When I was young, our family vacations were a trip to Vermont for two weeks in August. We would pile in the car and head north from New Jersey.. It was our tradition to spend our first night at the Motel on the Mountain in Suffern, NY, and then to head to Sharon, VT. I couldn't be so close to the place without stopping to visit.
Sharon was home to the High Lake Farm, a former fishing camp around a small lake now known as Standing Pond. There was a collection of various ramshackle old cabins, each one different, and we most often stayed in one with a big screened porch overlooking the lake. There was a large barn, a smaller barn-like gathering space, a tiny beach, and the lake. I have such happy memories of being turned loose for two weeks to run with whatever pack of kids was there with their families, while our parents would get some much needed R&R. I remember riding the old Jeep pickup to the dump. It was a real honor to be old enough, and trustworthy enough, to hold on tight in the back with all the trash cans and bouncing kids for a wild ride around to each cabin, and then to the dump where we backed precariously over this enormous pit, emptied each can, and then clattered back to the farm holding onto the cans, and each other, for dear life. It was also an honor to be able to swim well enough to get from the dock to the floating platform in the lake unaccompanied by an adult. There were cookouts at the beach, dances on Saturday nights, trips to church potlucks in town, salamanders and lightning bugs to catch, and lots of time just to hang out.
The place was owned by a guy named Bill Meaney. We took his name seriously, because he was a little gruff and there were tales about how scary he could be. We came to learn that many of those tales were conjured up by the teenager he would hire to help him out around the farm. I think they both hoped those stories would keep us somewhat in line and out of their hair. He became great friends with my parents, who kept in touch with him long after we moved to Ohio and stopped making the annual trip to his place. I do remember him actually getting angry with us only once, when we dragged hay bales from the barn and blankets from our cabins and built a huge tent city in the field by the barn.
One of my fondest memories is paddling a canoe around the lake with my Dad looking for turtles, lily pads, dragon flies, and such. It was so quiet and peaceful.
Our Honesdale friends, Susan and Jeff, experienced a severe storm that took off the top of a tree in their yard. Another of their trees is diseased and so both will need to come out. That led us to a discussion of stump art and how that might be the ultimate answer to their tree dilemma. We have run into some great examples on this trip that just beg to be shared.
From Kennebunkport, ME:
Camden, ME: If you look closely, you can see the wooden gent on the far right's pipe is actually smoking. Impressive!
From Conneaut, OH. Hey Jeff, when you lose two big trees in your front yard . . . why not go fishing?
Before saying goodbye to Maine, we wanted to make a stop in Camden. Doug's cousins, Bill and Marilyn Reardon and their children, had owned a bed and breakfast in Camden called the High Tide Inn. We had never been there, so thought we should at least stop and see if it was still there while we were 'in the neighborhood'. It is there, and looking fine. It's a big place--the inn, a motel, some cottages, and another multi-room building by the water.
The current proprietor, a delightful lady named Jo, showed us around and talked about how special the Reardon family is to her too. If you're ever in the area, it would be a great place to stay. She also showed us her kitchen, which is a screened porch off the main house. It is a lovely place. I can see why the Reardons love it!
Since January, we have visited eight national parks, all of which are posted on this blog. Number eight is Acadia National Park in Maine. They had over 3 million visitors last year, so the 2 1/2 hour trolley tour we took saved us from driving on some narrow, crowded roads and trying to find parking spaces to enjoy the views. Plus, we learned about the park's history and geography from Randy, our very knowledgeable and engaging guide.
Mt. Desert Island is another place that does a great job with public transportation. There are free buses that will take you all over the island. A successful venture to minimize the seasonal traffic that can clog island roads.
This was my second visit to Honesdale, and I can see why Jeff and Susan like it here. When we visited last Fall, they were moving from a house on the square by the courthouse in town to a ranch house by the river on the edge of town. They did some remodeling and it's just beautiful inside and out. There are lots of great restaurants, history, shops, arts, crafts, events, and community spirit. There's a park on top of the cliff at the opposite edge of town where they have a Christmas gathering and stage a fireworks display for the Fourth of July (which I could see from Susan and Jeff's front yard). The business owners on the main street downtown celebrate Halloween in a big way. Here are some photos from our latest visit. The only thing missing is a (hint) photo of the pups!
Oh, and Jeff says farm-to-table is big in Honesdale. I guess so. In the two sidewalk flower beds in front of Laurel's Hometown Cafe where we enjoyed delicious breakfasts, they are not only growing flowers, but also tomatoes!
We were 49 years late!
Yesterday evening we arrived in Honesdale, PA to visit with our good friends Jeff and Susan and their awesome dogs Heidi, Bella, Fred, and Ellie. Jeff had today off, and he suggested a visit to the Woodstock museum at the Bethel Woods Cultural Arts Center which is at the site where the legendary event took place in the summer of 1969--the summer the three of us graduated from high school.
It was the end of a tumultuous decade, and the one in which we came of age: The Berlin Wall, the Cuban missile crisis, two Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Jr assassinated, the civil rights act, the Vietnam war, race riots, demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention, Armstrong set foot on the moon, and 400,000 of our contemporaries attended a legendary rock concert that could easily have been a disaster, but turned out to be a massively peaceful love-fest. As we moved through the exhibits, re-living our past, I was saddened by how little has changed.
The first act at Woodstock was Richie Havens, who opened with his song Freedom, and Jimi Hendrix closed the show with his gut- and heart-wrenching rendition of our national anthem. We continue to be plagued with racial prejudice, we get involved in wars that cannot be won and aren't ours to fight, and our country is more polarized than ever over guns, immigrants, women's rights, and how we should behave when our national anthem is played. And as we did 50 years ago, we demonstrate, protest, resist, vote, and take action to effect change.
But part of what saved Woodstock from deteriorating into chaos was that when the infrastructure and weather failed, the local residents and authorities who 'didn't want all those drugged out hippies' in their backyard, stepped up with food, water, first aid, and transportation. And their 'guests' turned out to be friendlier and less scary than anticipated. So maybe we just need to welcome more guests into our neighborhood, and get acquainted with their 'strange ways and loud music'.
We were delighted to be included in a gathering of friends and their dogs at Lake Chautauqua, NY. Expertly hosted by Tom, Lisa, Lindsey, Frosty, and Stella at their beautiful home on the lake and joined by Hailey, Melissa, Chris, Eric, Gus, and Saffy; it was a treat to spend time relaxing and playing with our two- and four-footed friends. It was hot, hot, hot, but we were treated to any number of water toys, cooling lake water, and breezy boat/jet ski/tube rides. Couldn't have had a better start to our summer vacation!
Ann, Doug, Moose, Darla, Sunny, and with gratitude, Winnie and Chinny.