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The wedding weekend took place at a beautiful bed & breakfast-style inn called the Fontainebleau. The 1814 inn is just lovely. I only wish I hadn’t been having so much fun so I could’ve taken a few more snapshots! Well, that’s not true.

The innkeepers were very gracious, and the rooms are beautifully appointed. Breakfast was wonderful both mornings (I found myself wishing for a big plate of fresh fruit and freshly baked honey bread on Monday morning). It was quiet, beautiful, and full of subtle historical character. It made the perfect setting for Jon and Julia’s big day.

The kitchen / antique rug beaters on an old brick wall / the library / white and silver mantle / Henry asleep in the comfy inn bed

(part 3 is on its way!)

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Every time we take a trip down Rt 67 to Vermont, we pass Bill Hodges’ antique store. The last time we made the trip, we stopped in to see if there were any treasures waiting for us.

I came home with an old deck of tarot cards, a vintage washboard sign, and some partially-faded cobalt thread. I was pretty pleased with my little haul, and it was lots of fun walking down aisles and aisles of antique treasures looking for little gems to take home. We’ll surely be stopping at Mr. Hodges’ store again soon. I can’t stop thinking about some beautiful vintage wood crates he had that would make excellent planters.

but not much more.

So says this print from The Black Apple that hangs in Henry’s nursery.

We’ve been in Schaghticoke for nearly a month now. We’ve explored all over our area – drives to specific places like Albany and Troy (our nearest cities) and drives to not-so-specific places which always end up being more fun. Passing farms and tiny old towns, covered bridges, wooded areas, foothills, creeks, and waterfalls. We’ve walked up and down our village and around Electric Lake behind our house. It’s starting to feel like home here. Home, or a really long vacation in rural upstate New York.

In keeping with the spirit of exploration, Last Thursday we took a trip to Bennington, Vermont (I’m in love) for pancakes with real Vermont maple syrup. While we were there we stopped at the Bennington Bookshop, which began our 2-day bookstore adventure.

On day 2, we ventured to find a used book store in Hoosick Falls that I had heard about back in Buffalo. Turns out, it wasn’t a store at all. It was an enormous barn filled to the brim with old, rare, and used books. There was a cast iron woodstove in the middle to heat the barn, and it smelled wonderful. An old man of at least 80 owns the barn (called Dogears Book Barn) with his wife, and we were greeted by him, his big scruffy dog, and the sound of 1940’s music on the radio. It was kind of magical. We left with three used children’s books, lots of poetry, and a kids’ geography book from the 1870’s that I fell in love with (and picked up for $5).

After the Book Barn, we stopped in Cambridge, NY. It was a sweet little town more like Vermont than the often post-industrial upstate New York. We stopped into Battenkill Books, one of the better independent bookstores I’ve been to. We met one of the proprietors, who also happened to have a son named Henry. We got Henry a few board books and a pamphlet on building chicken coops. We’ll certainly be going back.

You would think since I spend my days working in a library (not to mention we live right upstairs), I wouldn’t care so much about bookstores. Not the case. I love bookstores, used and new, and I can’t wait to visit the next one.

Sunday we had a reservation to go to the Barnes Foundation outside of Philadelphia. We rented a car, woke up at 4 am, and hit the road. We had packed a lunch of gluten-free pasta salad with peppers, scallions, and parmesan and a couple of pesto, mayonnaise, and veggie sandwiches. We listened to our favorite albums and enjoyed being on the road, talking about towns we passed, observing changes of scenery.

About 4 hours into our trip, after we had crossed the Pennsylvania border, something seemed wrong. I assumed we had passed our exit or missed a turn, but upon further investigation it looked as if we had taken the wrong end of a fork about 45 minutes back. We were now faced with being very late for our reservation, spending more money on gas than anticipated, and pushing our arrival back home to Buffalo back by a couple of hours that night.

At this point, we had just passed through my hometown. I love my hometown. As we passed through, I talked about all the things I would want to do if we stopped there and made plans for the next trip home.

So now we are stopped at a gas station, faced with a decision. Continue to the Barnes Foundation and see the collection in its original location before it is moved to center city Philly, or choose to change the plan.

We changed the plan.

Instead of going the museum, we went back to Vestal. We went to the nature preserve and took the most invigorating and peaceful hike through the woods to the pond. It was wet, cold, windy, and muddy. It was perfect.

Snowflakes blew around in the sun like tiny pieces of glass, reflecting the light and putting us inside a real-life nature snow globe. The colors everywhere were lovely – warm browns, evergreen green, bright white snow, and the black, grey, and rusty brown of the black-capped chickadees chirping and flitting around the trees.

After the walk, we warmed up with some delicious Mexican food and got on the road back to Buffalo. We took the leisurely road home, passing through Ithaca and stopping at the original gimme! coffee for a fresh-brewed treat (their Panama Hartmann Honey is my all-time favorite) to get us through the rest of the ride. We drove along Seneca Lake and through Geneva, my old college town, and west from there.

We may have spent most of our trip in the car, but I think we made the right choice.

I brought home two souvenirs from my week in South Carolina – a cheap wooden fan from a Chinese restaurant and a seashell. I’ll miss the beach.

I’ll be here all week.