Sunday, November 1, 2015

OCTOBER 2015 Seth and Kim's visit

You guys!
You have no idea how very much I wish this were true.

Then you could see all the glories of this earth, of this part of the world that I see and cherish
that I do not, cannot capture with a camera.


We pass through so much staggering beauty.  I so wish you could all see it and experience it for yourselves. I am so very grateful our son Seth and his wife Kim were able to come for a visit and share in our joy here. It was a whirlwind trip, 4 states in 4 days, but we managed to squeeze in every last drop of scenic vistas, fall scenes, fun places, yummy food, and historic sites we could. 
As I told them, I am happy I have people from home who will truly understand when I get homesick for New England.

Let's get this party started!

(Prepare for Autumn color overload!)

 Welcome to Boston!

They arrived around 5 pm and the sun was setting around 6 so we headed straight for Pier Park noted for its premier view of the Boston Skyline from across the bay.

We then went to Harvard, walked "the Yard", and the Square and ate Mr. Bartley's famous burgers.

The next morning we "hit the trail"!


First stop: Lexington and Concord.

Lexington is the next town over from us so we go there, drive through it, all the time.
And I never tire of it or take it for granted. 
I say a little prayer of gratitude to those brave minuteman every time we pass this statue.

These two houses were here and saw the action back in 1775.

We lucked out and just happened upon a guided tour just as it was beginning at the Battle Green in Lexington.  The volunteer guide was very informative and passionate about the history here.
Patriotism surged through his voice as he retold the stories of what occurred here and especially when  he took us to the very spot the first patriot blood was spilled in our quest for freedom. 

After Lexington we drove the short distance to Concord where we lunched and visited the North Bridge made famous by Ralph Waldo Emerson's  poem "The Shot Heard Round the World."

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare,
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.


The plan after leaving Concord was to take the slow scenic route up to our night's destination in Woodstock, Vermont stopping in several picture postcard towns along the way. 

Our first covered bridges sighting!  It included a most unexpected surprise...
a Sasquatch sighting as well!  
Actually it was an old Vermonter out  enjoying a brisk walk and swim in naught but his native skin down by the waters' edge.

Newfane, Vermont

It was about here that we re-evaluated our mileage and driving distances and times and realized we had lallygagged too long at our previous stops and needed to get a move on if we wanted to reach Quechee  and our dinner reservations at Simon Pearce in time.
So, sadly this means no photos of the lovely places- towns, villages, trees, farmlands, barns etc.  we drove by. If only my eyes could take pictures. Sigh. Vermont was absolutely loaded with fall charm. Pumpkins pumpkins and more pumpkins adorned every house, window box, door way and step.  It literally hurts my heart I didn't get photos of these happy sights.

Simon Pearce is an interesting combination of glass blower studio, shop and gourmet restaurant.
It was voted the #9 Most Romantic Restaurant in the U.S. by Travel and Leisure magazine.
A table with a view of the falls and the covered bridge.  
We couldn't get a good photo of the restaurant so I am adding this googled one. We sat in the white area in this photo.

After our delicious dinners, we went to see the local theater company's rendition of 

'It tells the story of the fictional American small town of Grover's Corners between 1901 and 1913 through the everyday lives of its citizens. Throughout Wilder uses metatheatrical devices setting the play in the actual theatre where it is being performed. The main character is the stage manager of the theatre who directly addresses the audience, brings in guests lecturers, fields questions from the audience, and fills in playing some of the roles. The play is performed without a set and the actors mime their actions without the use of props.'

It was especially appropriate because the fictional small town it is set in New Hampshire. 
They had a different seating option for this play, and being the adventurers that the four of us are, we opted for it.  You actually sit on the stage on benches places around the edges of the low to the ground stage.  There were chairs set up in front of our benches on which the actors sat off and on during the play as well. We quite liked it.  A very up close and intimate view.

'We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.'

It was filled with thought-provoking messages and left me with the resolution to notice, appreciate and acknowledge the everyday sweetness and treasures of life- most especially noticing, hugging, kissing, loving,and really interacting with those closest to us. 

