Summer with Talbots

Summer Styles from Tuckernuck

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The Great American Empty Nester Road Trip

Hello, dear friends.  I hope that you all are doing well and staying healthy.  A big thanks to all who left sweet Insta messages and wrote notes of encouragement during our transition period.  They were very much appreciated.

We have arrived.  

In Dallas, that is.

The Mister and I began our new chapter in the early morning hours of last Tuesday, our moving day.  We were ready - our endless chores and to-do lists had all the boxes checked and packed. 

As I told you, the new owners bought most of our furniture.  The Mister and I ended up doing a lot of the packing ourselves.  Being smack-dab in the throes of a Pandemic may have been a factor, but surprisingly, I kind of enjoyed it.

Packing helped me to tame my hoarding stockpiling tendencies.  If I felt too lazy to wrap some irreplaceable Marshalls/TJMaxx/Homegoods find, I ditched it.  Between you and me, there was a lot of that going on.

By the way... I leave the price sticker on most of my dishware and tchotchkes for a reason.  I told my girls that when I go to heaven, and they are hosting a tag estate sale, they need to always ask for the regular price and not our price

Two of the reasons that the somewhat dull, monotonous task of packing became tolerable was the entertainment factor. I would like to publicly thank the staff from The Office as well as the Rose family for providing me with countless hours of enjoyment and distraction. The Mister checked on me a couple of times because I was chuckling out loud amidst the bubble wrap and the boxes.  

I think that he thought I was losing my mind. 

At times, he was right.  

When we moved into our home seven years ago, the moving truck parked on the road because the driver felt that the turn was too sharp to make around the stone wall into the driveway.  The poor movers had to unload the truck and use dollies to transfer our junk priceless heirlooms into our house.

The bulk of the truck transformed our two-lane road into one slow-moving headache. 
It's no wonder we didn't receive any welcome baskets from the neighbors.

This time, our driver was fearless.  
Gary had no problem getting into the driveway with his unabashed skills and maneuvers.

As you can see, the Mister got right in on the act.  He yelled direction and used hand signals like he was on a runway signaling a 747.  
Gary gave a polite nod and paid no attention.

It took about ten hours, but the truck got packed with furniture and marked boxes denoting Storage and Apartment.

By the way... notice my beautiful last hydrangea.

Everything going to the apartment got awarded a big pink dot.  Chili wanted to make sure her beloved smelly Lamby was not headed for storage or, heaven forbid, the washing machine.

At around six PM, we bid our house full of wonderful memories farewell.  Our sweet next door neighbors came out on their deck to give us a heartfelt, socially-distant wave. 

As we drove off, I thought of all the wonderful lifelong friends I have made while living in Massachusetts. 


The Mister drove and I critiqued his driving. 

The next stop was Stamford, Connecticut.
It was the town in which the Mister and I met.
I'm sure he didn't plan it that way, but I took it as a romantic gesture all the same.  

At the hotel, we downed a bottle of vino within minutes and toasted our new chapter, and silently prayed that we would still be speaking to each other by the time we reached Dallas. 

After a good night's sleep, we set off for our next stop, Washington, DC.

After checking into our hotel, we decided to take a walk and hunt down a lunch spot.  We settled on the Blue Duck Tavern

We made a great choice - the food and service were so good that we ended up canceling our dinner reservations at another restaurant and came back for dinner.  We don't usually do that, but the Mister talked me into it because there were more items on the menu that he looked forward to sampling. 

One of the items that the Mister ordered were these unbelievably delicious fries with a side of aioli.

By the way... Blue Duck Tavern is a favorite eating establishment of a former US President and First Lady whose office is across the street.
Here's a hint:
Their last name begins with an "O."
If you know the answer, you win a car.
Only kidding, just wanted to see if you were reading the text and not only looking at the pictures like my girls do. 

Our next stop was The Homestead in Virginia.  
The resort has been on my bucket list.

The last 20 minutes of the drive were treacherous, and it had nothing to do with my stellar driving skills.  To reach the resort, one needs to drive up a mountain.  The road is only one lane most of the time, and I beeped and held my breath every time that I had to make a sharp turn.

We arrived at The Homestead with sweaty palms and a grateful heart.

The exterior of the hotel is quite impressive.

We checked in and then did some shopping at a couple of gift shops.  It was the first time that I had shopped for something fun since March.  

It was an ideal time of year to visit.
The foliage was breathtaking!

The Mister planned our trip around dog-friendly hotels.
Chili was greeted with a welcome gift.
Believe it or not, that is her happy face. 

That evening, we toasted the couple that closed on our their new/old house that day.

