Archive for March, 2007

Time for a family car!
March 30, 2007

Along with our new baby, Helena, came plenty of stuff. I’m talking a stroller, a car seat, a portable playpen, toys, diaper bags and the list goes on.

Kara and I are finding that going for a short trip requires bringing much of that “stuff.” Our sedan isn’t going to work as the primary family car; We will need to get something bigger.

For many, getting a “family car” conjures up memories of the family truckster in one of my favorite movies National Lampoon’s “Vacation.” Chevy Chase takes his family across the country in a faux wood-paneled station wagon.

For me, the words “family car” brings up far more pleasant thoughts. We had something similar to the truckster growing up. My parents had three different Ford station wagons over the years, including one with that wood paneling like this one: Link to a picture.

Ahhh, the Country Squire option. Our station wagons are still etched in my memory. I remember the vacations we took in them, asking, “Are we there yet?” from the back compartment. I look back on those wagons and their vinyl seats with incredible fondness.

The Houses weren’t the only ones to drive these highway behemoths. Station wagons were all the rage in the 60s, 70s and into the 80s. They fit eight to 10 people easily and came in a variety of colors.

Then came the minivan. The minivan revolutionized the family car. Station wagons fell out of favor and families of the Reagan/Bush/Clinton era starting buying these vans with sliding doors, captain’s-chair seating and plenty of room. Chrysler was the pioneer of the minivan, and soon, all automakers were on board with a model: Link to a picture.

But families of the 21st century want something different. Minivan sales are falling and the new thing is the “crossover” — Ford and GM might stop making minivans altogether.

Crossovers are built on a car chassis, like station wagons, so they get better gas mileage than SUVs, usually with the security of all-wheel drive, and in some cases the room of a minivan. They’re also better looking than minivans. We kind of like this new crossover from Buick called the Enclave. It looks like, well, a cool station wagon!

Courtesy: Buick

 

I’m a little nostalgic and I want Helena to have wonderful memories of whatever car we choose. It’s kind of funny … what is old is new again. The crossovers of today, are sort of like the station wagons of yore. It’s nice to see this type of family vehicle back again, but let’s leave the fake wood paneling in the history books.

I’d like to hear from you! Leave a reply!

  • More: WFSB.com’s Automotive Section
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade
    March 21, 2007

    Winter Storm Brendan snowed out St. Patrick’s Day and gave me another chance to write this entry about one of my favorite Connecticut events: The Hartford St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

    The parade takes place this Saturday, March 24 at 11 a.m. It features a fantastic celebration of Irish culture, along with marching bands, floats, celebrities, dignitaries, and a few surprises.

    Tens of thousands of people line the parade route and it really is a great event for the whole family.

    Let me give you a few tips from a parade veteran.

    1. Check out the hot chocolate from JoJo’s on Pratt Street
    2. Taste the bread pudding with Bailey’s at Vaughan’s
    3. If it is cold, there are some great places to watch from indoors, which include:
      • Mayor Mike’s
      • Black Eyed Sally’s
      • McKinnon’s
      • The Emperor

    MORE:

    Back to work after Baby
    March 19, 2007

    I’m back to work after two weeks off for the birth of my daughter Helena. I’m fortunate our parent company, Meredith Corporation, allows fathers a week off for paternity and then I took a week’s vacation.

    Kara won’t be back to work until late spring, and we’re really getting the hang of this parents thing. Kara, like any new mom, is sleep deprived, but I’m doing OK in the sleep department. It’s a dad thing!

    We’re blessed that Helena is a great baby, who sleeps and eats, and doesn’t cry all that much. We’ve taken her to the park, road trips, even a few restaurants.

    The grandparents are thrilled, and we’ve had several visits from them. Thanks to e-mail, I can send them a picture of Helena every day.

    My first week back to work was somewhat hectic. Al was on vacation, so I covered his duties, we had a giant storm on Friday, I filled in for “Face the State,” and I had two weeks worth of mail, e-mail, and telephone messages to return.

    I’d love to hear your stories of your first days of parenthood!

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