I fondly remember Woodstock Vermont as my favorite little town from our fall foliage 20th Anniversary trip way back when and have been longing to return ever since.
I remembered driving by this Inn and wanting to stay there.  My dream came true.
But I think my expectations were too high and/or my style and taste have changed because I was disappointed.  I have to admit I have been spoiled by some of the places we have stayed in.  I think what I like now is the old time exterior and charm but modern conveniences and little luxuries inside. 
(Like large bathrooms and king sized beds)
I'm a sucker for white picket fences, long front porches with rockers and American flags though.
The grounds and the breakfast were extraordinary. 

Breakfast was presented in a 5 star manner.
Baked pears with a little ball of blue cheese in its center.  Not any blue cheese, mind you.  The cheese that won BEST IN THE WORLD. That's right. You heard correctly. the WORLD. 
I'm not a fan of blue cheese but I had to try this, right?
The fact that it was described as having "no funk" persuaded me to be brave.
Funky cheese is not for me :)  ! 
It was creamy and mild and mixed with wonderful spices and nuts.

After our pear appetizer, our main course of hoe cakes came out.
We learned that their name is derived from the fact that the farmers would get hungry mid-harvest so they would make a little fire right there in the field, mash up some corn kernels, and cook these corn cakes right on the hoes over the fire.
Our host relished  describing the 'flavor profiles' in detail to us as the courses were served.
Ours had all kinds of special things added unto them to make them extra scrumptious and, of course, a little bacon and maple syrup for good measure. Everything was sourced from nearby farms and co-ops. 
The base for their goodness was from a local dairy's buttermilk.  They sell their butter exclusively to a famous chef for his restaurant but they sell their buttermilk to others.  Lucky us.

Woodstock's Middle Bridge

The problem with whirlwind tours is you never get to stay long enough in one place to thoroughly take it all in and there are regrets but we have the same attitude about this trip as we did in our fly- through the Maritime Provinces... when there is so much to see, we'd rather see as much as possible even if it means little or no lingering. 
So we had to say a quick goodbye to Woodstock ( I think I could stay and explore this area for an entire week), and headed to the Sugarbush Farm for some cheese tasting. 
Vermont is famous for its cheese, in case you didn't pick that up before. 

 Dale bought some of their Sharp Cheddar.

The Quechee Gorge.

A trip through Vermont had to include a visit to the Joseph Smith Birthplace.  Although we had just been here for a zone conference and with Micah about a month ago, Seth and Kim needed to see it too.  Look at the difference a month brings...


This photo in the visitors' center caught my eye and the story behind it really touched me.

Had to take a hot cider donut break!

And, OF COURSE,  a Ben and Jerry's break!

We took the tour and got our free samples.

Then we got our "real" ice cream fix!  Dale and I opted to try these delights.

After our fill of ice cream we drove through Smuggler's Notch which was nearby. 
We missed the peak by about a week.  Sadly an early freeze followed by high winds left a lot of the trees bereft of leaves but it was still pretty spectacular. 

Our reality.

In it's full glory!
What we missed  :(


WE made it over the New Hampshire border just before nightfall and checked into the Sugar Hill Inn,  in Sugar Hill, N.H.  
Now, not to sound spoiled or bratty again, but to be honest for any of you reading this that may plan a trip out here some day, this was another let down.  It was rated very highly and while the rooms, in a separate little building no less, were very nice it wasn't the 5 star cozy warmth and wonderfulness I expect from top B and B's.  And the breakfast was nothing special either.  
The village was also rated as one of the prettiest in New England. 
Truthfully, there really was no village to speak of.  Maybe 5 scattered buildings but certainly not a charming village by any stretch of the imagination.  Very disappointed. 

This church was the highlight of the village. 

The other bright spot was the view from the hill.

Franconia Notch State Park was our next destination. 
It features a gorgeous trail through forests and streams leading to the Flume, a small waterfall, with 2 covered bridges thrown in for good measure! 
We loved every minute and every inch of this lovely place.

My "Atlas"!

They are better models than us!
They know how to pose  :)

Kim was the only one who had a "lucky leaf" land on her.

Seth was THE MAN.  Braved the chill in a T-shirt while his dad and I were wrapped and layered in our thermals.  :)

Me and my P.C.C.K.
Any "My Best Friend's Wedding" fans out there?
(Perfect Chocolate Covered Kimmy.  :)

Seth emerging form the Wolf's Den.

