Sunday, August 27, 2006

Vermont Color for the Weekend

Friday night Jay and I joined the ground crew for a couple who regularly go up in their hot air balloon. Jay, hvaing already tagged along with the chase car once, got to go up in the basket for the hour-long flight. Not quite as exciting from the ground, but a really interesting experience I never expected to have. We've both volunteered to be on their list of people to call when they need crew.

Saturday, we spent most of the afternoon and evening at a local family's end of summer extravaganza. Emphasis on the extravaganza. Their property is fairly large, and includes a seven hole golf course, a barn full of memorabilia from the satirical political campaigns of Danny Gore, and a garage full of other Vermont memorabilia, including a steam engine that can be stoked up to blow an old train whistle.

We played badminton, golf, disc golf, and listened to the bluegrass band who showed up around dinner time. We ate a truly random assortment of summer salads, fresh bread, and corn on the cob, not to mention tasty little squares of a dozen different desserts. And to top the night off, we watched the best fireworks show I've seen in years. This was no backyard special, no. The family knows people. Fun people. People with licenses to buy mortars and shoot them into the sky.

And Sunday? Well, today's been all rainy, so we're up at school playing on the computers. Hence the blog entry.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Last Saturday

This was just a very nice day. Very nice.

Don't remember exactly how it started. Or maybe I do and I'm just not telling, take your pick.

I dropped Jay off at work and drove into the booming metropolis (population 8000) to the south of us. Then I went for my appointment at the "pricy" salon for a new haircut. I say "pricy" because I've been talking to my sister in NYC, and "pricy" in VT is still 50% less than "dirt cheap" there. Wonderful experience, the stylist's deodorant failure notwithstanding. (And after many trips to Europe, body odor just doesn't gag me like it does some people.) First there was the intense hairbrushing scalp massage, followed by a neck and shoulder rub, leading to lovely hair washing... sigh. And then he actually gave me what I asked for without making me give detailed instructions.

So now my hair is shorter in the back than in the front, and the front part just reaches my chin. Hasn't been this short since that bowl cut back when I was four, but I totally love it. Left a huge tip because I thought they undercharged for what they were offering. I was expecting to spend ten or twenty dollars more.

Then back to the school to retrieve the boy.

And then. AND THEN. We drove over to Stowe to the Umiak Kayak shop and bought this boat. Woo hoo! Well, we didn't actually get to take it home with us yet, because we decided to get the one that's in the rental fleet this summer, and we can't have it until Labor Day weekend. (Sept 2nd) And, since Jay had a bit more left in his Utah account than remembered, we're considering a second boat as well. Especially since the rising oil prices are going to mean that next year's models are going to be significantly more expensive.

And THEN, we had a tasty dinner at Positive Pie2 in Montpelier. Yum yum, scallops and artichokes and white sauce over freshly made spaghetti.

And THEN we drove home and watched the Angel DVD that had come in the mail from Netflix.

Not a rotten moment the whole day. Love that.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Recap Plus

Okay, we're home. Actually, we came home a bit early, I just haven't felt like writing anything until now.

August 4th-7th: Hung out in Jersey with Jay's family. I actually got to spend some time with his sister without him around, and that was kind of nice. She and I are both extremely competitive when in comes to games. She kicked my ass in Scrabble, so I had to teach her a couple card games so I could beat her at something. Heh.

By a strange twist of circumstances, my mother was in the area that weekend (moving K2 into her Manhattan digs) and so we got the mothers together for the first time. Went pretty well, I think.

August 7th: Drove from northern New Jersey to just north of Portland, Maine. We camped out at the Bradbury Mountain State Park campground... next to the most annoying family from Massachusetts. (This was a common theme throughout the vacation.) Rained pretty hard that night - big thunder and lightning - but it was dry by morning, so not a big deal. Mosquitoes were kind of nasty - ate up our feet and ankles until we managed to get out of our Chacos and into socks and shoes.

August 8th-9th: Continued up Route 1 along the Maine coast. Stopped off for a picnic lunch at the Pemaquid lighthouse, played on the rocks, watched the loons. Camped that night just north of Camden, in the Camden Hills State Park. Good site, very nice facilities. The first day in, we hiked up Mt. Megunticook (great name) to get a better view of the region. Not a bad hike, but nothing special. Second day, we rented a tandem kayak and took it out on Megunticook Lake for a ten mile (16K) paddle around the nature preserve penninsula. Beautiful day - one of the best of the trip. Had to bully Jay into going into Camden for dinner that evening. Bought a few things at Stitchery Square (Britany Birch double point needles and some Louet Euroflax) and then hopped into the book store to refresh my reading supplies. Dinner was delicious - lobster, asparagus, garlic mashed, and chocolate truffle cake for me - tuna steak with ginger and seaweed salad and greens, shiraz, and blueberry pie for Jay. Yum.