In the rearview, I have to tell you that we were a bit underwhelmed by The Homestead.  The property is beautiful, but the actual building and contents are showing their age.  The carpets were soiled, the deck needed repair, and the staff was less than hospitable.  

It is owned by a large hotel company now.  
It is really a shame that Omni doesn't put some money into this diamond in the rough.

Our next stop was Chattanooga.  We stayed at another historic property called the Read House.  The moment we walked into the hotel, we were bowled over by the stunning decor.

Our pristine guestroom offered charming decor, plenty of space, and a fabulous bathroom. 

We dined in-house at Bridgeman's Chophouse.
The food and service were nothing less than spectacular.

I highly recommend the Read House if you ever find yourself in charming Chattanooga.

On the road again.  
We are very fortunate that Chili is a very relaxed traveler.
She's got her issues and diva demands, but when it comes to hopping in the car and exploring new places and smells, she gets an A+.

Our last stop was in Jackson, Mississippi, where we ate in the hotel restaurant and hit the sack early.  We couldn't wait to see our #2 and Chowdah the next day.

Are we there yet?

At last!
We stayed at a hotel for a few days while we waited for our furniture to arrive.  We then moved into an apartment in the same building as our #2.  Along with apartment living, I am also planning a post on our house hunting adventures.  

Chowdah, who was staying with our #2, was so excited to see us.
Chowdah and Chili generally looked happy to see each other.
It didn't last, though.  Minutes later, they moved into their own personal space and ignored each other. 

We ordered a new kennel for Chili while we were on the road.  We had to replace the brand new one that we bought for our excursion because the little rascal managed to break free.

We have informally changed Chili's name to Houdini.

By the way, Houdini has met her match with the new kennel.  

She hasn't escaped once.

And it wasn't due to her lack of trying.

Until next time...

It took about three minutes for Houdini to steal his bed.

Linking up with:

Preppy Empty Nester
Preppy Empty Nester

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Feel free to contact me through comments and email. I love to hear from my readers!


  1. Good to hear from you. I did read the words and enjoyed traveling along with you. Very good to see Chili and Chowdah reunited. Welcome back to the South.

  2. Glad to hear you enjoyed the Read House in Chattanooga. We live about an hour and a half from there and mostly pass through on our way to Grimmwood. We might plan a little get away there. Welcome South Katie.

  3. Glad you had safe travels. I can’t wait to see your new digs. I always take the price tags off my HomeGoods. I once had a ceramic bowl of lemons from China that I bought for $6.99. Everyone thought it was a souvenir from one of our Italian trips. 🤣 High-low is the way to go!

  4. So happy to read about your adventures! I love, love the picture of you at the Homestead. So sad to hear it was underwhelming. Happy House Hunting and welcome back to the Great State of Texas!

  5. Welcome home. Happy to have you in Texas...but sad you had to say goodbye to the fabulous house. I just know you will find something wonderful in big “D”. The weather right now I’d perfect for house hunting. I hope you will take us along with you....Janey

  6. Was SO excited to wake up to this post today! Been anxiously awaiting stories about the move and cannot wait to hear about house hunting too! Cannot count the number of times I’ve been at that same Dallas/McKinney split....I chuckled out loud when I saw that!!!! You will love shopping McKinney and Knox Henderson!!!
    I am SO going to invite myself over once you get settled in....we must share a vino together!
    You know how close I am so plz never hesitate to call or holler out if there’s anything I can help you with. My PoppyPearl would love to have a chili/cheddah play date!!!
    SOO happy for y’all and like I told you before...throw all this big coats away. They are a piece of your past now!!!!!

  7. What a fun post! Great road trip, taking in some historic hotels along the way. Sorry The Homestead was a disappointment.

  8. Fun post especially because my hubby and I may be moving back to Texas in 2021. We may very well stay in a few of the hotels you mentioned if we make the trek back.

    Don’t remember when I started reading your blog but it was before you moved to Ma.

    I’m especially interested in hearing about your house hunting experience and where you end up. I’ve mentioned before that I looked on one of my visits to Texas this year and was disappointed.

    I’m currently in Texas with my Mom who is in the hospital.
    Not sure when I will head back to NJ.

  9. What a big job packing up your house and moving to Texas. You both seem very organized and it helped that you didn’t have to move the furniture. It looks nice you stayed in nice hotels for the trip and your dog is a trooper. Good luck with everything! Thanks for the blog visit today.

  10. So glad to read that Chili and Chowdah are reunited. Can hardly wait to read of the house hunting adventures. Best wishes Katie!!

