Road Trip – “Country Roads, Take Me Home”

A huge part of our Road Trip to Upstate NY is spent visiting many of our favorite people because the majority of them live around there. So, we make the rounds or they stop by so we can “spread the love” around.

And boy can we spread the love.

I suspect there is a collective sigh in Upstate NY when we hit the road for the “Return to Wisconsin” part of the Road Trip.

(Some day, when my children are older, I dream of a Road Trip through the USA to visit family and friends who are scattered around. Doesn’t that sound like fun?)

When I was planning this trip I decided to include a vacation, of sorts – not that Road Trip isn’t a vacation in itself mind you. It would count as our summer vacation, would give our resident host a break and would return me to my Rural Roots.

I grew up in a small rural town in Upstate NY, but spent my college years and the years thereafter in cities and suburbia. This past year, I started craving my rural roots. I needed the countryside, the quietness, the animal life and the chance to share all of that with my children. I wanted the kind of country that I grew up in, the kind of life that is really limiting when you are a teenager because there is nothing close by and “nothing to do”. Now, I love it and that is exactly what I wanted.

I dreamed of a Country Vacation.

My wish came true and I found a beautiful home in a neighboring town that had breathtaking views of the Vermont Mountains. It was perfect in so many ways, not the least was that my children would actually get a chance to spend some quality time in the countryside like their mom had.

I love nostalgia.

Our first week in NY visiting family was wonderful and it was behind us before we knew it. I found myself, once again, in the position of having to pack up the van so we could head over to our “Country Vacation” destination, only about thirty minutes away.

Even though I did not have to pack the entirety of our belongings because we would be returning to this residence, I still had to pack much of it. The sweat, the swearing and the frustration started again. Oh the agony of packing. What was I thinking? More often than not, those words have escaped my lips through the years.

Deja vu…


Poor me. I just want to hide…


Before we arrived at our vacation destination, before we even left the family home that we had been staying at, I texted my husband that I was going to buy this property, sight unseen, because I was never going to pack and unpack again. Never. Ugh, this packing business is for the birds.

So, I am not leaving.


Especially once I actually arrived and fell totally in love with our Country Vacation home and the return to my rural roots. Getting there was exhausting. I was supposed to go to the grocery store the night before we left after my wee ones went to bed. But they never actually settled down until late and I was so tired from the previous days of “spreading the love” around so I made a sandwich instead and packed the van. That cop-out meant that I had to take my wee ones, who were over-excited about our country vacation, with me to the grocery store. It is rarely pleasant. We managed to make it out with only one fall on the floor that resulted in a bruised knee.

A McDonald’s “to-go” lunch was the plan once the grocery trip was complete. As luck would have it, their grills were down so no burgers were being made. It’s a traveling day all right. The lack of grill food messed up one of three Happy Meal orders and my order as well, so I had to regroup quickly.

Then we were on our way. What a morning!

As we neared our destination the country roads become windy and hilly. I was brought back to my teenage years of buzzing along at a nice speed over all the roads until my daughter’s little voice from the far back told me that all of the curves were making her car sick.

Oh right, I got caught up for a moment! I slowed it down. Car sickness is the worst!

We arrived and it was country heaven. Beautiful views, a lovely home, very country and just as perfect as it could get. The inside of the home is so wonderfully laid out and I knew that I meant it when I texted my husband that I wanted to buy this property.

I fell in love with the kitchen.

It was beautiful and open to the living area with windows all around that framed the Vermont Mountains wonderfully. I began to channel my inner “Pioneer Woman turned Country Girl” and had a ball planning out my cooking events in this fabulous kitchen with all of the wonderful kitchen accessories and utensils, mountains in the backdrop…and kids in screaming panic fits about bugs…

Wait, does that happen on her show? I wonder if anyone would watch MY show. It’s a bit more of a reality cooking show with poopy diapers, bug-phobic kids and food that needs to be tended to all at once…see what you think…

We unpacked (ugh) and once we were settled inside, we headed outside to roam around. There was a lovely small pond that we ventured to first. Ahhh, just the country moments that I was looking for. Until a fly buzzed by my daughter and she screamed as if her arms and legs fell off. That panic sent my older son into a tizzy. My toddler felt the frantic vibrations from his siblings as we raced up the hill back to the house, but he loves being outside so you could see he was trying to work out how he was going to handle this. He was upset but he wasn’t sure if he was upset about the bugs or upset that he was going to have to go inside.

In the end, I went inside with my two big muffins and my mini-muffin stayed out with a family member who accompanied us. That is pretty much how the rest of the day went. Actually, that is pretty much how the rest of my Country Vacation went. I spent it inside.

But I had that great kitchen to fall back on.

Luckily, I was a kid in a candy store with the kitchen and I had big plans to use all of the kitchen toys so I was able to be flexible about my Country Vacation. I am good like that. I used my middle child’s wish to stay right by my side in case a bug was around as the perfect time to cook dinner for that evening since I was inside any ways. Technically, this is far from a camping trip, but it followed a similar philosophy, “keep it simple, use things up and make do with what is on hand”.

Our first “camp” dinner was “Keep it Simple Quesadillas”. Yummy, easy, healthy (aside from the larger than serving size portion of melty cheese) and very lovely on the dishes that were available for me to use. I feel so “Food Network”. And I was able to pull it together under the stress of having packed, grocery shopped, unpacked and endured the never-ending trauma from bugs. Now THAT is a full day at work.


It was late, but not later than expected, when I finally got the last of my wee ones to close her eyes. My daughter was still seeing bugs in her sleep tent. She was just that freaked out and exhausted. I promised her that tomorrow would be better. It will.

Tune in tomorrow for the next episode, “Stuck in the Kitchen Out in the Country” – or something like that.

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