Gene and I had a marvelous time in New England. He loved the family, and they loved him. I knew before we ever got tickets that that would be the case. My New England family is so funny, so gregarious, and so different from my (mostly) reserved Washington relatives. It was a complete novelty to Gene and me that they get together because - get this - they like each other, not because some date on the calendar says "gather the family to the communal table because it's a holiday and that's what you're supposed to do".
We jam-packed so much into our 10 days in New England that I'll just give you a few highlights of the trip.
The first and foremost, of course, was telling my family that I'm expecting. They were suprised and delighted, I think because they'd given up on me ever having kids. Gene and I are no spring chickens. My gram and I looked through her genealogical records trying to get ideas for a boy name (no news on the gender until July). The names were pretty awful but at least the history was interesting. Gram surprised us with a baby sweater she'd made and saved for just such an occasion. I'll post pics when the box we shipped home arrives. Gramp told stories about my father when he was little. These are the things you miss with a bi-coastal family.
We took a day trip to Brattleboro, Vermont to meet Allyson. She's a friend of a friend here in Tacoma. Allyson introduced us to her husband and their young son, an adorable toe-headed toddler. Along with their multitude of responsibilities, she and her husband run a shop that sells items to make cheese and beer. I was really pleased by how conservation-minded Brattleboro is - that wasn't the case across much of the region. After we said our good-byes in Brattleboro, Gene and I headed north. We visited the Green Mountain Spinnery where I bought 2 skeins of a luscious grey yarn, which I intend to craft into a stuffed animal of some kind for the baby. The staff graciously gave us a tour of the factory, which was busily spinning wool into a custom job of some kind. It was cool... and numbingly loud. From there we headed north and stumbled upon a covered bridge, the first of four we would see. We eventually wound up in Grafton, where we visited the store for Grafton Village Cheese. I bought a hunk of a yummy year-old cheddar and have since given to our friends who watched Rosemary during our vacation. We ended our trip by crossing back into New Hampshire and driving east through the southern part of that state. It was a long day but one that we enjoyed immensely.
Thank you, Allyson, for suggesting we visit you. Our day in Vermont was definitely my favorite!
Another day, Gene and I drove north along the coast into Maine. We stopped at the outlet malls in Kittery because, hey, that's what tourists do. I wanted to hit the Carter outlet: we took two steps into the store before I was so overwhelmed that we left. So much for that. Other destinations included the Nubble Lighthouse, the most-photographed lighthouse in the world, and Kennebunkport. We oogled all the rich people's houses, including the first President Bush's home (we think he was there, as security was out in force that day). We ate size "small" ice cream cones that were as big as two adult fists put together. We got taffy in a seaside town and laughed about the ubiquitous "lobstah".
We drove to Providence, Rhode Island another day. What a waste of time/gas. At least Gene can now say he's been to RI. We decided to go to Plymouth to see its famous rock (meh) and boat. I wish we'd had time to go to Plimouth Plantation but at $28 per person, that's pretty steep. Instead we sat on a patch of grass, watched the tourists, and basked in the sea breeze. It was lovely. That evening we were invited to a BBQ hosted by a man named Ted, and his wife, Teresa. Gene has known Ted for about a year through the electric vehicle online community but they'd never met. This gracious couple hosted an amazing BBQ for us. Teresa is a fantastic cook who wowed us with her culinary creativity and skill. Everything she made was pretty damn great: smoked chicken, ribs, grilled flatbread, salad, blueberry pie. My mouth just watered at the memory of the garlicy tomato topping for the flatbread. Holy food coma, Batman! We reluctantly said goodbye to this fun couple and hope our paths will cross again.
We did and saw so much. We're already talking about when we can take the baby out to introduce him/her to our family.