On December 19th we began our journey from Mexico to Chautauqua. We had a flight from Mexico to Newark and an overnight layover with a flight from Newark to Buffalo early on the morning of the 20th. Well all of this travel happened to coincide with the “Blizzard of ’09”! Our flight from Mexico made it to Newark, although the landing was so rough that when the plane finally did touch down and stop sliding all over the icy runway, everyone on the plane started clapping and cheering. We disembarked into a complete madhouse at Newark. It was almost funny. Flights were cancelled, hotels fully booked, shuttles between terminals had shut down…basically it was chaos. No shuttles were running between terminals and hotel shuttles were only operating from one terminal. This meant that everyone needed to get to that one terminal but there hitch was that the train linking terminals was also shut down. They eventually got the train up and running but this proved problematic because everyone was so desperate to get on that the doors kept jamming, preventing the train from moving anywhere. In fact, at one point the train actually took of into the blizzard with the doors open! This didn’t go over so well with the people aboard or the people in charge of safety. Anyway, it took us over 3 hours to get from our plane to our hotel – something that would have normally taken less than 45 minutes.
The next morning we got in line at the airport and stood there for 3 hours while we waited to find out when we could get a flight to Buffalo. The answer: not for 4 days! Well, this wasn’t going to work for us so we rented a car and drove to Chautauqua…from Newark, over 400 miles. But we arrived in time for Beth’s 60th birthday! Here’s some pictures from her little family party at Mimi’s:
This little party was on the day of her birthday and it was great…and it served to keep the bigger party a surprise! Tim and Marty had organized a surprise party for the next day! Here’s a few pics from that party:
Following the parties, it was suddenly time for Christmas! I must admit I was way behind on some shopping – thankfully the gifts for family had been purchased months in advance, but some last-minute errands needed to be run! Anyway, we kept up the Manor family tradition of Christmas Eve dinner at Peak ‘n Peek and took family pictures in front of the big Christmas tree. Unfortunately I don’t have one where we’re all looking in the same direction – we had three people with three cameras all taking pictures at the same time!
Anyway, our time in Chautauqua was restful and fun. We spent lots of time together, putting together puzzles, watching the A&E series of Shackleton, talking politics, and enjoying out time together. It was gorgeously snowy while we were there which contributed to the cosy feeling. Additionally, Scotty and I were fighting some travel-related sickness, so it was the perfect place to just take it easy.
It’s such a blessing to be able to spend time like this with both our families, especially living so far away. We love these week-long visits and treasure each memory.