Spring Roadtrip – On to Virginia

Knowing I was likely to leave before my cousin was awake, I said goodby to her and to Charlie (the cat) last night, after returning from dinner with my aunt. I left at about 8 this morning, and it was the easiest drive from Baltimore to Richmond I’ve ever done! There’s a lot to be said for Sunday morning travel! I don’t know that I’ve ever done this drive without stop and go traffic somewhere on I-95 – usually several times. The only place traffic was an issue was at one rest area, where there were more people wanting to stop than there were parking spaces, but turnover was fast, and I didn’t have to wait long. I was at my friend’s house by about noon, and was able to visit with mutual friends who were down from southern Maryland before they had to leave. We had a huge salad, with every vegetable available from the refrigerator, some fruit, nuts, cheese, eggs, croutons, olives…

The camper is a little lighter after this visit – I gave two of the jars of maple syrup I’d brought, two of the dishcloths, and returned a bag of borrowed books. I spent some time laying out the design for the next cousin sweater, and visiting, and planning a possible camping trip together on my way back north in a month.

Spring: I hear all the cherry trees bloomed a couple of weeks ago, in the false spring!! The trees this much further south have more color, with some starting to show tips of green (especially the willows, which tend to be first), and the maples blooming red. Many fruit trees are blooming. There are drifts of daffodils along parts of the highways, cheerful yellow swaths of color. At the rest area:

Visiting Family and Friends

Yesterday (Friday) I spent visiting with my Baltimore cousin, mostly. My nephew came by her condo on his way to work, so I got to see him as well (and hand off the quart of maple syrup made by his parents in Vermont). I also took the time to get the bags of food and clothing into storage spaces in the camper, making it much easier to move around and find things. And I didn’t drive anywhere!

I started today by being picked up and taken to breakfast by two friends from Towson; they also drove me through that town so I could see, and photograph, the “Welcome to Towson” sign. It was designed by one of their neighbors, and their daughter was one of the people who painted it. Then they returned me to the camper and I spent more time visiting with my cousin and knitting. This evening we went to see my 96 year old aunt at her retirement community, and she fed us dinner. She’s the one of the deep stash, at which I’ve been whittling away; we talked knitting and yarn, and I completed another Scrubby washcloth. Having seen it, my cousin wants one:

In addition to the daffodils, forsythia, pear, magnolia, and pansies are also blooming. It is definitely spring in Maryland!

Saying Goodbye to the Four-leggeds

Elsie, the dog – she likes to have a pillow under her head. It took her a few days to stop barking when I came back, or went up to bed, or got up in the morning… But by the end of my stay, she’d decided I was OK.


Pearl – she thought my computer was a good thing to sit on while it was charging. Maybe it was warm…

Simon – one of the twins.

Andy – the other twin, and a problem child. He bullies anyone he thinks he can get away with bullying. Of course, sometimes he’s a real sweetheart… to humans, anyway!

So I said goodbye to my host, and all the four-leggeds, and started for home. I have to give high marks to the Apple Store in South Portland, which was my first stop.

I wanted to return the expensive charging cable I bought in October because the smallest piece exploded. Well, in theory, there’s a two week window to return things. The manager not only refunded my money, but went out back and found the little piece that had fallen apart (I’d glued it back together a couple of times, but that’s a temporary solution) and handed it to me – no charge! I could have kept charging it by using the larger extension that comes with the system, but that’s awkward to travel with, so I’m extremely happy with that kind of customer service. Yay, Apple!

On to Concord, New Hampshire, where I’m staying with one of the Quaker Knitting Goddesses for the night. We had a delicious dinner of salmon, seaweed salad, rice, broccoli, and roasted vegetables, followed by my chocolate mousse. And we are sitting here with our knitting. I’ll go home tomorrow, so I don’t have to deal with slogging up my hill in the dark.

Another Portland Day

We spent this morning running errands, one of which was to Wild Birds Unlimited, down in Scarborough, for food for the many feeders in the back yard. This monk was outside, handing out these booklets. I like that he’s wearing rollers on his feet, and can go wheeling around! We also got to the farmer’s market, the food coop and Trader Joe’s, and the library.

