Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What I Did on My Summer Vacation (2007)

You may have inferred from my brief post yesterday that I am home from our mini-break weekend to Massachusetts. But it's taken me awhile to sort through and edit the photos so that I was ready to share. I have so many pics, I think I'll break this into separate posts by days.

We left Thursday night and did a crazy late-night drive to Leominster, MA, where I was originally going to stay for the big dog show. It was about a five-hour drive, and we just CRASHED when we got to the motel. No exciting culinary tales to tell...just fast food, I'm afraid. We slept in the next morning and treated ourselves to a big Denny's pancake breakfast/brunch. (I know that doesn't sound too exciting, but we don't have a Denny's in Plattsburgh.) From there, we headed out to tour around Concord and Lexington for part of the day. We were originally looking for the Old North Bridge and the Old Manse (as in "Moss on the Old Manse" by Hawthorne), but we overshot it a bit and ended up on this lovely, windy country road running from Concord to Carlisle. And lucky we did, as we found this WONDERFUL organic farm called Hutchins Farm. They had the most amazing produce at the farmstand, and we bought tomatoes (Sungolds), melons (Butterscotch, Charentais, and canteloupe), and the most incredible loaf of chewy, holey, garlic foccacia. Of course, between the ripe melons and the pungent bread, we had quite a fragrant car for the rest of our road trip, but it was worth it!

After we backtracked to the Old North Bridge and the Old Manse, we headed up to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to see the graves of Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau who are all buried in the same part of the graveyard. They were, apparently, all contemporaries in the local literary society in Concord in their day.

By the way, are you creeped out by the thought of visiting cemeteries for a vacation activity? Maybe I'm twisted, but I love it! When I was in Savannah, Georgia, I took the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil tour, and I enjoyed visiting the beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery where many of the key characters, including Jim Williams and Johnny Mercer, are buried. Likewise, when Cyd and I were in New Orleans several years ago, we also toured Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District, the infamous cemetery from Ann Rice's vampire books. Fun! But back to this trip...

After Concord, we were headed to Salem, but we got caught in some HORRENDOUS traffic, and didn't get to spend much time there. (We are already planning a return visit at Halloween!) But I did have enough time to buy an awesome souvenir, though, a metal lunchbox with Glinda and Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) on either side asking, "Are you a good witch...or a bad witch?" As a rabid "Wizard of Oz" and "Wicked" fan, this was perfect for me, and don't think I won't be taking my sandwiches to school in it! ;-)

After that very brief shopping stint, we had to head back to Lowell where we had concert tickets that night in Boarding House Park. But we stopped at my beloved Trader Joe's along the way and filled our cooler with goodies to take with us. We chose some champagne grapes, a tortellini salad with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes, teriyaki chicken with soy-ginger-garlic noodles, some runny, double-creme Brie and a delicious smoked Jack to go with our foccacia and Sungold tomatoes. We washed it all down with a tangy Italian lemon soda and some sparkling apple cider. For a sweet finish, we had dark chocolate pretzel bites that tasted like they had a hint of cinnamon as well. The food was delicious, the concert was great, the weather held out and was beautiful, and most anywhere you sat in the park had a great view. We chose to sit in the back and put our feet up on the cement railing, listen to the music, and enjoy our picnic. Ah, that's the life, (and this was just the first day)!

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