A couple of weeks ago, I returned to New York for an important event — my best friend’s bachelor party.
Before you ready your emails and phone calls to decry the anticipated details of debauchery, I can assure you this — the weekend didn’t inspire a third sequel to “The Hangover.”
Not that it’s any surprise to me or my friends. Most raging parties for us in college were a few adult beverages and an intense game of Settlers of Catan.
As best man, I planned the weekend excursion from 2,000 miles away. The destination was an Airbnb cabin off the beaten path near Watkins Glen, close to the state park and the Finger Lakes Beer Trail. When your best friend asks for a low-key affair, you deliver (despite one groomsman’s insistence it should be in Las Vegas).
For the non-initiated, the Finger Lakes is a region in New York with numerous slender lakes, known for its wineries. While Riesling and other wines are the main attraction, the Finger Lakes now has dozens of breweries.
We arrived at the cabin Friday evening, which was spartanly outfitted with furniture, with a fire pit outside. It was perfect for our plans, as we immediately built a roaring fire, cracked open a cold one and grilled some burgers.
The next morning, after using the fire to cook some bacon and eggs, we headed out on a journey to hit as many breweries as possible for the day. As the organizer for the weekend, I volunteered to be the designated driver.
We visited more than a half-dozen breweries and a cidery, while I partook in the best water the Finger Lakes had to offer (and a sip or two of beer). We had lunch at the Wienery, which boasted ridiculous hot dog and burger creations, liquor milkshakes and the best fried cheese curds I could imagine.
We even slid in a couple games of bowling after the bachelor party had their fill of brewery after brewery. It was a lazy day with no set agenda, timetable or demands.
I don’t think anyone spent much time on their phone except to nab directions to the next unplanned destination.
We capped the day with 60 chicken wings, a mess of chicken bacon ranch tater tots, and some brisket from a barbecue place in Watkins Glen. We even found time for a game of Settlers of Catan.
The next day, we did a quick hike at Watkins Glen State Park, soaked in the natural splendor, then headed back from our respective homes.
It was a relaxing break from the grind of everyday life for everyone. While I get why people are enamored with the idea of a crazy, story-filled bachelor party, it’s just not for me.
I suppose some people would say I’m boring (which is true) and so are many of my friends (which is only somewhat true), but it’s hard to feel offended when you’re having such a good time. As more time goes by, I appreciate the escape where the excitement stems from having no schedule and no obligations, just good company, good beer and maybe a board game or two.