1. Grandmas, Nanas, Grandpas, uncles, aunts and cousins welcome us and make the weekend festive.
2. Apples, cider, cider doughnuts and smokey cheese. One of the best smells in the world lingers at the apple farm stands. Mom laughs at me while I pull the farm wagon loaded with bushels of apples. "Where will you put them all?", she asks.
3. I stand under the New York sky and think how it has a "feel" of its own. The sky of my childhood has not changed. How does it feel different from other skies? Vaguely, it just does.
4. Gene's fish fries!! Opened in 1960, this little open air stand is the destination for me. Picnic tables are lined up under an overhang with little birds hopping about for crumbs. As kids, we rode our bikes the half mile here for a milkshake. Now I will drive 10 hours for one of these fish fries. Gene's descendants now run the place which is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
5. Made a quick detour to Samascott's Farm in Kinderhook to get their corn. The ears are average in size, but the kernels are large, extra tender and bursting with sweetness. We make a meal of corn, slathered with butter, salt and pepper. This is another place that the girls and I would bike to from our house in order to pick strawberries. In season, they have pick-your-own blueberries, cherries and apples and tomatoes.
6. Claire and Daniel drive up from North Carolina. As adults, it's harder for everyone to get away from jobs, school and obligations to make these trips. So, it's a special opportunity that we don't take for granted.
7. I cook for my mom. At 87, she doesn't fuss in the kitchen any more so I like to entice her with tasty things. She especially enjoys the tomatoes from our Virginia garden and the corn from Samascott's.
8. Mom and I bake an apple pie together.
9. She gives me my grandmother's old, white platter. Faded flowers are barely visible and the 22K gold trim has been worn away long ago, but I treasure it.
10. Steve's brother loves to do clams. Saturday is set aside for the food fest. Steve phones me, anxiously telling me they're setting up the raw bar, hurry! Pot after pot, raw clams on ice, steamed clams with melted butter, clam broth for chowder. The kids are teased into trying a raw clam and none take the dare. A wood fire is started and all the cooking is done outdoors. Grandpa hands me a gin and tonic in one hand and cigar in the other. I enjoy both!
11. We return home a bit travel weary, but glad to arrive. Chelsea, Chad and Audrey have kept the house for us and welcome us home. It is so clean and dinner is cooked if we're hungry!