With Idaho, we first get into the game of “what counts” as visiting a state. I’ve been to Idaho, but on a train.
In 2011, Will and I took the Amtrak Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle. Yep, two nights on a train. We opted for the larger private room, so I had a lovely time (I’m a reader, so it’s hard for me not to have a lovely time when there’s little else I can do). Anyway, this trip took us through Idaho – the tippy-top of her panhandle.
Does this count? Do I have to re-visit Idaho? (and if so, who wants to go to Sun Valley with me?)
Hawaii is one of the Four Remaining States.
While I haven’t been (yet), Will and I planned a trip to Hawaii about 10 minutes after we first met. We checked out books and took quizzes to see which island was best for us (as we are both not really beach people…). March was going to be a good month to visit – there’s lots of whale watching to be done, apparently.
We went to Portland, Oregon instead.
Georgia is a state of Firsts for me.
When I was about three, my mom’s oldest sister was living outside of Atlanta. Mom and I were going to take a trip to visit her – on a plane. This wasn’t my first time in Georgia (I’ve seen pictures of me in a pinafore and matching ruffly diaper cover – likely handmade by said Aunt – at Stone Mountain shortly after I’d mastered standing), but this was my first plane ride.
This plane ride is also source of one of my earliest memories. I have no recollection of the plane itself, but I remember trying to understand how long the ride itself would take. Time is an odd thing to a child.
Many years later, Georgia was the site of my first Business Trip. I was quite excited; I even bought new luggage. On the way home, I bought a peach-shaped magnet at the airport for commemorative purposes.
My first trip to Florida was the week before my 7th birthday. My father had won a trip to Disney World through his company and I was convinced my upcoming birthday helped us win. My only memories of this visit, however, are of the hotel pool and the sweatshirt my mother bought me in EPCOT center (which I promptly lost at school once returning from vacation).
I was in Florida again my senior year of high school. Our school’s music program (band, orchestra, and choir) were there to take workshops (in theory) and spend time at Disney World (in reality).
My work took me back to Florida several times (and not only to go to the Magic Kingdom, though the number of tax conferences held in that area would blow your mind). Twice, my mother and I made an extended vacation out of my work trips and spent a long weekend at Cocoa Beach before I was due back in Orlando. Once, my coworkers and I stayed at a resort in Bar Harbor. The proximity of the clubs in South Beach caused my memories of this event to be largely non-work related.
My main memory of Delaware is an event born of a sad summer vacation.
My extended family on my father’s side goes to Ocean City, Maryland each summer. When Kerry and I were little and our family lived in Virginia, these summer get-togethers were easier to attend. Once we moved to Texas, trips to the Maryland coast were few.
The annual trips resumed when I was in Junior High and our family had moved to New York. The main draw of Ocean City wasn’t salt water taffy at Candy Kitchen or pounds of crab at Phillip’s – it was spending time with our cousins. The two of them – Colleen and Christine – were a year younger than Kerry and I so we matched up perfectly.
One summer, though, Colleen arrived at the beach sick. Colleen’s lungs were historically mutinous, but this summer she was diagnosed with both mono and pneumonia. She would have to go back home to the Annapolis area and leave me with Kerry and Christine at the beach. Devoid of my partner, I didn’t want to do any of the traditional “Ocean City Summer” activities.
My father, unwilling to be defeated by my teenage gloom, instituted some new traditions. We’d never taken the short drive from Ocean City to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, so this was the perfect summer to head up. Three kids were packed in the backseat of the car and we drove north through sand dunes and fancy beach houses.
We had dinner in Rehoboth and then walked around the adorable downtown area. I bought a silver and turquoise ring that I found quite fancy at that age. Most of my jewelry was from a chain store at the mall, so this was special.
Rehoboth was lovely. I missed Colleen a lot that summer, but Rehoboth helped me forget for a night.
I must have been to Connecticut in my childhood. I had family in Windsor. We went all over New England – beach homes on the Cape, family visits to Boston, a wedding in Vermont – but I have no solid memories I can identify as originating in Connecticut.
I know I’ve been, but I can’t remember going.
Colorado and I have a pattern. I’m there for one of two reasons: to ski or to see a dear friend get married.
My first visit was the Winter of Freshman year of college. A friend from high school invited several of us up to her family’s home in Vail where we could ski. I’d been skiing for six years at that point, but never in real, Rocky Mountain powder. It is very different from skiing on the East Coast, let me assure you.
My next visit was to see that same friend get married.
A few Novembers later I was in Colorado to see another high school friend get married at his bride’s family Temple in Denver. On that trip, a friend and I drove into Wyoming and explored some small towns outside of Denver (like Georgetown and Idaho Springs). In Idaho Springs we went to the local gold mine where we explored gold seams with perhaps the oldest miner in the state. He was fantastic.
The following Winter I was back in Vail with most of the group from my first trip to Colorado (plus a few extras).
I’ve only been to California for work.
My first visit to California was courtesy of my old company. I was flying to San Francisco to meet a colleague and the two of us were driving to Pleasanton. “It’s a misnomer,” the guy sitting next to me on the plane to SFO informed me when I told him of my destination.
My second visit was to spend two weeks in sunny San Diego in the summer of 2010. The office building had a gorgeous terrace overlooking an old train station. I ate lunch and dinner there every day.
Will came out to visit me for the weekend in between the two weeks of my assignment. We went to the zoo and wandered Balboa park. The weather was perfect and San Diego transformed into one of the greatest cities on earth.
During the second week in San Diego I was closing on my new condo back in Chicago. My real estate lawyer sent me documents to have notarized so she could act on my behalf. The first two notaries Google sent me two were closed or out of town. I burst into tears and hated San Diego for its cursed lack of resources.
My third visit to California was a quick one-night stop in San Francisco – the city proper this time, not it’s office park suburbs. We had ice cream in Noe Valley. There was a huge line at said ice cream place, so it must be well-loved.
We traveled through Arkansas when we moved from Virginia to Texas just after my ninth birthday. We stopped for a late breakfast (the closest my family would get to brunching) one morning in an old converted barn called Brown’s Restaurant. There was a gift shop in the front (anyone who’s ever dined at a Cracker Barrel can easily imagine the set-up) and my dad bought me a small puzzle made of two twisted nails. The trick was to try to get the nails apart.
For years, I’d tell people that Brown’s was my favorite restaurant – in part because I knew even at a young age how to build a sense of intrigue and exclusivity and in part because of those nails.
We had the nail puzzle in the drawer of a side table in our living room in Texas. I used to bring it out to wow guests. I haven’t seen it in years.
Arizona is a state I wouldn’t have been to without my old job. We used to head to a conference center in Scottsdale every year for training. The place was gorgeous – Spanish mission style dripping with flowers, brightly tiled patios, thick wooden beams – but I was never there to enjoy myself. I did a pretty good job despite that.
One night I took a walk through the golf course with my office-crush to have him tell me that Arizona wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t so many Mexicans residing there. I turned and walked back to the hotel. The sprinklers came on right at that moment proving that whoever scripts my life agreed with me and has a fantastic sense of humor.
Arizona is also where I got punched in a bar fight. I should share that story sometime. It will require pictures.
My old company no longer hosts training there. This has nothing to do with my bar injuries.