After a day spent driving along Lake George and the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York, we made our way into Burlington, Vermont, where we stayed for the night. It's a college town and, as one would expect, cozy and cute. The next morning, as we drove into the surrounding countryside to make our way across the state, I told Kirk that Vermont looked exactly as I'd always imagined it would. "This is a place I've always wanted to visit, ever since I first heard about it. Like, since I was a little kid," I told him. It was fun to see it looked exactly as I'd imagined it.
Except I'd spoken too soon.
It turns out Burlington and its immediate vicinity are likely the most cute and cozy parts of the entire state. The rest of the state that we saw was more rural than I expected. Yes, there are mountains. Yes, there is likely a beautiful ski scene in the winter. And yes, there are likely parts that are amazing that we didn't see and which may also be very different at a different time of year than right now. But much of what we saw in Vermont, both along the major highway and the more rural country routes, fell squarely in the category of what Kirk and I have come to call "Wiggyville." Unfortunately.
But oh, New Hampshire.
New Hampshire stole my heart. It feels open and hardy. The trees sprout everywhere. They line the streets and cluster all over the hills and mountainsides. There are some gorgeous lakes, namely Squam Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee. The people are friendly and strong. And even though we missed the bountiful turning of the leaves by a couple weeks, we still managed, along our entire route from upstate New York down the central cut of Vermont and across central New Hampshire, to follow the last of the colored leaves that had hung onto the trees. It was almost like they hung on just for us until we got to New Hampshire and stayed for a couple more days, as the crowds had come and gone, many of the tourist trappings had closed for the winter season, and it was mostly us and the road and the remaining glorious color.
Hey, we'll take it. In fact, that is our preference! The less crowds, the better. Just us and some trees, some good roads and some great conversation.
We stayed in a cute bed and breakfast for two nights. The first night we sustained a massive rainstorm, fully expecting to wake to trees that had been shaken bare of their remaining leaves. But, no. Like I said, those leaves seemed hardy for the benefit of our enjoyment. We spent that next day taking a circuitous route along the two major lakes, stopping in the quaint villages along the way, taking lunch and browsing bookshops and even snacking on some local Ben and Jerry's despite the cold. Oh, and stopping at the scenic lookouts.
Unfortunately, the wi-fi access that our bed and breakfast advertised when we booked the room didn't take too kindly to our Mac laptops, and we got booted off the system every time we tried logging on. Then the rest stops that advertised free wi-fi access weren't working, either. And the monastery in New York where we're staying now? You guessed it; those monks aren't too hip on hooking up the residents.
For a vacation, I've kept trying to let this be okay. It's tough, though, especially in the week before such a historic election, one in which I'm deeply invested. And especially because we hadn't planned for this trip to be one intentionally for unplugging. With both of us in online programs right now, internet access is an essential part of our life, and part of the fun of taking online programs is the freedom to take off and go places while keeping up with school anytime and anyplace. We were looking forward to testing this part of the online education experience firsthand with this trip! (Maybe we've learned that though there's the freedom to do this, it needs to be undertaken with greater preparation and contingency plans.)
Now we're back in New York, concurrently working on the new online classes that started this week for both of us and visiting with Diana. More on the specific goings-on of this part of the trip in my next installment!