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The Last Leg

By now you may be weary of reading about the trip so I'm combining three states in one day, however, I warn you, although I did my best, it is still going to be both long, and photo intensive!!

Furthermore,  you might also think that we might have run out of coincidences, but you would be wrong. Before I relate that story I have two updates. One of which is Jedidiah Peck is no relation, which is no big deal, but what is a big deal is that I forgot one of the craziest details about our meeting the couple from London. Bruce reminded me on Saturday that the woman works at Hackney Town Hall, the place where Tom and Matt got married!! What, pray tell, are the chances of that? For nostalgia purposes, and should you not have enough to read, here is where I wrote about that happy day!

So, we took off from Albany,  finally leaving Rt. 20, following the directions of the iPad, it took us over the Hudson River,
and into Troy, New York, the poorest seeming town we drove through. Not much more to say than that.

Heading North on Rt. 7, our last stop in New York was here,
where the proprietor was old, frail and seemingly unfriendly. We bought nothing. Onward into Vermont, one of Bruce's favorite states.
The trees were beginning to show their fall colors, however, as any photographer knows, bright sunshine is not your friend while taking photographs of saturated color. Once again, we almost had the road to ourselves.
One of the nice things about Vermont is that has some lovely hilly and winding roads in the Southern part, which is where we traveled. For a Florida girl, it is just perfect; I'm a chicken if the hills are too big! Our destination was Bennington, VT,  the largest city in that part of the state. You can see this battle monument from quite a distance, set amongst the colorful trees it was a lovely sight. Driving into the town we checked it out.
Built in 1891, it commemorates the Battle of Bennington, considered to be a turning point in the Revolutionary War. It makes you wonder how in the world, in those days, they built a stone monument that big, doesn't it?
Seeing it in the right of the frame gives you a notion of just how tall it is. Now I'm disappointed we didn't go up in there to view the surrounding countryside. We did, however, head into their quaint downtown where we spent some hours moseying. I only realized, after seeing my photographs, that the fellow in my picture was shooting me a peace sign....very Vermont, don't you think?
Carol called, and while I was chatting with her, I was admiring the flowers hung from the light poles. At first I thought they were real, then fake because they were so beautiful, but during our conversation I noticed dropped blooms on the sidewalk. That settled it.
Bruce was in need of a haircut, so he walked down to the barber shop while I looked around. Did I mention the streets are quaint? Of course I did!
Turns out the barber was closing the shop for lunch, and would not return until 1:45. Can you imagine? To kill time, we went into a little gift shop across the street where, as the only browsers in the store, we had a nice conversation with the owner. Bruce mentioned that he'd spent quite a bit of time building restaurants in her part of the country, both Red Lobster, and Olive Garden. Are you ready for this??? She told us about her sister's, sister-in-law, whose husband picked up a door to use as their entry door from.....one of Bruce's closed Red Lobsters! Can you even imagine? We got quite the tickle out of that one!

After having the most delicious taco and burrito you can imagine, we made our way over to Pleasant Street, because we found someone sitting on the stoop of the barber shop, making for a longer wait for Mr. Peck. Instead he went to this salon.
There was yet another crazy coincidence during the haircutting encounter as well--the stylist was from North Adams, MA, another place where Bruce built a restaurant!

Following the haircut we continued on our way to Keene, NH. Across Vermont, we stopped at one quilt shop housed in an old home. How old you ask? From the late 1700's!!! Behind the parking lot were picnic tables. Awesome gold in those leaves!
We were traveling on Rt. 9 by now, and as we got into Keene, Bruce wanted to see the Olive Garden he built there about 15 years ago. Obviously he was sorely disappointed to discover it had been closed for over a year. He's texting his friends because he has the distinct record of having many of his stores closed, not something he enjoys thinking about after all of the blood, sweat, and tears, to put them up!
The funny thing was is that it still looked good; a testament, or that's what I say, of how good his buildings are!

The downtown is cute as a button, and using a recommendation from the desk clerk we ate dinner at the Stage. Super cute and good!
As we were leaving Keene, heading to Steve's house in Windham, NH, I had B pull over so I might finally get a leaf photo without brilliant sunshine! Asking the man who'd just stepped outside if I might go on his property, he readily agreed. I told him that as a Floridian, it was so special to me. His response....I lived in FL for seven years. Oh yeah? He lived in Leesburg, a town about forty miles from here!
And then we were in Windham, a suburb of Manchester. I've met Steve a handful of times, however, I'd never met his lovely wife Liz before. What a super couple!

After a visit around their kitchen island, they took us to the Bedford Village Inn for lunch. Another super charming place! Holy cow! Please note the woodpile...
Here's how they use it on the weekends...
It is seriously a storybook place with delicious food.  Here are the boys:
There were not one, but two weddings set up on the grounds, in spite of the gray and slightly chilly weather.
They have two children, Steve Jr. was away at college, however, their sweet sixteen year old Katie was around, and what a doll she is. We lounged away the afternoon, followed by a wonderful dinner in this crazy warm space!
They definitely have cozy down to a science! Honestly, it was such the best way to end a road trip.

We flew home without incident, Bruce accessed the yard, and here's how he ended our road trip...
All was well.

As you have noticed, we are big proponents of opening up to strangers on our journey...you just never know what you might have in common!

Back to the here and now, and mundane, I might add, in my next post,

Gail
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