Scotland, meet America
What do you do when Scotland comes to visit? You bring out your best tea set, serve a snack, and catch up by a crackling fire!
Our very dear friend James came to visit the States for a little while during the Christmas holiday period before going back to school with Charlotte to St. Andrews.
Of course, our first order of business was to make afternoon tea.
*Peep his festive socks!* Also, if I may draw your attention to the singular lemon growing behind me. My mom was very proud of it.
He wowed us with his excellent Scottish technique.
We taught him to play Catan, a family favorite.
Despite relishing the warm household interiors during early January, we also got out and about, determined to put our best small-town foot forward and show James around!
We went sledding at the local Waveny Mansion (a public park).
We took Lucy on a walk through the Nature Center.
And ventured into a neighboring town for some "oceanfront views" of Long Island Sound.
Always down for a spontaneous adventure, we put our heads together and decided to drive up to New port, Rhode Island for a couple of days to visit a friend of ours working as an R.A. at his university. (He was back early, so we weren't disrupting anything or anyone). Our Spotify playlist for the occasion was 7 hours long- you can never be too prepared ;)
Upon arrival we grabbed some food and did a little bit of exploring Newport. Best place to catch the sunset is on the docks! We popped into a local bar, one of Meish's favorites, and despite us all being 21+ it was James who had the most difficult time ordering a standard beer! The wait staff had never seen a Scottish ID before and decided it didn't count. Can't say I blame them, in a college town I'm sure they see all sorts of fun tricks.
We took a trip to the local arcade and played enough games to pool our tickets and win a teeny pool table, which we promptly brought back and set up for a riveting game, followed by an absolutely BRUTAL game of Catan (not pictured). The boys formed an alliance against Charlotte and me and completely blew us off the board.
Deciding we'd had enough rough-and-tumble, we elected to take our guest to visit the Newport mansions, the Breakers and Rosecliff.
*Such elegance and grace befitting of a historic mansion.
I would absolutely go back, my parents took us when we were younger and the sheer size and grandeur of each house is fascinating every time. If you want to see them, they usually offer tickets in packs so you can visit more than one of these Vanderbilt "summer cottages" using the same pass.
Back home in CT we slipped back into some normalcy running errands and grabbing lunch with friends (usually included a game or two of Catan as well). I found out I'd been nominated for an Eddie Award in the student category, which sent me over the moon and those travel arrangements had to be planned.
Charlotte, James and I planned a great escape into NYC for a day. We dressed up, made lunch reservations, and headed over to the Top of the Rock (or 30 Rockefeller Plaza) for some killer views.
We recommend this over the Empire State Building. The lines are much shorter, it's a little cheaper, and you can *see* the Empire State Building from 30 Rock.
We took a break inside the glass observatory and boy was it HOT in there. Perfect place to catch our breath and warm our toes before diving back down into the streets of NYC.
We also poked our heads into St. Patricks Cathedral and Trump Tower, just to see what all the fuss is about. It's very... dark in there. Lots of gold. Not my taste. Needs more lamps.
To polish off the night we all went and got last minute tickets to Phantom of the Opera!
Charlotte left a few days later on her flight back to St. Andrews for school. She and James didn't coordinate that back when booking so he left a couple days later (but not without a fancy family diner sendoff!)
One of the most memorable Januarys and best houseguests ever! We can't wait to have you back :)
*Not pictured: a visit to The Met, our local Aquarium, and the epic defeat of an Escape Room!