Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dreaming of Connecticut

New Jersey does that for you. The scary speed the Jersey drivers take a right turn. The jug handles (and the need to memorize each intersection, whether to get over to the left to make a left turn, or over to the right because there's a jug handle). The varicose-vein map of roads. One can zero in on a Google New Jersey map and there are more roads the closer you look. So we're dreaming of Connecticut. More about that later.

Got to catch up the blog. After my poetry reading in Bridgewater, we took a whirlwind trip to Alexandria on the following weekend. My friend Peggy drove, and we actually arrived at our friend Susan's house in Alexandria almost exactly three-and-a-half hours after we left Princeton. Bill was already there, having taken the train with a daytime stop in Philly. We managed only one art museum in D.C., the Phillips, but it's one of our favorites. Saturday night Susan and Bob put on a nice spread for dinner. Peggy's two daughters, Alicia and Sarah, came along with two of Alicia's friends. And my niece Karen, her husband Fede, and little Elena and Marina came too! A great time was had by all. And on the way home we stopped off in Baltimore's Fells Point, had brunch at the Blue Moon Cafe.

Two days later Bill and I drove up to New England. Our first stop was Guilford, CT, to inspect a condo I had seen on the Internet. We really liked it. I mean we REALLY liked it. Our next stop was Brewster, Mass. on Cape Cod. Even though it was mostly rainy the two days we were there, we had a great time, especially our two dinners out at the Nauset Beach Club and the Brewster Fish House.

On Friday, March 21st, we picked up great nephew Tyler at Boston College, and then met Vicki and Steve Burris in Newton for lunch. Then Tyler came with us up to Gilmanton. The surprise was that we weren't able to stay at Drew Farm, which was surrounded by a fairly high pile of hard-packed snow and ice. We were able to get inside to see that it looked great, no evidence of intruders (the mice/squirrel crew). But we stayed with Bill's cousins, Mark and Nancy. We took Tyler to visit Joe and Lorian, and we also met our downhill neighbors at Drew Farm, a family who is tapping the maple trees at Drew Farm--they presented us with a jug of syrup from our own trees!

On Easter Sunday we attended the annual Easter brunch at Chris and Heather's house. We helped deliver some of the 57 decorated eggs (small egg-shaped cakes with icing on them) that Jo Anna, Nancy, Emily, and even Sharon labored over (I did 3). The food was wonderful, the day was sunny, and we got to talk to lots of family and friends.

On our way home, Bill and I stopped at Guilford again to look at that condo. could almost imagine living there. Bookcases in every room. A fireplace with Dutch tiles. Beautiful windows everywhere. A view towards woods. A pleasant and private deck. Three bathrooms! A kitchen with a gas stove and a view towards those woods. And the town of Guilford has a decent independent bookstore (the next town over has a fabulous one), a fair coffee place, a couple of really nice restaurants, a beautiful town green, old colonial houses, a town beach, lots of hiking trails, proximity to New Haven and Yale's cultural amenities, and one can get there by train (or bus when the commuter train times don't cooperate). Or get to NYC. Or Boston. And it's not too far from Gilmanton, either. Wendy and Allan Berlind are just up the road in Middletown. What's not to like?

No time to think. Jenny, Phil and the kids arrived in Princeton on Tuesday! A whirlwind of activities. Sharon stayed home one day while the rest of the family went off to Philly for the day. And what was she doing? Well, something to do with real estate, and loans. On Friday we drove up to Millburn with Jenny and Lucy (Phil and the other kids went in their car). Then Bill and I visited with my cousin Betsy Foster and her husband Steve in their home in Verona. It had been a long time since I had seen her--perhaps around 50 years?? The most exciting thing that happened was our stop at my mother's home on South Prospect. The last time we went there, in 2004, the place was delapidated, and we learned later a home for drug trade. The most wonderful surprise was that a young couple with small children have bought it and are fixing it up, making it a beautiful home again. The young wife is Irish, and we have corresponded already via email. I am telling her stories of the people who built the house, my Dutch great grandfather and his two sons.

Back to the Guilford house. It's a condo that's more like a house. Like our home in Palo Alto. But bigger (twice as big). And there are all those bookcases. Let's see what happens. Today as I write this, it is looking very promising. More later.

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