4 December 2016
We’re back, after a very enjoyable ten day visit to the States. We visited my mother and brothers in New England for the Thanksgiving holiday and, true to form, I managed to secure two turkey dinners with all the trimmings.
We arrived in Boston on a glorious late autumn day, bright and clear, and made our way up to Canaan, New Hampshire to my brother Steph’s place just as the snow was due to arrive.
Steph and Hope, as always, were in fine form and are the most generous and gracious of hosts. The Riverview Guest Suite is very comfortable – request it when you make your reservations.
Not surprisingly, we spent a good deal of time with my mother and, at 91 she’s still going strong. As well as many delightful dinners in the Kendal dining room (Italian Night was sensational – think oodles of calamari), we also enjoyed many a happy adventure with her out and about.
We visited the Orozco murals at Dartmouth which are very impressive. I had visited them some years ago with my father but they now have an audio tour delivered by a Dartmouth prof who explains the meaning, symbolism and historical context for the project and which made for a much more enjoyable and informative visit. Not sure the students are too keen on the damn tourists continuously tromping through the reading room when they are trying to study and prepare coursework or revise for exams.
We also got out to the Montshire Museum of Science just across the river in Norwich, Vermont which was fabulous. This place is a blast and exactly what a science museum should be about – lots and lots of hands-on stuff to play with and experiment. The only drawback was that the exhibits are so engaging to young people that it’s difficult to get a turn without looking too much of a bully. People stared at me a bit peculiarly when I elbowed my way past an eight-year old to take control of one of the exhibits.
Lunches at the Skinny Pancake and King Arthur Flour helped us expand our stomachs in preparation for the Thanksgiving dinner(s), one at Kendal and one at Steph’s, both of which were fantastic. Kendal does a great job at producing really tasty food, especially considering the numbers of meals they need to prepare every day. Thanksgiving requires three sittings as those residents who are in camp are joined by their families – we amounted to a party of nine – and then multiply that by several hundred residents! Our “reservations” were for the third sitting but, in spite of my anxieties that the food might run out, there was plenty of lovely moist turkey and all the trimmings to go around. It was absolutely delicious.
Steph’s Thanksgiving, on the Saturday, was equally delectable. Steph decided to spatchcock his turkey this year, a technique I’ve only seen once before, when we had “brick-flattened” chicken in Bagni di Lucca, Italy a few years ago. And, in spite of our fears and suspicions, it was a great success. Penelope contributed her butternut squash spinach au gratin to the table and she and Hope produced mountains of mashed potatoes and stuffings, as well as a pumpkin and pecan pie, all of which was gut-bustingly tasty. I had imagined that most folks would be too stuffed to partake of too much dessert but surprisingly, the pumpkin and pecan pies disappeared as if by magic. I knew it was wishful thinking to hope that there might be a piece for me to have at breakfast.
No visit to my brother Steph’s place would be complete with a sauna in their hut by the river. I wrote about our adventures last year and what a splendid job my nephew Greg carried out in transforming the dilapidated old building into a comfortable and roaring sauna of Hadesian proportions. This year we had not one but two saunas but I wisely declined the opportunity to plunge into the freezing Mascoma River this year – one dip last year was more than enough for any lifetime! At any rate, rubbing myself all over with snow was just as effective at generating the desired result. The hot shower afterwards was bliss.
On the weekend before Thanksgiving we travelled over to visit with my brother Sandy and his wife Pam for one last time at our property at Lake George. One of the tasks I had to complete during the visit was to sign the paperwork initiated by my siblings to complete the sale of the property. Indeed, the sale was concluded on the day before Thanksgiving and that particular parcel of paradise is no longer ours.
It is sad to say “good-bye” to that magical place where we’ve had so many wonderfully enjoyable adventures. We’ve been privileged to gather regularly there as an extended family many times – the last time was for my father’s 90th birthday in 2013 where there were 39 of us (along with a handful of friends and other outliers) ranging from my father at 90 to one of his great-grandchildren at just a few months. It is a little slice of paradise which we’ve enjoyed sharing with many friends, all of whom have fallen in love with the magic of the place. But time marches on and circumstances change and it was time to let it go. The memories we made there, though, are ours forever.
Goodness, didn’t we look young and didn’t we have fun!
Finally, our friend Erik sent this along the other day.
Seems about right to me.
Much love to you all,