Steve DOS an I flew up to Roanoke Friday night for a quick weekend getaway to see family. Roanoke is my hometown, and went to see my parents, my brother Andy and his partner Art. We were just up for Christmas in December, but unfortunately everyone in the family got sick at some point, so it wasn’t the best Christmas to catch up with family. Christmas can also be quite hectic with last minute shopping, gift wrapping, Christmas eve/day services, other family coming at different times etc, so this weekend is much less hectic to socialize.
I love flying into Roanoke Regional Airport; it’s a small airport with only a handful of gates, and mostly RJs and Dash 8s flying out of there, although Allegiant does fly a DC9 a couple days a week to Orlando Sanford or St Petersburg. We’ve flown them a few times and they are nice in that they have nonstop flights to Roanoke from Florida, but the downsides outweigh the upsides for our purposes. (Allegiant doesn’t fly daily to the cities served, it only has one flight a day, they nickel and dime you for everything – seats, overhead storage space, checked bags – and oh yes – they even charge you a ‘convenience fee’ to book online of $10 each way! No thank you.)
Here is Dos just after getting off the plane and me at baggage claim.
I never did say we pack light for a 2 day weekend or ever for that matter!
We rented a car at National and had a nice dinner at home with Mom and Dad on Friday night. We stayed up late and chatted with them before heading to bed.
On Saturday evening we had an early dinner at Andy and Art’s new house. They just moved in right before Christmas, and we were their first (and sick!) guests. I was glad to see they had purchased rocking chairs for their front porch.
We had a couple Christmas presents which we didn’t bring up for Christmas due to the size and one not being bought yet, (we love after Christmas shopping at Disney outlets!) so we presented these as house-warming and gifts of Christmas future.
After dinner, it was nice relaxing on Andy’s comfy sofa with leg-rest by the fireplace.
We even played a game of Left Right Center; using the included chips, not money of course. We then drove back to Mom and Dad’s via the freeway and 460, as the Blue Ridge Parkway is not a good place to drive at night due to the deer, which we encountered on the way to Andy’s.
When we got back to Mom and Dad’s, Mom showed us some childhood black and white photos. I suggested she start scanning these photos as they were showing their wear and tear. We scanned several photos, including one of her and her twin sister (who died after only a few months) in a horse-drawn carriage along with the wife of their family doctor. We then decided to look up the Doctor’s family via the web and obituary sites. I found this site, and while it sounds morbid, it’s actually fascinating if you are trying to trace your family history.
One search led to another, and before long we had traced Mom’s family back to the late 1700’s! Apparently you add data based on your personal genealogy searches, and a few distant relatives must have done that on Mom’s side. It was quite interesting, and you can even search by cemetery if you are looking to see where someone is buried. I looked on Dad’s side, but couldn’t pull up any information, but as it ws getting late, decided to try this later.
After eating, we left for the airport for our 3:30pm flight from Roanoke to Philadelphia, connecting to Orlando, but drove by my old elementary school on the way. I snapped this photo of Burlington while at a stop light.
We were on a Dash 8 prop-jet to Philadelphia. Here’s a pic of the plane pulling up prior to boarding. Once onboard, we had the nicest Flight Attendant, Heather. We were in the bulk-head exit row seats 1 D and F, and she sat across from us in the jump-seat for take off and landing so we chatted a bit. She was so professional, yet compassionate I wrote USAirways a letter in flight and emailed when I landed. A young lady sitting behind us had boarded in tears (due to weather up north, flights had been canceled/re-arranged etc) and Heather warmly calmed her down and made her feel comfortable.
When we got to Philly, we had a quick 55 minute layover, which is not much time when you have to take the shuttle bus from Terminal F to Terminal A. We rode over with a college student who sat across from us on the flight who was trying to get back to Boston for school. Harry goes to Tufts, and his flight to Boston was canceled, so he was going over to terminal A to catch a bus to take him to the Amtrak station, where he would ride to Boston. I hope you made it Harry – must have been a long night.
Our flight from Philly to Orlando was on an Airbus 330-300, which was configured with the Envoy international Business-class configuration. Dos and I were in the middle section of the 1 x 2 x1 seating, and had our own little ‘Envoy Suite’. This is the same plane featured on our home page, which we usually fly on when we go to Europe.
The only downside to this flight was it got in early, and I couldn’t see the end of the Jimmy Stewart suspense movie ‘Rear Window’! Excellent flight and service though.
Twas a wonderful weekend trip to Roanoke!