Friday, May 31, 2002

Hartford to Vermont

We got up early and I made coffee and ordered up a light breakfast. We watched planes from the window and tried to catch a weather report on TV. Rain had been predicted for the area the day before, and all indications were that was serious this time. A large storm system was due in by 10, which was when we were due to pick up our car. So even though the plane-watching was fun, we checked out and hurried outside to catch the shuttle to the car rental. The car pickup went smoothly and soon we were on our way to Vermont.

Traveling across Massachusetts went faster than we had planned, and within an hour we were crossing the state line into Vermont. After stopping at the welcome center (no brass bands waiting for us, darn it), I begged Dan to make a detour to the Vermont Country Store, since it was only slightly off our path, and I had been buying from them via catalogue and online for years. I was very happy to find a few cool-weather items that are hard to find back home and that would be useful on chilly Vermont nights, and I also bought a few postcards and some maple hot chocolate mix.

Back on the road, we arrived at the B&B a little early, hoping we could at least drop off our bags, even though it was too early to check in. The guest door was locked, though, so we went over to Quechee instead thinking to explore more of the gorge that we first saw last year. We hadn't been there long though, when the large storm system we had run from in Connecticut caught up with us. We barely made it back to the car ahead of the worst of it, but then found that we had to wait it out in the car, unable to see enough to navigate the two-lane mountain roads. That was okay though, since I had some Vermont travel magazines with my luggage, so we spent a quiet 20 minutes reading, waiting for the worst of the storm to blow over. Once we could see again, we headed back to the Millbrook. This time we went in and hauled our luggage up the steep Aztec stairs to our suite. Then it was tea time, and we enjoyed Earl Gray tea, brownies and mini lemon charlottes in the front room, while discussing dinner options with our hostess, Kay.

By now we were surprisingly tired for having done so little, but we took a quick nap anyway. For dinner, we went to Fire Stones, where I tried to eat light with only onion soup and a salad while Dan carbo-loaded for the upcoming race with pasta.

Since there really isn't much to do in Vermont once the sun goes down, we drove around a bit, then went back to the B&B through thick mountain fog. Dan kept hoping to see a moose, but the closest we got were some foxes along an unlit two-lane road. Well, they were cute, anyway.

Back at the B&B, the skies were surprisingly clear of fog (go figure), so we took some hot tea outside and watched the stars. After awhile, a minivan came into view, and to our surprise, pulled to a stop right in front of us. A dark-skinned man rolled down the passenger side window and asked us in badly fragmented English if we could give directions. We recognized his accent immediately-- a Spanish-speaker! We went up to talk to him, switching over to Spanish, much to the man's relief. It turned out that he and the other occupants of the van were Ecuadorian Indians on their way to a weekend pow-wow the next town over. Luckily Dan just happened to have noticed the Windsor Fair Grounds earlier that day and was able to tell them how to get there. The Ecuadorians thanked us, turned around and left.

We resumed our star-watching, noting a few falling stars and wondering what were the odds that a lost group of Ecuadorian Indians should happen across a couple of Spanish-speaking Texans on a dark road in rural Vermont.
Landscaping at Vermont Welcome Center Posted by Hello
Near Taftsville, Vermont Posted by Hello
Quechee Gorge Posted by Hello
The Millbrook Posted by Hello
Dan napping at the Millbrook Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Bye, Bunny! Off to New England! Posted by Hello

Houston to Hartford

We had a hectic morning, packing, cleaning, talking with the petsitters and trying to spend a few minutes with the livestock, who appeared surprisingly clueless that anything was amiss. The bunny was unusually affectionate, giving me major guilt complexes before my luggage was even out the door.

Dad arrived on schedule to take us to the airport, and after saying good-bye to the critters, we were off. Dad brought Mom's sedan, since he drives a pickup and rain had been incorrectly predicted by our friends at Instead, the sun was shining, and I quickly came to wish we were in the truck because the car jerked and misfired in a way that made me wonder if we were going to end up broken down on the side of I-45. After a nerve-wracking half hour, though, we arrived safely at Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Much to our amusement, we ran into one of our university professors at the Continental Airlines check-in. Dr. Zaretsky was heading to Florida, while we were off to Connecticut, but it still seemed like a pretty small world.

Check-in and the first leg of our flight were pretty uneventful. We departed Houston and arrived in Cleveland on time, with plenty of time to change terminals and find the gate for our flight to Hartford. Cleveland's airport is pretty small, but right by our gate was the most amazing long flight of stairs. Since I had some time on my hands and running shoes in my carry-on, I decided to get a little exercise and spent about fifteen minutes running up and down the stairs, no doubt convincing my husband and several innocent bystanders that I’m completely insane.

We got to Hartford on time, and our bags were among the first off the plane. Luckily the hotel was just down the hall, so off we went Since it was already about 9:00 pm by this point, we had to decide quickly whether to dress for dinner and go to the dining room, or go work out in the gym and order room service. They gym won out. The gym was so cute and small that I wished I could take it home with me. I bypassed it though, and did some laps in the pool, which was freezing cold! After that, I was ready for some quality time in the sauna, to thaw out a bit. Then we went back to our room and had dinner sent up, finishing the evening by watching planes out our window.
Dan relaxing at the Bradley Sheraton Posted by Hello