Cigars & the Vacationing Tobacco Junkie

Did the Clark W. Griswold thing this past week and took the family on the yearly vacation jaunt. This time it was Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, home to Busch Gardens Amusement Park and a place rich in American Revolutionary War history. Lots to do in this sweltering heat pit, with daily heat indexes of around 107 and humidity you could slice with a minuteman’s bayonet.

clarkLike a good dad, I pre-planned the trip to a tee, mapping out the attractions, the tours, the restaurants, and the directions. But most importantly of all, I strategically researched perhaps the key spot to make any vacation the very best it can possibly be – the local cigar shop and lounge.

Yeah, I had it planned perfectly – drop the kiddies and the wife off at the park, then head straight for a smoke at the nearest stogie shop. How do I get away with this after a nine-hour car trip, you say? Well, I’ll let you in on a secret… I HATE RIDES. I have ALWAYS hated amusement park rides paradefrom the time I was five when my dad stuck me on that goddamned roller coaster all by myself as I screamed in terror for what seemed like an eternity. If it were today, I would have called child services on my parents within an instant. But yeah, I have a true disdain for scary carts on metal wheels that hang you inverted over the pavement two miles in the air, then send you spiraling to what seems like certain death. Okay, I mean I’ll do a few rides like the spinning teacups and the kiddie boats where you can blow the horn, but unfortunately that stuff is always in the opposite side of the park from where my death-defying teenagers want to be.

busch-gardens-tickets-portadaNow the family knows quite well that I’ll not only stay away from the terror-laden so-called fun stuff, but I’ll also bitch about it the whole time while I sit as the family waits on some godforsaken two hour line. Oh, I’ll bitch and I’ll bitch, and I’ll bitch, bitch, bitch until they tell me – I mean order me to stay away from the park. “Go dad… go back to the hotel pool and we’ll see you later!” the family shouts out as I put on the sad face as if I’m going to miss everyone terribly. Yeah, miss them, my ass, as I crank up the pre-programmed gps and head straight for the closest smokatorium.

shopI always love finding a new cigar shop in virgin territory. Makes me kind of feel like the Jamestown settlers from 1607, except I’m not being attacked by Indians or starving to death (I mean really, have you seen me?) The sights and smells of a newly found walk-in humidor raises the consciousness level to great heights, while perusing the cornucopia of premium sticks is certainly the cigar smokers equivalent of highly erotic foreplay. Sure I’m a weirdo, but you know exactly what the hell I’m talking about.

So I pick out several staogs that I normally can’t find in my area, along with several that are just ridiculously cheaper because of the lower state taxes on tobacco in Virginia. I feel like I’ve made the ultimate score as the cashier rings up my bounty of cigarry goodness. Once I’ve harvested my selections I head to the small lounge of leather thrones as the locals are tossing the bull and trading their manly-esque banter.

“Hey guys, mind if I join in?” I ask, knowing that my Jersey accent is a certain request awaiting for my Joe Pesci, Goodfellas diatribe.

After exchanging pleasantries, the boys dive right in with their thoughts on politics, sports, women, gun control, food, yada, yada, yada. The great thing about cigar lounge prattle is that no one is there for the purpose of problem solving or saving the world, but instead, it’s just a gathering of guys who revel in the fine art of camaraderie.

After a couple hours and two really great smokes, it’s time to go pick up the loved ones at the park so we can go to bed and get ready for the week’s events at Colonial Williamsburg…like more cigar smoking and bullshitting with the locals. It’s a long and weary journey, but somebody has to make the selfless sacrifice.

Man, I just love vacation, don’t you?

Tommy Z.

JR CIGARS Blog With the Zman

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