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.