Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Rounding Out New England

     The final leg of our (what is becoming annual) drive through New England took us through Vermont, into New Hampshire, and over to the coast of Maine. Steve made arrangements to meet up with a blog acquaintance at Long Trail Brewing Company in Bridgewater, VT for lunch. They serve a nice lunch at Long Trail and we opted to dine outside on the deck overlooking the Ottauquechee River. It was a very hot day so, after lunch, we walked down to the river, took off our shoes, and cooled off in the icy water like everyone else. We spent the remainder of our visit standing in the shallow river, picking up pretty rocks. I noticed that the brewery was packed when we departed at 1:30pm on this Friday, July 5th.

     We finally arrived in New Hampshire for a visit with Chelsea and her family. Seeing our children and grandchildren only twice a year is never enough and I this visit was a highlight of our trip. It had been eight months since we last saw Hugo and Charlie and they embraced us as if they saw us every day. We played at the house, spent Saturday morning at the Concord, NH farmer's market where Simon sells his organic vegetables for The Vegetable Ranch, hiked Kearsarge Mountain, went to fireworks, had a day at the beach, and ate lobster (of course!). We packed a lot into those four days but it didn't feel rushed or stressful. We had plenty of down time in between activities for naps, Sponge Bob and Care Bears videos, digging holes in the yard, splashing in the wading pool, building blocks, and eating Chelsea's good dinners.

Hugo took to wearing Pop's hat

Steve and Chelsea checking in with Simon

Charlie waits in his stroller for us to take a walk. Simon beautifully displays the vegetables.


The children play in front of the state capital building across the street from the farmer's market

Hugo waits.

Atop Kearsarge Mountain. Hugo is already an enthusiastic hiker and made the climb on his own.

View of the White Mountains
Charlie with his kite at Parson's Beach in Wells, Maine

Steve's favorite beach activity; playing paddle ball. The tide was rolling in.
As always, it was very hard to leave. We had been away for two weeks and I was ready to be home but, it's a sad effort to turn away from the people and places I love so much here in New England.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Schroon Lake and Brant Lake, Adirondacks, NY

Contessa Resort, Lake George, NY

     Before we left Lake George I snapped two photos of our motel room. It was the funkiest room I've ever seen at an old motel/cabin resort from a bygone era. The enormous king size bed didn't quite fit into the room, so they placed it in the only large enough space available which was right in the front picture window. When lying on the bed, we were in full view of the parking lot as if being on a stage for all to see. This placement caused the bed to be in the middle of the kitchen area at the front of the room instead of in the back. We had a counter and sink on our left and a refrigerator straight ahead. The owners opted for no bedside tables or lamps and our lone light was a bare fluorescent bulb hanging down from the ceiling fan above our bed. We wondered what was up with this huge, ornate king-sized bed in this little Adirondack motel room. It was so weird! We had a few good laughs about it all. It was clean enough and the bed was comfortable so it served its purpose for a quick shower and comfortable place to sleep while we spent our days out on Sarah Island. Ironically, the place was  packed full of travelers all week long and had no vacancies.
      The cabins back a wooded area and on the second night, right at bedtime, an odoriferous skunk let himself be known to all the sleepy residents. It wasn't your average skunk odor; it was strong and nauseating. I couldn't decide whether to close the windows and trap the odor in or open them wider and turn up the speed on the ceiling fan to blow it all over the place. It was a lose/lose situation and we basically just had to wait for it to go away. What can we expect when we want to vacation close to nature?
Baker Street House, Schroon Lake, NY

     All this made our Airbnb at Schroon Lake feel like a dream. The house was originally built in 1922 and served as the administration building for a Jewish boys camp. The current owners have made it homey and comfortable and offer rooms at a rate of $65/night which is far below any in-season hotel or cabin in the area. The one caveat is that three rooms share one bathroom. We lucked out on the first night because we were the only guests and we had it all to ourselves. On the second night, one other room was occupied but we never bumped into each other for the bathroom. My favorite "room" in the house was the expansive front porch. I felt myself relax here and become re-energized for the second week of our trip.

