Thursday, October 17, 2013


Monday morning we left Franconia and started toward Connecticut, which took us through Vermont and Massachusetts.  This was mostly a driving day, but we did stop in St. Johnsbury, VT to visit the Maple Valley Farms store and museum, to learn a little about maple syrup making.  Not really too much to the museum, but there were a couple of videos that were interesting, along with some displays of some of the older equipment used in the process.  The videos showed how the farmers tap the maple trees for the syrup, how it's collected and then some of the production process that eventually turns the sap into syrup.  We were surprised to see how the sap coming out of the trees is so clear and thin--I had always assumed it would be brown in color and much thicker and more viscous.  Also learned that it takes 40-50 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup, depending on the sugar content--that's a lot of sap!  But it was interesting to learn this, and we were glad to see the Maple Valley Farms operation, as we've enjoyed their salad dressings for some time.

Then it was on to Newtown, CT, where we met our favorite massage therapist from Atlanta days, Rachel Dorfman, who has now moved back to her native Connecticut to build her practice including her newly minted degrees and certification in acupuncture.  Trisha and our daughter had gone to her for years and always felt she had a special touch, infused with a lot of her spirituality, but just a remarkable intuitive healer.  Rachel had come to our mountain cabin years ago, when I was building the labyrinth there, and one of Trisha's seminary classmates in her doctoral program was visiting.  So Rachel gave us all 90 minute massages, setting her table up on the upper screened deck off our bedroom--just an incredible experience, with the birds serenading and her healing magic.  So we were so excited that it worked out that she could fit us into her schedule when we were in the area, and we were also happy just to get to see her and meet William and his lovely children.  He's a really excellent cabinet maker, and he let us park the RV at his shop--after he gave me a tour of the shop and I was drooling over all the unbelievable woodworking machines he has, I told him he'd better make sure the shop was locked and well secured when he left, to keep me from being tempted to go in and have some fun with these top of the line tools!  Anyway, we had a great visit with them and Tuesday morning we both received incredible massages from Rachel.  Her practice is actually in Woodbury, yet another of these quintessential New England towns, not far from Newtown, where she does individual and group acupuncture sessions as well.  She has a lovely building and a great setting.  If you're ever in the area, do yourself a favor and schedule a session--just contact her at Community Accupuncture of Woodbury.  You'll be glad you did!

From there we went to Norwalk, where we had dinner with Tilly and Dave, the lovely couple whom Trisha married in June--this was the wedding where we left the RV at the Albuquerque airport and flew to Asheville for the festivities.  Tilly now works for an urban planning/design firm that's heavily involved in doing reuse of older buildings and doing lots of other really cutting age development ideas, based in Norwalk.  We were excited that our schedule worked out for us to visit with them, so we could see their beautiful apartment and spend some time with them.  Their apartment is in an old corset factory, so it's like a loft space, with some exposed brick walls and steel cable supports connecting some gorgeous old big wooden timbers on the ceilings.  And it's located right in the heart of an area known as South Norwalk, where many of the shops and restaurants are concentrated.  So there is a vibrant sense of community with lots going on.  Tilly only has about a 4 block walk to work, so she showed us her office building and many of the developments her firm is involved with as we walked downtown to a restaurant.  Dave had seen this newly opened brew pub and it was fabulous!  He and Tilly, along with Trisha, got to sample some of their own craft beers, and they had a nice menu as well. Not only were there plenty of carnivore pleasers on the menu, but we found some delicious vegan alternatives as well.  And, though it's still a bit hard to believe I did this, I actually ordered roasted brussels sprouts!  This is the final step in a major milestone for me since becoming vegan--being able to eat these little goodies.  For all my life I just could never get them past my Adam's apple, and would describe them often in terms unfit for polite conversation.  Now, however, having made a baby step of having them sliced up in a kale salad, I decided to go ahead and take the full plunge, so I ordered them as a side.  The had been roasted to a nice golden crispy state, with some good spices and, I can honestly say that I enjoyed them immensely!  There were enough for the whole table to enjoy, but this was a major feat for me!  Can't wait to try doing these in our own kitchen.

We went back to their apartment to finish off the visit with one of their traditions--singing a song with Dave playing on their piano.  He is an incredibly talented guy, and every time we're with him we learn of yet another skill he has--didn't know he was an accomplished pianist, but he has a book of popular songs with just minimal chord notations, and he just plays the whole thing--amazing!  Anyway, we all joined in a rousing rendition of the Beatles Let It Be, a real classic.  Said our goodbyes to this special couple and meandered across town where we spent the night in a Walmart parking lot--one of the smallest Walmarts I've seen, but it was close to a railroad line, so we were lulled off to sleep with the sound of the passing trains--music to my ears!!

At Maple Valley Farms store and museum, pumpkins by the porch
Old sap collection equipment; had hoped for more photographable displays, but most of it was in the videos--anyway, it's all good stuff!  Delicious!
Beautiful old church in Vermont where we pulled over for lunch

More beautiful scenery along the way
Some of these shots are a bit cluttered by the reflections on the windshield and some are not completely in focus as we were moving--but, as Trisha said, if we didn't try for some while we're moving and stopped for every picture, we wouldn't get home until next year!  Anyway, it's just iconically beautiful in this part of the country at this time of year.  No matter how similar the photos may appear, as we're driving along, it just seems around every bend there's another beautiful scene and we just can't get enough!

On the way from Newtown to Woodbury on Tuesday morning--pretty grim reminder of the tragedy at Sandy Hook School as we passed the signs for it

Pumpkin sale at the local Methodist Church!  Reminded us of when we lived in Morningside in Atlanta and Haygood Methodist Church, just around the corner from our house, would have a pumpkin sale every fall!
This picture came out a little dark, but this house was just gorgeous!!  So New England!

On the way to Norwalk

The harbor at Norwalk

Walking in downtown South Norwalk--just a wonderful and vibrant neighborhood, where Tilly and Dave live
Tilly and Dave--these newlyweds aren't too happy, huh??  They are just a remarkable couple, both brilliant and so talented--look for great things to come from these two.

1 comment:

  1. We visited several maple tour places and they were all just basically selling stuff:(