Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Back from MA Trip

It's been a whirlwind around here.  Eliot and I are back from our five day trip down to Massachusetts and I'm trying to get back into the groove.  We've got orders to finish and send.  I've got blog posts I have to get caught up on.  It's crazy busy.  But before I get wrapped back up in everything, I want to take a moment to tell you about our trip!

As I mentioned before, Eliot and I left for western MA last Tuesday for Eliot's EASTEC expo.  The expo took place last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Our plan was to head down Tuesday night.  That morning, I went to sewing class while Eliot went in to work for a few hours.  Then, we spent the afternoon getting everything done that we needed to get done in order for us to be away from the house and businesses for five days!  I was so relieved when we finally got on the road around 8 pm!  The 3.5 hour ride went by pretty quick.  Thankfully, we were both awake and alert and we arrived at our hotel just after midnight.  Once we unpacked the car, we went right to bed.


Wednesday morning, we got up and Eliot showered and got ready for his expo.  We stopped at Wendy's on the way to get breakfast (which was more of an early lunch) before I dropped Eliot off in the field of the Eastern States Exposition so he could attend EASTEC.  The parking lot was full of cars so we knew it would be a busy day.

I headed back to our hotel, settled in and got to work.  I answered messages from customers for both of our businesses before spending a few minutes working on my blog.  The day flew right by and before I knew it, Eliot was checking in to let me know he was almost done.  I jumped up, took a quick shower, and hopped into the truck before driving down the road to get him.

Eliot was excited to show me his new treasures.  (They have a ton of stuff out at these expo events.)  My favorite was the little cow plush he got.  After we had show and tell, we headed back towards our hotel... but not before a quick stop!

On my ride earlier in the day, I'd spotted a TJ Maxx right near the expo.  Eliot was more than happy to swing by, and I'm so glad we did.  It was a treasure trove.  Even though we had limited space in the truck, we filled most of the backseat with the decorative Disney pillows we found.  I also found Disney Christmas towels for the kitchen and Eliot found some for our master bathroom!  I was so excited to find it all in one store!

After resting at our hotel for a little bit, Eliot and I went over to Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner.  I got my usual and it was so delicious!  After dinner, we went across the way to Kohl's before they closed as I wanted to see if they had the Christmas pillows I was looking for.  We didn't find Minnie, but we did find the Mickey pillow!  We also found a blue Snoopy plush for our collection.  Then we went "home" and went to bed.


Thursday morning we slept in a little bit.  After getting ready, Eliot and I headed over to IHOP for breakfast.  It was nice to have a good filling breakfast before I dropped Eliot off at EASTEC.  This time, the outer parking lot was empty and it looked a lot less busy.  I dropped Eliot off right outside the entrance.  He was excited that it would be more quiet and he could go back to the vendors he wanted to talk to.

Once again, I headed back to the hotel to get some work done.  Before I knew it, Eliot was calling for me to come and get him.  I headed back over to "the Big E" and we had another show and tell in the parking lot.  He was eager to tell me all about his day.

We headed back to the hotel and went swimming.  We had the pool and the hot tub to ourselves and it was so nice and relaxing!  We swam around in the pool for a bit and enjoyed sitting in the hot tub.  It was a great way to end the "work" portion of the trip!

Eliot and I rounded out our evening by having dinner at Friendly's.  While we ate, we watched the Sharks game on Eliot's phone.  (He propped it up against the ketchup so we could both see it.)  Then, we went back to the hotel and watched the rest of the San Jose Sharks game while I ate the rest of my ice cream.  Then, we went to bed so we could rest up for the next day's adventures!  


Friday, I got up and purchased some merchandise that I had been waiting on to be released.  (Not Disney... but I'll share more about that soon.)  After a bit of a struggle, I was successful and our day could begin.  Eliot and I both showered and got dressed before jumping on the highway and heading north toward South Deerfield.

We arrived at the Yankee Candle Village a few minutes after noon.  Eliot and I slowly made our way through the first half of the shops before we started to get hungry.  We decided to take a break and get food at the restaurant on site.  And I'm so glad we did!

The food at Hillside Pizza was so good!  It's tucked away in the same building as the Powder Hollow Brewery.  Eliot and I both ordered a personal pizza and a soda.  He got the pepperoni and I got a margherita pizza.  (I developed an affection for those while I was in Italy my senior year of college, and I was so excited to have one!)  Eliot also got an order of garlic knots for us to share.  Everything was delicious!!! 

After we finished lunch, Eliot put my leftovers in the car.  Then, we finished walking through the rest of the shops.  After going through once, Eliot and I got a shopping cart and went back to our favorite sections to make our selections.  