  11. So glad I found your blog but sad that New England is losing you- your home was beautiful!! Can't wait to follow along with your house-hunting adventures :)

  12. Katie, I was shocked to read it's been 7 years! Seems like you left Texas a few months ago. So much is happened in all our lives. Good luck with your new adventure.

  13. Thanks for catching us up!! I've been wondering how you were doing! Looking forward to reading more! Chuckling at the pups ignoring each other... kids!! Stay well!

  14. Hi Katie, As soon as I saw your comment on my blog I hopped over to yours- I knew you had made the move! Great post! Okay at least your daughters log onto your blog. Can't wait to hear about your house hunting adventures. Just don't talk in the house that you are previewing. xo laura

  15. PS. Are you and the Mister watching Doc Martin? Not the shoe.
    Oh and my daughter would die if we moved into her same building! Ha!


  16. It's so good to hear your escapades and it sounds like you were doing this journey just right -- really enjoying the trip along the way! Love Chili. My niece honeymooned at the Homestead in October. They probably didn't notice the wear -- they're young! Can't wait to hear more!

  17. Oh I love hearing of your journey! So happy you'll be int he same complex as your #2 until you find "the one". I must say, though, I don't envy what you're going through, especially in this pandemic. And those roads in VA? Much the same in WV. Wondering if you guys took I-64 through White Sulphur Springs (Greenbrier) and then through Blacksburg (Mary Draper Ingles territory) and through Bristol TN (Mr. P's alma mater King Univ). Then again, it may have all just been a blitz. Very happy for your long travels to be under the belt. Love the update!

  18. I loved that photo of you on the porch, it is so you. Thrilled you arrived safely, the Blue Duck Tavern is the best! I ate there with my other favorite Katie.

    Missing you, the Mista and the hooligans. xoxoxo Annie G.

  19. Wow congrats on completing that big leg of your move!! Loved you knocking off a bottle of vino in minutes at the end of moving day, well deserved!! Charming travels and exciting to be in same apt complex as daughter. Hope you find everything you need that was packed while watching tv. Way to make lemonade out of lemons. Seems you've got the knack for that, thanks for sharing all the ups and downs of the move. Keep posting, fall is here and we need more entertainment!!

  20. Oh my goodness, I am so excited you found me and I have now found your blog. This was a fun post to read. The house you left was GORGEOUS! I am sure that was so hard to leave all the memories behind, but you will have so many exciting adventures ahead. I plan to find you on IG to connect there and can't wait to read more about your life.

  21. Welcome back to Texas! Exciting travels across country. Sorry the experience at the
    Homestead was less than stellar. Have you ever stayed at the Greenbrier? I think it is pet friendly.
    I'm impressed the girls read your blog. I doubt Monnie has ever read a post.

  22. It was fun following you to Dallas! I wish you well and hope you find a home soon! We are posting our Traveling Totes on the 15th of each month on Instagram if you want to join us! Stay well!

  23. You made it! Yay! Reunited with Chowdah ... and residing in same building as #2! What an epic PEN road trip ... so disappointing about that gorgeous property The Homestead. I'll skip it and head straight for Chattanooga. On the edge of my seat anticipating house hunting update. So ready to get on with furniture shopping and decorating! xoxo

  24. Thank you for taking us through your road trip. It can be difficult to travel with a dog but I'm glad Chili loves travelling. Chili is adorable!

  25. Welcome back to the Lone Star State & Dallas Katie! So glad that you made it here safely. Only you and the Mister could look so elegant while traveling 2K miles across the country and with a pet! Your stops along the way looked beautiful. My husband is from Jackson, but I have made him an honorary Texan by choice! AND a Baylor Bear by choice as well, lol! Best of luck looking for your new home. McKinney is such a nice town. I have many friends who live there and they love it. xoxo Sherry

  26. So glad you made it cross country nice and safely! Sounds like you hit a few good stop along the way too.

  27. Best of luck with your new adventure, the house hunting, and apartment living in the meantime. I actually kind of liked the apartment life which felt carefree in terms of maintenance and worry.

  28. It sounds like a wonderful trip, hard and sad to leave, but staying at luxury hotels in picturesque places and knowing you would arrive at your destination to be with your daughter and Chowdah had to make it easy! Good luck in this exciting new chapter of your life, and I look forward to reading about your house hunting adventures! I bet you won't miss the New England winters!

