White Mountains or bust…

This trip in the spring almost didn’t happen. I used Hotel Tonight to make an online reservation at a New Hampshire hotel and the morning I was to leave for my two days of bliss, packed suitcase by the door, I thought I better call the hotel and make sure they had my room reservation. You guessed it, they had no record of my name or room. My cat paced around the suitcase worried about my departure while I spent the next three hours rebooking, cancelling, waiting on hold to get to real people to tell me what the issue was. After all was said and done Hotel Tonight had cancelled my reservation because the hotel I booked would not honor their reservation for some reason. They did NOT email or inform me of this important information or in any way let me know this was happening, so I would have shown up after five hours of driving, only to be turned away. And now I had to find a new place to stay under pressure as the clock ticked my vacation away. Hotel Tonight refunded the charge of my non-existent reservation (5-8 days later mind you) and gave me a half-hearted apology. This was so unacceptable and such a rotten way to start a vacation, that I will never book with them again. So be warned, book direct and save yourself the hassle. 

After I did get on the road, I decided to drive straight from Lenox to the White Mountains without time for any hiking or cute-town hunting along the way. I loved driving through real mountains; even if they are not as gorgeous as my western Sierras they are least more than hills. I drove thru Crawford Notch via the cute town called Bethlehem, driving by OMNI Mount Washington Resort a GORGEOUS old grand hotel for a mere $500 a night.

OMNI Mount Washington Resort

I arrived in Jackson, NH to check into the Christmas Farm Inn. They were so nice they even opened their spa on their one day off to schedule a one hour massage just for me. After checking in and checking out my lovely large room and sitting room, I walked down the hill to the local “falls” that rush through this tiny river town. I sat there on the rocks watching the glorious rushing water and felt the cares of my world fall away. 

That evening I went to a tavern called Wildcat that had an open mic night. It was a mix of music and exuberant locals. It ended at 8:30pm and as I was leaving I struck up four conversations with strangers that were interested in what I was doing in their small town. Solo travel draws people towards me that I would not converse with if accompanied by others. Why is that? Do they feel sorry for me? Is it so unusual to see a female on her own? Whatever the reason I like it, I really do. One young gal asked me if I was a “spiritual person,” she was wanting to share her awakening to the changes she is feeling coming to the earth. Very unusual but she inspired me with her vulnerability. The other three gentlemen were some of the musicians from the evening’s open mic, and one was even the owner of the inn that I am staying in. We talked over what hikes I could do tomorrow which was very helpful. Another man was from the Berkshire Mountains and was tickled to have someone to talk to from near his hometown. 

Wildcat Tavern, Jackson, NH

I woke up the next morning to slip into the smooth black robe the inn provided and walk down a few flights of stairs to the spa and my private massage. It has been three or four years since my last massage so I was feeling justified to spend money on myself. It was by far the BEST massage I have ever received and I kept thinking I need to do this more often, once a week would be perfect! Chris was intuitive, masterful at being able to manipulate my body and stretch and release my limbs and muscles. I was in heaven! I walked out of there on a puffy cloud, back up the two flights to my room to a view of the mountains through a calm, free body. 

I was in such a relaxed state that I sat and read on the porch for a few hours before I could convince myself I should leave the room on my only day in Jackson. 

Start of hike to Black Cap

I drove toward North Conway and Black Cap Mountain to the hike that was  recommended at the bar last night, touted as having 360 degree views and easy. Well, the easy part wasn’t so true. It was pretty steep and I was still a bit mushy from my massage and the warm temperature. But it was worth it as the views were stunning. 

From the top, Black Cap Mountain

After my hike I drove through North Conway and picked up Thai food to eat while sitting on a blanket by the falls below the hotel. I was able to study my script and relax the night away. Even the bugs left me alone. 

It was a quick trip but seeing a new area, meeting new people, and feeling mountain energy seep into my body was so worth it. 

Midday mushrumps…

It was a memorable moment when I heard a room full of 4th graders giggle as they listened to Prospero from Shakespeare’s The Tempest address the elves that make “midnight mushrumps.” It does sound funny, mushrumps, or mushrooms to the uninitiated. In spite of the sound they are certainly one of those growths that are unusual and mystical to me. They conjure fairies, gnomes and sprites as well as pipe-smoking caterpillars.

