Back from Vacation!

Posted: August 21, 2007 in Literary, Off-Beat

I’m back from a glorious two-week excursion to New England, where I ate lobstah and chowdah to my heart’s content. I’m pleased to report that what started as a camping vacation quickly turned into two weeks spent at a cushy hotel, after our camper perished in untimely but spectacular fashion. As serendipity would have it, the camper expired in a particularly “scary Jerry” campground. I could imagine sequels of ‘Halloween’ being filmed there, that’s how bad it was. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry after seeing the bathroom, located in a structure that looked like a cross between a bomb shelter and a shanty. I half expected the roof to cave in on us, though I’ll admit the “rocking toilets” were a pretty unique perk. You just don’t see enough rocking toilets these days.

I considered it an act of God when one of the support cables went PING! as my husband was cranking up the pop-up camper. Never have I been so relieved in the face of “disaster.” Of course, when the credit card bill comes I may be singing a different tune, something involving a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. But until then, I figure it’s better to revel in the positives. In this case the positives include two weeks of soft beds, running water, and what’s apparently become the staple “continental breakfast,” fresh Belgian waffles. Just don’t ask me over for waffles anytime soon. I think I’ve had my quota, thanks.

Did I ever make the author home circuit while I was in New England. This was a total “all about me” trip, at least to the extent I could get away with it. I started out with a list of author’s homes to visit, a list that mysteriously got longer as we went. Funny how that works. Here’s the list of the homes I can remember visiting, as of this listing:

Sarah Orne Jewett
Stephen King (who has the distinction of being the only actual living author whose home we visited)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Louisa May Alcott
Edith Wharton
Mark Twain
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Emily Dickinson
Herman Melville
Robert Frost (grave)

I also made some sidetrips to author gravesites, as well as a sidetrip to Walden pond. I took photos of all of those, too, of course, which is my nature. I’ll post a selection here, but I promise I won’t post all 5,100 total photos I took on the trip.

Yes, FIVE THOUSAND, ONE HUNDRED. PHOTOS. But they’re DIGITAL. That’s how I justify it.

For the record, I didn’t manage to actually tour all of these author’s homes. It depended on what time we arrived at the site, how crunched we were for time, and how patient the kids were feeling that day. I unfortunately had to pick and choose, though if I’d have had my way I’d have spent at least a day in every home. There’s something about being in the same environment an author once shared, especially when that author also had a spectacular garden, as Emily Dickinson and Edith Wharton did. I could have spent hours exploring there, but unfortunately the kids didn’t share that same enthusiasm. I was lucky they went at ALL, actually, and they’ll probably remember this as “Mom’s dead writer tour.” We did take them to other stuff, too, lest you think me entirely self-centered. We went to beaches, gift shops, restaurants, gift shops, on a whale watching tour, and to gift shops. I think that’s really pretty balanced, don’t you?

Once I get through my pictures I’ll start posting away on the various highlights of my trip. That should give everyone something to look forward to.

In other news, I’m heading up to Madison next week, for library school orientation. That should be fun. I’m interested to see how this distance learning stuff works. So much high tech, newfangled stuff has come out since I was an undergrad. It’s a whole different world now, and I’m pretty anxious to get started. However, as with the camper, I’m not as anxious to get the bills…

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