This afternoon I finished the socks I’ve been working on; there wasn’t enough daylight left for me to get a good photo, so I’ll post about those tomorrow.

Portland, Maine – and SNOW!

I got to Portland about mid-afternoon on Sunday, after a dry (but very gray) drive over from Vermont. But I beat the snow – it started snowing that night, and by evening we knew life would be closed on Monday. The Quaker Knitting Goddess with whom I am staying works for the State of Maine, and all state offices were closed. So we had a quiet and peaceful Monday, knitting, visiting, knitting, mending knitting, warm and cozy.

Today had some sun, and the beginning of melting; to go out and run errands meant cleaning about 10 inches (about 25 cm) off the car. Here I’ve cleared to the center line of the roof, on one side:

Across Three States to Portland, Maine

Sunday, January 22: After a delicious breakfast of sourdough waffles (Brother-in-law makes sourdough pancakes or waffles nearly every Sunday) I left Jericho, on the western side of Vermont, and headed over to Portland, on the eastern coast of Maine.

The roads were clear (glad I didn’t wait for today, and the dump of snow that has even the Maine State offices closed!), but the overcast skies did not make for great photo opportunities. Across Vermont the secondary highways often parallel streams and small rivers; the icy waters dodged around river rocks with mounds of snow on them, both there and in New Hampshire. With poor conditions for photography, and no easy place to pull off, I didn’t take photos. On into New Hampshire, much of the middle of which is

The White Mountains are living up to their name – there were a few snow showers, and the wind had blown a lot of the previous snow out of the trees, but there was plenty of white around! I drove past Loon Mountain Ski Area at about noon; day passes were sold out, and the parking lots were full – at least they had a sign out by the road, so you didn’t drive in and be disappointed! The road crews in the national forest have done a wonderful job clearing not only roads, but also many parking lots and viewpoints. And they were well used! There were many hikers and people snowshoeing, and lots of people like me, just stopping for photos of the views. Not that one could see the higher peaks – the low clouds meant that places like Mount Washington and the rest of the Presidentials were hidden.

Hancock overlook, looking toward Mt. Osceola behind those clouds

View looking north from Sugar Hill Scenic Vista

And on a car window in one parking lot:


I had traveled up to northern Vermont to visit my sister – and attend her first orchestral concert! Having taken  up cello after retirement, I am in awe of someone willing to put those new skills out in public like that! She is now playing with the Me2/ orchestra, “Classical music for mental health.” This group is designed for acceptance of differences, especially supportive for people with mental health issues, and also allies. We all, of course, sometimes have “issues” – but to have a group where the support is there to acknowledge those issues, and the level of diversity that brings, is a breath of fresh air. Held in the auditorium of the Burlington City Hall, the program was “A Viennese New Year” with pieces by three of the Strauss family – energetic, upbeat, cheerful – and probably the concert I’ve enjoyed the most in recent memory. 

The above photo was taken as we walked to the car after the performance; I guess it makes the building stand out? I’m glad I don’t have those red lights glowing through my bedroom window!

My wonderful brother-in-law likes taking photos of the many birds that visit their feeders. This one was on the other side of the house, surrounded and sheltered by the snowy hydrangea bush.

Celebrating the New Year

Visiting my sister and  spouse in northern Vermont, the neighbors traditionally have a bonfire New Years Eve. It was quite warm, and the neighbors showed up from all around (but here, you can’t see any of their houses from any other!), and we watched it burn most of the way down before going in for food and drink. There was a killer chocolate cake – dense and rich enough that I had trouble falling asleep! Or maybe that was from the long nap I took in the afternoon…

One of our favorite Christmas decorations is this elf, perched on one of the braces on the framing:

Today was a busy day. After sourdough waffles for breakfast, we went into town to worship with the Quakers in Burlington, then went to lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant for banh mi sandwiches (excellent, and great value for money), went to a concert of Beethoven’s 9th, in which my brother-in-law was singing (he had to be there early, so I got quite a few rows of knitting done), and where we were joined by lots of friends, and then to the house of one of the friends for dinner, with intelligent conversation flying in all directions, drove another friend home, and finally returned to the house.

Mural outside the Vietnamese restaurant: