Daily Archives:July 18th, 2005

The Odyssey

Well, I’m in Boston and my long drive is almost at an end. I’ve clocked up about 1200 miles, listened to lots of Garrison Keillor, and seen some wonderful places. Tomorrow, work starts again, and then I have an overnight flight back to London which is only just over 6 hrs. Too short to get any meaningful sleep between the ‘welcome on board’ and the ‘we are now beginning our descent’.

Since I don’t keep any other diary, much of this blog is really for my own records. This post is an example. There follows a quick summary of my route over the last few days, which is probably of very little interest to anybody but me…!

Mon 11th. Tried to pick up the rental car from Dearborn in the evening. The Hertz website had failed to tell me that at the time I booked the car the office would actually be closed. Went back to the in-laws’ again.

Tues 12th. Picked up rental car. Across Ambassador bridge into Canada. Took a few deliberate wrong turns to see some nice Ontario countryside and a few accidental ones which took me to the outskirts of Cambridge, ON. Eventually reached Niagara-on-the-lake where a very pretty girl at the Chamber of Commerce found me a B&B and a ticket for the theatre. Natara’s House was run by a charming Scottish couple. The play was Berthold Brecht and Kurz Weill’s Happy End which is a sort of musical version of Major Barbara with a chunk of communist propoganda thrown in. Quite fun, but I prefer Shaw.

Wed 13th. Went to the Falls. More impressive than I remembered from last time, though high humidity meant the spray hung in the air and it was hard to see as much. Bought some maple choclolate fudge, which was consumed with enthusiasm over the next few days but suffered from the fact that it turned almost to liquid whenever I left the dark blue car in the sunshine and took many miles of air-conditioning to resolidify.
Over the Rainbow Bridge and I’m back in the USA, heading for the Finger Lakes. Drove to the north end of Senaca Lake and down to the south end, then across to Ithaca. Wonderful stay at the Inn on Columbia which is normally quite pricey but had good deals on any rooms still free after 4pm.

Thurs 14th. Taughannock Falls. Wonderful. Then an exploration of the Cornell campus – pleasant but very hot. Then I hit the highways and headed for the Adirondacks; Old Forge, NY to be precise, where I stayed at the 19th Green Motel which was very friendly and reasonably priced.

Fri 15th. Lots of driving through little towns past beautiful lakes. Wanted to jump in. Lunch at the Swiss Kitchen in Tupper Lake, visited Olympic ski-jump at Lake Placid. Quite interesting, rather pricey. Not a great deal to see. Water sparkling on Lake Champlain as I took the ferry across to Burlington, VT. Acommodation starts to get harder to find on Friday nights, and I ended up at the GGT Tibet Inn. Plain, but clean and very well priced. Downtown Burlington is small and busy. People sitting at outside tables in the pedestrianised town centre. A good buzz. Including from the mosquitoes, which bit me inside the restaurant as well as out.

Sat 16th Vermont is lovely. All of it, as far as I can see. Pretty & well-looked after. Shelburne Farms in the morning, then down south and through the Green Mountain region, resisting the lure of the Ben & Jerry Factory Tour. Had planned to stay in central New Hampshire, but everything very booked up as a result of the NASCAR at Louden. A tourist information guy told me that Concord, NH has a population of around 38,000, but gets an extra 90,000 during the NASCAR. In the end I carried on over into Massachusetts and stayed at the completely unmemorable Wyndham hotel at Andover.

Sun 17th Concord & Lexington and the Minute Man National Park. Splendid, despite what happened there!
Into Boston, and managed to get a good rate on a very good room at the Omni Parker House Hotel, which claims, amongst other things, to be the longest continually-operating hotel in the US, celebrating 150 yrs this year. Recommended if you can get a good rate. (You won’t get one for your car parking. $36/night. But, from memory, Boston and Cambridge are some of the most expensive places to park that I’ve ever been, and this is pretty much par for the course.) Watched the new Batman movie (very good) and listened to a bit of an open-air concert on the Common.

And that is where I write this, and now it’s time for bed… More details of much of the above can be found on the postings of the relevant days. And I have lots and lots of photos…

One if by land, two if by sea…

…three if by rental car.

The British rode from Lexington to Concord again today, but this time the locals must have been more enthusiastic about their arrival. They welcomed them with open… wifi networks.

The Minute Man Visitor Center on Battle Road has an excellent half-hour multimedia presentation. Recommended for anyone visiting the area who’s a little rusty on what happened there. The road between these two beautiful towns is also very pretty and it’s worth spending some time there.

I also went to the North Bridge in Concord, which is being rebuilt and so had a big bulldozer in front of it. I heard another Brit near me saying to his kids, “Come on, let’s go to Lexington. We won that one!”.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser