Sunday, July 15, 2007


Summer's here and with it vacation time;-)))
A wedding invitation to what turned out to be a glorious 4th of July event in the midst of this wonderful state they nicknamed 'God's country', took us across seven states, right into the beautiful setting of 'The mountain Top Inn' in Vermont.
On a hot and humid Saturday morning we loaded our car full to the brim with 'essentials;-)))' , little Finley, ourselves and of course Kate, our trusted GPS, and headed of North towards New York. Kate, the Darling, planned this amazing route for us, which made sure we never hit traffic, cruised leisurely through the countryside and where able to find perfect locations for our little roadside picnics, as we had with us a little fridge full with healthy snacks and goodies.
Sorry Ronald, no business from us on this road trip;-)

Finley was really patient and tolerated having a car strapped to his back for endless hours until we reached the Holland Tunnel and with it an hour of standstill traffic, which Kate did not tell us about. As we crawled, inch by inch towards one of the few options into the Big Apple, I tried everything to amuse our son, but it was too late...he had enough and not even the silliest things mommy did made him laugh. After realizing that there was nothing I could do, I started taking photos of the little grumpy git and lots of other really interesting you do.
We did eventually reach the tunnel, together with everyone else coming from 27 lanes into two lanes going into the tunnel. By the way, before you enter, you pay $5.00 toll. Let me quickly do some maths here...there were about a million cars all around us and it was a Saturday evening. If one million cars go through that tunnel every day paying $5.00 each they would make enough money in a week to build 25 more lanes underneath the Hudson????!!!!!!

Hey, not my problem, we managed to get through and Kate found us the right way to Sarah's apartment in a flash;-), where we stayed for a couple of nights, before we headed further north on Monday morning.
Staying with Sarah enabled us to see New York from a non tourist point of View as we ate ourselves through Manhattans posh eateries and strolling leisurely through the Village and Meat Packing District. By the way Sarah, we loved being there with you and we will forgive you that you never mentioned the fact that you and Gerard had planned to get married a week later in Vegas in a drive through ceremony. It was probably more of a torture for you anyway you naughty minx;-))))

We left New York early...because we had to. There is no parking after eight around Wall Street unless you want your car towed or pay $10.50 for half an hour (and that's a special???)
With Kate's help, we were able to find our way out of a crazy Monday morning Big Apple traffic...SCARY!! Sarah's apartment was almost restored to its previous state even though it looked a bit like the streets of Baghdad after Finley finished his Indiana Jones trail of destruction.
Leaving the big city behind us, we cruised up to Vermont over the next few hours and never hesitated to stop for any little thing that caught our eye. We saw beautiful little villages, where nearly everything had a for sale sign attached to it, which we found rater odd, but also there were lots of great treasures like covered bridges, monuments, outlet malls and gorgeous B&B's, one of which, the black swan by the lake we spent a night in before we arrived at 'The Mountain Top Inn'.

The moment we arrived, we knew we were gonna love that place and we did. All the other guests had arrived already and Pam and Mark Landry, the bride's parents had invited everyone to a very scrumptious BBQ at the main house overlooking the lake and the lush scenery.
Before the evening festivities started, we set up camp in our picturesque four bedroom cottage surrounded by paddocks full with horses, red squirrels (they were not in paddocks!!) chipmunks and all kinds of other wild and not wild life...and no sound apart from singing birds and woodcocks and the annoying next door cottage neighbour who had to cut hit tiles while I tried to soak in the beauty of the land on the wooden planks of our front porch as we never got the deck chairs we asked for;-)))

However, nothing could cloud my happiness for I felt I had just entered paradise and all the wedding guests must have indeed felt the same, as the wedding was a truly magnificent event, planned and executed to perfection. We were made incredibly welcome and at times I felt I was getting married myself. Thank you Phil and Erin for an awesome party and I hope you had a wonderful Honeymoon in St. Lucia.

Our last evening in Vermont was crowned by a performance of the Vermont Philharmonic Orchestra hosted by the Mountain top Inn Resort.
The orchestra took their stage in front of an audience viewing not only the musicians, but also the magnificent scenery behind them. As the evening mist slowly crept down from the mountains and across the lake accompanied by Mozart, Bach and Brahms to name but a few, three glorious days in 'God's country' drew to a breathtaking finale pared with the most amazing firework.

Of course, I saw nothing of that, apart from the firework which I glimpsed trough my bedroom window while being tucked up in bed with half a box of Tylenol, suffering from a nasty case of the squirts and some awful stomach bug that kept me up pretty much all of the previous night due to food poisoning from some awful smelling cheese (I should have known than). By the way, I brought the cheese with me from Richmond...nothing to do with the food from the wedding.
I could however hear the music and inspired by Wordsworth's 'Prelude' and the fact that 'Nature is the father of man', I put all my imagination to good use and drew this picture of a very different America, one that I had not seen before and one that I definitely like to see again. Needless to say, we departed rather reluctantly, turning our backs on Vermont, The Mountain Top Inn, all its lovely people who served us day after day with a smile on their faces, the wonderful people from the wedding party, the families of the bride and groom and of course Phil and Erin themselves.

We drove back on Friday...going non stop (apart from gas and letting Finley out to run around with the dogs) and arrived back in Richmond at midnight, had a day rest and went to the South African food festival on Sunday where we stuffed ourselves with lots of SA goodies and played Rugby!!!;-)))))))