Sunday we had a reservation to go to the Barnes Foundation outside of Philadelphia. We rented a car, woke up at 4 am, and hit the road. We had packed a lunch of gluten-free pasta salad with peppers, scallions, and parmesan and a couple of pesto, mayonnaise, and veggie sandwiches. We listened to our favorite albums and enjoyed being on the road, talking about towns we passed, observing changes of scenery.

About 4 hours into our trip, after we had crossed the Pennsylvania border, something seemed wrong. I assumed we had passed our exit or missed a turn, but upon further investigation it looked as if we had taken the wrong end of a fork about 45 minutes back. We were now faced with being very late for our reservation, spending more money on gas than anticipated, and pushing our arrival back home to Buffalo back by a couple of hours that night.

At this point, we had just passed through my hometown. I love my hometown. As we passed through, I talked about all the things I would want to do if we stopped there and made plans for the next trip home.

So now we are stopped at a gas station, faced with a decision. Continue to the Barnes Foundation and see the collection in its original location before it is moved to center city Philly, or choose to change the plan.

We changed the plan.

Instead of going the museum, we went back to Vestal. We went to the nature preserve and took the most invigorating and peaceful hike through the woods to the pond. It was wet, cold, windy, and muddy. It was perfect.

Snowflakes blew around in the sun like tiny pieces of glass, reflecting the light and putting us inside a real-life nature snow globe. The colors everywhere were lovely – warm browns, evergreen green, bright white snow, and the black, grey, and rusty brown of the black-capped chickadees chirping and flitting around the trees.

After the walk, we warmed up with some delicious Mexican food and got on the road back to Buffalo. We took the leisurely road home, passing through Ithaca and stopping at the original gimme! coffee for a fresh-brewed treat (their Panama Hartmann Honey is my all-time favorite) to get us through the rest of the ride. We drove along Seneca Lake and through Geneva, my old college town, and west from there.

We may have spent most of our trip in the car, but I think we made the right choice.