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.

 

  • We had a few windy days in the #FloridaKeys this week that stirred up the waters. It created the most gorgeous colors in the Atlantic Ocean including this area at Sombrero Beach.
  • We miss waking up on the Celebrity Edge. That's all.
  • We've been having the best time in the Florida Keys visiting Steve's mom and dad this week. Today, it was cold for Floridians, but we loved the sunshine (and were thankful for awesome neighbors who were likely shoveling the snow from our driveway back home).⁣
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We are so thankful for a flexible schedule and opportunities like this one to share time with family. Life seems to pass us by so quickly the older we get and we're fortunate to be able to travel and share experiences with the people we love most. ⁣
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Feeling especially blessed tonight, in the beautiful Florida Keys.
  • We enjoyed a delicious dinner tonight at Hideaway Cafe on Grassy Key with Steve's mom and dad. We went early at 5 p.m. for the sunset dinner menu which has smaller portions and the most beautiful views of the sunset. ⁣
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The food was fresh and made-to-order and served by gracious and professional staff who made us feel right at home. ⁣
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Hideaway is a great restaurant choice for dinner if you're in the Florida Keys. Get a reservation ahead of time, as it fills up quickly, even at 5 p.m.
  • Need some inspiration for staying healthy while traveling? Good news! We are taking over the @noom Instagram stories this afternoon and hope you’ll all follow along as we share tips on how to make healthy living choices while on a cruise ship. We’ll take you inside the beautiful @celebritycruises Edge and show you how we stayed on track with our Noom goals while still enjoying a fantastic cruise vacation. Be sure to follow @noom! Our takeover has just begun. 😁
  • The Rooftop Garden is a unique space on the top deck of the @celebrityedge. There’s no water slide on this ship, no go-carts, and the’s no rock wall for climbing. Instead the Rooftop Garden provides a “living urban playscape inspired by childhood playgrounds and designed to waken the inner child in all of us,” according to the Celebrity Cruises website. There are live plants, comfortable outdoor seating, and unique art installations that set the space apart from anything else at sea. @cruisecelebrity
  • Blu is a restaurant on the Celebrity Edge that is dedicated to guests in Aqua Class.  It serves “clean, crisp flavors and inventive cuisine” in a gorgeous blue venue. To give you an example of the types of entrees served, for dinner tonight Blu is offering seared duck breast with wilted chard, farro risotto, and black cherry jus; a cracked pepper corn-crusted tuna salad, watercress, and dijon vinaigrette; and pumpkin gnocchi with sautéed arugula, sundries tomatoes, marinated artichokes, goat cheese and basil pesto. What would you order?
  • Yes, cruise ships are huge, but if you do a little exploring, you’ll find that the designers have included many small spots perfect for intimate conversation and watching the world go by. We found this nook in Eden, on deck 5 of the Celebrity Edge, near the stern.

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