Once a month or so I have to work on a Saturday or Sunday. It’s not ideal, but it does result in getting a random day off during the week which I’ve really come to look forward to. I’ve had some really good day trips on these random weekdays, and so now when I get my schedule I almost immediately start planning fun ways to spend the day off.
I worked the Sunday of Memorial Day, and so had this past Friday off. Because I had one of my good friend’s surprise 30th birthdays Saturday, a 3-day weekend was off the table. and I started planning some ways to spend the day. I narrowed it down to two possible Friday jaunts: Ricketts Glen State Park or Narrowsburg. New York.
I wrote about Ricketts Glen in one of my last weekly check-ins. It’s about an hour south of me in White Haven PA, and has a sweet waterfall, and a solid hike to a natural boulder field that’s been on my radar as of late. I was going to couple this with a stop at Benny Brewing outside Wilkes Barre. It’s one of the only Northeast PA brewpubs I’ve yet to visit. I’d like to check it out, even though I had one of their beers on a draft a couple of weeks back, and it was not good. Off day hopefully.
Narrowsburg is a small town located on the Delaware, just across the river from PA, about an hour in the opposite direction. I’ve driven through Narrowsburg on multiple occasions, but never stopped to explore the town itself. The main draw for me is One Grand Books. One Grand Books is an independent bookstore whose concept is that they get said famous person to pick 10 books they would bring to a deserted island, and then said famous person gets a themed shelf with all of their picks. I’m a big reader, but honestly, and I feel embarrassed admitting this, I don’t love bookstores. I find the big chains to be too overwhelming. I find used bookstores too disorganized (if you know one that’s not, let me know), and too often the small-town bookstores I usually encounter on vacation just have an uninspired selection. There’s great bookstores out there, but like Frank’s friend the summer wind, I’m fickle. Controversial opinion (maybe?): I love an airport bookstore. I know they’re disgustingly overpriced, but much like my love for McChickens and Budlight Lime, it can’t be explained. This all being said, I think this is a really interesting concept for a book store. I think I’d find the rationale for why these people chose their books just as fascinating as exploring the books themselves. I just listened to Trevor Noah’s memoir Born a Crime and loved it, so was really excited when I saw he was one of their newer “curators.” I also found a cool little restaurant I wanted to have a beer on the deck of, and didn’t realize Narrowsburg had itself a Revolutionary fort. I’m almost always game for a fort.
I didn’t end up going to Narrowsburg or Ricketts Glen, or doing anything fun. I ended up having a pretty mundane Friday hanging at and around home, and it was a nice reminder that you don’t always have to be doing something new or noteworthy to have a really nice time.
The day started with one of those doctors appointments in the morning that you think you’re going to be in and out of, but ends up stretching out to two hours. I’d committed to getting dinner with my brother and dad at 6 that night, so by the time it was done, I felt like Ricketts Glen would’ve been too rushed, and crossed it off my list. I was starting to get pissy that my entire morning was done, and stopped at my grandmother’s house to decompress, visit, and if I’m being honest, filch some free Gatorades. We ended up having a nice chat, and when she mentioned how much she’d like an ice cream cone, we piled into my car and drove down the road to the local ice cream stand. She had a small twist in a cone. I had a small vanilla cone with sprinkles, and a double cheeseburger. It took her a half hour to finish hers. I scarfed both mine down in 5 minutes. This is what happens when you go on an ice cream date with a 90 year old. It was fun though, and sometimes it takes other people’s Facebook comments to remind me how lucky I am to not only have my grandmother at age 31, but to have a grandmother who is still talkative and sharp, albeit a very, very slow eater.
I left her around 1, and planned to go home, go on a quick run, and then make the drive to Narrowsburg. If I got there by 3:30, I thought, I’d have a solid hour and a half, before I’d need to be home for dinner. This time I was thwarted by my mother’s new kittens. We’d got them a couple of weeks ago, and when I got home, and sat down, they immediately walked over and made themselves comfortable in my lap, and they just looked so cute, I couldn’t move them. They won’t be kittens forever I thought. Cherish this.
Fast forward an hour, and I’m still on the couch and officially abandoning any thoughts of going anywhere that required more then a ten minute drive. Instead of moping around about how my free day had been compromised, I texted me uncle to see if he wanted to play tennis, something I thought about doing earlier, but had put in the back of my mind because Narrowsburg sounded more exciting. He texted back almost immediately that he as was game, and what followed was a much more vigorous two hours of tennis then any sixty three year old has a right to have in him. I pretty much hobbled home. I also lost.
I made it home in time to jump in the shower quickly, before driving with my brother over to JW’s for some truly amazing BBQ chicken flatbread. We ran into a really good friend who I don’t see very often anymore, before heading to another bar for a couple of after dinner beers, and running into another friend I don’t see that often. What started as a disappointing morning had turned out to be a really great day, and not necessarily because of what I did, but because of who I spent it with, which is something I have to remind myself of more often.
I should also admit that this cliché story of not taking the little things in life for granted was mainly just a conduit for which to post a picture of my cats. I’m appropriately ashamed.