Phew. Home feels good again after a few days away. I cleaned before we left, which I'd never done before-- I know, novel, right?-- and I have to say, it was SO AMAZING to walk into our bedroom again.
Uh oh, you're probably thinking. She's started off a vacation post with thirty words about how nice it is to be home. Well-- the hotels we stayed at were summarily BAD. One was a Holiday Inn which did not have HGTV, and, well, the main reason we stay at hotels, ever, is to watch HGTV and eat in bed and do all those naughty and divine hotel things. It would not be overstatement to say the lack of HGTV cast a pall on Friday night. Then we stayed with our friends Jeff and Sarah for two nights, which was excellent-- and I'll get to that in a minute-- easily the nicest, most comfortable room of our trip, even when you include the 6:30 am yowling toddler wake-up call. And then we stayed two nights at a lodge in Bondville, VT, a very affordable Groupon dealie that I sprung for, when I found it. And folks, I sprung a little too fast. Never book a Groupon without visiting a place's website, first. This number was equal parts 70s ski lodge funk-- complete with harvest gold shower-- and part late 80s bed-and-breakfast quaint. Dainty floral wallpaper in the same room as the harvest gold shower. Pink carpeting with lots of burn holes around the fireplace-- yes, our room had a fireplace-- and a torn shower curtain.
Sigh. We always try to be reasonable and stay someplace cheap when we go away-- or else camp-- but honestly, I would've been more comfortable in a leaky tent this time 'round. I always book the lodging, it's always my decision where we stay, and next time, it's going to be someplace NICE.
For the record, the lodge did, blessedly, have HGTV. And we watched a lot of it.
Anyway, now that I've gotten that out of the way, I have to say, aside from the crummy hotels, our trip was great. In our family, trips are measured by lodging, by activities, by weather, and by meals. Almost all our meals were great. The weather was UNBELIEVABLE-perfect. We hiked a few gorgeous miles of river bank and stream bank and granite outcropping on Monday, at Jamaica State Park (in Jamaica, VT). We saw town after town after town of white clapboarded meeting houses and taverns and flowerboxes stuffed with shocks of orange mums. We saw lots of mountains, and drove along lots of sparkling rivers and streams. We picked up shiny rocks.
Our time with Jeff and Sarah was, as always, warm and inspiring and LOUD and amazing. Their boys are growing up-- right now they're 5 and 3. One is incredibly cute with an evil gleam in his eye, whose hobbies include knocking over his brother's blocks and shimmying, squirrel-like, very high into the trees very very fast. The other is incredibly cute, quieter and maybe a little shy, with a love of sorting and building and dawdling. It's amazing just watching them grow, and watching our friends grow as parents, and watching Jeff's berry farm grow up, too.
Patrick had an instrument-- a dobro or a guitar or a ukulele or a mandolin-- in his hands almost the entire time we were with Jeff and Sarah. My husband is a musician. I've known this, of course, for a long long time, but whenever we're at Jeff and Sarah's I find myself at a new level of understanding what that means. Watching the chickens forage in the yard, I get this warm feeling about the animals fulfilling their purpose and their chicken-ness. I also get that feeling watching Diesel roll in a sunny expanse of freshly mowed yard. And watching my sweetie noodle around on the dobro during breakfast chaos... it's the same thing.