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» Tuesday, October 12, 2010In Living Color
Most of today is difficult to write about because it's hard to paint some things with words. You might want to go to Yankee Magazine's website and look at some photos of this year's autumn color. :-) But I'll try.
I either set the hotel alarm badly or it doesn't work properlythis is not a new hotel like last year's, and several things in the room are a bit wonky (but 90 percent of it is comfy and quiet)but it never went off, so we were up a half hour late. After breakfast we headed north against a patchy sky that gradually cleared into bright blue.
We were headed to Quechee Gorge, but most of the best color was on the long ride up I-93 and then I-89. Every turn and curve of the freeway was a calendar photo, and the colors were so numerous it would take hours to name them: pale yellows like "fancy" maple syrup, pale cantaloupe color, cherry red shaded with pale brown, striking golds, rusts, burgundies, trees of yellow and red so close to each other that from a distance they shaded to orange, the white bones of the birch trees against scarlet, tangerine, and lemon, themselves against the dark green of the pines.
By the time we did a switchoff to I-89, the color was actually paling, with more and more bare birches predominating. From then on we went in and out of color.
Quechee Gorge was actually past peak, with only the bright yellows remaining. Nevertheless we walked down to the small dam, then walked across the bridge to see the water bounce and rush between the rocky sides of the gorge from either side of the road. There were busloads of tourists coming in every few hours. One group was from England!
We had lunch at the little snack bar next to the gift shop (it's a state law...LOL...I know because I got a calendar and a small print of maple leaves) followed by a chaser of Gifford's ice cream. James had "Moose Tracks" and I had "Deer Tracks," the difference being the base on his was vanilla and mine was coffee. We also walked across the parking lot to the little row of shops: wine and cheese and some other foods and a Christmas shop which was okay. The gift shop has changed little from the first time I was out here in 1970, save it was enlarged to include a clothing corner and it no longer is infused with the overwhelming scent of sweet cedar (this was back in the era of cedar souvenirs from calendar bases to ashtrays to other nicknacks engraved with the name of the place you were visiting).
From there we were off to the Vermont Country Store. Last time we went to the Rockingham store, which is directly off I-91; this time we were a little more adventurous and drove to the original Weston store, winding between open fields, a persistent stream, houses decked in cornstalks and scarecrowsand a few minutes of drama winding through a one-lane construction site which included a gaping hole to the right of said lane while going through the town of Ludlow.
Suddenly the road curves to the left and there is a little village of about ten buildings, a few houses and the rest shops. The Vermont Country Store is actually in three buildings, plus has a restaurant attached. Across the street is a Christmas shop, a cheese shop, and a "general store" which sells gift items. As always, the Vermont Country Store is a trip, with candy, cheeses, treats, kitchen goods, games, clothing, bedding, Christmas things, books, and more. In the back there is a scale (as in weighing) collection, and old appliances dot the store: a 30s vintage stove and washing machine (with the wringer to the side), along with a lovely Hoosier cabinet.
I told Sherrye that I really wanted one of the Lanz nightgowns, but I thought it over and it's really silly to spend that kind of money on something I'll only wear two weeks out of the year (if that much!). I got only about a pound of mint julep candies, which are mint taffy squares. They used to be one of my two favorite candies at Tom's Superette when I was a kid. Tom and Molly still sold them for a penny, and you could buy a few along with the chocolate-flavored Squirrel Nut candies for only a nickel. James got some sugar-free candies in flavors he can't get at home.
The Christmas store across the way is lovely; just packed with trees decorated in various themes, ornaments atop of ornaments, a few Hallowe'en things in a corner, and a wall of Christmas village items. I could have bought many things, but I really have no room for more and most, including the lovely pale orb with autumn leaves on it, would be too fragile for the plane. I did find a leaf ornament that matched the three Jen gave me, so I will have an even number of them (I have mounted hers in the china cabinet), and two CDs, "New England Yuletide," by the folks who did "New England Christmastide" (I have "Christmastide 2," but have never been able to find #1), and "Christmas in Tuscany" because of the Italian Christmas songs included, like "Tu Schendi Delle Stelle." We also went in the general store where James bought me the loveliest fall sweatshirt.
We went in search of the highway and a gas station; the GPS mislead us on the latter, but we remained on the road as it went out to I-91. Well, it did finally get us there, but a nine-mile gap of it was a gravel road. Wonderful. At least it was a two-lane gravel road, not like the winding Virginia roads we found ourselves on after visiting the Walton Museum five years ago! Color flittered in and out, and we saw a good deal more of country Vermont than we expected!
We emerged at Bellows Falls, Vermont, for gasoline, and let the GPS take us home, cutting diagonally across Vermont to New Hampshire to Massachusetts. Due to our gravelly delay, we wouldn't make it back to the hotel in time for the "Sundowner" meal served on Tuesday, so about a half-hour out from the hotel we stopped at Friendly's for supper. Their chicken soup is quite good.
James is fretting right now because it looks as if his netbook has a virus. He was on Comics.com last night when a download started out of nowhere. He shut the browser down immediately, but now his virus blocker won't update. Wretched idiots. If he can't get the virus off, he's got no way of redoing the computer, as it didn't come with operating system disks.