Welcome back! This is Part 2 of my three-part series about surprising my dad in Connecticut as an early 93rd birthday present. Here’s part one of my LAX-JFK flight, the drive to Connecticut and surprising my dad at his senior home.
After I popped into his room, I spent about three hours with my dad, talking and having dinner together in one of the large vacant activity rooms in the senior’s home. We both had masks on except for a nanosecond to take the photo above and while we were eating.
As I mentioned in part one, I traveled with a portable air purifier to ensure I had clean air the whole time. But I would think my dad is pretty much bulletproof from COVID-19 for the next few months since he recently had the virus and got a booster shot a couple weeks ago.
Unfortunately, my dad’s back was hurting (he had fallen two days prior) so he didn’t want to go out to dinner. So, on my sister’s recommendation, I ordered food from Arcuri’s Pizza & Salad in nearby Cos Cob. Neither of us felt like pizza so we had chicken parm wedges, which were solid and a nice treat since it’s difficult to get decent ones in California.
I left just before visiting hours ended because both of us were exhausted. On the way out the door, I booked a hotel room. I looked at a variety of websites and apps and was going to use HotelTonight but ended up booking the Hyatt Regency Greenwich direct via Hyatt.com since it was the same price. I also booked direct to get points and to keep my account active. Hyatt sent me an email last week letting me know that if I didn’t take action, like booking a stay by December 31, my points would expire as I haven’t stayed in one of their hotels in the past 24 months. I think it’s ridiculous they’re making customers do this with a pandemic still going on so I sent an email to their PR person to see if they will walk back this sales push but she didn’t reply.
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Hyatt Regency Greenwich
The last and only time I was in the Hyatt Regency Greenwich was for brunch to celebrate my mom’s birthday 20+ years ago. It turned out to be her last birthday so it kind of gave me chills since I’d just left my aging father.
The four-story, 361-room hotel has a beautiful lobby with high ceilings and a glass roof to provide sun for all of its flora. Walking through, you really don’t feel like you’re in Connecticut.
I really liked my spacious room as it didn’t have a connecting room door, the bed was comfortable, there were electrical outlets all around, including on each side of the bed, and possibly the largest flat screen TV I’ve ever seen in a standard room.
What I didn’t like was the bathtub. It was old and there was a slight annoying rattle coming from something (It must have been the pipes but it seemed like it was coming from the smoke alarm, if that’s even possible). I thought the walls were really thick until I heard a toilet flush in the morning so I must have had a quiet neighbor, which was fortunate. Rooms start at $194.
In the morning, I went back to my dad’s and we spent some time outside since it was a beautiful fall day. The weather was forecasted to change in a few hours so we enjoyed what I thought might be the last bit of warmth in 2021 in Connecticut but it’s going to be warm (64F) again on Thursday.
Elm Street Oyster House
My brother swung by and we took my dad to Elm Street Oyster House in Greenwich to get one of his favorite meals … clams on the half shell.
I ordered a lobster roll, which was amazing except for the main ingredient. Sadly, my lobster was dry and chewy but the hot buttered roll, truffle fries, coleslaw and salsa that came with it was seriously great.
In the middle of lunch, my dad just blurted out of nowhere at the top of his lungs, “I’m so happy! The three of us never get to do this!”
Unfortunately, a few minutes later, I reminded him I had to leave and that my Blacklane car service was waiting for me outside. He thought I was joking because he didn’t want the moment to end and I felt terrible. But I had a 4:30pm flight and with I-95 traffic to JFK, you never know how long it will take. I also needed to be in the airport to do my weekly travel segment on Leo Laporte The Tech Guy radio show at 3:30pm. FYI: I have a 15% off code for first-time Blacklane users who book in November. It’s JOHNNY15NOV21.
Stay tuned for Part 3.