Monday, April 13, 2009

And travel I did - Part I

This trip was wonderful, but fairly unplanned.
We chose a direction - Northeast.
We chose a destination state - Maine.
We chose things we wanted to see:
  • Adirondacks
  • Vermont
  • New Hampshire
  • Arcadia National Park in Maine
We chose a method of transportation - car.
We chose methods of shelter:
  • Couch Surfing
  • Camping
  • Hotels/B&Bs if necessary
We chose a time frame - leave Wed'y evening and return Monday.

Everything else in betwixt and between was left to chance and whim.
Maybe not the most prudent way to travel, but certainly adventuresome!

A quick list to remember the trip.

Wed'y 4/8
We left NEOhio with destination of Syracuse via Couch Surfing.
Arrived at 10-ish, chatted with our host Frank about Iceland, urban gardening and recycling and stayed in a warm, quiet apartment downtown.
We brought a gift of Great Lakes beer - which was opened and enjoyed immediately.

Thurs'y 4/9
Left Syracuse 10-ish to drive through the Adirondacks by way of Utica.
Lovely driving, mid 40s, blue skies and lack of leaves left all the charming cabins vulnerable to our gaze.
The urge to rent a canoe was great, but alas, we were too out of season.

Headed for Lake Placid and arrived at 2:30.
The main street wasn't bustling, but it wasn't deserted, either. As we wandered past a gallery, the Physicist was drawn to an image of computers in the window - inside, there was a collection of Catherine Ulitsky's photographs of starlings connected by geometric lines to form natural polygons.
We searched for SoulShine bakery to have lunch, but decided to find something more substantial - we ended up at The Brown Dog where we sat overlooking Lake Placid and watching the wind ripple the water's surface. This was followed by truffles from The Candy Man - the bag ripped at the corner as proof that a mouse could be blamed for carrying away my share of the sweets - if indeed that tragedy occurred.
We ended the visit at The Bookstore Plus which was right next door to With Pipe and Book, a bookstore that carried rare books and lithographs and a tobacconist to boot. The Physicist was goading me to leave with a full set of Harper's Index starting in 18_ _. I almost accepted the challenge. Instead I went to the Starbucks across the street for hot water to fill the thermos and fuel the next leg of the journey.

We left NY and made our way through VT and NH with the aid of Gypsy (the disembodied British-accented GPS with whom I maintain a complex relationship.)

Vermont was as beautiful as I remember it, and I was glad to be further North and crossing Lake Champlain. We drove through Montpelier, passing through quaint towns and eventually saw a pink moon rise over the mountains.

We stopped again for hot water and purchased a baguette covered in seeds and herbs and a block of cheese which was eaten - gingerly - on the road, cut with sewing scissors because the knife was well-packed.

As with the crossing of NM into AZ, there is a subtle yet distinct, nose-crinkling change when you cross from VT into NH.

It was at that point that we decided to stay for the evening in a hotel, having long since decided to get to Maine as soon as possible.

We stayed in a less than perfect motel that was advertised as having free WiFi (nope) and non-smoking rooms (except that the staff takes smoke breaks right outside the door and the room was not what I would describe as nicotine-free). It was off a busy road (loud) and at 7:30 in the morning, we were awoken by the proprietress - cigarette in hand - and asked to move the car as they were having some contractors doing something in the parking lot involving leaf-blowers and large yellow equipment that beeped when it backed up.

I got back from moving the car and was told by the Physicist that the handle of the hot water in the bath had come off in his hand, and that the orange juice was terrible.
I agreed and we put it and NH behind us as quickly as possible.

I did learn an important statement if I find myself faced with questionable lodging again, "I will keep that in mind, I am going to check the other motel. If I return, what time will you be here 'til?"

Fri'y 4/10
Left NH and got into ME by 11 am.

On the way, we needed hot water and ended up at Grand View Country Store, which carries yarns, including yarn that was sheared from their sheep and sent to be spun in Harmony, ME.

Drove back roads to Bar Harbor and arrived at 2-ish.
Found our way to winter campgrounds in the park and set up camp.
It is not a contiguous Nat'l Park and much of the area is closed for the season, but the available grounds had running water and heated bathrooms not far from our site.

We enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner at the site of soup, crusty bread, VT cheddar and tea and walked down to the coast (<.5 mi away) and decided to drive to a trail that would be a good evening hike. The view was spectacular, the skies clear and the temps comfortable. I am in love with coastal anything... After sunset, we drive into Bar Harbor to replenish hot water for tea and replace the water we got (it was full of sediment). We ended up at Alternative, a natural food store. We got some local milk (Smith's of Desert Island), a not-so-good spinach pie and wandered through town, stopping for fudge at Ben and Bill's Chocolate Emporium, window shopping at Song of the Sea and taking a few minutes to enjoy the views out to sea.

We headed back to camp, made hot chocolate from the milk, candy bar and sugar cubes - the Physicist quickly spilled his, so we shared what was left and went to sleep under the pines.

More to come...

1 comment:

Megan said...

Oh Lake Placid, How I miss it.... Soulshine has the most fabulous bagels. You should have gotten a bag of grahm cracker ones. Hope you are enjoying your trip