We planned to spend some time in Nashville, TN.
But… then we decided to go back to St.Louis, MO.
Another sign that our life is #blessed: we can decide to change our planned place of living (Nashville) to somewhere 320 miles away (St.Louis) over the span of a 5 minute conversation (which may have originally started on the topic of pizza).
We had been planning to have Dexter and Andy (my brother, aka, ‘Daddin’) come down for a visit over Dexter’s Thanksgiving break from school (Kindergarten is important!). A few months back we bought 1 way plane tickets for them to Nashville, where we planned to spend the Thanksgiving holiday together before ditching Dyna in Nashville for a month. We would then all drive back up North to NY (where additional family also resides) in the Dude (aka – the Jeep) and spend the month of December there.
After spending a few weeks in St.Louis, we were a bit wary that our next stop, Nashville, could top what felt like about a million cool, cheap, and free things for 5 years olds (both physically aged, and mentally aged). Once we arrived in Nashville, we realized that Nashville wasn’t up for the task of topping St.Louis in the ‘cool shit for a 5 year-old and his gaggle of humans with similar maturity levels’ category.
We picked Dex and Andy up from the airport the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and spent a few days bopping around Nashville doing the 5 year old appropriate things (like dancing on the sidewalks to the country music piped into the street boxes) we could find. Nashville is definitely a cool city, but if you’re not 21 (or have access to a fake ID), really into the history of country music, or don’t fully appreciate good dining (Dexter is impressed with lunchables pepperoni pizza), it can be a bit tough in the winter months. Winter equates to things like the spray-grounds at the parks being turned off, and Jellystone park activities being shut down for the season. As adults, we did luck into The Book of Mormon being in town. Andy and I took that opportunity to utilize Uncle Jake – who is an expert Dexter wrangler – to oversee the tiny human while we went to see the show, which was excellent. And we did find a few things to enjoy the time in Nashville…. including petting kangaroos at the Nashville Zoo. I highly recommend petting kangaroos.
Anyways – we decided to ditch Dyna a bit early, rent a hotel room, pack up the cat, and head back to St.Louis for a few days before driving back to NY. It turned out to be a great choice. Not only did St.Louis host the cool places and activities that Jake and I had explored just a week earlier, but they also held a Thanksgiving Day parade (where they handed out not just candy, but also, full boxes of girl scout cookies!) and offered a variety of Golden Corral locations (confession: both my brother and I LOVE the Corral – poor Jake).
There was no way in heck that we weren’t going to return to the City Museum. We were super stoked to show this spectacle to Dexter and Daddin. It didn’t disappoint – although the rooftop did close for the season in the time since our previous visit. The place is still amazing. We had a blast; we acquired bruised knees, noggins, and elbows. We played all day, with a break only to replenish some energy (via cocktails and tacos – which are delicious and are served in the Museum). We left exhausted. Not too exhausted to forget to stop at the Fudgery – but exhausted. Of course, Dexter rallied and we found ourselves spending the remainder of our evening sitting in the germ pool of a hot tub at the hotel as Dexter attempted to swim-drown around the pool until the staff shut it down for the night. As germy as that hot tub was, I completely credit its soothing waters with facilitating my ability to walk the next day. City Museum is no joke.
After several days in St. Louis heckling parade marchers for Girl Scout Cookies, eating a glorious Thanksgiving meal at Golden Corral, playing hide-and-seek amongst the sculptures at the Sculpture Park, playing in the Museum, blinding ourselves with chlorine in the hotel pool, viewing the city from the vantage of the top of the Arch, and introducing Andy to his first Ikea experience, it was time for the 13 hour drive to NY.
With only a pitstop to White Castle (my father would have been disappointed if we didn’t stop!) and an impulsive stop when a road sign informed us that the world’s largest wind chimes, rocking chair, and mailbox were nearby – we made it to Owego, NY in tact – cat and all.