I feel like writing tonight.  The concert is on the common and there is light rain on the porch roof.  I love rain on the roof, and if it was dark I would light some candles – soon!!!

Last Sunday Cathy’s friend, Carol B., emailed asking if I would like to join her and friends on The Gardens of Westminster (Vermont) tour on Saturday.  Her David did not want to go.  Sounds great I replied.  She arrived in town at 10:30 to visit over Mocha coffee at Burdick’s and then we joined two other couples in Vermont shortly after Noon.  I have wanted to garden around my “estate” for years, feel inadequate to do so, a feeling which is exacerbated when I take a garden tour – hey, but it was really great and fun to be with Carol – she is always a “hoot”.

We toured the five gardens until about 4:30, and would you believe I knew the significant others of two of the garden owners – the two gardens that I like the most.  Our first stop was at Cyndy Fine’s garden and there was Mike, the owner of Café Loco on Route 5 . Any food item that Mike touches turns into a treat, and Cyndy’s grounds are delightful.  She is

All I want is something simple to divide my back yard.

a landscape designer, (her firm is Genius Loci ), and I just may have her give me some suggestions.  The other special hidden garden retreat we experienced was that of Kathy Leo – “a mix of wild and cultivated gardens that have revealed themselves over time.”  Ironically greeting us was her significant other Tom, who I met at a lecture in Alstead on Wednesday evening.  As I pulled into a small parking lot in Black Beauty (TR3) he followed me in his MGTD that he has owned since he was 15.  The lecture was by the author of one of my

Fountain idea.

favorite books since it came out in 1984, BIG HOUSE, LITTLE HOUSE, BACK HOUSE BARN, and Tom, an architect, was there for the same reason.  Oh, the rain is wonderful now, sorry concert goers.

The other night Scott and Betty called from Pennsylvania to catch up, and Betty asked for a picture of my “garden in process” which I took and sent to her.  So here it is for you too – truly a temporary work in progress, but I finally got started again after five years, and it is such a thrill to see the growth and changes each day.

My continuous “work in progress”

And, I get inspired on garden tours, BUT the most important thing I learned from Carol was OAT – more on that later.

Today, Sunday, was a Blue Belle day.  She has now covered over 300 miles this week, and ironically I looked at the odometer in my “modern car” this week, only to discover it (notice gender, or lack of) has traversed less than 300 miles in 6 weeks, two thirds of which was to David’s and back.  Now, am I partial to BB1 and BB2 or not?

After church I came home to play with the cats and do a little work, and then by 11AM, off we went.  The plan was to go to Crow’s Bakery and Café in Proctorsville, Vermont  and then to Plymouth Notch and the Calvin Coolidge homestead  –  two of my favorite places and road trips.  Off I went, stopping first at the Stone House Antique Center in Chester (the spot where we decided to abandon New Preston, CT, and move to New Hampshire).  I made my tour through, and bought 5 books.  Oh, am I good!!  Pricing them when I got home, I made a very good day’s pay once they are sold.

You probably do not recall, but my first ever post made “on the road” was from Crow’s Bakery and Café on April 10, 2011.  (Oh, the rain is beautiful now – 7:16 PM – and the band is still playing to no one – and you thought I was odd.)  Of course, Blue Belle wanted her picture taken in the same spot, and here it is.

Blue Belle in same spot Black Beauty graced at Crow’s Bakery

I planned to wait to eat at Plymouth Notch, but a special at Crow’s Bakery was Vegetarian Chile – I had a cup (huge – glad I did not have a bowl).  It reminded me that I have wanted to travel here at least once a month – remind me – it is great!!!

Off I sprinted then towards Ludlow (remember to follow your maps to track me) to pick up VT 100 towards 100A to Plymouth Notch.  Again, Blue Belle wanted proof that she was here too, and here is that proof while she is getting a few gallons of petrol at the country store once owned by Calvin Coolidge’s father (Calvin was born in the rear wing of this building).

Filler er up at Plymouth Notch

I have toured the historic site many, many times, but a new museum had been built which I was able to take a look at.  Fortunately then I became a tad hungry so I walked up to the café which has basically always been a café in the building where Calvin’s mother grew up.  A tasty chicken salad sandwich reminded me that I have to get here more often too.  I enjoy talking with the proprietor (the state owns the building along with the rest of the site) and told her that I always “voted with my dollars” to support places I enjoyed.

My plan was to head down Route 100 to Weston and the Original Vermont Country Store, but the overcast day it was began to look ominous and there were some showers.  I decided it would be wise to head straight home.  I had some light rain, but at 50 MPH sports cars seemed to be designed to keep the cockpit dry.  At 30-40 however, sunglasses can get a tad wet.  I arrived home about 4, which is the time that rains were due according to the weather maps I had read before I left the house.  That concluded a great Blue Belle day retracing some of Black Beauty’s first tracks.

Do you remember Carol told me about OAT?  OAT is Overseas Adventure Travel .  She and David have travelled in OAT’s small groups of 10-16 and found them not only a bargain, but the trips are arranged so you get to really experience different cultures, and she told me that they have “real” last minute deals.  I took a look, and yes, real last minute, often half price specials, and often without single supplements (even the case for the normal fare).  I would have booked Machu Picchu & the Galápagos for 16 days in August if it weren’t for the fact that David and Mari already “booked me” to watch Alex for one of those weeks.  I have but 2 continents to visit to have been to them all (yes, I am one of the few who have not only been to Antarctica but the South Pole itself), so that trip (which I have recently been reading about) would cover South America, and then I need Africa, but OAT has a fascinating trip called “Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge and Tented Safari”.  When that goes on sale, “I am out of here!”

You know I am impulsive with my decisions, but not really because there is a great deal of background thought and research before I make that quick jump.  For example, on Friday I spent 53 minutes on the phone with USAA and refinanced my mortgage.  Guess what?  The savings is one more great trip a year, so “stay tuned.”

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2 Responses to HIDDEN GARDENS AND RETRACING TRACKS – 14 and 15 July

  1. Marian says:

    Love the first garden photo. Keep working on yours and it will look just as good. It is coming along nicely. You seem to be enjoying Blue Bell. Loved your trip and of course, the food. We are having a huge rain storm also. Pretty wide spread it would seem. It feels like snow. -:). I have been fighting a sore throat and chest cold for a week. Not fun. Be Safe.


  2. Gail says:

    I am sorry I missed that talk in Alstead! I’ve read that book and use it a lot for work. Looks like you are making good progress on your garden adventures, too!

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