Driving around the US with a GPS demonstrates the wonder of technology. How did we get around poorly marked country roads, one-way city streets and spaghetti wound-up interchanges? We stared at small print on large maps, paper crackling as the navigator in the passenger seat tried to fold and decipher what road numbers to choose. Welcome the GPS, stuck to our windshield, speaking to us every time we needed an instruction in that patient voice of reason. The GPS was our first joy.
On this trip the people we met equaled the sights we saw. The eastern coast of the US is a route of beauty. From Virginia to Boston are scenes out of picture books. The hills of Virginia so green and tree-lined that one county, anxious to keep this esthetic, do not allow the trees to be trimmed, even though in big winds the swaying limbs cause frequent power outages. In Washington DC what is more beautiful than that House, white, neo-classical, theatrical, with sculptural symbols of early great leadership surrounding it. Cape May and the Jersey shore, still recovering from its hurricane destruction, is a lovely path to New York’s Long Island and the iconic Hamptons, the cherry on the top of New York’s complicated main course. Picture landscapes of humble homes and many mansions. Add surroundings of gardens of many varieties and colors. Open farm lands still exist, growing potatoes and other veggies.
Add to that a ferry across the water ways around Long Island to visit another story book town, Newport Rhode Island. Its boats, waterways, homes and century old buildings are bathed in Technicolor and a perfect set designer’s hand. Again, ferries criss-cross the Atlantic Ocean to the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and the one farthest east, Nantucket. The former whaling port is right out of a coloring book with cobblestone streets, brick sidewalks, grey weathered shingle homes, small cove beaches and busy harbors. Back to the mainland of Massachusetts, the beauty trail leads along Cape Cod roads of cottages and eventually to historic Boston.
As mentioned before, this trip of beauty was matched by the people we visited. How often are we fortunate enough to spend intimate moments exchanging ideas and sharing thoughts with those we admire? At each stop in our travel adventure, family and friends surrounded us with information and love. We were privy to their favorite places. A graduate at Washington and Lee University confirmed that their college times were really as was described at the commencement address … “honesty, trust, and an honorable legacy.” A vintner warned of the possiblity of having “seller’s palette,” a condition where only the wines they produce taste like the good ones. This unusual Glass House Winery in Virginia actually has a glass conservatory filled with the owner’s past life of growing tropical plants on an island!!
How lucky to have family educated to Washington DC political and social ways, contrasting that with a visit to Bobby’s Burgers, Bobby Flays hamburger joint. A remarkable family influenced in growth by a remarkable city.
And the Hamptons … how does one describe the hundreds of people who live behind the privet hedges, each hedge taller than the one around the corner? Well, visit with hospitable friends of long standing there. They showcased the balance that can be achieved living within this playground get-away for the wealthy. We saw the small villages that caring residents kept architecturally in keeping with the historic and original designs. Friendly folks ran businesses, cafes, art galleries and shops. Kindness radiated from our hosts.
Friends who grew up in Newport Rhode Island introduced us to the fact that Newport was on an island, which I never knew, duh, even though it's in its name! That fact plus all the rest of our delightful tours and visits with them, gave us such a picture perfect view of life there. On Nantucket, we were on our own for a few days. We felt the personalities of the villagers, who were always offering help with directions and starting impromptu conversations.
And in Boston, our most treasured woman of computer skills, met with us for hours, giving us that leg-up on updates for Bill's business site. What a gift to have so much done in such a short time. Anyone else would have taken weeks or not known how to do what she did. As both of us use the electronic world, working with our computer genius that we’ve known and helped us for 17 years topped off this landscaped and delightful people trip.
Thanks to all of them and our GPS, our decisive and knowledgeable guide.