We enjoyed looking at the Jim Shore pieces.  We didn't purchase any this trip, but I did take a lot of photos for Christmas gift ideas!  I love the Disney and Crayola designs!

I spent quite a bit of time in the room filled with the Department 56 villages.  I took so many photos for ideas on how to display villages.  Their displays always impress me!  

While in there, Eliot and I decided to buy something.  After doing some research on what was and wasn't available to purchase online, we made our decision.  We bought a small building from the Disney Village set that was called "Mickey's Stuffed Animals" that had a Mickey, Minnie and Donald on it.  I also grabbed the matching elf carrying a Pluto plush.  It was so cute and absolutely perfect for us!

Photo Source

The whole time we walked around making our selections, we brought our Eeyore plush donkeys with us.  We had them in our backpacks for the first part, then they rode in our shopping cart once we had that.  Eliot and I took pictures of them visiting Santa's living room- even though he wasn't there.  We got pictures of them on the thrones.

I also took pictures of them eating lunch with us.  They also got to play in the "snoap" when it was falling.  I forgot to take a picture of them outside in the wagon with the pumpkins, but maybe I'll remember to do that next time! 

Once we had everything we wanted to get, we made a stop at the food section in the center of the village.  I wanted to get a few treats to bring home so I went over to Popcornoplis and selected 6 chocolate covered Oreo cookies.  Most of them were decorated for Halloween and Fall.  Then, I selected some of the pre-packaged fudge: chocolate, chocolate with M&Ms and pumpkin!

Then, Eliot and I went to the registers to check out with our treasures.  We had our village set, a plush dog and bear that Eliot found, one candle, some holiday candle accessories, the Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Operation Game that I'd found (it was of Bumble!) and a few other small things.  

But my favorite find of the day was the border collie plush that I spotted shortly after we entered the toy section.  It reminded me so much of Lucky.  I won't lie, once I picked him up, I held him for a few minutes gently stroking the fur on his head while I cuddled him close to my heart.  An older couple waking by gave me a weird look, but I really didn't care.  It was like having a small part of Lucky back with me.

Eliot and I walked out to the truck and carefully packed our bags into the backseat using some of the pillows we'd bought as padding.  We took one last look at the Yankee Candle Village before getting on the highway heading south.  On the way, we spent a few minutes at a Walmart right off the highway.  Eliot wanted to look for a few things and I needed to pick up some underwear.  (Don't ask... I couldn't seem to find any at home and I didn't want to do laundry while we were on our trip!)

We then headed towards the Holyoke Mall.  We made a quick stop at the TJ Maxx and Barnes and Noble first.  This TJ Maxx didn't have the treasures the other store had, but Eliot did find a few things at the Barnes and Noble.  Next, we drove over to the mall.  We went to BoxLunch and Torrid.  BoxLunch didn't have anything we needed to get, but I did pick up a pair of black leggings and a rainbow scarf at Torrid.

After that, we were pretty exhausted so we headed back to our hotel.  Eliot put the Sharks game on and I listened to it while heating up leftovers for dinner.  (I had a bunch from earlier in the trip.)  Eliot went online to purchase our tickets to Six Flags so we could get our parking free.  After the game ended, we collapsed into bed.


Saturday morning, we woke up, showered and got ready.  Eliot and I wanted to get to Six Flags right when it opened since we thought we were going to get two days there and we didn't go Friday.  They were only open from 6-11 Friday night and the entire evening was Fright Fest so we skipped it.  Saturday, they were open from 12-11, and Fright Fest didn't start until 6 pm.  (Neither Eliot nor I are big into horror so having people scaring us really isn't our thing.)

We left the hotel just after 11 and headed over to Dunkin Donuts.  We ate our breakfast in the car on the ride over to Six Flags.  Before we knew it, we were inside, parked and on the tram to the entrance of the park!

Eliot headed right towards Superman.  Unfortunately, the ride was down for the first 2 hours the park was open.  Eliot decided to get into line outside of the ride anyways.  I sat and played on my phone while I waited for him.  Thankfully, he had velcro pockets on his pants so he could keep his phone with him and keep in touch with me.  Finally, they let everyone inside and they loaded guests after completing safety checks.  He enjoyed going on that twice before we walked over to Wicked Cyclone.

Eliot went on Wicked Cyclone once before we decided to call it a day.  At this point, I was cold, my fingers were pretty much frozen and I was hungry.  I think he'd also had enough of standing in line.  Plus, it was getting closer to 6 pm and we both had no interest in staying after that.  We quickly looked around the shops at the front, and we were leaving the park right about the same time Fright Fest was beginning.

