A few years ago, a group of my friends, made up of a handful of married couples, started an annual tradition. We decided that while life is crazy busy with family, children, work, etc., every year, on the first weekend of February, we would rent a house somewhere and get together for a few days.
This trip is one I look forward to every year, mainly for the ridiculous amount of laughs that are had. I always say I’m going to keep track of the funniest things people say over the course of the weekend, with the idea that we can go back and remember the highlights. But inevitably, two hours into everyone sitting around the dining room table, I’ve done my obnoxious screaming laugh about 17 times, my sides hurt, and I’ve lost track of all of the jokes, because they keep crashing on top of one another.
For this year’s trip, we returned to a place we stayed at two years ago in Bucks County, PA. It’s a huge converted barn that was once a bed and breakfast and sits on a 10-acre horse farm. To most people in our group, the house is in the middle of nowhere. But for me, it’s actually about 15 minutes north of where I lived from ages 7-17. As a person who couldn’t love cities more, it’s a bit hard to believe I grew up in a place that was so suburban, and even rural, in some areas. But I do enjoy being back in Bucks County for all of the childhood memories it conjures up. A few pics from inside and around the barn…
These annual trips don’t follow much of an agenda. We play a few games, listen to music, have a few heated debates about hot-button issues, share funny videos from the internet, and each couple takes responsibility for cooking a different meal throughout the weekend.
We had one delicious dinner out at Caleb’s American Kitchen, which is close to Peddler’s Village (a place I spent a ton of time visiting when I was young, spending my $5 allowance on penny candy and random toys).
We also made a trip to Philly and had lunch in Reading Terminal market.There are a ton of food options in Reading Terminal, and some of the most popular stalls had up to 45-minute waits. I ultimately had to get a cheesesteak. Because, well, Philly. While we laughed a ton during this trip, we also took the time to catch up on each other’s lives. One friend made the good point that you can often see your friends somewhat regularly but only really catch “the headlines,” as opposed to details of life. So one morning after breakfast, while sitting in our pajamas, we went around the table and each shared three things:
- What’s one way you were pleasantly surprised in 2015?
- What was one of your highest highs of 2015? What was one of your lowest lows? (Individually and/or as a couple)
- What’s one thing you’re hoping for in 2016?
Our group of friends is such a mix. The careers range from entrepreneurial, medicine, ministry, and education. The marriages range from less than two years to more than 10. Some in the group have kids, and others don’t. Among us, in the average 15 years we’ve known each other, there has been divorce, widowhood, and miscarriage. I’m grateful for the honesty and vulnerability of my friends, as we shared about job successes, family health issues, dreams, marital challenges, and nurturing our families. I’m grateful we’ve gotten to be there for each other through it all.