Category Archives: Road Trip

Burlington

Funny thing…if all one does is talk about writing for days on end, one ends up with very little to actually write about.  So contrary to how I ended my last post, I did end up visiting Burlington yesterday, and it turned out to be a pretty good idea. New York’s lakes would have been too much of a drive, and as it turns out, Vermont has a pretty nice lake of its own.  Though, to be fair, Lake Champlain is on the border, so I suppose I achieved both of my goals (Before I left for Vermont, I had a great disagreement with Doug about whether the lake was, in fact, in New York or Vermont, and for the first time in a while, we were BOTH right.)

It took me about an hour to get into town, and I promptly found a parking spot–or should I say parking lot–and paid the fourteen-year-old boy ‘in charge’ the eight dollars, only to discover that there were not, in fact, any parking spots available in the lot.  Fortunately someone was just leaving, so I quickly stole that spot, but I still wonder what happened to all the people in the cars that were lined up, happily paying money, only to be let into a parking lot that was well beyond capacity.  And I wonder what happened to the idiot kid that allowed that to happen.  Pissed off tourists can be brutal.

The crowded lot was right on the waterfront, and I walked a few hundred feet down to a shed where I bought a ticket for The Spirit of Ethan Allen III–a creepy name that made me picture ghosts of side tables and richly upholstered chaise lounges.  There was, unfortunately, a tour group of really, REALLY old people–the kind of old people that, I’m sorry but it is true, smelled strongly of urine–were scheduled to take the same tour.  Thankfully they had organized a trip that included a buffet lunch, which meant they were an entire deck below where I sat, and inside in the safely sun-less and air conditioned dining portion of the ship.  I stayed up on the upper deck, outside in the sun; I would, however, have paid a few extra bucks to get to watch what a group of 90-somethings looked like, shuffling and rolling in walkers and wheelchairs, whilst trying to serve themselves from a buffet on a boat.

It was a lovely cruise–just under two hours–and I learned many things about the local history and topography–which are often tied together in odd, military-esque ways–and got a pretty nice sunburn, especially on my nose.  I think my giant sunglasses acted as a sort of reflector, and I shocked myself later when I saw my reflection in  restroom mirror.

I then trudged up the hill hoping to find lunch–which I eventually had two hours later at a creperie about twenty yards from the boat and my car–and found, instead, the cutest little downtown area.  I didn’t know Burlington was such a touristy town, but sure enough, there was a whole street blocked off and dedicated to outdoor cafes and overpriced shops.  I browsed for far too long–and found the cheap college dorm room style tapestries I’d been looking for to use as curtain panels–had a crepe for lunch, and finally made my way back to Bread Loaf.

It was a nice day.  It felt good to get out and feel like a real person, a member of the real world. And that was after only a day and a half here.  I’m here for one more week–in fact, one week from right now, I will still be here.  Time is strange here.  And the scary thing is, I’m starting to get used to it.

I’d like to post more about the actual Bread Loaf experience, but I have a craft class to get to.  Plus, I’m sitting in the only air conditioned building on campus, and my left arm–because it is closer to the AC unit–is rapidly turning blue from the cold.   More later.

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Road Trip

I had planned to get some sort of road trip in during my time here, and this morning I sat down with the schedule to figure out if and when a trip would be possible. I discovered that the ONLY time in the next ten days that I could get away for even a little bit without missing something kind of major (‘kind of major’ includes many categories of events, some that I simply just really want to attend) is tomorrow. And tomorrow isn’t just the only day–it seems like the perfect day, as the morning lecture is the only morning lecture that does not interest me at all, and my workshop does not meet in the morning. So I could take the entire morning and go into Burlington, and I just spent a good twenty minutes googling ‘things to do in Burlington’–there are many–and compiling a list. (I’m on a real sized computer in the Mac Lab right now with a real keyboard–it is GREAT!) Or, if I don’t mind missing a panel discussion on publication (which, let’s just be honest here, is a far away dream at this point. If I’ve learned one thing so far this summer about writing, it is that I’m not as good as I previously assumed. I wasn’t comparing myself to the right people.) I could go west into New York State and check out the lakes–Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, to be specific. According to the tourism website, there is a scenic train that goes between the two towns. It looks lovely, and is only $12. We shall see tomorrow if I do one or the other–the short trip to Burlington or the long trip to New York. Or if–and this is far more likely–I just stay here and give up my dreams of exploring a previously un-explored-by-me region. That last option sure sounds a lot like something I would do.

