Frederick

Continuing to travel south in order to avoid the inevitable looming freeze on the horizon, we said goodbye to Alexandra's family in New Jersey and made a short trip down to Frederick, Maryland, where we would stay for a couple of nights.

Frederick is an interesting place. It is in commuting distance to Washington, DC as well as Baltimore, but doesn't have that generic, cookie-cutter suburbia feel. The driveway where we moochdocked was in a community literally nestled in between rolling green hills. There are nine state and national parks in the area, offering residents many different ways to be active and get outside. We spent part of a day wandering downtown Frederick's streets and were charmed by the architecture, history and diversity of shops on every corner. We were equally envious of the large Wegmans market that recently opened as the variety of independent restaurants offering dining opportunities with genuine, local flair. (One restaurant in particular stands out that we visited in downtown Frederick. Appropriately named, Pretzel and Pizza Creations offers delectable stuffed pretzels, pizzas by the slice and ice cream by the scoop. Highly recommend!)

We were graciously invited to stay with the family of one of my closest friends from my high school days in Hong Kong. I hadn't seen Olivia or her husband since their wedding, at which point Jeremy and I just started dating, and I had yet to meet any of their three adorable children. 

You never have a free arm (or hip) at Pattaya Orphanage.

You never have a free arm (or hip) at Pattaya Orphanage.

Olivia and two wee, tiny babes.

Olivia and two wee, tiny babes.

Just a week into my first semester at Smith College, Olivia and I met up to celebrate her birthday and catch up on our summers.

Just a week into my first semester at Smith College, Olivia and I met up to celebrate her birthday and catch up on our summers.

Posing with Babydoll the Chihuahua.

Posing with Babydoll the Chihuahua.

On Olivia's wedding day.

On Olivia's wedding day.

Olivia and I grew our new friendship over a summer volunteering at an orphanage in Pattaya, Thailand and continued it during my first two years of undergraduate studies at Smith College when her family moved to a town not too far away. I spent my first Thanksgiving in college with her family and had my very first (and currently only) fried turkey, a tradition that her dad continues to fry up every year to this day. I also saw my first (and only!) Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade with Olivia and our friend, Billy Joel superfan and Long Island-er Matt. 

Yep, my heart exploded into a million little pieces when I turned around and saw Jeremy hanging with his new little bestie Karis at the dining room table.

Yep, my heart exploded into a million little pieces when I turned around and saw Jeremy hanging with his new little bestie Karis at the dining room table.

Jeremy, Asher, Karis and Olivia off and exploring downtown Frederick, MD.

Jeremy, Asher, Karis and Olivia off and exploring downtown Frederick, MD.

Always taking advantage of learning opportunities, that Jeremy.

Always taking advantage of learning opportunities, that Jeremy.

The menu at Pretzel & Pizza Creations.

The menu at Pretzel & Pizza Creations.

Jeremy and I spent much of our visit with Olivia and Andy being spoiled with delicious home cooking, a long and rousing round of Fluxx (Pirate edition - ARGH!), feeding Rosie and Dexter (the resident tarantulas) and being enlightened about the amazing worlds of Paw Patrol, Legos and Shopkins thanks to Norah, Asher and Karis.

The tradition continues...

The tradition continues...

Andy and Jeremy even had so much fun during our time together that we didn't have to twist their arms to get them to join in our photo posing fun.

Andy and Jeremy even had so much fun during our time together that we didn't have to twist their arms to get them to join in our photo posing fun.

After a farewell meal of grilled chicken that Jeremy prepared with our new Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett pellet grill (shout out to Matt over at Wandering Nation for convincing us to buy it - best dinner game changer ever!) and roasted veggies, we reluctantly pulled up our jacks, brought in the slides and moseyed even further south down the Eastern seaboard. Up next: a brief stay in Virginia's Claytor Lake State Park before our visit that nearly became a permanent relocation in Asheville, North Carolina.

I couldn't not include this photo. I mean really. Wegman's is the place of dreams. A tower stacked high with fresh pineapples!

I couldn't not include this photo. I mean really. Wegman's is the place of dreams. A tower stacked high with fresh pineapples!