August 10th-12th: On to Lamoine State Park near Acadia National Park. Nice facilities, but our campsite was rather lacking in level spots, and the slope of the tent started bugging me by night three. Not to mention the really obnoxious group of teenagers from... guess where... yep, Massatooshits. Anywho.

Hiked Cadillac Mountain by way of the Ladder Trail up and over Mt. Dorr (?). Very cool trail. The first half of the trail is a steep rock staircase, up and up and up, with a few metal ladders embedded in the boulders that were too big to blaze around. Truly impressive trailwork all throughout the park, really. Didn't even see that many people on the trail until we got to the top of Cadillac, which has an auto route to the top. Followed the south ridge trail down the other side of Cadillac and skirted back to the start of the Ladder Trail where we'd left the car. Only saw two other people on the trail after we left the ridge. So many people visit, but so few of them leave the beaten path. I suppose I should be grateful instead of astounded by that fact. All around, a 6 mile (10K) hike, and definitely in the top three days of the trip.

Next day, we rented a kayak again, an 18 foot Wilderness Systems Northstar that had seen better days. Wasn't terribly impressed with the counterguy's knowledge. Also, because he was kind of rushed to pick up the incoming tour, we managed to leave without getting spray skirts. Not the end of the world, but salt water really makes my skin itch. We paddled out from Pretty Marsh to try to go around Bartlett Island, but the waves were a bit much - starting to be all whitecappy - so we gave it up and paddled back down one of the smaller sounds. A fun day, but marred by the itchy rash the salt water spray brought up on my legs and butt. We ventured in to Bar Harbor for dinner: lobster taquitos (though not like any taquitos I've ever had before) for me, grilled stuffed portabella for Jay, and an ancho chile chocolate tart with cinnamon ice cream for dessert. I also picked up four nice prints at the Clair de Loon gallery. I'm a fan of art as souvenirs. Someday I will have a house to decorate.

August 13th: Drove down the Schoodic Penninsula to the less traveled part of Acadia and enjoyed a picnic lunch on the rocks. Then on to a private campground a little further up the coast. Can't recall the name right now. Mostly what I remember is the wicked wicked mosquitoes. By the time I had the tent set up, I had a dozen new bites behind my knees and around my ankles, and three bites ON MY FOREHEAD. What the hell kind of mosquito bites people on their foreheads. Evil, perverted mosquitos. So while this was a fairly nice campground, I didn't quite enjoy my time there.

August 14th: Last stop. Cobscook Bay State Park. On the way there, we stopped at the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. Beautiful place - classic red and white striped tower, good views of Canada, decent and easy trails along the coast. We walked back to Green Point, watched a big freighter sailing in to Lubec (easternmost town in the US), saw a couple small planes circling overhead, ogled some tide pools. After setting up camp, we drove across the bridge onto Campobello Island (Canada) for dinner and also to check out the East Quoddy Head Lighthouse.

We had intended to stay two nights at Cobscook, but it rained most of that night and everything was soaked in the morning. Eight nights of tent sleeping had left me tired and a bit stiff, and coupled with the "everything is wet" factor, and the prospect of being damp most of the day in the fog, I convinced Jay that we should just head home. By the time we hit Bangor, the skies were clear and sunny, and we were home before 6pm. God bless my nice firm mattress.

Alrighty... that's all for now. Next time, I'll tell you what we did yesterday. Because I'm totoally psyched about it. Hee hee!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

On vacation

Not that you'll be able to tell the difference, what with all the not-posting I've been doing lately, but we're heading out until the 17th or so. We're leaving the apartment in the care of our landlady, her large dog, and our cadre of nosy neighbors, so don't try anything funny. (ha ha)

Jay's dad is getting remarried on Saturday down in Jersey, Sunday we'll be fulfilling the equal time clause for Jay's mom, Monday we head up, up, and away! to the Maine coast. Mostly camping (with an option to get a cheap motel room if it's really rainy), filling the days with hiking, kayaking, and aimless wandering up the shore. Should be good. I hope.