Columbus Day gave us a long weekend. I spent it in New England with Kim and her cat Elkie. They live in Quincy, south of Boston. Kim is very good in organizing, so she had worked out a great program for me. On Saturday we went to the Berkshires to see Edith Wharton’s House, The Mount. On Sunday she took me to Ogunquit, a seaside place at the coast of Maine and today we met our friends Meredith and Sadie in Ipswich.
The Berkshires are a mountain area in western Massachusetts. They serve as a popular vacation and weekend getaway for stressed city folks from Boston as well as New York. Picturesque little towns with art galleries and craft shops and plenty of nature are their attractions. In one of these little towns, Lenox, Edith Wharton built her estate in 1902, The Mount. She completely designed it by herself, the house as well as the garden. Now it is a museum.
It took us a while to get there. Traffic in was dense. A lot of people were leaving the city for the long weekend. We stopped for lunch in a town called Lee, where we had savory crepes in the Starving Artists Café and arrived at The Mount in the early afternoon. We strolled through the garden and then joined a tour in the house. The place is designed in her style. The original furniture had gone to France with her after she left her husband and The Mount in 1911. I was amazed to hear that Edith Wharton wrote in her bed mainly. May be that’s what I should do? In the shop I found a book that she wrote about writing. I had to buy it of course. It is really light weight.
Having learned a lot about Edith Wharton’s life and work we felt like a coffee. Kim had planned a place for this as well, Chocolate Springs Café, a famous chocolatier. The chocolates and cakes looked awesome. I resisted them and just had a biscotto while Kim had three little pieces of chocolate.
Back in Quincy we finished the day with a dinner at an Indian restaurant, where Kim is a regular. I had a vegetable Biryani, which was good but a little bit too spicy.
Before we drove up to Maine on Sunday we stopped for a market in Boston’s South End. There are several food trucks, one of those gorgeous farmers’ markets an arts and crafts market and an indoor vintage market. We strolled through the farmers’ market and the crafts, where a lot of unnecessary but nice stuff was sold. People are really creative.
Traffic on our way to Ogunquit again was heavy and the town was pretty crowded. A lot of little hotels and B&Bs showed “no vacancies”. The lunch places Kim had in mind were either closed or had no parking space available. We ended up in a pizza place in a wooden cabin. The poor waitress there was up since 3 am and still was calm and friendly when she brought our pizza at 3 pm – and the pizza was good. Filled up we started looking for a parking to for a walk on the Marginal Way. We were lucky and found a parking lot in the city center where people were very friendly and we could park until 7 pm for just 5$. All other parkings were much more expensive. Before we started our walk we had a coffee and a Whoopie, which is a Maine pastry. It consists of two soft cookies with cream in between. Looks like an ice cream sandwich and is delicious. My coffee was a pumpkin spice latte.
The Marginal Way is a scenic cliff path leading to Perkins Cove. It offers spectacular views over the bay and the beaches. Benches are placed all along the way for visitors to sit and enjoy the view or a book. Perkins Cove is Ogunquit’s fishing and shipping place. A hand-operated drawbridge spans over a picturesque little harbor. Art galleries, boutiques and lobster places surround it.
We walked back through the town to see the library building, a stone house. We passed a lot of houses with spectacular fall decoration, pumpkins and alike. The best one was a witch who had crashed into a tree on her broom and was rescued by fire fighters. A sign said “Don’t fly and text”.
Our last stop for the day was a bookstore and bar in Portsmouth. It’s a wonderful place. They sell well selected used books in shelves along all walls. In the center there is a bar and tables, where snacks and drinks are served. We had salads and little lemon cakes for dessert.
Today, on Columbus Day we drove to Ipswich to meet Meredith and Sadie there. Meredith lives in a gorgeous little cottage close to her family’s orchard, Russell Orchards. The cottage has two levels. The ground floor contains a kitchen a dining and sitting area, a bedroom and a bathroom. Except the bathroom all rooms are open. Meredith herself has designed the kitchen. Upstairs she has a little window place for her creative work and Max has a studio. His paintings are hanging all around the cottage. I want a place like this, somewhere at the seaside.
We had lunch at a Thai restaurant. Then Meredith invited us to a tour around the orchard in her “eldermobile”, which is a golf cart. She is still working at the orchard and uses the cart to get around. The orchard was very busy. People came to pick apples and buy apple donuts and apple cider in the store. I bought apples, pears, delicious bread and two pieces of fudge.
The eldermobile brought us back to the cottage where we had tea and chatted through the afternoon until Kim and I joined the masses on the highway back to Quincy.
What I learned this weekend:
I should start “learning” again. My readers miss it.