Theres a certain kind of peace that comes over you when you drive the blueridge mountains at sunset. Long, quiet breaths, open windows, loud music, good company. Thats what I remember about this drive. Despite being the second time we did this stretch, every corner was just as breathtaking as the one before. I picked up another gypsy traveller a few days earlier and we stuck like glue. Hands down to sites like couchsurfing that make it possible to arrive in a city and greet a stranger in the middle of a drum circle with a hug. A hug that says, ” I’m so glad you made it” and “Its lovely to meet you” and “My name is ___” all at once. We met for a beer and followed it up with five days of adventure together. We drank good beer, we danced to string music, we jumped into swimming holes, we hiked mountains, we slept in backcountry shelters, we geeked out with our cameras. We made a trip to the smokies and gawked at cariboo like all the other tourists. We lit torches and played with fire. We were quiet over music. We shopped, asked each others opinions and promptly ignored them. I often wonder if we would have become such good friends had we met in any other way. We said “until next time” with a genuine hug.
When I told people that I was driving down to Georgia their automatic response was “It’s going to be hot in Georgia”. This frightened me at the time because I was in Boston and New York during the heat wave and temperatures were nearing a hundred. I couldn’t possibly imagine what Georgia was going to be like if that wasn’t hot. Well, let me tell you, Georgia is 10-15 degrees fahrenheit cooler than New York or Boston in a heat wave. Thank goodness.
Charleston is my favourite. People have been telling me to stop here since Rhode Island. I’m about ready to join the fan club. A city for foodies, beer buffs, historians, culture, counter-culture, musicians, artists and surf. It’s a city that will keep you turning corners because everything is interesting. Its a place you can bike to fill up your growler with one of 10 brews on tap all from different local microbreweries. It’s a place you can sit on giant swings by the water and just watch the world go by. My only advice is: don’t bother buying groceries, you will not eat any of them.
Today I was warned to be careful on one of the roads heading south of the outer banks. I was told to be cautious because the water was close to both sides of the road. Naturally I thought the warning was to be careful not to drive off the road into the water. Turns out the warning was for Alligators. Just a week ago they toted off a 90Ib dog. Thats not so far off from a 115 Ib young lady… Welcome to the south Ma’am.
I’m all about trying new foods when I go to a new place but hushpuppies are one thing I can’t get in to. It might have something to do with the fact that it is just a blob of cornbread that has been deep fried. Or maybe it’s that they serve it with butter. Whatever it is, people here hold it very close to their hearts, and are often quite astonished when I politely decline. I haven’t had honeybuns yet but they seem to be some sort of cinnamon bun like pastry, with honey I assume.
The iconic cliff walk in Newport, RI can at times be compared to a line of marching ants. Hundreds of people marching along the coast because their guidebook told them to do so. Most of them forgetting to look out over the ocean. It makes moments like this refreshing. Wild with enthusiasm and fuelled by ferocious ocean wind, these two boys echoed their fathers cheers as their kites cut through the damp ocean air.
Cambridge is home to the infamous Harvard University. To be honest I was a bit disappointed. I think I expected a castle, or something that would exude scholarly life. Instead I had to actually stumble upon gems by accident. Like this one. The rare book and manuscript library. Now, I will be the first to admit I don’t know much about books. But they are fascinating and I guess I faked it well. I was invited to the scholars tea and got to rub shoulders with Harvard Professors and researchers and watch their eyes mist over as they talked about all the lovely books they mull over daily in the bowels of that building. One of the librarians took me to the sections normally closed off to the public and showed me some of the oldest books in existence. I learned that often books were bound in a certain way to match an owners collection. Sometimes the collectors would have an important note or manuscript that they wanted to keep so they had a book box made for it so they could keep it in their library and it would match the rest of the collection. There were areas in the library that a writers collection was kept intact and displayed all together, so you could see what they were reading and what inspired them to write. Unlike the other libraries at Harvard, the rare book library is available to be used by the public. Requests can be sent in and you can go in and sit down for as long as you like. I heard mention of some digital resources too, but haven’t had a chance to explore them yet http://hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/houghton/collections/early.cfm