Sunday, August 09, 2009

Did you miss me?

It's been a while, I know, but I've been on vacation for the last couple of weeks.

Mrs. Blue and I went off to the wilds of New England, Vermont, New Hampshire, the greater Boston area and Maine. We really enjoyed ourselves, as one of the nice things about New England is that you can get around most of it without driving for hours and hours, like you do in our home peninsula.

We flew to Burlington, VT for a few days, hitting some places we went to a couple of summers ago and new ones as well. We ate at Bove's Italian Restaurant, where I had their famous lasagna; a couple of days later we ate at the Alchemist Brewpub in Waterbury. We drove our rented Volvo S80 across Lake Champlain at Crown Point and into upper New York to visit Mount Whiteface and take the skylift up to the top, returning to Vermont on the ferry. We drove over the Quechee George in Quechee, VT and had a wonderful lunch at the Simon Pearce store and restaurant in nearby Woodstock.

After Quechee, we drove to Norwich, where we ate lunch and shopped at the King Arthur Flour store, then drove to North Conway, NH to take the Cog Railway up to the summit of Mount Washington. We were mooned by some hikers (apparently a tradition of sorts) and enjoyed the overcast weather at the top. North Conway is a big tourist trap, but at least it's a clean and fairly neat one, with many tourists wandering around.

After North Conway, we drove to Boston, staying for six nights at a Marriott in one of the western suburbs. Unfortunately, the higher-end Marriotts, unlike their cheaper Fairfield cousins, don't offer complementary Wi-Fi, so I was out of touch with things except for a liberal use of my Blackberry. We did manage to navigate the"T" as they call the metro in Boston without any real problems, seeing the Liberty Trail, the U.S.S. Constitution and the North End, among others. While I was in the North End, I got to see a religious street festival that was a slightly-updated version of the one in "Godfather, Part II", complete with ribbons of dollar bills over a statue of a saint. I had dinner at one of the Italian places there and got some canoli to go. Mrs. Blue and I made a point of hitting various museums and taking the Sam Adams Brewery tour, where everyone in our group was awfully friendly by the end of the tasting session.

One day was taken up with a trip to Plymouth to see where one of my ancestors came to these shores, but I was sorely disappointed. There's still a bit of history there, but it is all but drowned out by the shouting of crass commercialism. I half expected to find a "Pilgrim XXX Video Gallery" around every corner. Of course, the fact that the day we went was probably the first dry, sunny Saturday New England had had all summer may have had something to do with the crowds of tourists, some in cars, some on motorcycles, packed like sardines on the street.

Our last few days were in Maine, staying in Portland, but driving around to see things up and down the coast. We had a good time there, enjoying the scenery and the local brewpubs as much as anything. We did discover mustard pickles on this trip (made by a local place south of Rockland) and vowed to order some one day, since no one here in North Florida seems to eat them.

Of course, now it's about time to hit the saltmines again. Mrs. Blue goes back tomorrow, while I have to drive over to one of our bigger airports to pick up Littlest Blue, coming back from her whirlwind European tour. She says she's gained a lot of weight from both the food and the beer, particularly in Berlin. It'll be good to see her in any case.

We went to see "Julie and Julia" today, which will probably make every part-time blogger (like yours truly) start finding something substantial to blog about in order to hit the big time like Julie Powell did. I'm not jealous of her, since my sense is that she started the blog for her own sanity and just got lucky (and fortunately noticed) in the meanwhile. I write this because I just like to write, whether someone reads it or (more likely) not.

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