Today I saw more mushrumps growing in the wild than I have in my entire life. I took a walk around Benedict Pond, my old friend that has inspired many of my blogs (On Benedict Pond). I don’t usually get to trip around the pond in summertime when I am at my busiest acting and teaching, so I have missed the mushroom extravaganza until now. Continue reading

The gnome and the porcupine…

I see the details. The small pebble, the tiny leaf, the surprise 1.5” gnome some magical person planted along the forest trail. I may not always see the big picture while I’m peering at minutiae, but that’s ok. There are plenty of wide-angle views out there. I have written about this before, but my life is charmed. Things happen to me that cause such heart stopping delight and I seem to get more than my share of these moments.

This week I sauntered upon two. The gnome and the porcupine… Continue reading

Saddle up, it’s going to be a wet, bumpy ride…

As “my” cabbages continue to grow in the woods, my eyes are drawn up to the trees. Maybe it’s because I am listening to The Lord of the Rings audio book and the endearing antics of hobbits in the forest of Fangorn. I’ve always loved trees but I am seeing new identities in the bark and stumps today, a whale, an infinity sign, and many, many images of the letter Y. Interesting to ponder the “Y” or WHY? Continue reading

Of cabbages and kings…

 

I continue on from my previous blog to watch the skunk cabbage transform in the Northeast. It completely changes and opens up it’s thick, protective rubbery skin to release beautiful green leaves. It’s not smelling like skunk yet, so I am awaiting that event with tempered enthusiasm. Continue reading

My own sculpture park…

Hello my friends. It has been over a year since I’ve posted a blog. WHAT? Yes, life got busy, I didn’t feel that I had anything new to say and I worked more and meandered a little less. But here we are in a new era of stay-at-home-for-my-own-good-and-the-rest-of-the-world. Being a director/teacher/actor makes me one of the horde that has been laid off until further notice. So now there is no excuse not to post and write. So we will call this the Meandering of the Mind series since “going out’ can really mean “going in” as John Muir says.

I went out for a solitary walk along a large pond. I marvel that there is always something new to discover. I have never seen the blooming of the skunk cabbage plant and I would not have guessed that they looked like this…

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To see them bursting through the decaying leaves and swampy ground was better than any outdoor sculpture park I’ve seen. I am not a fan of modern, metal monstrosities in my woods, I like my trees and nature unadulterated and these growing skunk cabbages are the perfect illustration of why. You couldn’t ask for a better bit of sculpting to admire, with color, texture and medium perfectly suited to their surroundings. They are quite thick and sturdy right now, and remind me of the protea flowers that I first discovered in Hawaii with an almost woody strength. Continue reading

Beaching it…

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_86c3After a wonderful stop outside Minneapolis, Minnesota to visit family we are back on the road to get to Mackinac Island on Lake Huron. Just about an hour outside of Lake Ham, MN, we finally saw a bear! A darling black bear was crossing the road and after he got across, he turned to look at us and showed us his darling brown snout as if he was posing for a picture. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough to grab my phone. Continue reading

Little bighorn sheep and prairie puppies…

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_86b6Today I decided to get myself to the doctor to check out my ears and dizziness. And as I surmised, I have a myriad of things happening in my ears because of the virus and was prescribed nose spray and anti-nausea meds and more over-the-counter decongestants. But all is well, I am feeling much, much better and glad to have had a doctor take a look just to rule out anything that might hurt my hearing. Continue reading

Lovebug

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In Custer, Wyoming

I’m feeling like a Queen Bee sitting in our luxury room at the Celebrity Hotel, with Herbie the original Lovebug (from Disney movie fame) a few walls away. It has been a super day and I’m feeling extremely lucky. First off we had many belly laughs, so I know I am feeling better. It was a lovely drive to Crazy Horse Monument. Sharing this area with Audrey has been special. She loved Crazy Horse too, and we both like it more than Mount Rushmore, even though it is not going to be finished for a hundred years or more. The non-profit nature of it, the heart behind honoring the Native Americans, plus the shear gumption of one man taking on such a legacy while knowing he would die before seeing it even close to being finished. (read more in my blog from 2012, Lost my heart in the Black Hills…)  But we did see a shaggy mountain goat at Mount Rushmore so that added to the presidential fun. Continue reading