(Newsletter No. 2)
America, 17th June to 2nd July 2002
After many months of saving our pennies, Chris and I eventually took off from Heathrow Terminal 1 and flew to Albany (capitol city of New York State) via Washington, DC.
Whilst in Albany we were fortunate in being able to stay with our friends Owen and Derilda Smith, parents of Claire who now lives in Belgium. Owen and Dee live in a part of Albany called Guilderland, a name that indicates the Dutch settlers that came to that part of the USA. We met Claire and her parents through our Church website, when they were researching ancestors with roots in Spalding; one of the more pleasurable aspects of working with the web!
Albany (population around 110,000) is about 150 miles north of New York city and only a few miles west of the Massachusetts border. Guilderland is just a small part of Albany and is a reasonably affluent part of the city, and there are many new houses there that are in the 'million dollar' range! Here is a photograph of Owen and Dee's house where we were staying, not in that bracket, but very comfortable all the same.
The local (Episcopal) church serving Guilderland is dedicated to St Boniface and the rector is the Father John (Jack) Zimmerman. We attended the Family Eucharist on Sunday and met many of the parishoners afterwards. The actual liturgy is very similar to Anglican liturgy with the only real noticeable difference between it and 'Common Worship - Order One' being the positioning of the confession and absolution, so we felt quite at home. Even more so when the organist played 'Land of Hope and Glory' as the voluntary at the end of the service!
Owen and Dee introduced us to several of their lifelong friends and we spent several pleasant evenings either eating out or being entertained at home. In this way we met a number of Owen and Dee's friends
Other highlights of our stay in Albany were visits to the country home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at Hyde Park (of all places!), a grand tour of the Hancock Shaker Village (exceptionally interesting) just over the border in Mass. and a personal guided tour around some beautiful gardens at Yaddo used as a retreat for artists. Here are a few photographs of these visits:
(While we were in Albany, our daughter Clare and partner Chris flew to Minneapolis and then onward to Sioux Falls, ready for the Wedding on the 29th June!)
After the midweek Eucharist at St Boniface on Wednesday 26th June we (eventually) flew from Albany, about about 1,000 miles west via Chicago, to Sioux Falls in South Dakota. I say eventually because we had chosen a day when thunderstorms around Chicago grounded all aircraft! Our planned arrival in Sioux Falls of 9:15pm soon changed to 11:30pm with no baggage! But at least we had arrived at our second destination, even if we had to buy some rather unglamorous underwear from an all night superstore to tide us over until, and if, our baggage arrived!
Fortunately our baggage arrived in three lots - the next day, and in the following two days - the first one holding all our personal clothing etc. so we were saved from wearing borrowed shorts and tees for the rest of our stay!
As we had come all this way for a wedding, that's what we spent some of our time doing - preparing for it. But we did find time to investigate the Malls, eat out at a Mexican restaurant, Pat and I went to see 'Minority Report' in one of the cinemas with three thousand screens (I perhaps exagerate a bit...), and Sue and Chris went ... shopping!
The night before the wedding was the rehearsal in church followed by a great barbecue at the home of one of the bride and groom's friends - a beautiful place with the usual decking and pool at the back of the house. The food and company were the most enjoyable part of the day - specially brought in from 'Famous Dave's (which we sampled again the day after the wedding it was so good).
The day of the wedding soon came and off we went to Calvary Cathedral at about 1:00pm. The wedding wasn't until 5:30pm, but the Americans take all the photographs before the ceremony. After the service, which was Eucharistic in format, we all stood outside the cathedral (in 102 degrees of heat) to wait for the Bride and Groom to board the Stretch Limo' to take them (and the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen) to the Reception. We all had a wonderful time.
Sunday was our Clare's birthday so about 30 of us went of to an Italian Restaurant for Brunch - American style - well, we've never eaten so much on a Sunday morning before, just look at this list, and we missed out three of the courses!
And all that for just US$10.95 - that's about £7.80!
Following Brunch, Lyle Kroon (the Groom's stepfather) took us on a tour of the Malls to get one or two gifts - it's always great when some one who knows the ropes looks after you, isn't it! Everyone we met was so generous, and Lyle was no exception. We visted his Church, the Reformed Church of America, had a look around the area, and then he took us back to the motel.
After a meal of Ribs, Chicken, Corn, Brisket, Corn Muffins, Wilbur Beans, Colesaw and Potato Wedges at 'Famous Dave's' we went across to the Falls, from which Sioux Falls gets its name, a description is just not enough, so take a look at some of the photos.
And so ended another wonderful American holiday - a variety of experiences and meeting different people, some for the first time, and renewing quaintances with others - all in all, it was great ... We can't wait to go back.
"Have a nice day!"
John and Christine
Just a few of our friends 'over the pond ...
Our Photo Album ...