Friends, we drove from Wisconsin to Massachusetts, visited family for two days, flew to Las Vegas without the kids (who were left safely in the care of Grammy & Papa) where we stayed for four days, flew back to Massachusetts and then two days later we drove back to Wisconsin again.
This trip was amazing and stressful and exciting and nostalgic and too long and too short and just all of the things. I’m not really sure where to begin or if you want to be bored to death with all the minutia of a vacation recap so I’ll stick with how I’ve been recapping vacations lately and give you a Best / Worst list rather than attempt to give you a minute by minute recap.
6 Best Moments
- FOR THE WIN I was on a mission to find a slot machine where you actually pull a lever to play – most of the slot machines have transitioned to buttons or touch screen. Several of the machines have levers that do literally nothing, but I somehow found one in the middle of Treasure Island Casino while we were waiting to see Cirque du Soleil, so I put in a dollar and pulled the lever and won TEN dollars. I’m not a high stakes kind of girl so I took my winnings and never touched another machine. Dan tried my machine and one other and lost both times so out of the three dollars that we willingly sacrificed, we lost 2/3 of the time, but…. I won ten dollars in Vegas, so.
- OMG FOOD NOM NOM Dan had an amazing Japanese breakfast in room service one morning, we ate some seriously delicious Italian food the first night. There were little coffee shops everywhere with lattes that would make Starbucks ashamed of itself and pastries that just completed me. We went to a buffet at Treasure Island before seeing Cirque du Soleil and I had chicken fried steak with stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn bread and collard greens while Dan had chinese food and then we checked out the dessert buffet and it was like oh my god, where do I even begin? I could go on. The food was good.
CIRQUE Like I said, we saw Cirque du Soleil and yeah it was all the things. It bordered on overwhelming with so many amazing acrobatic stunts being pulled off, often at the same time, and it just never stopped for two hours. It had comedic moments and ohhhh and ahhhh moments and was literally breathtaking. I could go on, but I don’t want this to be a whole review of the show.
- THE DAM TOUR We took a tour of the Hoover Dam on our third day which was a much needed break from the constant buzz of the Vegas Strip. Our tour guide, Memel, was amazing and funny and we had a great group of people on the bus with us. It was also nerdily fascinating to see the other side of Vegas and learn more about the history of the town and about Hoover Dam. Memel was really knowledgeable about the area and we learned a lot and saw a lot and laughed a lot. And perspired a lot, but that’s par for the course when you go to Nevada in August.
THE SWEET SUITE The King Bed in our hotel room was all the things. We stayed at The Venetian which is massive and beautiful and kind of like being on another planet compared to some of the other Vegas hotels. And when we weren’t wandering casinos or peeking at people taking Gondola rides or listening to entertainment in Saint Mark’s Square while sipping lattes and eating gelato, we were hiding in our amazing hotel suite. The whole room was really phenomenal with the huge bathroom and comfy bed and whole separate living room area with tvs in like every room. Also it wasn’t my job to clean the room, do the laundry or entertain small people for like four blissful days. I was sufficiently pampered.
- FRIENDS AND FAM We got to catch up with friends and family, too, for the few days we spent in Massachusetts. Somehow we managed to catch up with a ton of people, celebrate a few birthdays, eat at all the local nostalgia places that make it feel like home, and drive those old streets of our childhood. Our kids got an extra dose of family time while we were in Vegas – they had an amazing vacation of their own as both of our families whisked them around to see and do all the things and I’m so grateful for their enthusiasm and care and time that they put into making it a great week for the kids.
And in an effort to keep it real, folks…
5 Worst Moments
- CASINO CROWDS The whole casino environment really is not my scene and I’m pretty sure hubby would agree with me on this one. After two days I think we were both done living inside a Casino, dodging crowds and dealing with the constant flashing lights atmosphere. Why did we take a trip to Las Vegas when we are not gambling night life folks? We have never been and we really wanted to experience it – and see some shows, stay at a nice hotel and eat great food. Las Vegas gave us all of that, so mission accomplished.
- PUSHY SELLERS Our hotel has this whole section called the Grand Canal Shoppes with all these major label stores that are too expensive to buy anything but so pretty so we spent a lot of time window shopping and just peeking at all the things. It was beautiful and seriously where we spent a good 1/3 of our trip. But while walking through this area, you are constantly bombarded with people trying to sell you tickets to shows. Not scalpers, but like legitimate employees of the hotel jumping in front of you to ask if you want to buy any show tickets. Constantly. These folks make the mall kiosk employees at your local mall seem passive by comparison.
- NOT ENOUGH TIME For a ten day vacation, it felt like we were always running from one place to the next. Trying to squeeze in a proper visit with friends and family in Massachusetts was nearly impossible but we tried anyway. I wanted more time with everyone – but I probably say this even when we get there with plenty of time to catch up. Still, it bears repeating : There wasn’t enough time.
- UH AIRPORTS There is a reason we drove to Massachusetts, we really hate airports, especially with the kids. Waiting in line at security for the first flight to Vegas took literally hours. The planes were tiny and cramped like always and we had six hours of flying plus layovers to deal with. The flight back lasted literally all day after factoring in the time zone changes.
- HIGHWAY TO HELL Driving 1,500 miles is bound to be stressful so I’m surprised I don’t have more stories of bad moments on the road, but the truth is that most of it was pretty par for the course. Until the last day of driving when a tractor trailer literally swerved across four lanes of highway right in front of us after the driver inexplicably lost control of the truck. We still have no idea what happened – if he had a heart attack or fell asleep or what – because the highway was pretty empty and amazingly there was no one in front of him really or next to him in any of the lanes. He hit nothing but the jersey barrier (which he hit hard) and I’m grateful that we were somehow not harmed, but we were all seriously shaken by it. After calling 911 to make sure someone got to him ASAP we made a serious bee line for the next rest stop so we could shake off the trauma before finishing our trip home.
And now we’re back to the grind of swim lessons and karate classes and why isn’t my house being magically cleaned by housekeeping? I should have smuggled some of them back in our luggage.