I must confess I imagined a different kind of Grape Escape.
When a co-worker mentioned going to the Great River Grape Escape, I didn't think about great local wine, music and food. I never considered Spirit Knob, the Village Vineyard or Baxter's Vineyard. This celebration welcomes guests 21 and older.
My mind went straight to Play-Doh, the toy aisle at Toys R' Us and an old Parker Brothers board game for children ages 5 and up.
My "The Grape Escape" made a brief appearance in the toy closet at my parents' home in 1992. The game allowed children to make their game pieces out of Play-Doh (or "Grape Goop") and then maneuver the clay pieces through a series of semi-violent obstacles.
The little clay grape figure had to survive a rubber band-operated crank connected to large scissors, a steamroller and a grape stomping boot. Over time, the Play-Doh dried out and the messy board game eased its way into a garage sale.
For a brief, Quincy transplant-infused moment, I thought this city had turned one of my long-lost favorite childhood games into a competitive event. I halfway considered something along the lines of professional Monopoly or an obstacle course featuring the scissors and boot.
Then again, if you go back a couple of columns, I'm also the transplant who confused the Quintero dentist office at 2002 Maine for an upscale restaurant and O'Donnell's Termite and Pest Control for an Irish pub. Mistakes happen.
This week marks my last couple of "firsts" in Quincy. Since I moved here last October, I have fumbled through and enjoyed this region's local traditions.
I've seen the Early Tin Dusters turn the parking spots downtown into a color pallet. While I didn't dash across the Mississippi River during Bridge the Gap, I did volunteer to register runners.
I watched my seventh-grade English class come to life through National Tom Sawyer Days in Hannibal, Mo. I ate more than a couple of brats at various Quincy Gems games. And I packed into Washington Park with hundreds of other Quincyans for Blues in the District.
Despite the lack of Play-Doh, this weekend's Great River Grape Escape seems like a great way to finish off my first year in town.
If you catch sampling the region's finest "Grape Goop," please know I'm toasting to a year's worth of great memories and transplant errors.
And if you catch me with Play-Doh, at least you'll know why.