We got up at 7:00, and since we were already packed, we had turned in our key and were on the road by 8:00. It was a little bit sad, leaving our cottage. We aren't planning to go back next year, so it will be awhile before we see it again. The cottage is quite a find, and I hope it will continue to be available for a long time to come.
On the way out, we stopped at the Brewster General Store for some coffee and pastries for the road. Then we stopped at Peterson's Grocery for a cheap Styrofoam cooler for the groceries we had bought earlier in the week. As we were putting the groceries and ice into our new cooler, it began raining, making it an unpleasantly damp operation.
Finally though, we were headed off the Cape. Trying to take a shortcut to New Bedford, we got lost for a little while, but found our way back and didn't lose much time. We got into town at 11:00, parked and got our bearings. First we went to the famous Seamen's Bethel, where I read the citographs on the walls, sat in Herman Melville's pew, and tried to see the ghost Dan was certain he felt was on the upper balcony looking down at us. Dan has been correct about these sorts of things often enough that I smiled and waved to the spot he indicated, but didn't actually see or feel anything.
Next we went to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, a very fine museum full of artifacts from the history of New England whaling. Just as at the Cape Cod Natural History Museum and in Provincetown, there were noisy schoolchildren running around, but by making judicious tour choices, we were able to avoid being in the same room with them most of the time. I can't vouch for anyone else's experience, but I can't really enjoy a museum if there's a lot of noise and running about.
After buying a few items in the museum gift shop, we got back on the road, Dan drinking the last of his Vermont root beers and me eating the blueberries we had bought on the Cape. We got to Mystic around 2:00 and even though it wasn't cheap and our time was limited, we decided to check out Mystic Seaport. What fun! They've managed to recreate a 19th century whaling village, and you can go see actual ropes, sails, and ships being made. It was really quite an experience, and well worth every penny, even with the now-obligatory schoolchildren running around shrieking.
Just as the museum was closing, I happened upon a swan and her cygnets paddling around near a few boats tied up at dock. I watched them for awhile, before we headed into town for dinner. We went to Bombay Spice, one of the nicest Indian restaurants I've ever eaten at. Their saag paneer is good and spicy, and they serve a delicious tandoori seafood. After dinner, we walked over to Bank Square Books, my favorite bookstore in the world. I don't know who their buyer is, but he or she must be my psychic twin because I can never go in that place without wanting to buy them out and make them my personal library. Instead, I settled for two books. We were getting pretty weighted down with books, anyway by this point in the trip.
By now we were eager to be done traveling, so after getting some strong coffee and a big oatmeal cookie to fortify ourselves, we got back on the road and headed up to Cheshire. We got to my aunt and uncle's house around 8:30, where we found a grateful cat waiting to be let in. Thankful to be in a house again, we started our laundry and unpacked a bit. Finally settled with stacks of good books (and more for the asking all around us), clothes humming in the washer and a cat rubbing against our feet, we felt like we were home at last.