Friday, November 19, 2010

Surprise Travels

Everyone's posts about snow have gotten me revved up for the holidays even though it's a nice 57 degrees here in Mississippi. Besides an upcoming trip to celebrate Thanksgiving in the beautiful Alabama wilderness (well, not quite wilderness, but we're visiting my brother who lives/works in the woods at a camp) and then a quick trip home, the holidays bring another element of excitement.

Why, you ask? Because I married (dated?) into an awesome holiday tradition: instead of gifts, Nurse A's mom and dad take the fam on a Christmas trip!

The destination is secret for as long as possible, but now that everyone has to take off work and drive from different areas we usually find out ahead of time.

The first year, my sophomore year of college and the second year Andrew and I were dating, we went to New York. It was amazing, and it was my first trip to NYC. This one was a legitimate surprise--we didn't get to open our plane tickets until we got to the airport. We saw the Producers on Broadway, explored the city and ate lots of delicious food. I bought a poster at the MET that I have yet to frame.

The next year was another huge first for me. We occasionally get a thin layer of snow in Oxford, but this was a sight I had not yet seen firsthand:

Nurse A in front of our cabin in Winter Park, Colorado
Lots of snow! Lots and lots of snow! Snow so powdery we couldn't even make a snowman. We skied one day and I loved it, but I didn't want to push my luck on the slopes another day as I fear death by ski, so Nurse A and I took a horse and carriage ride which was more our speed. This trip was fun too, but my feet froze on our snowmobiling trip. Like for real froze. There was ice in my boots and everything and it was quite terrifying because we were on top of the mountain. I still enjoyed it though, especially when feeling came back to my feet.

The fateful snowmobiling trip.

Our third trip was to New Orleans, much closer to home for me and a lot less travel time. We stayed at the Hotel Monteleone, ate lots of oysters and took a class at the New Orleans School of Cooking. Andrew and I were in charge of making the barbecue shrimp (which oddly required no barbecue sauce) and tried to cut the amount of butter the recipe called for (like four sticks) in half. The instructor caught onto us and about an hour later we were feasting on gloriously life-shortening deliciousness.

Carousel bar in Hotel Monteleone. It spins, which is fun until you have one too many glasses of wine.

Look at all that butter!
Last year we went on a Caribbean Carnival cruise which was my very first. It was a lot of fun, though the first day I had to adjust to the sea. I tend to have a problem with riding on big boats (not small ones), but usually a few hours watching the waves helps. We cruised to Cozumel, where Andrew bought tequila with a worm in the bottom. The weather was gorgeous and it was hard to believe it was Christmastime.

Andrew being eaten by the vine at the Mayan ruins. Have you see/read (or in our case listened to on tape) The Ruins? I wouldn't recommend it, but it inspired our picture.

Pretty water.
The whole group.

A few weeks ago when Andrew's family came to tailgate, his mom revealed our Christmas 2010 destination! We're spending the week after Christmas in Highlands, NC. Andrew's parents love Highlands and we're looking forward to a relaxing week of reading, hiking and, of course, eating. Oh, and lots of wine drinking. And maybe some snow. Have you ever been to Highlands? Any recommendations on things to do?


  1. Can I come too? Since we are homeless for the holidays, it sure would be nice to join the A family in the Highlands!! You will love the Highlands. Its wonderful!! The little town is so cute and we are the best meal at this Italian place that I will have to look up what the name is, but i think it started with a P. I hope you see EF!!

  2. OMG...we used to live in Winter Park, CO! And it is very, very snowy there. :) BTW, I love the idea of taking a trip every fun! :)

  3. That is such an amazing idea for Christmas.. NYC is one of my favorite places to be around holiday time (I also grew up just a half hour outside of it!). I'm sure you'll have a blast again this year in NC!

  4. I LOVE NYC during the holiday season- that's so fun that you have traveled all over for Christmas. Have a blast!