  29. You make moving sound pretty easy. I know it isn't but what a fun way to drive from your former home to your temp. apartment, and with a dog. Congratulations on your move and best of luck on your search for your new abode. It's always fun to follow along, not to mention the great ideas for purchases from you at Amazon. 😊

  30. Wow, what a road trip! First of all, the fact that your husband planned your lodgings around dog friendly hotels makes me like him even more! My husband would never do that! In fact, my husband would attempt to drive straight through so he could "make good time"...ugh. I'm happy that you arrived safely and I hope you'll share you new place with us. I'm not the least bit surprised that your buyers purchased so much of your furniture. Your home was so beautifully decorated and I'm sure your style helped to sell your home. If you start missing the cold, snowy winter weather, you can always stop by my blog or IG to see my photos. Don't get too jealous- Ha! Cheers to your new adventure!

  31. Can't wait to hear more about your house hunting adventures. I am living vicariously through you! We are headed for the same adventure!

  32. Oh, my goodness, I so enjoyed this post. My brother and his wife just moved to Tyler, Tx last week from Arizona. They sold their home "lock,stock and barrel" as well. They bought a new home in Tyler and hired a decorator who filled it with furniture and decor. They said it's the only way to go. :o)) I know you are going to find the perfect home and I can't wait to follow along. And, I am so sorry The Homestead is not being kept up to speed. That is in my stomping grounds and has always been such a jewel. And, you were a mere 90 miles from me when you were in Jackson. Blessings abundant my friend!

  33. I love the home you left behind but I'm excited to see your house hunting adventures. Such a wonderful road trip with fabulous lodging along the way. Well planned and a delightful time of year to be on the road. It must feel wonderful to be near your daughter and reunite with Chowdah. Happy house hunting.............

  34. Welcome home to Texas...what an interesting road trip which was far different than ours...we found the perfect home for us and love our area....I know you will also...happy house hunting!

  35. What a great post! Thanks for sharing your exodus, and for showing us all of these great locations along the way. Can’t wait to see the new chapter as it unfolds. I know that moving is drudgery, but it helps if you are excited about the destination. Congratulations on completing the hardest part of the journey. 🎉

  36. Your text is the best!!! I usually laugh out loud and my husband wonders what I'm doing. I'm glad you had a safe adventure south

  37. If I had known you were in Jackson I would have welcomed you personally! I am wondering and hoping that you stayed maybe at the Westin as it is the best I can think of for a hotel restaurant in Jackson! Good luck with house hunting in Dallas!

  38. YOU TWO LOOK GREAT........DO i DARE use that word???

  39. Don’t y’all look fabulous and not road weary at all. That was quite a road trip to get to Dallas. I only live about 90 miles from Chattanooga, so glad you had a wonderful experience in that charming city!

  40. I wish I had known when you flew through Shreveport, we would have had you over for a cup of Louisiana coffee and a pit stop. I know you are so excited about this new adventure. We are entering it with fear and trepidation ourselves. Once we both get settled, we must meet for a delightful lunch.

  41. So, what's new, Sis? Not much, huh? Ha! What times we're living in. I am thrilled that you've arrived safely in Dallas. As a Canuck, I only know Dallas through "Dallas." Wondering if you'll hobnob with the likes of JR and the gang. Very different from the Doc Martin folks, I'm thinking. I'm delighted with your wrapping and packing viewing, btw. Did I tell you I attended a Schitt's Creek chitchat? SO much fun. All four Roses, Stevie, Patrick and Ted were there. They were hilarious and warm and real. It was truly delightful.

  42. Well this looks like a real trip, so to speak. Chattanooga is pretty fun, and the Read House is very Nice. I first heard about it years ago when a late cousin told me that is where she her husband spent their honeymoon in 1952! It has been spiffed up quite a lot. Wondering where in the world you found a nice place in Jackson MS? We always stayed in the outskirts when passing through. Your house hunting adventures await, so we will all be curious about those, too. Enjoy Texas.

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. Welcome back to Texas! You have lived in two of my favorite locations. Both own my heart. Thanks for the review on the Omni Homestead. We were looking at the Owners Club which would give us privileges there and Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head. Good to hear some current observations. Love your blog!

  45. Such a fun road trip. Great room, lovely accommodations. I can't wait to see your new digs.

  46. Thanks for sharing this valuable information with us. If anyone is planning to sell or buy house at afforable price, then contact Elvis Buys Houses

  47. you get a chance try to hire a rental car and make your way through the attractions of the state.
    road trip in tennessee

  48. Hidden Gems of Konkan - Ganeshgule, Kasheli, and the unexplored area near Mervi offer a captivating blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. It's as if Mother Nature herself curated this off-the-beaten-path experience, combining tranquil beaches, lush landscapes, and ancient temples into a single, mesmerizing journey. A must-visit for those who seek the road less traveled.

  49. The Great American Empty Nester Road Trip is not just a journey across states, but a beautiful expedition through newfound freedom and rediscovery, turning empty spaces in the backseat into rooms full of possibilities.


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