Monday, September 27, 2021

Mini Vacation with "Baby"

 Our RV trailer and truck have got a lot of use this summer and now in the fall.  Our fourth trip was down to the North Adams, Massachusetts area for 3 days in September. We stayed at the Mohawk Trail State Forest for 2 nights. That turned out to be a different experience than we expected. There was extensive road work going on right outside the park. One-way traffic on several sections caused long waits and the noisy machines were busy from 7:30 in the morning till late in the day. Otherwise, this is a remote park from anywhere. It took us 20 minutes to get to a spot where there was cell service and it was 30+ minutes to Adams or North Adams. 

This is site #1. We were uphill from the river and right on the park road. But it was fairly easy to back in - now, last year this would have scared us to death!

Our Senior Center has 2 E-bikes for free for up to 3 days. We made reservations well in advance and spent two hours enjoying the Rail to Trail bikeway south from Adams. Scott's cousin Lisa drove from Amherst to join us with her normal bike. As the trail was mostly flat, we didn't need much assistance from our E-bikes but on the uphill sections, it was great! They are very heavy though so it was a job for Scott to get them into the back of our truck when he picked them up. After our bike trip, we enjoyed a nice lunch outside overlooking the path in Adams. 

Scott and I and our E-bikes ready to roll. I'm sorry that the selfie we thought we'd taken with Lisa has been lost somewhere. 

We had hoped to go into North Adams for dinner that night but a series of thunderstorms and torrential rains called a halt to that. The road was hard enough in good weather! So we snuggled into our trailer and enjoyed a good dinner and books. The next day we had reservations for Mass MoCA. This was our second time this year, but there is SO much to see and do there, that we had few repeats. We started with reserved tickets to the James Turrell exhibit "Into the Light" and got to go into both the light and dark "happenings".  It was a lovely morning, followed by lunch in their courtyard. We had to get back to Rutland by 4 PM to return the bikes but it was a great weather day and only a 2-hour drive. 

This is the largest watercolor in the world. Barbara Prey is the artist and it is 8 X 15 feet and SO beautiful. It took a year from start to finish and portrays Building 6's second floor before it was remodeled into the current art gallery. 

This traveling art class studio fascinated us and
I'm sorry we didn't have time to do some painting.

Inside is so cozy and many of the pieces people
have produced are displayed. 

Molly Wolf and Patrick Mascia with their new 
baby, Eleanor. We visited them at their home in 
Cambridge on September 21st. 
What a fabulous time we had at the Paramount 
Theater in Rutland seeing Straight No Chaser!

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Summer Activities Round-up

Will, Sean, Heather, and Scott at Jacob's Pillow, MA in July.
PHOTOS below are so small. If you click on them they will enlarge.

This was a fabulous summer (compared to last year)! We attended tons of musical and art events: Opera, Dance, Symphony, Popular Music, Museums, and Chamber music. We saw the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, Jacob's Pillow, Mass MOCA, Opera North at Blow Me Down Farm (4 productions), the Saint Gaudens National Park, "The Iliad" and "Seussical" at Weston Playhouse, Marlboro Chamber Music Festival, the Yellow Barn, Village Harmony at Westminster, VT, Vermont Symphony at the Paramount Theater, ABBA Tribute at the meadow at the Vermont State Fair, JAG Burlesque at the theater on the Hill (at King Arthur Flour), and Tosca at Barn Opera.  In addition, our town of Shrewsbury had weekly concerts up at our Town Hall all summer! Our RV "Baby" came in handy too with 4 three-day mini holidays down in Pittsfield, Mass., Amherst, Mass., Cornish, NH, and North Adams, Mass.  Almost all of these were outdoors, and if not, they checked vaccination certificates and mandated masks. Now that is a summer to remember!

On our 3 day trip to Western Mass. we attended 2
concerts at Tanglewood, The first night a storm
came up during our picnic and we lucked out under
this canopy. 

Sean & Will are members so they scored these 
tickets inside the shed for both concerts.

The grounds of Tanglewood are so beautiful. We came here every summer with a number of families
when the kids were young for a week.

Looking down at the stage at Jacob's Pillow. We
sat in the front row. The photo on the right was
taken at Mass MOCA where we spent our last day.

And of course, we had lots of friends and family visit. In May we had a lovely dinner with Gail and Colin in Middlebury. In June Scott's cousin, Lisa had us down for her youngest son's Graduation Party and then came up for a stay here later in August. Brent & Wilma joined us in a rental RV for that party and then came up to Vermont for a visit. The Fourth of July was amazing this year with almost everyone there over 5 days of fun and food (separate blog post).  Sean, Will, and Gary (Will's Dad) came for a separate visit just after that. We had a great time with Suzanne Falter, who came from Oakland, CA. Our daughter Zoe, grandsons Nick, and Tommy stayed for a week in August. Jenny & Russ Wolf made it up in August too. Coming soon, Barbara Craig will be arriving from Bonita Springs, FL on her yearly visit north. 

