Day 5 marked our last day visiting the convent. The family isn’t allowed to see Leonora again until December. Plus, Scott and I were set to fly home the next afternoon. The melancholy feeling that accompanies endings permeated everything we did, and time flew by. But we managed to jam pack the day, and it was my favorite of the trip.
First, we packed up all of our stuff and said goodbye to the big house in Woodstock where we’d been staying.
I wore a top I got in Grand Haven (that day of shopping with my aunt was so GOOD!) and my long pencil skirt. I braided my hair to the side and clipped my bangs back again.
There was a lot of standing around and waiting on people and watching the group smoke as we prepared to leave Woodstock. By then I knew that this was just the norm of getting places in this family and didn’t stress about it!
We drove to the convent with Scott’s mom, his brother, and the baby. I sat in the middle seat next to the baby while she slept. This was the most time I’ve EVER spent with a toddler, and she was so sweet. I enjoyed the long drive in upstate New York and wished we had time to make it over to Windham (the ski town where I vacationed growing up.)
I ate like shiiiiit this day but it was worth it. I had a donut and a half, since you can’t get Entemman’s in Texas and Maddie bought a whole box of my favorites. I drank tons and tons of coffee with cream and sugar, and my choices only went downhill from there.
We met up with Leonora right away. Our group was kind of split up, and Scott and I wasted no time in using this to our advantage. We spent time wandering around with his sister after we took one million group photos in every possible combination.
In the afternoon, we all explored the gardens on the convent grounds. They were growing everything! We ate tomatoes right off the vine, and saw all different kinds of fruits and veggies. It was so awesome and made me wish I had space for a garden.
Then we broke Leonora out of the convent!!!!!
Okay, actually she’s allowed to leave for a bit on visiting day… And we had to bring her back when we were done 😦
But we got into the two cars and headed to Stewart’s for ice cream. This is an upstate NY thing and despite spending so much time in ice cream shops just twenty minutes away, I’d never been to one. I got summer campfire ice cream, which had peanut butter cups, graham cracker swirl, marshmallow syrup, and a malty graham base.
It was literally the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life.
I was only going to eat a little since they gave me such a big scoop, but I ended up finishing it all. It was SOOO GOOOOOOD!! Everyone else got milkshakes, which is what Stewart’s is known for. They also had delicious french onion flavored chips, which I later stress ate in the car (thanks to an anxiety inducing combo of hunger, curvy roads, and emotional goodbyes).
Here is a photo of Scott, his mother, the baby and me at Stewart’s! Leonora took this picture somehow, even though she’s not great with technology and hadn’t used an iPhone. She’s been in cloister since the Blackberry days, lol.
Here is my favorite picture from my entire trip. Leonora is just the cutest.
After that, we went back to the convent and set up Corn Hole. Scott’s bosses are big into Corn Hole and even have it set up in their backyard by the bar and pool. I’ve never played, but Scott has played with them a lot. I watched everyone play from the shade of the little tent set up for visitors.
I ended up playing and I LOVED IT! Color me surprised, I found a game I love playing and participating in! I actually won a few times, and after everyone was tired of playing and had moved on, Scott and I kept playing.
There was some drama of course, with his youngest sister and the cranky baby and everyone feeling the pressure of the day. But overall the afternoon was lovely. Leonora pulled each of her siblings aside to walk and say goodbye. I got to spend some time with my future mother-in-law.
Then the REAL drama began.
We said our final goodbyes as the church bells were ringing. Sister had to go, and our time was over for the summer. Scott and I left with his dad, Maddie, and her boyfriend. The nine of us needed to eat dinner, and Scott’s mom thought we should grab food in Windham. Obviously I loved that idea.
But the baby was overtired and needed to nap, so we had to drive for about an hour and a half before we could stop and eat. Well, guess what’s an hour and a half away? My home turf. My old stomping grounds. We laid plans for us to drive back the same way we came up and make a fifteen minute detour past Sloatsburg to my family’s favorite restaurant on earth.
It seemed perfect. My favorite pizza place was in exactly the right location for the baby to get in a nap, and it was a family friendly place with good prices. Plus I’ve wanted to take Scott there since we started dating! The pizza there is so good I once ate a whole pie by myself.
As we drove towards NJ, we started fighting with the other car. The baby wouldn’t sleep, they wanted to get home, and Scott’s youngest sister was being bratty about eating in New Jersey and would only eat fast food. Um, what? New Jersey is known worldwide for incredible Italian food, especially its pizza. I’m not going to lie, I felt serious state pride and was legit pissed. I still am, lol.
At the end of a harrowing journey complete with Maddie getting cursed out via text, crying, almost getting lost, and crossing state lines, we made it to Kinchley’s.
I headed inside and put our name down for a table. This place is so beloved locally that there was a thirty minute wait time on a Thursday night. I told Scott twenty minutes, and he told his dad fifteen. I was stressed- I hadn’t expected there to be a wait, this was my big recommendation, and everyone was hungry and over it.
After a quick wait, they paged us in and we got a great seat in the corner. It felt like home. I was so happy and relieved once we were inside with menus in our hands that it was all worth it.
We ordered three pies: plain cheese, fra diavlo (spicy), and sausage. Maddie’s boyfriend had never had New Jersey pizza before- he’d never even been to New Jersey. So it was great to share that experience with him. And in all the time I pictured taking Scott to my favorite place, I never imagined that I’d also be sharing this time with his dad. I wished his mom could have been there. It was just really lovely.
And of course, everyone loved the pizza. How could they not? It’s Kinchley’s!
Scott barely spoke as he ate- he loved all of it. My mom was so jealous back in Texas. This pizza is a northern NJ institution and the best thin crust in the country.
Our night didn’t end there. We had to drive all the way back to Long Island, and all of Scott’s old friends were waiting for us at a bar.
We hung out for a while at the bar but didn’t drink anything. We had to be up early to drive from Long Island to JFK.
Our New York trip felt like two weeks instead of six days. At that point, when we saw Sean again at the bar, it felt like weeks had gone by since we were in the recording studio together. I couldn’t stop yawning and eventually we headed back to the house.
The trip was so much better than I’d been imagining. I had a wonderful time getting to know my future in-laws and seeing the sights of Long Island. I was freaking out over being back in New Jersey and taking Scott and half his family to Kinchley’s was completely surreal. I mean, Kinchley’s is where we ate after 9/11 and on my 16th birthday. There are few places that have as much meaning to my old life than that one.
New York trip: total success.
I actually can’t wait to go back. 😊