Brant Lake, NY
      We popped over to Brant Lake on the 4th of July to visit family and revisit Steve's childhood summer stomping grounds. Sister-in-law Joyce and I kayaked while Steve and his brother visited with old friends at Mead's Cottages. Mark and Joyce grilled a nice lunch and then Mark gave us a tour of the lake on his boat. I hadn't been on the lake in thirty-five years and it brought back many good memories from when Steve and I were dating. Later that evening, we all met up in Schroon Lake village to watch the town's 4th of July parade. There were fire trucks and boats, a high school band, a mariachi band, horse riders, and a Pipes and Drums band. The marchers all flung candy to the children. It was noisy and upbeat and children darted to and fro to gather candy. After the parade, everyone made their way down to the beach on Schroon Lake to wait for the fireworks. We had two hours to wait for fireworks but, the time passed quickly with all the people to watch, hot dogs and ice cream to fetch, and music to hear from the bandstand. It was small-town, old-time stuff and it made the evening really enjoyable. The fireworks were displayed from a barge on the lake and many folks came out on their boats to watch from the water. The boats' lights twinkled like fireflies all along the lake's surface. The fireworks were grand and when they finished everyone departed in one big swell to walk, en masse, a mile or so to our parked car. It was a warm evening and the walk felt good after all that sitting. Folks talked quietly as they walked in their groups and the night was hushed with a feeling of a day well spent. We relaxed back at our room after a full day of sun and activity. We had the fan gently blowing the cooling, Adirondack night air lulling us off to sleep.

Schroon Lake 4th of July parade

Schroon Lake beach before fireworks

Same view at dusk
Schroon Lake, view south

Thursday, July 4, 2019


On Sarah Island
     I think we're doing a pretty good job of finding moments for this while we're away. Those aahhh moments where you can feel your body relax and your mind detach from the worries and stresses of everyday life are rare these days.

Lake George

     Our vacations usually include time with extended family. Because everyone lives so far away, we make a variety of stops in different states as we travel along to see father, brothers, sisters, children, and grandchildren. We're halfway through our time away and we've seen a lot of family and a few friends! We have two nights to ourselves at a delightful Air bnb with the largest front porch I have ever seen. Steve and I are fairly quiet when we are alone and this wonderful Air bnb space has given us some recharge time. That amazing front porch sure helped!

Some narrows between the islands

     We are visiting three lakes in the Adirondack Mountains of New York this week: Lake George, Schroon Lake, and Brant Lake. Lake George has changed little since our childhood summers of the 1960's. The village has updated many of its restaurants and storefronts but I spotted some that hadn't changed a bit. It is a weird sense of time warp to see the old and new side by side. While at Lake George, we stayed at an old "resort" that has seen better days. Candy and John use it because it is dog-friendly and has boat docking space, both of which can be hard to come by. Even as is, it is still booked full over the holiday weekend. We used it as a place to simply shower and sleep since we would be out on the island and lake with Candy and John during the daytime. Candy arranged for cousin Tony Michael and his wife to spend a day on the island with us and we all had fun reminiscing and catching up. It was a lovely day with a gentle breeze and cool shade. Our next day back to Sarah Island was warmer and we swam in the blue-green water of Paradise Bay. We watched boats both large and small parade by throughout the day. A family of ducks swam with us and chipmunks visited us at our picnic site. It was wonderful to relax under the hemlocks and pines. Their aroma was intoxicating and when the wood smoke from a campfire blended with the pine, we closed our eyes and lifted noses to breathe it in.
I love the turquoise color of the water in Paradise Bay.
     When I visit with my sister, I laugh longer and harder than any other time. It's pure silliness and we become young again, reverting back to a time when we were like two pups teasing and romping just for fun. We laugh at ourselves and live in the exact moment with not a worry. It's good for my soul.
The Sagamore's tour boat, The Henry Morgan (I think that's the name of it)
      We are off to Brant Lake today, home of Steve's childhood summers and current location of his vacationing brother Mark and family. Our Air bnb is on Schroon Lake so we will drive the short fifteen minutes back and forth as we like. We are planning to watch the fireworks on Schroon Lake tonight. Tomorrow we are off to Vermont to lunch with a friend of Steve's and then finally to New Hampshire to see Chelsea and her family. We haven't seen her, Simon or the grandchildren since last November so we are way overdue for some hugs.