Colin and I at the Smiths in Middlebury

Heather with Brent and Wilma in June

My women's book club meeting in July at 
Connie's house in Shrewsbury. Two photos taken
in opposite directions,

Next week we go down to North Adams for two nights and then the following week, Heather will drive down to see her sister Paula in Maryland and then on to Washington DC for a visit with James, Morgen, and Kolya. Scott is taking the train down during the week to join us. 

We spent two nights at an RV park near the Opera
North's Blow Me Down Farm and one day visited
the Saint Gaudens National Park location nearby.

One of Saint Gaudens most famous sculptures, the
original is in the Boston Gardens.

We walked around the extensive grounds and
 enjoyed a picnic there.

This is the main house where he and his family
lived. It's now a museum as is the whole property.
His wife gave it to the National Parks service.

The gardens were spectacular. There was a resident
Sculptor, and we could tour the studios. His pieces
were so big that he had many assistants, sculptors
in their own right. 

Our grandson Tommy and Nick helped pile up our
wood for the winter during their visit.

We attended an ABBA tribute concert that really
rocked with them and our daughter Zoe. But their
favorite event was touring the Star Trek Original
Set in Ticonderoga, which Scott and I had done
earlier this summer (see the blog post).

My book club met in August at my home. My book
choice was "An Embarrassment of Mangos" which
contains many recipes. Each person chose one and
we had a fabulous dinner together. 

A small group of the many dishes at our dinner..
The photo opposite is of a Village Harmony

Our plans now (subject to change) are to fly down to Guatemala at the beginning of November for one month and get Scott Free ready to sail. She needs a haul and a survey for insurance purposes and that will lead to a list of repairs of that we're sure. Then back to Vermont for December and Christmas with our family. At the end of the month, we'll return to Guatemala and hopefully, leave for good mid-January. We plan to spend a few months in Belize and then begin the long trip back up to the Chesapeake where we will put Scott Free up for sale. Sean & Will hopefully will be joining us for some of that trip, along with several couples from Shrewsbury. 

Nick & Tommy check out the shuttlecraft

And beam up!

Friday, September 10, 2021

Finally - the Fourth of July post!

A view of our home from Brandon's drone!

Our group shot taken by Larry with a time delay on Sunday.

 Well, it's September and I'm finally getting caught up to date on this blog. First here, are some photos from this year's Fourth of July weekend. My next post will cover the rest of the summer events. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we didn't have a Fourth of July gathering last summer so this one was extra special for all of us. We had only one missing family: Molly, Patrick, and their new daughter Eleanor. Concerns about their new baby kept them away this year, which we all understand. 

A few of us were out on the deck while Brandon flew his drone and took photos.

Larry and his new girlfriend Zuzha (not sure of spelling) came first on Thursday, along with Sean & Will. James, Morgen, and Kolya drove during the night from Washington and arrived at 3 AM Friday morning. Then Deborah & Dick, Doug (Pat couldn't make it as she came down with Lyme), and Russ & Marty came for dinner, with Julie & Brandon arriving just in time to join us. On Saturday Jenny & Sam (the Wolf's dog) came with the motorboat in tow. David & Leslie also came that morning, as did Luke. Last, and much anticipated, Scott, Laura, and Calvin came for the day Sunday. This was most of our first opportunity to meet Calvin. He and Kolya had a great time playing together! They are only about 6 months apart in age. 

Laura hands Calvin down to Scott while Kolya watches with Morgen and James. As you can see
here, we didn't always have perfect weather, but it was warm enough to swim up at the lake every day.

This year we changed the food preparation method. In the past, everyone brought an appetizer, side dish, and dessert to add to the meat/casserole we had as a main. There had to be a lot of organizing done to put it all together. This year everyone signed up for one meal during the weekend and they were totally responsible. This turned out really well and resulted in some amazing menus (not surprising). There are a lot of great cooks in our group. 

Dick, Debbie, and Doug made Saturday lunch
Here Dick peels apples.

No surprise, it was huge and delicious
We enjoyed the leftovers all week.
Debbie admires the spread.

There were so many people, we needed 3 tables for dinner.
Here the younger folks had the dining room. Morgen,
Brandon, and Jenny are missing in the photo. Will, James,
Sean, Luke and Julie here.

David, Leslie, Doug, Marty, Zuzha, and Larry
ate in the living room

And in the kitchen, Scott, Debbie, Dick, Russ and
Heather (taking the photo)

Leslie's famous flag cake on Sunday

Sean, Julie and her new boyfriend, Brandon did
Sunday dinner (with Will taking photo)

Jennie getting cookies ready for the

James and Morgen made Monday
lunch with BBQ Chicken
Larry & Zuzha
Four of our hunks on the swimming raft - Luke, Sean, Will and Brandon
Morgen helps Kolya into his swim suit
Hanging out on the deck
Marty & Russ 
Zuzha gave several people massage
Doug, David, Scott, and young Scott
Julie & her puppy
Kolya loved the water!
His "wings"
Sean, Will, and Brandon working out. They ran
too and Luke joined them as well.

David and Leslie made Saturday
dinner, but Dave volunteered a lot
on dish patrol too,.