It all started when Lily casually mentioned that you could go on an American Girl weekend in a hotel near the store where you get cookies and a free AG bed. How outstanding I thought, she then proceeded to educate me on the nearest store and how the whole AG weekend worked.
Given that I am a self confessed trip junkie I was ALL OVER THIS and we had no issues in getting this road trip going.
So they asked for birthday money for the planned humongous amount of spending anticipated in that store. And we agreed that we would foot the bill trip and buy them another doll each. They assured us that AG was the most necessary item this year and they had to have a new doll each, that it wouldn't be a waste of money but that it would be the purchase of the year.
Further research showed that the hotel in question no longer had a pool - like WTF! - so we ditched the *need* to be in the AG weekend hotel and researched hotels near the store WITH pools. The Sheraton had a stonking deal for that weekend price wise and so it was booked tuit suite. But I need to back up here, Paul suggested that we spend one night in that hotel and then booked another Bangor so we could check that out. It effectively cut our return journey in half, it was a deal.
So we had the Sheraton booked in Natick and the Marriot in Bangor.
We left at the crack of dawn and drove. It took three times as long to get to the first stop than I remembered. Not a great start. But we got there and we had breakfast. Then Paul drove to the US border which of course makes us all super excited, every time, never fails (that laso was further than I remembered - odd).
Then I was allowed to drive while Paul napped so I did. I took full advantage of the open yet very quite I95 in Maine and with Mount Katahdn in the distance I managed successfully to knock 20 minutes off of the GPS estimated arrival time - go me!
I gave the driving seat back near the bottom of Maine, which just for the record here is about the length of England, and we continued on smack into Friday afternoon Boston traffic which crawled for an hour. It was also really hot so now the girls think heat in April is achieved with a road trip to Boston.
The Sheraton room was small, the pool cloudy and the hot tub looked like floor washing water that was at least three weeks used. It was at least fifty shades of disgusting grey froth. (I got in it..for a short period - don't ask my why!)
We then drove to Olive Garden for supper which was on Lilys list of must have birthday experiences where she then proceeded to want to vomit all the way back to the hotel. The nausea did subside but I fear Olive Garden is finally off the "acceptable restaurant" list.
The next day we made it to the AG store. After breakfast where Chloe discovered scrambled eggs! Finally!
We spent a lot of time in that store.
I watched in awe actually as parents paid for notty haired dolls to go through the spa treatment. It was strangely therapeutic. I wondered if they thought about the cost and ridiculousness of it all or didn't care or could no longer care as it was too painful.
We spent copious amounts of birthday cash. We left the store for a coffee in the Cheesecake Factory where we found we couldn't make a reservation for the evening meal but had to turn up with the rest of the population and take our chances. We had driven kms and miles for this restaurant, it was going to happen.
We went back in the AG store in time for our lunch reservation where lunch was surprisingly good. We had mac and cheese balls! They rocked! (who knew!)
We finally extracted the girls after a few hours and went back to the hotel where no one showed any interest whatsoever in discovering Boston or going to Fenway park as it would interrupt important pool or doll time, so we went back to the pool.( I was cool with this as I had my own Boston plans when I was due back three weeks later and it was a little damp and cool out anyways at this point)
For supper we got into the Cheesecake Factory after a 30 min wait, I say wait because Paul waited whilst we rocked that AG store yet again. We could see him with that little buzzer gadget out the window and they just had to indulge in wandering around one more time.
I have to say that the food was flat out amazing. I had a salad, Lily had fish and chips, Paul steak and Chloe chicken and biscuits. I of course got to try everyones with my very delicious antioxidant salad (I strongly recommend you check this chain out!) and then we did of course indulge in the best of all cheesecakes. We tried the key lime (naturally) and the Dulce Leche and they were magnificent.
We are all counting down till our next visit to a Cheesecake Factory (theres one in Orlando :-) ).
On the way home we checked out Gloucester, MA where "the crows nest" from "The Perfect Storm" couldn't have been more different than the movie and the actual town was not a 10 house place with next to nothing but fishermen there as I had anticipated but instead a bustling pretty big place and then Stephen Kings house,
We decided we weren't massive fans of Bangor (it felt creepy but it was early on a Sunday morning) and after Chloe struggled with her eyes due to swimming in the hotel pool we have decided that hotel pools are only to be searched out in Florida - specifically in Bahama Bay.
The girls discovered Subway, specifically white choc and macadamia nut cookies (I have only been raving to their deaf ears for 5 years but never mind....) and it was flat out expensive, perfectly wonderful family time.