Crazytown. It feels like I was JUST writing about our Napa trip in September and now I am back with another trip report. I know…
This trip report will focus on our November 2019 trip to Florida.
Blog reader: Oh, you mean Walt Disney World?
Blog reader: Same thing.
Me: It’s totally not. Florida is like a whole state. There are other parts of Florida. Walt Disney World is located in Florida, but there is definitely more to Florida than JUST Walt Disney World.
Right, moving on.
Let’s get the details out of the way
When – The trip took place from the evening of November 6th, 2019 to VERY LATE November 12th, 2019.
Where – Our trip started in Sarasota, Florida and ended at Walt Disney World (in Orlando, duh.)
Why – The main reason for the trip was to attend our niece’s (Shannon’s) and now-nephew’s (Evin’s) wedding, but of course we snuck in some Disney.
How – Well, I will get to the “how” of the trip in the ensuing posts, but how will I be talking about it here? I think I will just take it day-by-day like a normal trip report. For those of you keeping score, that means you will have to wait for the Disney. But, I mean. There’s love. So I think you can deal. Everyone loves love.
On with the trip.
Our November 2019 Florida trip: Day Night 1
Yeah, Day 1 is a stretch. Day 1 was a Wednesday in which Nickie and I both had to work and the boys had to go to school. And while Nickie and I worked from home, which helped, we DID have to deal with contractors finishing our kitchen floor. Which was a nightmare. I won’t go into the specifics other than we weren’t supposed to be dealing with contractors finishing our kitchen floor on Wednesday. They should have been done on Monday. Also, there was a bathroom floor that should have been finished, but never was.
Point being – NEVER GET YOUR FLOORS DONE BY EMPIRE. EVER.
I should have known. There’s always so much drama associated with the name “Empire”….
I mean, I suppose there is that Jay-Z/Alicia Keyes joint. But that’s really the exception.
But enough of all that drama. Once the kids were home and the contractors left, we were off for our usual tradition of staying at a hotel near the airport on the night before our trip. This time around, we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Boston Logan Airport.
Actually, we also had to partake in the unhappy task of saying goodbye to our Lilo girl. It’s always a sad thing to leave her.
Thankfully, we knew she would be in good hands as our friend Renee was staying at our house with her. She took really good care of her and only had 1 party at our house. So I consider that a win. On account of it was Renee.
We called up a Lyft and were at the Hilton Garden Inn in no time. And the place was really nice. We were considering calling out for food but when we arrived in the lobby and took a look at the menu for the on-site restaurant, it looked pretty good. So we dropped our bags off in our room and the four of us went down to eat.
I started with an Old-Fashioned, as I am wont to do.
To start, we split a flatbread that was half cheeseburger/half cheese. Because Owen would definitely not eat all that mess.
Owen’s entrée was an easy choice once he found out they had Kraft Mac and Cheese on the menu.
If you are a parent of a picky eater, you know the joy of finding Kraft Mac and Cheese on a menu.
Myles got the ribs with mashed potatoes and French Fries. All three of those things were good. I know because I tried them. For research purposes, of course.
Nickie and went all splitsy-town. We split the buffalo chicken pretzel appetizer…
…and the turkey club.
Both were good. The turkey was a tad dry…
…so I made use of the blue cheese we got with the buffalo chicken pretzel. Overall it was all really good. That buffalo chicken pretzel had a good amount of kick and a GREAT amount of cheese. Seriously tho. LOOK at that cheese. That’s the kind of cheese even Full House would look at and be like, “that’s a lot of cheese, dude.”
So yeah, I recommend eating at the Hilton Garden Inn near Logan Airport. Who would have thunk?
After dinner, we went up to the room and watched a little bit of Christmas Scavenger Hunt on Hallmark Channel. Which was awesome, btw. Then, Nickie had the idea to walk back down to the bar to grab a drink to bring up to the room. We told the boys we would be right back and headed down to grab a drink.
Welp. Best laid plans and all that.
We ended up making some friends – a girl from Denver and a guy from South Carolina – at the bar and one drink turned into a few. We did end up Facetiming with Owen more than once whilst at the bar. So I mean, there are some parent points, no?
But our conversations were too hard to leave. Why Tom Brady is the GOAT? Who has the worst winters? French Laundry. Parenting. Can we convince the bartender to put Hallmark on the big screen?
A woman sitting a few seats down told us when she got up to leave that listening to our conversation was the best part of her night. Which was both complimentary AND creepy. A winning combination.
But in the end, we did end up keeping our word and got some drinks to bring back to the room. It just took a little longer than expected.
We hung out and watched a little more Hallmark with the boys before drifting off to sleep. Which was much needed since we had a 6:30 AM flight the next day. The whiskey should help with that, right?
Our November 2019 Florida trip: Day 2
So yeah, we had a 6:30 AM flight on Day 2.
Which meant we were up before 4:00 AM.
Which, as you know, is what they call early.
I jumped out of bed a little earlier than everyone else so I could make use of the in-room Keurig but everyone was up shortly after. We all got ready, pulled our stuff together, and zombie-stomped our way down to the hotel shuttle. 10 minutes or so later, we were at the Jetblue terminal.
My mom was on the same flight as us heading down, so we kept an eye out for her in the terminal. As we were making our way through security, we spotted her having her mousse confiscated by TSA.
Standard Goodreau stuff.
