The Cambridge dictionary describes a second honeymoon as a romantic holiday taken by a couple who have been married for some time. Although there have been two movies by that name as well as a James Patterson murder-mystery, I am not aware of too many people who actually made such a journey.
In late September, my wife of 50 years and I did just that.
We took a two-week driving vacation to New England, Cape Cod and Boston, essentially retracing our honeymoon trip in 1972. As one might imagine, much has changed in 50 years. Most of the hotels and restaurants we visited then are long gone. But we did manage to revisit most of the primary attractions from our original trip.
Overall, our “second honeymoon” was wonderful. In the interest of relative brevity, I will just mention a few of the experiences that made this journey almost mystical and even more special than we might have ever imagined.
We had been back to Boston numerous times over the years because our daughter went to Boston College and stayed in the city for several years after her graduation in 1999. The changes to this wonderful city were dramatic but not as much as one might have expected.
One of the most vivid memories of our first trip to Boston was walking the Freedom Trail. Touring the sites of so many epic events of the Revolutionary War period remains a profoundly moving experience. I will concede one significant difference, however. Let’s just say that walking the full length of the trail was a heck of a lot easier at age 23 than it was at the ripe old age of 73!
Our original trip to beautiful Cape Cod created many special memories. Perhaps the most memorable of all was the dinner we had at the Red Inn. Located on the tip of the Cape Cod peninsula in Provincetown, the Red Inn is a nearly two century-old tavern considered a landmark destination by many New Englanders. To this day, my wife and I recall our original visit there as one of the most romantic dinners we ever experienced.
Maybe it was simply a matter of two love-struck newlyweds enjoying a dining experience far more expensive than either of us could ever imagine, but there was something truly magical about that evening. Seated at a quiet corner table, we were enthralled by the moon reflecting off the ocean as it lapped ashore just a few feet from our window to a new world.
Like many other places on our journey, the Red Inn has changed greatly since that romantic evening 50 years ago, but the ambience had the same powerfully emotional impact on us not-so-newlyweds.
And as if there was some metaphysical convergence, an absolutely amazing event transpired. It has been raining quite heavily for an hour as we drove from the middle of the peninsula to Provincetown for dinner. While we were enjoying a pre-meal glass of wine, we noticed many of the other patrons rushing outside. When we joined them, we quickly saw that the late evening sun had made a brief appearance creating a double rainbow.
It is said that seeing a rainbow usually means new beginnings in your life journey. But if you happen to come across a double rainbow, which is quite a rare circumstance, you must consider it to be a truly auspicious occasion. Auspicious, indeed.
If not quite as auspicious, the other surreal part of our journey occurred by happenstance on the last day.
Flash back 50 years. Like many newlyweds, we spent our wedding night just a short drive away from the site of our reception. In our case, we spent that first night at a very ordinary Holiday Inn in Angola, Indiana.
Now fast forward to our 2022 journey. Since it didn’t make much sense to only drive about an hour and a half to Angola before stopping, we actually drove all the way to Niagara Falls for our first overnight stay. Two weeks later, on the final day of our trip, we decided to drive straight through from the Hudson Valley to South Bend. At about 7 p.m that night, both my wife and I were getting quite hungry. It was a Monday so not many sit-down restaurants were open along the Ohio Turnpike or Indiana Toll Road.
Finally, out of desperation, we pulled off the freeway at the I-69 interchange. Yes, the Angola exit. The restaurant at the nearby Ramada Inn was open so we decided to eat there. After dinner, on a hunch, I asked one of the local patrons if that Ramada Inn used to be a Holiday Inn many years ago. Amazingly it was. So, we unknowingly had dinner in the same place we spent our original wedding night.
Who says you can’t go back?