Friday, October 16, 2009

Welcome to New England

After our wonderful visit in Catskill we headed into Vermont. We took the "scenic" route, but really all the roads are scenic in New England, especially in the Fall. As it turned out though, the foliage was actually prettier in New York. Prior to leaving Catskill we went for a neat walk along the Hudson Valley Art Trail, a series of trails and viewpoints corresponding to spots where famous paintings of the 1800s were painted.

It was a perfect fall day - crisp air, sunny skies, exactly what you imagine a New England (or New York apparently too) day should be like.

On our way into Vermont we stopped in a few places along the way. First, Bennington where there was an art show of Moose. I assume it was some sort of fundraiser where artists build these huge moose and then they are auctioned off for charity. Catskill was actually doing something similar with cats, and Seattle has done pigs and orca whales in the past.

We stopped briefly in Manchester, Vermont and then Weston, Vermont to go to the famed Vermont Country Store there. When I lived in Vermont I used to go here a lot but I hadn't been back for quite some time. Now, I don't want to discourage anyone from visiting if you haven't been before, as it is quaint, and Weston is a super-cute town, but I was kind of disappointed. It seemed to be full of a bunch of junk and being that it was Columbus Day weekend it was so crowded you could barely walk inside. That area of Vermont is a great place to visit though, and I have great memories of seeing musicals at the Weston Playhouse.

Back on the read we made a stop at the birthplace of Calvin Coolidge in Plymouth. His childhood farm had been recently renovated as State Historic Site so we went to check it out. It's actually still under construction but it was fun to walk around and there's also an old cheese factory where they make artisan cheese.Then we visited briefly with my Mom in Woodstock and spent the night at my cousin Jenny's house in Norwich. It was getting noticeably cooler and in the morning there was snow!

It didn't stick, but even for Vermont, early October is pretty soon for snow. From Norwich we went south to Massachusetts, stopping briefly in Brattleboro, Vermont (where we'll again be next week) before ending up in Shrewsbury, Mass where Jaimee's dad and step-mom live. We've been using this as a "home base" to finalize some things for our trip.

Good thing we've had the time too, because it turns out we have to make a trip into New York City to get our India visa. You can apply by mail (sending in your passport), but they say if it's less then 30 days before your trip you should apply in person. I found it sort of ironic that India outsourced its visa processing to Travisa Outsourcing. And there are only five processing centers in the US (San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, New York and Washington DC). You drop of your passport and paperwork in the morning and they try to get your visa to you by the afternoon, but they don't guarantee it. We're going into New York on Monday.

Today we woke up to more snow. Here's the Est dusted with snow:

We're headed to Boston this afternoon to visit my sister Keturah and her wife Suzanne then it's off to Cape Cod tomorrow to visit some friends and family of Jaimee and New York City Monday. Then Vermont again on Thursday. It's a typical whirlwind tour. We leave for Australia a week from Sunday. We're waiting for our India visa before we purchase the rest of our plane tickets, but stay tuned for details as we have a firmer itinerary in mind but we didn't want to buy any non-refundable tickets until we have our India visa in hand.

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