An Elfie on the Polar Express

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Spencer, North Carolina. Our family decided to kick off the holiday season with a day trip to the N.C. Transportation Museum and take a ride on The Polar Express™. It was a magical time that the kids enjoyed (and the adult kids may have enjoyed more). Let’s reflect on a great 2018 Thanksgiving Day weekend that involved a Turkey Trot, Thanksgiving lunch, Carolina Hurricanes hockey, NC State at UNC Chapel Hill football, and more.

Turkey Day with the Family

We had a lot going on during the 4-day Thanksgiving Day weekend—one of my favorite weekends of the year. My break started off by running the Trophy Trot 10k turkey trot. The race is organized by Runology, takes place just down the road on Dix Park, and had beer from my favorite NC brewery: Trophy. The weekend couldn’t get off to a better start for me. The course has some rolling hills but finishes fast and the weather was chilly, but sunny. I finished the 6.2 miles in 52 minutes, not my fastest, but a decent time.

For Thanksgiving, Merri Beth and I drove to Laurinburg, NC to have lunch with Jim, Beth, Grandma, Jenni, and the kids. Coco and Zander went to the farm on Tuesday and would stay through Sunday. MB cooked up some great food for us to take: deviled eggs, green bean casserole, cup cakes, and cake balls. We had a fabulous lunch, watched football, and enjoyed time with our family. MB and I drove home, made some Margaritas, watched the Thursday night game (barely able to stay awake), and went to bed.

Black Friday with the Carolina Hurricanes

We’re not big on Black Friday, we looked at some deals and were like, meh! Instead of getting up early, we slept in. It was magical. During most of the year we are on such a schedule that it’s really nice to just not wake up to an alarm. I got up a little early to let the dogs out, but then pulled the blinds closed and crawled back into bed.

We didn’t have much on the agenda except to attend the Carolina Hurricanes hockey game later in the day. I went for a seven mile run from Lake Raleigh to Lake Johnson and back, then took it easy for the rest of the day. MB did the same, well, except for the run. We really just enjoyed chilling out and relaxing.

MB and I headed to the PNC Arena to watch the Carolina Hurricanes play the Florida Panthers. The weather was in the low 40’s for most of the day, perfect hockey weather. The Canes took an early lead and ended up winning 4-1. We got to see Jordan Martinook score a hat trick! Canes win!

College Football Rivalry Week

We woke up Saturday to mild and rainy weather. The kind of day that makes you want to pull the covers over your head and go back to sleep. So that’s what we did, we slept in again. It rained all morning, so we slept all morning. The only thing that we had on the agenda was to watch the NC State at UNC Chapel Hill football game.

We recorded the game and watched it on delay (commercial free). I contemplated asking MB if she wanted to attend the game at “Carter Finley North,” but our experience attending our last game in Chapel Hill was pretty bad. Never again. I guess we’re spoiled by Carter Finley.

Man, the game was a nail bitter: Life of a State fan. The weather was pretty crappy for football, lots of dropped balls, sloppy plays, and the game eventually went into over time. State came out victorious and the first OT, winning 34-28. East Carolina University comes to Raleigh next week to play a make-up game when West Virginia and NC State agreed to cancel the game due to Hurricane Florence.

The Polar Express

What a fantastic way to kick off the holiday season. The extended family assembled in Spencer, NC at the N.C. Transportation Museum to take a ride to the North Pole on The Polar Express. The kids loved it! The adult kids loved it too.

MB and I arrived by 3pm and explored the area around the museum grounds. Jim, Beth, Jenni, Zander, Coco, and Maddox joined us shortly after, they had made the trek from Laurinburg. We waited impatiently to board the train, The Polar Express. When it was finally time to board the 4:00 pm train ride, we excitedly climbed aboard.

We had two tables in the first class cabin and were greeted by the cabin conductor and two chefs—they sang a few songs to set the festive mood. Shortly after our ride began, hot cocoa and cookies were delivered. On our way to the North Pole, we listened to The Polar Express story with large story books sharing images. After the story, the entire cabin sang Christmas carols. It was almost time to arrive to meet Santa.

The train arrived at the North Pole where the elves were happily dancing. Santa came out, checked his sleigh, and greeted the crowd. After a short while, we boarded the train again and Santa visited our cabin to deliver the first gift of Christmas, a bell for each passenger.

Once we departed, we explored the other activities at the museum grounds. Christmas lights, kids activities, and much more. A full experience for the entire family.

After our time on The Polar Express, Coco and Zander had to go home with us. We headed down the road to Morgan Ridge Railwalk Brewery And Eatery for dinner. The beer, food, and service were all good, and there was live music. I even got a compliment on my elf costume.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Which meant we finally had to face the two-hour drive back home. Luckily, traffic was light, but it was still a haul. We hope you have a great 2018 holiday season. Happy holidays! Enjoy our pictures.

Pictures

About Shibby

Jason Hibbets is a senior community architect at Red Hat which means he is a mash-up of a community manager and project manager for Opensource.com--a publication and story-telling platform for open source communities. At night, he wears a cape, and is a captain for the Open Raleigh brigade, as well as a co-chair for NC Open Pass. Jason is the author of a book called The foundation for an open source city--a resource for cities and citizens interested in improving their government through civic hacking. While writing the book, he discovered his unknown super power of building communities of passionate people. Jason graduated from North Carolina State University and resides in Raleigh, NC with his wife, two kids, two border collies, chickens, lots of tomato plants, and a lazy raccoon somewhere in an oak tree. In his copious spare time, he enjoys surfing, running, gardening, traveling, watching football, sampling craft beer, and participating in local government--not necessarily in that order, but close to it. You can follow him on Twitter: @jhibbets
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