On the way out of the park, Eliot and I stopped to take a few pictures on the ramp overlooking the entrance.  While we were standing there, a fight broke out below us.  A bunch of kids (maybe middle school or high school age) that were in a group suddenly started hitting one kid.  He ran away and then the rest followed him to the stairs beside us and started beating him.  Thankfully, a few other guests waiting into the park pulled them apart.  Security immediately came over and escorted them up the stairs, over the bridge and to the parking lot.  The others ran away and dispersed.  We stayed put for about 10-15 minutes making sure the coast was clear before we went any further.

We eventually made our way across the bridge and caught a tram back to the parking lot.  I was so relieved to be back in our truck.  We left the park and headed over to Chipotle.  By then, I was practically starving.  Eliot went inside to get our food.  On the way back to the hotel, we munched on a few handfuls of chips.

We had a pretty chill evening back at our hotel.  We ate our Chipotle and watched television for a bit.  Around 9:00 pm, we decided to go swimming at the pool.  A large family was there this time so it was loud and busy.  They were jumping into the deep end of the pool so every few minutes we'd get soaked even though we were in the hot tub.  It didn't really bother us, but it was a little bit frustrating when we were trying to relax.  Around 9:30, we decided that we were done so we dried off and went back up to our room.  After a warm shower, I got into my pjs and went to bed.


Sunday we slept in as late as we could- knowing we still had to pack everything up before leaving the hotel.  While packing and getting ready for the day, Eliot and I discussed our plans.  We had planned to drive back across MA to spend the afternoon in Salem, but after how crazy Six Flags was on Saturday, I wasn't really feeling good about Salem.  I've been to Salem in October and it's usually a madhouse.  Since they didn't have anything last year due to the pandemic, this year was sure to be extra crazy, just like Six Flags was.  After a bit of discussion, I suggested that we stay in the Springfield area and go back to Six Flags for another day.

Eliot was excited to go back, but he felt bad that I'd be sitting around again while he rode the rollercoasters.  After assuring him that I was 100% on board with the new plan, we finished packing and getting ready.  Eliot and I loaded everything into the back seat of the truck.  (I'm still amazed that everything fit!)  Then, Eliot went to the front desk to check out and I drove around to pick him up.  We headed toward Six Flags and made another quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.  

Once we arrived at Six Flags, we parked the truck and loaded up Eliot's backpack before walking over to the tram.  We entered the park a few minutes after it opened and this time, we headed over towards Wicked Cyclone.  That end of the park was pretty quiet.  I found a bench in the shade and settled in.  Eliot got in line and texted me that it was about 30 minutes.  He went on the ride once and then got in line to go again.  (It was still pretty quiet then.)  During his wait the second time around, more people were arriving in that section of the park.

After Eliot's second ride on Wicked Cyclone, we went over to Superman.  I sat in my usual spot- at a table under the umbrellas.  He got in line and waited quite a while to get on this time.  He was thinking about going again, but at that point, my phone was down to 6% battery power.  I hadn't brought my cell phone cord into the park because I didn't think we'd be there that late into the afternoon.  I was perfectly happy going to the car by myself to sit in it while Eliot rode Superman one more time, but he was happy with how many rides he'd been on.  Plus, we still had a long ride home ahead of us.  We left the park around 4:30 pm, rode the tram and got into the truck.

We wanted to get food before we got on the road so we headed over to Chili's.  They had a 30-45 minute wait, so we decided to go back over to Friendly's instead of waiting.  (It seemed silly to wait that long when we still had so far to drive.)  Eliot and I enjoyed our meal at Friendly's and had the same waitress as we had on Thursday. 

Before heading out, we made a quick stop back at the TJ Maxx and Barnes and Noble in Holyoke.  (It was only about a 10 minute drive up the road.)  Then, we got on the highway and started making our way across the Mass Pike towards 495.  We stopped at a few rest stops on the way home to stretch and use the restroom.  The short breaks helped make the trip go by pretty fast.  I also saw a shooting star out my side window and Eliot and I both spotted three deer eating on the side of the road.  

Before we knew it, we were home.  It was only a five day trip, but we packed a bunch of things in.  In fact, both Eliot and I were commenting on how our trip felt like it was so much longer than it really was.  I'm glad we got to spend this time away together.  He had a great business trip, and we had a lot of fun at the Yankee Candle Village, Six Flags and shopping!  Maybe I'll join Eliot on his next EASTEC trip too!  °o°

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