Bennington

Bennington is very cute, though both last night at dinner and this morning at breakfast, I overheard local people speaking negatively about it. And I’m here taking pictures of main street! (Though the only ones I took with my phone– below– were of food and the grounds of my hotel. The rest are on my actual camera.) I wonder if that’s the way it is everywhere…are there people who take pictures of main street Macungie? Because that would be odd.

I’m off to Bread Loaf now, and am still equal parts excited and nervous. I don’t know if I’ll have cell service there, or how available wifi will be, so I’m preparing myself for technology withdrawl. Away I go…

Freedom

For the past four years, I’ve avoided going anywhere. I stopped doing things I loved–music festivals, rites of spring–because they were far away. I became a hobbit. But I thought that was a natural progression. After all, I did all of those things searching for a life…ok let’s be honest here, I was searching for a guy. So once I found one, I stopped searching and thus stopped doing everything else.

But I was wrong. Finding someone to love, deciding to spend your life with that person, settling down–that’s not the end of exploring who you are. That’s a great jumping off point to continue that quest. There is an amazing freedom in knowing that you can go out into the world, take risks, try new things even if they might fail (and this trip just might end poorly) and still have a solid place to return to. And in that place, someone will love you even if you did fail. And, as an added bonus, none of your houseplants died while you were gone.

Got to Get Ourselves Back to the Garden

Woodstock was everything it was supposed to be– a quaint little (very touristy) town full of tie-died flags, kids playing drums on the street, and scores of stores selling ohm pendants and peace sign earrings and smelling of pachouli and nag champa. My main goal was lunch, and for whatever reason I thought falafel would be appropriate. It was really good falafel, though I know I’m not just being paranoid when I say this– the waitresses were definitely looking at me funny. I’ve never been a waitress, but I’m going to have to make it a point to ask my ex-waitress friends if there is something shady about a woman eating a falefal alone in a resturant. I’m alone in a resraurant writing this, and the people here have not yet treated me like a leper (though writing this on my iPhone necessitates a t-shirt that reads ‘no I am not ‘texting’, because I feel kind of like a jerk, and my waiter called me on it). But back to Woodstock…where was I? Oh yes… It was exactly what I was hoping for. Totally worth getting off the highway, and I stayed even longer than I’d planned. I was kind of taken aback when I returned to the first shop I’d visited to buy a necklace I loved (but didn’t buy because it was the first shop I visited) only to find it was closed and locked, with a sign stating ‘closed on tuesdays’. I checked three times and it was, in fact, the very same store I and several other people had been shopping in not two hors earlier. But what would a trip to Woodstock be without a little wierdness? Ok a lot of wierdness– there was the homeless looking guy walking up and down the street with what appeared to be an old fashioned plow made out of branches and covered in a tarp. And the overly happy guy who gave me a bright yellow pamphlet from The Banner of Love Living Word Chapel.

I’m in Bennington now, though I arrived shortly before sunset and didn’t get a chance to explore anything yet. I have big plans to get up early tomorrow and sightsee, but I just opened a bottle of wine, so I might just be kidding myself,

Kingston, NY

I decided to get off the New York State throughway at exit 19, which my gps assured me was the Woodstock exit. What my gps failed to mention was that there was a big, scary traffic circle right off the exit, and I promptly found myself quite lost. I followed signs to ‘historic Kingston’, and very quickly arrived in a rather quaint looking town. Ok it was quaint for a two block radius. In exploring this tiny area for maybe fifteen minutes, I was stared at maybe ten times. I went in to a few little shops– many were closed on Tuesdays– but just didn’t feel right, what with all the staring. I left 20 minutes on my meter and determined to find Woodstock. Thousands of hippies managed to make their way there…how hard could it be?

Heading Out

Well, it appears that the WordPress app worked as promised–the picture of my coffee table even looks pretty good, considering. I’m getting ready to leave, and am honestly planning on keeping this up as long as I have a signal on my phone and/or can get close enough to a bookstore to use the wifi. Stay tuned for pictures, stories, and random musings from a mind that will soon be slightly deranged from driving solo for hundreds of miles.