Given the gift of travel with my daughter during her spring break from college recently, I know how lucky I am! We visited family, celebrated her 21st birthday, and we laughed until we cried. Times like this are not usually extravagant escapades, yet they always give us some of the sweetest moments in our lives.
I really enjoy traveling, seeing new places, and meeting people. Leaving on a plane, train, or bus does not always go smoothly, but some bumps in the road can prove to be good parts of a great adventure. And adding family to the trip is the icing on the cake, especially if you do not see them often.
The first morning we awoke just outside of Baltimore in the community of Halethorpe. This would probably not be a typical spring break destination for most, but my sister is the minister at the Halethorpe-Relay United Methodist Church there. After the Sunday morning service, the members of HRUMC shared kind words and homemade treats with us. Since the late 1800s this church with a stately steeple has stood in the middle of a hill on Ridge Avenue, and as we later discovered, looks beautiful covered in snow.
Later that day, the Bond girls went to dinner at the Chart House in the Eastport area of Annapolis, Maryland – one of my favorite places. If you have never visited Annapolis, put it on your list of cities you must see! This newly renovated restaurant overlooked the water with an incredible view of the Annapolis Historic District, the Maryland State House, and the United States Naval Academy.
We lifted our libations in celebration of my daughter’s birthday, then we savored the delicious food and hilarious stories. The setting sun lit up the room with glass walls and several fireplaces. We roared with laughter most of the night, and our waitress joined in the fun from time to time. The only disappointment was that the evening together slipped by too quickly.
The next day, my daughter and I rode the train into Washington, D. C. Arriving at Union Station with arches, columns, and the sunlight streaming through gorgeous windows, we stopped to take in the stunning scenery. People were scurrying around from one side to another. I wondered if they ever stood still to appreciate their surroundings.
Each time we go to Washington, D. C., we try to focus on a new area. This time we went to the United States Holocaust Museum adjacent to the National Mall. Leaving Union Station, we took a taxi to the museum and as usual started a conversation with the driver. Originally from Africa, he has lived in America for 25 years. He left his home country to provide opportunities for his family. One of his children is a doctor of pharmacy and another has her masters. He said he was tough on his children expecting them to focus on their education and work extremely hard, but now he knows they will reap the benefits of their labor.
We enjoyed our visit on the way to the museum, said our goodbyes, and hurried into the building. Quickly entering the Holocaust Museum, I looked around and immediately felt uneasy and confused. Everything looked and felt a bit off, and though I did not expect bright colors, I was taken aback. While I am sure this was the intent of the design, it was more than the skewed structure and placement of walls and stairs. The exhibits were heart-wrenching, moving, and inspiring. For me the large black marble wall with the quote from the Bible stood out, “You are my witnesses. Isaiah 43:10”. I kept wanting to center the words on the looming wall, but like everything in this museum, they did not line up, and it made me uncomfortable.
The museum closed as the snow clouds were rolling in, so we headed back to Maryland. Snow has a way of making the world get quiet. We were delighted to take the short walk from the train station to my sister’s home with snowflakes softly falling. Waking up to a thick white blanket the next morning made for a day of rest and time with our family. My nephew cooked fabulous food, and we had a challenging game of cards served with hot chocolate, coffee, and a healthy helping of competition.
Fortunately the sun always comes out and the ice melts, so the following day, we enjoyed the atmosphere and fresh fare of The Elkridge Furnace Inn, circa 1744. What a warm and hospitable place on a very cold day! The Inn is part of the Civil War Trail, Patapsco State Park and the Underground Railroad, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We met Brandon at the exceptional farm-to-table restaurant. He was our informed and generous waiter who guided us through an amazing array of dining options.
The gardens and greenhouses at The Elkridge Furnace Inn are organic with heirloom vegetables. When the first course was placed on the cozy corner table by the fireplace, we immediately noticed the vibrant colors on our plates – a work of art. The Inn has a close working relationship with nearby farms for produce and specialty meats. The quality was an unbelievable experience. While we ooo’d and ahhh’d over the food, we showed my sister how much fun you can have with Instagram filters! Then we topped off our lunch with spectacular desserts and complimentary champagne.
Spending that afternoon with some of the youngest members of our family, we laughed even more. Hot chocolate mustaches are the best! Our time in Maryland flew by, but it was not because we packed it with hectic schedules.
Back in Dallas, Texas, my daughter and I had a little more time together before having to depart for work and school. We had a wonderful brunch at Studio for the opening day of Beauty and the Beast, then some shopping at the Galleria. Our spring break was more than exciting or relaxing, it was a much-needed break in our lives. I am so grateful for this time with family and for all of the sweet cake we enjoyed together!