWESOME vehicle that I swear could climb straight up the mountain if it had to.  So we did some 4-wheelin' and had a blast!  What a view!!  Neil is such a great guy...that's he in the middle of the picture.  At this same spot I turned around, and he was hanging off the side of the mountain getting the perfect picture of a couple of his passengers.  He is an amazing tour guide!!

Ok....back on the plane.....and back to the East Coast. (Song: Good Life)  Time to have the Miss Betty part of the vacation....and see some grand estates and houses.  My family, along with Dear Sister/Brother-In-Law make a quick stop in Philadelphia, just to see the sights and have a great meal, and bemoan the fact that we are not there for Miss Betty's favorite flower show, which occurs in the spring.  But, never fear...not far from Philly was Wilmington, Delaware and all those gorgeous DuPont houses!  I had never seen Winterthur until this trip, and if you read my earlier post, you will see the pictures I took.  I am in love. Because of my infatuation, we spent way too much time there, and got to Nemours just as they had the last tour of the day.  That's ok....It was pouring down rain at that point, and not too optimal a time for touring!


New York state had much to offer as well.  Spending time in the Hudson River Valley meant a trip to Hyde Park, where we spent time with the Roosevelts and the Vanderbilts.

There was also a trip to Cooperstown for the "boys" to see the Baseball Hall of Fame...which was pretty neat.  Cooperstown is absolutely gorgeous, and there was so much to see!

And then (Song: Better Days) the pilgrimage to a place that would mean very little to anyone but Miss Betty and me...... Garrison, New York, the quaint little village where the outdoor scenes in "Yonkers" were shot for the movie, Hello Dolly.   

The summer after Hello Dolly first came out, I was 11 and I think I dragged my mother to see it at least three times.  I know we saw it in Florida, and I also clearly remember being in Highlands, NC and seeing it there with her at their cute little movie theatre.  In any case, it is an all time favorite of mine...and was of Miss Betty's too.  Garrison is just adorable, and sure enough, there were the buildings from It Takes a Woman and Put On Your Sunday Clothes.  And, directly across the river is West Point.....Just gorgeous!  Somehow, I just felt Miss Betty was right there with me in these special days...seeing things through her eyes as well as my own. 


(Sorry that the video doesn't play any longer...but you can get a good look at the train station here!)

Finally....It's time to head home.  (Song: Comin' Home Baby).  What a summer I have has been a real blessing.....but there is a lot to look forward to this fall as well.  Richmond is a wonderful place and I hope that my children are making their own precious memories here that, should they move away in adulthood, will bring them home in a summer as special as my summer of 2010.


  1. What a wonderful summer!
    I grew up in Richmond and moved away to get married 9 years ago; but it is indeed a really special place!
    In fact, I am hitting the road to RVa in a few hours!

  2. Sounds like you hit all the high points this summer...the city, the mountains, the shore and WDW! Wow! We went on a tour in Whistler in a similar vehicle and it was a great way to see everything. And Cooperstown....ah, my boys played in the Cooperstown Dreams tournament for 12 year olds back in the day. A rite of passage for all travel baseball teams.