I’m talkin bout trouble with a capital “T” and that rhymes with “P” and that stands for pool. Do you know that song? The one about the kids in the knickerbockers, shirt-tail young ones, peekin’ in the pool-hall window after school?

The first time I heard Steve recite those words to one of my favorite songs from The Music Man, I knew he was something special. It was our first outing (not really considered a “date” at the time) and we were watching baseball at the College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. At some point during the game, an outfielder committed an error and I said, “Fellas, we got trouble.” Without missing a beat, Steve continued, “Right here in River City.”  I was shocked! Not only had I learned over dinner that he shared my passion for sports, good wine, and travel, he also knew the words to “Trouble,” and  every other song from The Music Man. Was this guy for real?

We spent much of an inning reciting our favorite scenes and songs from the 1957 classic musical, and from that point on, The Music Man has held a special place in both our hearts.

 

Some of the things we saw at The Music Man Square and museum in Mason City, Iowa.

Some of the things we saw at The Music Man Square and museum in Mason City, Iowa.

This fall, Steve’s mom (who is also a big fan of The Music Man) told us about a production of the show to be performed in composer Meredith Willson’s boyhood home of Mason City, Iowa. When she added that the production would star Shirley Jones and her son, Patrick Cassidy, we knew this was a road trip we could not pass up.We talked my mom into joining us and met Steve’s parents in Mason City, Iowa, for an unforgettable weekend filled with history, music, and of course, 76 trombones.

There were also double-belled euphoniums and big bassoons, but that’s a post for another day. We toured the boyhood home of Meredith Willson where our fantastic guide shared insights about Willson and his family and their time in Mason City. She even allowed us to pass around her personal copy of Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang (scandalous as it was).

After the tour of the Willson home, we spent time in The Music Man museum where we listened to early recordings of Willson singing songs as he composed, read newspaper clippings from the local papers as the musical premiered, and walked through a replica of River City, which included River City High School, Mrs. Paroo’s front porch, and the imfamous pool hall.

That night, we had an early dinner at the 1910 Grille at the Historic Park Inn Hotel, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The hotel is a must-see when traveling to Mason City.

After dinner, it was off to the show. Shirley Jones, who played Marian the librarian in The Music Man movie, hosted the show that night — a celebration concert, co-starring her son, Patrick Cassidy as Professor Harold Hill. The show combined the most memorable songs and dances from the stage and screen classic and Jones told stories throughout the concert about her experiences filming The Music Man and how much Mason City, Iowa, meant to her and her family.

If you’re like us, you pass by places like Mason City all the time. We’d driven by exits for this small town on road trips through the Midwest but had never taken the time to stop. We’d always say we’d come back later. I’m so glad that Steve and I took the time from our seemingly busy schedules to travel with our parents to this one-of-a-kind place in middle of Iowa.

We had an incredible weekend in River … I mean Mason City, and as Professor Harold Hill said, “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make today worth remembering.”

Mason City, Iowa, where The Music Man got its start, is definitely worth remembering.

 

  • One of our favorite things to do on a cruise is to wake up and ask each other, "What does the world look like today?" before opening our curtains. We love that our view changes every day, that we never know what we'll see. ⁣
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This is the view we found on a summer morning when our @celebritycruises ship docked in Ajaccio, Corsica. On seeing this view, we knew immediately this would be a breakfast on the veranda kind of day. ⁣
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When we think of why we love cruising so much, images like this come to mind. And really how can you not love a view like this one?
  • At El Pollo Rey, they serve up specially marinated, fire-grilled chicken with rice, beans, fresh tortillas and pickled red onion. They suggest eating the chicken with the onion. Take their suggestion. It is. So. Very. Good.⁣
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We had the chance to eat at El Pollo Rey on a hosted foodie trip to @visitkansascityks. Put this restaurant on your list of places to go on your next visit to KC. But go early as the line could be long.
  • Just a little to the right...⁣
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This landmark needs no introduction. We stopped here during a cruise and grabbed this photo. And while the tower and it's history are interesting, we really enjoyed the tour of the area. ⁣
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Pisa is touristy, but that doesn't mean you won't enjoy a day spent there, strolling the streets, sipping wine in a cafe, or doing some shopping in the little stores there.⁣
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#postcardjar #midlifetravel #emptynesttravel #goplaces #emptynest #emptynesters #midlife #couplestravel #couplestrip #pisa #celebritycruises #leaningtowerofpisa #leaning #pinochio #pisatower #pisano #
  • Fresh cranberries appearing in the grocery store mean that the holidays are fast approaching. For us, no holiday feast is complete without cranberry jelly. ⁣
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We love cooking our own cranberries, and hearing the sound as they pop open while cooking. It's a sound that takes us back to childhood, back to good memories of holidays spent with family. ⁣
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Do you make your own cranberry jelly for your family get-together?
  • We visited the @themockingbirdkc on our hosted food tour in @visitkansascityks. There, we sat on the back patio and sipped nicely crafted cocktails while enjoying some appetizers including a queso dip with chorizo (front), shrimp ceviche (back left) and guacamole with a great level of spice (back right).
  • One of the hottest of all hot-spots in @visitkansascityks is El Pollo Rey. The restaurant's name in English, means "Chicken King," and we can't think of anything more appropriate.⁣
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Offering just three menu items, a whole chicken, a half chicken, and chicken wings, this restaurant's chicken is the stuff dreams are made of. Don't take our word for it...ask the folks lined up out the door who are willing to wait an hour for this tasty treat.⁣
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Served with tortillas (fresh made across the street), rice, beans, and pickled onion, one bite of this meal will have you going back for more. We loved our complimentary visit.
  • Looking for a new and unique #midwest food or drink experience? We found about 20 of them on our sponsored foodie tour of @VisitKansasCityKS. ⁣
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We wrote a new blog post all about the best places to eat and drink in KCK with mouth watering photos of all of them. ⁣
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Just click on the link in our bio to read it and let us know which places you'd like to try most.
  • We stopped at @tonicfreshjuice in @minnesotas_rochester and had lunch before heading out on the road. We enjoyed a fresh "Immune Boost" juice (right) which was made from ginger,  turmeric root, cayanne, pineapple, cold pressed lime and orange. The restaurant also serves freshly filtered Kangan water.

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