Alright! It's been a couple of days... we're keeping busy on this trip - pretty much driving, hanging out with friends, or sleeping at all times. When I last posted, we were in New Jersey. We drove from there to Noank, Connecticut. Ben describes Noank as an obnoxiously cute New England town. He's right.
One of Ben's good friends from college, Kevin, lives there and does some farming. It was pretty sweet hanging out... we got to see the barn where Kevin is doing a lot of work right now - he had all kinds of awesome stuff going on. Lots of tractors, hay bales, and cows (obviously). We also got to skip up the road and check out some sheep that his sister, Kate, keeps... they were also very cool. Aside from the agriculture stuff, we also just got in some really good hang out time. We even ate at the family's restaurant/diner, Carson's, a couple of times - I had a maple walnut and pumpkin milk shake, sooo good!
We left Connecticut Thursday afternoon and made our way up to the Northampton, Massachusetts area. We entertained ourselves around a cool downtown area for a while - ate lunch at the local brewery, checked out a few shops - I bought some really nice yarn made from baby alpaca fur. After some wandering we got to meet up with another awesome friend from Ben's college days - Bart. We settled in to his place for a bit, and then he took us out to eat at the restaurant where he bartends... I know I talk about food all the time on this blog, but it was just another good meal. I had a steak with mushrooms and mashed potatoes and roasted radishes, kale, and assorted root vegies.
Before heading out of town on Friday, we got to go to Bart's parent's place and check out the operation they have going there. The family owns multiple sugarbushes - that's new vocab for me... for those of you not familiar, that means they have a bunch of property with lots of Sugar Maples from whose sap they make maple syrup (and it's so good). If you want some awesome legit maple syrup, let me know - I'll put you in touch... I mean, I'm talking about maple syrup that beat out all others in a maple syrup contest, yes, #1.
Okay, okay... from Massachusetts we drove northbound to Burlington, Vermont. We arrived just in time to see another of Ben's best buds from UNH, Wren, perform a little concert at a local record/book/art shop/gallery in town. It was a pretty sweet show, and luckily we have been able to spend lots of time hanging out with Wren since then. We had a great time just hanging out with him and his roommates at their house last night, then today we got into all kinds of good things around town. We started off the day by going to the neighborhood bakery for coffee and pastries, which was wonderful. Wren had to take off for work after that, but he left Ben and I with a list of all the awesome things to do in Burlington. Sadly, we didn't get to do everything on the list today, but we did hit a lot of it.
After having a bit of lazy time after the bakery, we went out the lunch at one of Wren's favorite places in town, then went over to a sweet bike shop. This place was awesome. It's called Old Spokes Home - first of all, this is pretty much the best bike shop name ever. Secondly, it's completely legitimate. Not only do they have bikes and a shop and accessories and everything - they also have a museum of bikes from the mid 1800s on, and it is soooo fun and awesome to check out. I wish they would have let us ride some of those bikes....
So, we also hit up a shop called "Junktiques" - it was exactly what it sounds like, and the owner was pretty nuts. Then we drove out of town a bit to go visit Wren and one of his roommates, Anna, at work - they are bakers at Shelburne Farms. The land was so gorgeous to drive around and check out. The scenery was beautiful, the bakery was awesome, and we even got to check out this huge old barn and a bunch of animals they had around. After the farm, we drove back to Burlington and walked Church street, which is a nice brick road with cute shops and no vehicle traffic. Then we hit up the local co-op and made it back to the house in time to relax, eat a delicious dinner with a bunch of folks, and just hang out for the rest of the evening. There are two Pierres (from France) staying at the house right now too, and they treated us all to a wonderful homemade meal.
And so, here we are. Tomorrow we will be leaving Burlington and heading to Portland, ME to see some more good folks. The adventure continues... I'm sure there are things I'm forgetting, but I can tell you that the general idea is that we're spending a lot of time with friends and having fun. Pretty hard to beat.
Lastly, I will apologize for the lack of photos... as it turns out, we remembered our computer but not the charger, so I'm doing posts from the tablet or borrowed computers. When the trip is over, I'll do a blog (or a few) with pictures from this stint of the trip, so that will be good fun too.