We left Ohio on I-80 East and decided to forgo our prior idea of visiting the Ecovillage at Ithaca, New York. Instead we made reservations for one night at Bald Eagle State Park near State College, Pennsylvania. We had visited there before on our way back from a Michigan or Notre Dame trip in ’09 so we knew it was a nice park. Our site faced an overgrown meadow that was filled with birds and lush underbrush and young forest growth.
|Packing up at Bald Eagle|
It was at Bald Eagle where Lily first expressed her desire for Mom and Mom only. We took her on a walk in the stroller thinking she needed a nap but she just kept crying so Chris took her out and tried to keep walking. But, it wasn’t until I took her that she immediately stopped crying and we knew what was up.
It poured the night before our arrival and soon after we were packed up to leave the sky opened up. We hadn’t driven in rain until entering Pennsylvania. What a blessing to have been so flexible to avoid major snow and rain and wind on this trip.
We left Bald Eagle and continued through the lush green scenery that lines I-80 East. Eventually we started seeing familiar signs: Camelback billboards, To Scranton, and Stroudsburg such and such miles. I got itchy and questioned our plans. We were originally heading to Promised Land State Park near Milford, Pennsylvania for one night then to Old Lyme with my parents. We were so close to New Jersey though!
We exited toward Easton, crossed the Delaware on Route 22 and pulled up in front of the Donofry’s house in Alpha, New Jersey. We rang the doorbell and were greeted by Chris’ sister, Lisa, who was in perfect disbelief and quickly called for Elizabeth (6) to come see who had arrived! Jacob (10) and Joshua (17) were also home and completely surprised by our presence. My cheeks hurt from smiling at seeing them all again as it’s not ever been so long between visits.
Jake and Elizabeth help Chris set up the camper in the driveway and we all vowed not to tell Babci (Chris’ mom) that we were there. We went to Pohatcong to watch Jake’s baseball game which was fun in and of itself. Christiana (18) met us there after arriving home to see our camper in the driveway but no one in sight! After a great meal and lots of laughs with Lily, we retired to the camper in yet another awesome driveway location.
We pulled into Dolores and John’s driveway the next day and went ringing at the front door but Mom wasn’t as surprised…I think she was on to our change of plans when she couldn’t get a straight answer out of Chris about where we’d be staying these two nights! She lovingly tracked our itinerary and accepted our check-in calls at each new place along the way around the country. We just loved this brief but warming visit with them and were of course welcomed to a big meal in the house. Lily awed and astounded all with her blossoming personality and wobbly walking about holding our fingers.
By chance, it was Wednesday and Chris’ brother Cas was working in nearby Califon so we got to see him for lunch. We called his daughters to share that we’d be at Mom’s for a night if they wanted to come by so sure enough Nicole (16) came driving up with her Dad on the passenger side later that evening. Lindsey (18) was working so we’d have to wait until our return for good to see her.
How energizing and comforting it was to see our Jersey family, if only for a short time, on our way through. Home is where your heart is and our hearts are largely with our families.