My recent travels

My travels out to Minneapolis and home were quite enjoyable, at times an adventure, and reinforced how much I love Kimpton and to travel in general! We left early on Friday, with Mac dropping me off at the airport, after a quick breakfast, and an adventure trying to find an ATM.

The flight to Chicago departed a minute or two early, and I had a pre-departure beverage of coffee. Once in-flight service began, my coffee mug wasn't permitted to remain empty. As Mac said on one of his flights, "They kept offering another drink, and it would've been rude to refuse it." I also enjoyed a fresh, warm, cranberry scone as a snack.

In Chicago, we landed, made it to our gate with over an hour to spare, so we opted to have a snack at Goose Island Brewpub. Granted, it was only 9 AM or so, but I opted to have 2 beers. It's one of the few times I'll drink early in the morning, so why not take advantage of it?

We then returned to our gate, and boarded our flight to Minneapolis. Again, I was offered a pre-departure beverage (opted for Diet Coke), and then when I switched to coffee, wasn't allowed to have an empty coffee cup.

Once in Minneapolis, we walked to the Hertz counter. I was upgraded from a full-size car to a small SUV, so we had a Chevy Captiva. Nice, in that I didn't have to try to adjust to driving a car, rather than an SUV, although obviously, I did have to adjust to driving an automatic, rather than a manual transmission.

We arrived at the hotel, and opted to self-park in the garage, rather than use the valet parking. Amber's room wasn't ready yet (none of the rooms at the Crowne Plaza were ready then), so we headed to The Grand Hotel (a Kimpton property), to see if my room was ready.

As I'd requested an early check-in, they ensured it was ready. The woman at the front desk smiled when she handed me the keys and said, "We've upgraded you to one of the Grand Suites. I hope you don't mind." Don't mind??? Seriously, the suite was almost the size of one floor of our house!!! Amber was incredibly impressed. The suite was a king-size bed in the separate bedroom, a huge living room, and a huge bathroom with both a shower and a tub. The tub had a TV on the wall above it, so one could take a bath, relax, and watch TV. Yes, I did that on Friday afternoon!

Amber left her luggage in my room, and freshened up there quickly. We then headed to the Crowne Plaza for the Dress for Success registration. When we returned, we arrived to find an employee from The Grand Hotel knocking on my door, attempting to deliver my welcome amenity. The amenity was a tray of food and beverages! It included a large soft pretzel and a very large chocolate chunk brownie, from Angel Food, a local bakery. it also included two bottles of water and two bottles of Summit Brewing Company, Extra Pale Ale. It also included a handwritten welcome card.

Welcome Amenity Tray

Friday evening, when we returned to my hotel room between dinner and the spa event, I'd received turndown service, not just with 2 little chocolates, but also with the weather forecast for the next day. In addition, housekeeping had replaced the bath linens I'd used that afternoon.

Amber and I devoured the soft pretzel and the water, and then Friday night, I ate the brownie and drank both bottles of beer.

Saturday afternoon, they arranged for a town car to drive me to Urbanimal, so I could pick up treats for Geno and Cobaka. When I returned, it was time for their wine reception, so I had a glass and a half of wine.

Saturday afternoon, I received similar turndown service, and the weather didn't look quite as nice (rain).

I packed Saturday night and Sunday morning, although I didn't need to check out until 12:30. When I did check out, I forgot to grab a copy of my folio. That was probably the biggest disappointment of the trip, in that I had to call twice to receive a copy of it.

Once the conference was over, we headed back to the airport. We returned the rental car without a problem, and headed to our gate, with a few stops. We wanted to grab lunch, so we ate at a restaurant called The Bonfire. Not bad, although the service was lousy. We then also stopped at one of the many stores that sold Minneapolis and Minnesota gifts, as I needed to pick up a shot glass for a friend, and I wanted to pick up something for Mac.

Once we were at our gate, I began receiving phone calls from United that our flight to Chicago was delayed, due to a late departure from Chicago. When the plane finally did arrive, we knew we'd have only about a 40 minute layover in Chicago, before our Harrisburg flight. Mac was told that we might not make the flight, and to wait to head to the airport until I let him know we were on the flight. My pre-departure beverage on the Minneapolis flight was Diet Coke. I switched to wine once we were in the air, and again, my glass wasn't allowed to be empty.

When we landed in Chicago, I raced to the gate of our next flight, while Amber followed. We arrived in just enough time to still sneak in a quick stop at the restroom. We then boarded the flight, and I let Mac know we were on the plane! My pre-departure beverage was red wine. Yes, we made the flight in enough time that I could still squeeze in a pre-departure beverage. My seatmate and I started talking, and continued our conversation while in the air. We drank Diet Coke and red wine (not necessarily at the same time), ate Pop Chips, chocolate, and fruit from the snack basket, and talked about work, life, family, and all sorts of things. The flight attendant kept offering red wine, and again, it would've been rude to refuse!

When we landed, Mac was in the cell phone lot. He pulled to baggage claim when I let him know we were there, and I rushed outside to greet him. He waited with the car while I waited for my luggage. We stopped for food on the way home.

The dogs gave me an incredible welcome, like I'd been gone for months! They were both very pleased with their presents, and Mac loved his as well.

After all of the pampering and spoiling during the trip, on Tuesday evening, we lost power due to storms. I don't like camping anyway... I like the camping atmosphere even less a few days after being spoiled at a hotel. Tuesday night was not a good night for us. :)

Come to think of it, I think that may be when I made the White Chicken Lasagna... Perhaps that's why I don't really remember it!


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