It was a mystery. My husband planned a weekend away for the two of us, without the kids, to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, but he wouldn’t tell me where we were going. “It’s a surprise,” he said and gave me the following instructions: “Bring a bathing suit, a nice dress for dinner, clothes to hike, bike and exercise in, and dress nice for when we arrive.”
Since it was only for a weekend, and we live in New England, I was able to narrow it down a little. Another clue: the climate would be similar to our home near Boston. It was mid April so I planned accordingly, wondering if we were heading north to Maine,Vermont or Quebec, west to Lenox or somewhere in the Berkshires or south to Connecticut or Rhode Island or even New York City.
We left at 1 p.m., right on schedule and took a left out of the driveway eliminating the northern choices. As we drove, he kept the map hidden.
Have you ever been surprised? Usually I find the anticipation can be more fun and exciting than the actual event itself, but since I didn’t know where I was going, and the roads kept changing, the options narrowing, and the hours increasing, I began to find the mystery a little frustrating. As my voice expressed incredulity as we passed yet another option, and I asked, emphasis on the where, “Where are we going?” My husband laughed. “This is more fun than I thought it would be,” he said.
In New York, the grass was greener than at home. Mountains appeared to our right; his answer to my question confirmed their identity, “The Catskills.” As the roads became smaller with several twists and turns, he was forced to have me navigate. But there was no “Aha!” By this time I knew I was in New York and near the Catskills, and I knew we were going some place new, to a place I had never been or even heard of before.
We drove by stone walls and through small colorful towns where buildings on the main streets were painted a variety of bright colors as they paralleled a river. We saw signs for SUNY (State University New York) New Paltz and double backed after taking a wrong turn and up and away from the Catskills toward the Shawangunk Mountains (aka The Gunks) eventually turning up a hill toward Mohonk Mountain House, our destination for the weekend.
Trip Taken April 2011