Thursday, June 03, 2004

New Hampshire

We woke up to gray skies again. Dan didn't care to go to the beach in such weather, so we slept in a bit, then lingered over coffee and bagels in the common room. Then we finished packing and hauled our luggage up the hill to the dock. I insisted on carrying the heavier pieces, so as not to undo all the work Dan had had done on his back the day before. Besides, I needed the exercise.

We had a bit of a dilemma with the remaining hummus we had bought, since they had given it to us in restaurant crockery. With only a few minutes before we had to board the ferry I ran to the only place on the island open at that hour that had lidded coffee cups that the hummus could go into. Then I returned the bowls to the Island Inn and made it back to the dock just in time. Dan asked if all that dashing around had been worth it. Of course it was. The hummus was mine, the bowls weren't, and those nice people had trusted me to do the right thing. I sure wasn't leaving the island with anything that wasn't mine.

The boat ride was uneventful, but this time the unhappy passengers were a cat and a toddler. We saw no seals on the ride back, unfortunately.

Back on the mainland, we bought a few necessaries at the general store and a few souvenirs at the gift shop. Then we headed to Thomaston where we put gas in the car and did our laundry at the laundromat. The washer didn't rinse very well, but we didn't have time to run it twice. While we waited for everything to dry I browsed the antique shop next door and picked up a cute cobalt glass ink bottle. Then I searched the vicinity for a restroom and got some ice for our cooler. By now the laundry was dry and we loaded everything back into the car and headed south.

At first the route was much like the one we had traveled to get there earlier in the week, but we soon turned toward New Hampshire. I had expected New Hampshire to be rather like Vermont, so I was disappointed to find it more built up on the roadsides and not as quaint and pretty.

We took a detour off our route to the B&B to check out a place billed as "America's Stonehenge." What we found was a lot of small gray stones in a forest more mosquito-infested than Houston after a tropical storm has blown through. The mosquitos were so aggressive it was hard to really appreciate anything we were seeing, so we soon returned to the visitor center and bought a book about it instead. It was late anyway, and we were still far from our B&B.

We finally arrived at our B&B-- accurately billed as a working horse farm. As soon as we pulled up the welcome commitee, a Jack Russell terrier, came trotting up the path to greet us and lead us to our host. We were given a tour of the house-- a meticulously restored early 1700s farm house full of original antiques. Our room even had Blue Willow china and Shaker chairs. The door closed with an iron latch instead of a doorknob. The only thing modern, from the ceiling beams to the stenciled entryway floor was our bathroom, which had a heated tile shower and brass sink. After we unloaded the car we went for a walk around the grounds.

Our hostess was in the barn saddling a horse for a workout and Dan talked horses with her a little bit. After we checked everything out, we decided to go find a place for dinner, since country places close early. We were disappointed to find that the place recommended by our host offered mostly fried foods. Dan had some fried scallops while I played it safe with a grilled chicken salad, no dressing. We had tapioca and cookies for dessert. It was hard for me to resist buying some cookies to take back to the B&B with us, but I managed it somehow.

Back at the inn we went for a walk and tried to find the innkeeper's dock on the lake, but couldn't locate it in the dark. Then Dan went inside to relax while I walked a bit more, enjoying the quiet countryside. Then I went inside, thinking I would do a bit of jumprope on the enclosed patio before bed, but I got drawn into a conversation in the parlor instead. The innkeepr and a British guest were discussing a range of topics, from Shakers to experiences in Eastern Europe under Communism. We got into a long discussion about third world poverty and the next thing we all knew it was after midnight. Dan had already gone to bed and I joined him, as did our terrier friend who was so sweet and insistent that I let her join us on the bed after sternly telling her that she had to be good. As if she understood me completely, she hopped up between us, curled up and went to straight to sleep, not moving once the whole night.

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