We are now in the north-eastern parts of America having flow from Miami to Niagara Falls in New York State. We even nipped to Toronto to vote in the Australian election in the world’s shortest ever trip to Canada – three hours including travel time. Time is tight now, so no time to explore: Toronto, you looked lovely, we’ll see you next time.
I would put Niagara Falls on a par with the Grand Canyon in that is undoubtedly a magnificent spectacle, but not somewhere to travel with small children if you don’t want to have nightmares about them falling off precipices for days afterwards.
I did think it was beautiful, but I was happy when the bad dreams stopped when we got to Boston about three days later. Boston was lovely, lots of history and culture – another liveable city, probably second to Vancouver so far on the potential-to-live-in wishlist.
There is no doubt, though, that the Hotfords’ trot is at its best at the beach or by water of some kind, where the kids are entertained in a giant sandpit and the parents can cool off (bodies and tempers). The three days we spent on Cape Cod after Boston were just lovely. There are bay beaches like this:
The only that was missing in Cape Cod, Mr. Hotford and I both noted, were friends. Even just a few like-minded people to have an evening drink and a chinwag with, because the reality is, we have been pretty much billies-no-mates on this trip. Apart from two very special long weekends – first with our lovely friends in Vancouver and then again with our other lovely friends in Hilton Head. Both times it was such a joy to talk properly about real stuff with old friends over a number of days and a number of drinks.
But for the rest of the trip, in the RV parks and hotels, taxis, trains, planes and queues for things, we have had conversations – some quite long – but very few where you would call it anything close to a friendship. We thought we’d be fighting off invitations to join our RV park neighbours for pre-dinner drinks to talk Trump vs Hilary but we haven’t had one single one – RV parks are not actually sociable places. It’s been the same for the kids – when we set out on this trip I was thinking through all the implications of taking M out of school and I thought, “Social interaction, that will be fine! We will meet other kids all the time!” They have met about three other kids in three months. Lucky they have learnt to love each other a lot!
But this week, it all changed when we found ourselves in cabin on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire with real life other people for a whole week! (Actually, we didn’t find ourselves, I booked it months ago, secretly imagining my Joey Potter to Mr Hotford’s Pacey in Dawson’s Creek). The “resort” was a collection of five rustic cottages on the grounds of the owner’s house that they have owned and run for 40 years. There was a boat house and jetty where you could fish and dive from and loads of chairs for sitting in:
We talked travel with a family from Vermont with eight-year-old twin girls, while our girls and their girls ran around together in a little band of merriment. We talked politics with a family from Connecticut with two teenage boys, who patiently let the girls chatter around them and trip over their fishing gear on the jetty.
It was so nice to get to know other people and get a little bit further under the skin of this fascinating country. Our new friends were just as bemused by the political situation in this country as the rest of the world. I think Canada has never looked so good to progressive-minded Americans – apparently there are people actually moving to a remote island somewhere off Nova Scotia and putting their hands up to be fishermen in an effort to get away from the prospect of Mr-silly-haired-scary-pants.
Not only was it good to socialise, it was also refreshing to find we still have social skills – after so long in the company of one’s immediate family, one can begin to forget how to interact politely.
Next week we’ll be in New York where we have friends, and then on to England where we have lots of friends, so it’s a good job we’ve dusted off our social skills – we’re going to be making up for lost time soon, I hope you’re feeling chatty, friends!This entry was posted in New England