She met up with us post-security, one can of mousse lighter, and we walked over to the Dunkin Donuts near our gate to grab breakfast. But, as mentioned, it was ERR-LEE. Like pre-donut times. So we had to wait 10 minutes for the place to open. As we were waiting in line, people started lining up behind us. Well, except for these two wannabe Jersey Shore cast members. They decided to line up in front of us. But, me being a coward and not wanting to awaken The Situation’s inner ‘roid monster, I just took it in stride.
Dunkin did eventually open and we placed our orders. Breakfast sandwiches all around. Both my mom and Owen ordered a sausage, egg, and cheese on a bagel.
Myles got the Maple Bacon Croissant Sandwich.
Nickie and I ordered the Power Breakfast Sandwich.
Nickie WAS NOT a fan. Which meant I had two Power Breakfast Sandwiches.
Soon after, we were called to board our plane. I sat next to Myles and across the aisle from Nickie, who sat with Owen. Also, it appears there was a guy who loves attention sitting behind us.
My mom went all fancy-pants and sat in Comfort Plus.
It took us a little over three hours to arrive in Tampa and I filled a good chunk of that with Annabelle Comes Home on my seatback. If an airline is FEATURING a horror movie in its lineup, I am obviously going to watch it. That is a scientific fact.
We landed at around 9:45ish in Tampa.
After exiting the plane, the five of us walked down to baggage claim to grab our bags and then jumped on the shuttle to pick up our rental car.
The drive from Tampa to Sarasota was about an hour and a half that day, which took us right through lunchtime. The boys wanted Waffle House and us adults weren’t complaining.
We texted the Florida Goodys to see if they wanted to meet us at a Waffle House in Sarasota but with all the wedding prep going on, my brother Jeff represented the Florida Goodys. Yay for family!
Owen enjoys Waffle House for the waffles…
…Myles enjoys it for the juke box. Kid made a straight line for the thing.
Well, technically he made a straight line to my wallet for cash but THEN he made a straight line for the juke box. He played a mix of mainly Weezer, Vampire Weekend, and Green Day but I think there may have been some classic rock in there as well. Wait. Are Weezer and Green Day classic rock now? I sometimes forget how old I am.
On account of how old I am.
On to the food. I mean, of course I got coffee.
And for breakfast, a few of us opted for the All-Star. I got mine with eggs over easy, smothered hash browns, bacon, and wheat toast.
It was delicious, of course. On this, I won’t waffle.
And our waiter, Spencer, was awesome. He loved Myles’ music choices and he gave us like three extra waffles. He was like, “Hey, we have these extra waffles and don’t know what to do with them.” And we were like…oh, we’re fat, we’ll take them. Spencer, please know we talked about you and your free waffles for days. FOR DAYS, SON.
It did end up working out though since the bride-to-be Shannon had asked for a waffle to-go. And a free waffle to-go is the best kind of waffle to-go.
After we finished lunch, we all drove back to Jeff and (my sister-in-law’s) Sheila’s house. Nickie was handling the flowers for Shannon and Evin’s wedding so she wanted to get a jump on that this afternoon.
And by “get a jump on that” I mean finish all the flowers for the wedding.
The flowers came out pretty nice too. Rawr.
We met up with Shannon at the house and soon enough we had a house full – Sheila, her sister Susan, her nephew Vincent, and my brother Chris and sister-in-law Paulette also showed up. While Nickie was finishing the flowers, we all talked and laughed and were awesome together. Like, we are all awesome singularly, but when we all get together it’s like a Voltron of awesome.
Once the flowers were finished, Chris, Paulette, Nickie, and I drove to our hotel – the Hampton inn Sarasota I-75 Bee Ridge – to check in, drop off our bags, and get ready for the night.
In order to welcome everyone to the wedding weekend, the Florida Goodys booked some tables at Evie’s, a local sports bar-slash-driving range-slash-miniature golf course-slash-arcade-slash-isn’t that enough slashes for you?
Nickie, I, and the boys were of course the first ones there. Because we always are. Deal with it.
Our reserved tables were outside on the patio looking out into the driving range.
Nickie and I sat down and ordered a couple yumtown rum punches while Myles and Owen got some sodas.
And soon enough, everyone else arrived. I think there were maybe like 20 or so people there.
Including the bride and groom…
Jeff and Sheila ordered a bunch of pizzas and we had a bunch of rum punches. Jeff followed suit. He knows a good thing when he sees it. A few of us even ended up playing mini-golf, including my great-nephew Connor. Who is pretty great.
It was a really fun night. We got to hang with a lot of people we love and meet some new friends. And Sheila regaled us with tales of Shannon’s Bachelorette Party and how she would have punched a shark.
It was that kind of night.
After we left Evie’s, Paulette joined us in our car and we went in search of an open liquor store. The best we could do was a gas station where we loaded up on beer, White Claws, and snacks. And amongst those snacks was one of the greatest snacks ever created – Combos. Seriously, how great are Combos? I wish I had a Combo right now. What I am trying to say is, “Readers, please send me Combos.”
By the time we got back to the hotel, it was close to 10PM, which was closing time for the hot tub. And I mean we are always gonna hit a hot tub if possible. We quickly got out suits on and met up with Chris and Paulette to get our soak on.
While down in the hot tub, Jeff texted saying everyone at his house was asleep. So he came over to hang out for a little bit up in our room. Chris joined us as well to watch the remainder of Thursday Night Football.
We shared a ton of laughs as one-by-one, the rest of the crowd dropped off. First, Chris left. Then Owen drifted off, followed by Myles. And finally Nickie at a little after midnight.
Jeff left soon after, but not before playing with Nickie’s feet.
It was that kind of night.