The following photo credits go to Seth. 
This bridge photo is postcard/calendar worthy 
and the panoramic ones are impressive and fun!

They look even more amazing "in real life" !

The rocks and the roots have a love affair going on here.

Once again, even though the foliage here was not at its peak (you can see all the leaf-less brown trees in the following photo), it was still breath-taking.
And these photos do not do justice.

Another 2 season view of the same place. Scenic turn out along the Kancamagus Highway, N.H.



Driving through New Hampshire.

State # 4:  Maine !

Seth and Kim with the Bush Compound in the distance.

Kennebunkport's version of the Lock bridge in Paris.

The famous clam shack was closed for the season.  
So sad.

I promise I did not color saturate or add filters to's the combination of the setting sun's 'golden hour' hitting those autumnal reds.  Amazing.

 This is a painting of the Maine Stay Inn which was in our room.
I liked this image better than my photos so there you are!

 A fresh Maine lobster dinner in Maine is always at the tip top on the visitors' request list ...
We aim to please
 Mabel's Lobster Claw.
It may not look like much but it is a favorite of both President Bushs.

 Seth's lobster Milanese did not disappoint.

 Most likely my last lobster in New England.  :(
I had to say out loud and to myself my mantra over and over again  on this trip...
Don't be sad it's over.
Be happy (and grateful!) it happened.
I am.

 We finished up with Maine Blueberry Pie ala Mode.
A must in Maine.

We had fun exploring a little store across the street. Kim loved this mask.  It was slightly damaged and when we inquired if there were any others, the lovely shop owner just gave it to her for free!
Happy Halloween a little early!

I can't bring a visitor to Maine without showing them my favorite little town, Ogunquit, and its secret little harbor of Perkins Cove. 

Cute little love birds!

Me and my boy!  My little Sethie- G!

And the vote is in!
It had been decided. This lighthouse, Nubble Light, is our #1 favorite. 

Seth's awesome panorama again.

You may have noticed there wasn't a lot of sunny day photos in this post.
While it only flat-out rained a little bit while we were in Lexington and Concord, the rest of the trip was just kind of grey with lots of cloud cover.  Which is OK. Usually when you have visiting guests you worry about the weather and want it to be optimal, but in this case our Californians who have been enduring an excessive heat and humidity wave and a drought, didn't mind the cool cloudy weather at all.  :)  whew !
(Brilliant sunshine does make for more glorious fall leaves photos though, I must say.) 


Statue of Edgar Allen Poe in front of the Trolley Tour Store.

Old Town Trolley Tours
Great for when you don't have a lot of time and want a good overview of a city.
We took one of these before with Susan, Mike and Eric and it was informative and fun.
Unfortunately, this one was rather boring and we were stuck in traffic a lot so it seemed to take forever. (sorry Seth and Kim)

We got off at the North End.
Even though Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall are tourist traps by many accounts, they were calling our names and we unashamedly loved them.
Didn't get anything to eat though...
saving our appetites for Mike's!
Always a mob scene.
The line goes outside and down the sidewalk.  But it moves pretty fast.  

One Cannoli and one Lobster Tail comin' up!

We had fun walking around the North End.  It was all decked out for fall.

Even though we ate dessert first, we decided to eat dinner in an authentic Italian restaurant.
 Another Boston Bucket List item checked off. 

We didn't know it at the time but this turned out to be an up and coming hot spot here.
When we came out, there was a line down the street waiting to get in.
Thank you for finding it, Seth.

Seeing Beacon Hill was on top of Kim's Boston Bucket list and seeing it again was way up on mine, so even though we didn't make it till after dark we still loved it.
(This way we even got to peek into some of those glorious rooms ;)

One long last look at my cute little Acorn Street. 
(Mantra. Mantra. Mantra.)

Oh, I do so love autumn.  
This has been a beautiful one.
We have been so blessed to be able to go out and experience it in all its New England glory.

And we so overjoyed that we were able to experience it and share it with our darling Seth and Kim.
They give us so many reasons to rejoice.
(three of them have names: London, Ben and Beau!)

We love you, Seth and Kim!
Thank you for visiting us. 

1 comment:

  1. The best trip and as hard as it is to imagine (since your pictures are so great) they don't do the actual scenery justice. Thank you a hundred times over for planning such a great trip for us.