Saturday, October 16, 2021

Better Shop Around

This time, we started out a sunny, humid day on the road. We went back through Lenox and Lee, but turned on the Mass Pike. It was a lovely day for a ride. Nice and quiet, with no traffic anywhere. We listened to the Perfect Strangers podcasts Lauren downloaded that discussed the season 3 episode "Pipe Dreams" as we rolled down the highway.

Lauren said she took the wrong turn-off to the Holyoke Mall...but that took us into the parking lot of a smaller big-box shopping center just outside the main buildings. There was a lot more to that building than I saw two years ago when we passed by. In fact, we started in a beautiful, very modern TJ Maxx. Lauren didn't get anything, but I finally found socks with more than 50 percent cotton in them. I am not wearing polyester on my feet, no matter how soft it is. It doesn't breathe, not a good idea in my job. 

Next up was the Barnes & Noble across the parking lot. That place was HUGE! It's the third two-story Barnes & Noble I've seen, and the first outside of a major metropolitan area. Lauren went to explore the CD and DVD area in the back, and I went up the escalators to look at the children's area and mysteries. Picked up a Golden Book for Finley's Christmas gift and noticed two of interest to me, a biography of Betty White and an American Girl book on how each girl celebrates their birthdays. Didn't see more of the Spice Shop mysteries I bought yesterday, but I did pick up an earlier book in Kate Carlisle's Bibliophile series One Book In the Grave and a new series by Vicky Delancy set at a Catskills Resort in 1953. 

We thought the Red Robin next to Ulta Beauty would be a more-than-adequate substitute for the now-closed mall Ruby Tuesday's. She had a Caesar Wrap and garlic fries. I had a Tuscan Salmon Burger and steak fries. The "burger" was really a slab of salmon with the usual burger fixings...and it was amazing. Thick, hearty, perfectly grilled and seasoned, and very filling.

Lauren finally found the right turn-off to the Holyoke Mall after lunch. After much deliberation, we parked next to the entrances to Macy's and Spirit of Halloween. Since we were already there, we hit Macy's first. Despite some decent sales, neither of us found anything.

Made our way into the busy mall next. Holyoke Mall is the second-biggest mall in New England after the Natick Mall in eastern Massachusetts. I like that it retains the graceful and flowing 70's chrome-and-wood paneling design without feeling dated. It's far prettier and nicer to walk around in than either of the major malls in my area. 

Our first stop was Round 1 Entertainment, the arcade/bowling alley we checked out in Deptford last month. I paid for slightly more points than last time...and I still blew through them in a half-hour. Tried a "Waterfuls" game based after the old games that you had to try to push the rings into a plastic net or container. Here, you had to get them piled up on the edge for points and tickets. Tried a "Connect Two" basketball game, too. And of course, I played lots of skee ball. Lauren found a set of pinball machines and refilled her card to play them, which is why she was a little late rejoining me at the entrance. 

(And once again, neither of us got anything. Round 1 really requires more than a half-hour to an hour of playing a couple of video games to get anything out of it. It's made for parties and day trips.)

Were in and out of a few stores next. Holyoke has a much larger FYE that still has a big selection of DVDs and CDs. She bought two TV sets. I picked up Supergirl: The First Season, The Chipmunk Adventure, and the soundtracks for Frozen II and The Greatest Showman. Lauren spied Stateline Video Games rather appropriately near Round 1. It sells vintage games, ranging from original Nintendo and Sega Genesis to the current Nintendo Switch. Fun to look at and remember, but we didn't get anything there or at Game Stop. 

Since it's near FYE, our next stop was JC Penney. Lauren didn't find anything, but I grabbed a gold three-quarter-sleeves t-shirt and a Liz Claiborne flannel nightshirt in a pretty pink and red paisley print. That nightshirt looks so soft! I might have to see if I can find one of the plaids in my size when we go to the Albany malls on Monday.

Next up was Target. Once again, Lauren bought something for her parents, but I didn't get anything but lost. That store is ENORMOUS, with at least three exits. It took me forever to figure out which way I was going. 

After all that, we figured it was time for dinner. Holyoke's food court is in its lower basement level. They had two Asian food booths, a McDonald's, and a Charley's Steaks, but we just ended up getting slices of pizza from Sbarro's. She had a pepperoni and a mushroom. I had the bigger sandwich for lunch and settled for spinach and tomato. Glad I did. I generally haven't heard good things about Sbarro's, but my slice was delicious...and the size of two regular slices at home. 

Debated Burlington Coat Factory, but decided we had enough by that point and went back to the Macy's wing. Spirit of Halloween temporarily took over the first floor of a long-departed Sears. (You could clearly see "Lands' End Kids" on the walls over the masks and accessories.) Most of the costumes and decorations were too big for us to haul home, but it did give me some ideas for my fairy costume.

There were barely any clouds out when we hit the road around 6 PM, but Lauren's parents reported torrential rain and winds in Pittsfield. We didn't hit that until about an hour in. The rain did come down hard for a while; though it slowed down by the time Lauren turned off the highway into Lee, it didn't stop completely until well after we'd arrived home.

Showed Mr. and Mrs. Miller everything we bought, then settled down in Lauren's room for another round of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This time, we went with the tougher Lightning Rounds, including the infamous Rainbow Road. Some intelligent person actually added sides to that one, finally making it a race and not an attempt to see who can fall off the most. I had a harder time than Lauren with some of them. She came in first; I came in third.

Ended the night on YouTube with travel-themed Lawrence Welk Show episodes. Most of these were older shows; the most recent is from 1970. The 1965 "Summer Travel Show" is even in black and white, one of the last episodes to be filmed that way. The 1966 and 1970 shows feature variations on "Gotta Travel On," while Norma Zimmer and/or Jimmy Roberts sing "Harbor Lights." Jo Ann Castle gets in on three fun numbers in 1965. In '65, she and Jack Imel are wanna-be vaudevillians who serenade their well-wishers with "Powder Your Face With Sunshine." In 1966, The Blenders are pilots who ask "Come Josephine to My Flying Machine." Later in the episode, Jo Ann brings her piano and two Lennon Sisters along to convince big-shot Hollywood director Jack Imel that "All I Need Is a Break." 

Hope you have just as much fun traveling with Lawrence Welk and his Orchestra as I did!

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