Travelling in Sunshine

We are fortunate that our travelling days have been sunny under clear blue skies. Today it was especially important as the sun helped keep us warm on a very cold day. True to the forecast, we awakened to -20C with a windchill of -25C. We decided we did not need to go skiing. After a few yoga stretches we were reassured that yesterday’s skiing had not ruined us. From our bedroom, we could see the ski runs of Magic Mountain glistening, awaiting today’s skiers. Apparently downhill skiers are better protected from the bitter cold.

Lisa and Ken welcomed us to the breakfast table with plenty of choices: orange juice, tea or coffee, yogurt, fig or granola bars, cottage cheese and fresh fruit, crustless quiche with ham and cheese, toast with homemade plum jam, hot cereal, an assortment of cold cereal. The next couple who came in declared themselves vegetarian; so, they were offered scrambled eggs. Yesterday we had French toast made with Lisa’s multi-grain raisin bread. All delicious! As we ate we watched blue jays, chickadees, nuthatches and a downy woodpecker at the feeders. Lucinda, the very large, very long-haired cat watched the birds too. Our hosts had said they would remove the cat from the common areas if we did not like cats. We were happy to watch Lucinda make her rounds.

The sun created beautiful shadow patterns on the wooded hillsides and fields as we travelled first east then south to Connecticut. Long grey shadow branches reached across the snow-covered rivers. We stopped at the Vermont Country Store, mostly to take a photo of the old grist mill and the covered bridge, but we were drawn in by the charm of the general store. Inside was a plethora of food samples: local cheeses, flavoured mustards and cream cheeses, fudge and biscuits. One room of the store had floor to ceiling cupboards and drawers reminiscent of a very old apothecary shop. We bought some fine smooth Vermont cheddar and venison sausage, but the flavour I left the store with was a delicious lime cheesecake.

In Brattleboro we stopped at Grafton Village Cheese, another store we remembered fondly from a visit two year’s ago. We needed to sample many cheeses there after tasting one chili flavoured cheddar. It was too spicy for both of us. When something is too spicy for Brian, you know it is really hot. Effie’s biscuits were best at dousing the flames. We bought some Gouda and more cheddar then headed across the river to New Hampshire to buy liquor and wine where taxes are much lower than elsewhere.

We settled back into listening to more of The Pilgrimage as we drove through Massachusetts. We decided we had time for a stop at REI near Hartford and still arrive near Guilford in time to pick up our grandchildren from school. We did not buy any backpacks at REI but I tried on two packed with fifteen pounds each and after discussing backpacks with the knowledgeable salesman, I decided I wanted to try a different one that was sold out. The search continues.

Alex flew into my arms when I opened the doors of his school. Alex accompanied me into Julie’s school. Julie was not eagerly watching for us. She was engrossed in a game with a friend; so, my arrival was met with a frown. I grabbed a hug and once I lured her outside, her game was forgotten. Stories of valentines accompanied us home.

Alex practised the cello and Julie showed me how to play Minecraft on the iPad. We thought about making chocolate chip oatmeal heart-shaped cookies, but the oatmeal part was non-negotiable from Alex’s perspective; so, we will make these another day after shopping for oatmeal.

Our sunny day ended with family around the dining room table enjoying roast of lamb. Perfect.

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