Woke up a couple of hours later than I usually wake up on a weekday. There was no need to hurry this time. I walked to a CD shop in Davis Square to get some travel music (mostly 80s and Margaret Cho) and last-minute supplies. Had an improv lunch with a Subway sub, water, and Shrek twinkies (long story). Also did a quick laundry run before I got picked up by hammercock. We made a pact not to discuss things like work and the various dramatic events that plagued us these past few weeks. It was an escape from everything.
The drive was uneventful with the exception of me listening to more songs from The Arrogant Worms.
NOTE TO SELF: Make bester listen to "Tokyo Love Song". I think he would get a kick out of a song about a girlfriend being squashed by Godzilla.
We stayed at the Penrose Inn just outside of Northampton which was this fabulous Victorian house. Our room was spacous with a mock fireplace, couches, a soft bed and rosy wallpaper with matching lamps. I would show you a picture, but the sweet irony of my travels is that I bring two cameras only to not take many pictures. I'll leave that to my sweetie for now. The bathroom mirrored the Victorian style with wooden finishes and a claw-foot bathtub for two [trust me ;)]
The evening was spent at the Fresh Pasta Bistro with a friend (don't have her LJ username yet). Had the spinach fettucine [sic?] while hammercock had the sweet potato ravioli. Both were delicious. There were leftovers.
We requested breakfast served at 9:30am. I wished the attire matched the atmosphere and decor of the dining room table. Elegant china. Candlelight (complete with snuff device). Serving dishes. Fortunately, I remembered the lost art of fine dining while having cantelope and Lady Grey tea for the first time. Apparently, I can adapt to cantelope now. Scrambled eggs and cranberry juice were also served. We took our time since it was just us and the hostess Nancy. In this house, quick showeres were not a possibility given how the tub was set-up so it took a while to get ready for our road trip. It wasn't until noon that we were on the road to Vermont. That was an adventure in itself since the path involved unpaved roads on manual transmission. I remind myself of the movie "Sideways" in which two friends trekked across the California vineyards in search of the perfect Pinot. Only this time its the cremaries of Vermont.
Peaked Mountain near Grafton? provided excellent raw sheep and goat milk cheeses. The dogs were fun to play with. It was at Peaked Mountain that I realized that the mountains were snow-capped. A winter wonderland in a remote farm. The host was gracious enough to recommend some other places. The next stop was through rough terrain and Londonderry into the Taylor Farm known for its award-winning Gouda (maple smoked, garlic, and spiced). Wasn't able to taste, so I took their word on it. Hammercock also got some maple syrup which I need to compare with my 3.5 year-old syrup from my Montreal trip (never opened). It was longer to get to a dairy farm than it was to stay at one. Fifteen minutes later, we were venturing to deep in Londonderry and the Woodcock Farm known for its tangy Feta and aged soft cheeses. It had an unripe Bleu that was perfect for me (not too strong). Got a wheel of the soft cheese and some of the Bleu. Before long, it was approaching sunset.
On the trip back, to the tune of "Little Cuban Friend" by the Arrogant Worms, we made a pit stop at the Mary Meyer Stuffed Toy Shop with museum. Got a few before we went back to MA. Dinner was spent at Paul & Elizabeth's Natural Foods restaurant where the seitan was yummy. The snowfall continued at Northampton. It was gentle. It wasn't a blizzard. Just the perfect weather for ice cream at the Cold Stone ice cream shop. I recommend the Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip sundae. It was also perfect weather for an improptu trip to East Heaven and hot tubbing. An hour wasn't enough. Serenity continued with the snow-capped stone floors and warm tub built for 8. It was then that we decided that we need a place just like this. For now, we have to settle for frequent visits. A reservation for a hot stone massage was made for the next day (the "Romancing the Stone" package).
Same problem with morning. We took a nap until well into 1-2pm. We barely had time to make our appointment with the East Heaven Paradise spa to have our hot stone massage. Pure heaven. My mind was clear and peaceful. You think of nothing but meadows and clear skies. Also had visions of my wedding, but that's another story. Once again, an hour wasn't enough. Left the place with less tension and a coconut fragrance. For hammercock, it was ginger. Finally went to all of the shops that were closed the previous night (apparently, the town stops working at 9pm). Finally got some winter boots at an Army-Navy surplus shop in addition to some chocolates and nuts. We avoided the internet cafe as well as newspapers (apparently Peterson got convicted while we were gone). The teapot had great Chinese food. I also recommend a place for warm gingerbread rice pudding.
There was a small theater that was playing "I Heart Huckabees", so we saw that after getting some cocoa.
It's been a while since I saw a film that made my mind undergo a philosophical debate over the nature of the universe. I think the last one was "Kill Bill Vol. 2" which made me think twice about the role of Superman in modern society. Anyway, this film is pure existental angst (ignoring Lily Tomlin's cleavage and unconventional foreplay with Isabella Huppert). If you want, I can engage in a conversation about existentialism and its role in modern storytelling with Star Wars (light side vs. dark side) and Babylon 5 (Vorlons vs. Shadows), as well as how the film appears to take a page from Hagel's work on thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. However, it will have to be in private since I'm already taking a lot of space. The fact is that, when you get down to it, it's about an individual looking at two diametrically opposing views of a topic (like the universe) and coming up with his/her own conclusions that seems to fit in between.
Good mindfuck. Remind me never to be like Jude Law's character.
We had one last breakfast. We took one last bath. We had one last look at the gorgeous B&B. We had one last stroll at Northampton where we went to a place called Schokalad for hot dark chocolate and some milk chcolate bars for my next batch of spicy brains. It was on to Amherst for Antonio's pizza. On the way, we went to a place called "Bob's Soda and Pet City". No kidding, it has soda and pet products. Wished hammercock's camera didn't break in the process, but it looked like it was a reminder that the vacation was over.
I'm still trying to play catch-up with work, people, and family. But my mind is now clear and articulate for the first time in a while. We are both refreshed and can't wait until the Thanksgiving holiday for more relaxation.