My little sister is getting married. This little sister. This photo was probably taken in 1988 outside student housing at Yale Divinity School, where Dad was studying for the ministry. Now my sister is doing her graduate work there. And getting married at the chapel there. I feel like I’m in the Twighlight Zone.
Two weeks ago we had her bachelorette party. Early, yes. The wedding isn’t until December, but with her school schedule, wedding preparation and requisite holiday chaos, we wanted to be sure we had time to have it. And enjoy it. But Sharon is not your average woman in a lot of ways. This wouldn’t be the standard tart-up and “go out” bachelorette party. Sharon, a devoted student, hard worker, involved member of her school and church community, needed a break. To do the things she loved with her dearest friends.
We decided to host the party at our family’s home in Pennsylvania. Sharon and I thought it would be nice if she and I came down the night before the other girls arrived to have an evening to ourselves. I started by taking Sharon to dinner at Bolete, a wonderful restaurant near Bethlehem. We had the Butternut Squash Soup with crispy chicken livers, cioppolini, sage, oyster mushrooms and chive crème fraiche. Followed by Seared Day Boat Alaskan Halibut with white rice risotto, chantrelle mushrooms, leeks, butternut squash, apples, house cured bacon and squash puree. We topped it all off with a butterscotch pudding garnished with whipped cream and candied pecans. One of the best desserts I’ve had in my life.
The next morning Sharon and I went to get massages at this sweet little place. $50 for an hour in heaven. Gotta love a small town prices. We went to lunch at the Bethlehem Brew Works where we had a couple pints and club sandwiches as the rain poured down outside. We were cozy – talking, catching up, sharing stories.
In the evening, the girls arrived. We made pizza, drank craft beer and split our sides watching “Bridesmaids.” Everyone but Sharon had seen it. I love that movie, but I was watching Sharon– as her eyes widened with incredulity, as her head tipped back in laughter and finally as she flopped down on the floor in a fit of hysterical surrender.
The next morning, Sharon and I woke early as we always do. While the skies had been cloudy and grey the day before, it was now clear and bright. We made a pot of coffee and went out on the deck to watch the sunrise together.
After a hearty breakfast of English Muffin sandwiches, we went hiking on the nearby Appalachian Trail. We did some good hiking, but we also stopped a lot to take in this autumnal wonderland.
After several hours of hiking, we headed over to the Weyerbacher Brewery for a beer tasting. The guy talking us through all the beers was a gem. He, too, was getting married in a few weeks. We bonded over that. He couldn’t believe that we were a bachelorette party, said we were obviously pretty cool girls. We agreed. By then our empty stomachs were grumbling so we got a recommendation for a restaurant and had lunch at a nearby pub.
That evening we painted the town red in the hopping city of Bethlehem, PA [insert laughter here]. We all agreed the best part of the evening was getting to know our cab driver, Ronnie. A hilarious, warm-hearted guy who was working as a cab driver while getting his Associates Degree in computers.
Forget Las Vegas, this was the perfect bachelorette weekend. For Sharon, at least.