So, this weekend was a very successful first venture out, in line with my New Year's Resolution. I didn't get up as early as I had planned, but it ended up being okay. I got dressed all cute and warm, made sure I had directions to the places I wanted to go, packed a little bag of snacks, made coffee, and hit the road.
The first thing I did was head way the heck out west to this Cathedral I wanted to visit. It turned out to be absolutely gorgeous, and is on the National Historic Registry (or whatever it's called). When I got there, I headed to the basement to find the restroom, and found that the "parish hall" is really actually a museum of sorts. I mean, it's clearly still used in the normal "church basement" sort of way - new bathrooms and kitchen appliances, etc..., but the building itself is about 90 years old. There are all kinds of glass display cases documenting things like First Communion Certificates and posters to help kids remember the Lord's Prayer (printed in German!). There's also a little old schooldesk, with a few ancient textbooks and other supplies.
The sanctuary, of course, is incredible. Lots of stained glass, and old wooden pews. A gloriously spectacular altar, from back in the day when people knew how to do it up right. :-) I actually ended up spending about 2 hours there, which was very good for the soul. Then I headed back by a different route. At this point, I was less than 30 mins from the time zone line, which I was hoping to cross, just to say I did. But it turns out the roads don't really go that way - ultimately they do I guess, obviously, but you have to be really intentional about it, and interested in driving dirt roads up to campgrounds and such, which I wasn't.
I got back to the "bigger-ish" town that I had been planning to visit, and while I was looking for a little coffee shop that had been recommended, stumbled across a cute little locally-owned Christian bookstore, which I wandered through for a few minutes. Then I found the coffee shop, which was a lot of fun. Run by a bunch of hippies, but fun. :-)
After a couple hours there reading and getting caught up on online stuff, I hit the road back home, put the final mental touches on my sermon, and crawled into bed. Yay for having a life!