Hard to believe that our home school group made its trip to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival a whole year ago. What's even harder for me to believe is that I have seven families signed up to go this year, up from five in 2008. So here's a great big raspberry to the economy -- ppplllbbbtttt!!!! You will not keep us from seeing our plays on our lovely trip!
This time we're going to see As You Like It and The Tempest, both at the Festival Theater pictured there at the left, so beautiful. And both of those plays? We're seeing them at evening performances: I am NEVER going to arrange a group outing to another student performance again. As I wrote in that article I linked to above, we drive too far and spend too much and wait too long to go to a performance where three-quarters of the audience acts like they were just released from the chimpanzee habitat at the zoo. Seriously.
We're also staying for two nights this time. In 2008, we found that a one-night flying trip to Stratford was do-able by the adults, but the kids couldn't handle it. By the time we got back to Indianapolis, they were sick of each other. The combination of the excitement of traveling, the lack of sleep, the many new experiences, the lack of wholesome food and -- above all -- the fifteen hours they spent all up in each other's business in the van contributed to a slightly hostile environment on the way home.
Which brings me to another point: This time, we're eating fast food lunches and we're eating dinner in real restaurants with real food off real plates. I think we were all slightly bilious by the time we got home, maybe because of the deliciousness of the doughnuts at Tim Horton's or maybe because of the six pounds of M&M's Virginia generously brought for the grownups to munch on the way home (we did not share with the kids because we were concerned about their health - that is our story and we've stuck to it for thirteen months now with no sign of relenting.) Or maybe it's because none of us had a true, hot meal in forty-eight hours? Could be.
Janet (our travel agent) and I spent an hour together last Friday and we are working to find a couple of restaurants in Stratford that would be willing to offer our group two choices of entrée that could be included in the package price the families will be paying. That was one of the wish-listed things the adults agreed upon last year - two dinners included in their totals would be so nice, what with not having to worry about the money and just being able to go in, sit down, eat and relax. Our Tim Horton's "dinner" last year was not very relaxing. I think that some of the kids who went to that student performance of Hamlet were actually employed there, if you know what I mean. If I could do icons on this blog, I'd be adding a frowny-faced one right about here --->
I'm hoping to stay in the same motel we stayed in last year, which was plain, comfortable and clean. It also offered a very nice complimentary breakfast of fruit, muffins, cereals, juice, coffee and milk. Impressive for such a small place! And again, it was great not having to whip out our wallets, but just drift, bleary-eyed, over to the little eating area when we felt like it.
All in all, last year's trip was lovely, but it was definitely the beta version. In 2010, I think the little tweaks Janet and I make will add up to making the trip even more pleasant for the group. I am practically hugging myself with excitement and reminding myself that the time will go so much faster than I ever think it will.
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