Maybe it was the family cross-country trips every summer from the west coast to my grandmother’s house in New Hampshire. Maybe it is because Brian and my first date was a legendary drive to San Francisco in a Fiat X19. Maybe it is because I am always the passenger, never the driver. Maybe it is just curiosity of seeing something new. Whatever it is, I love a road trip! Long or short, I love packing up the car and hitting the highway in the early morn. Don’t get me wrong, I love the destinations as well, but in my opinion, the excitement comes from the journey.
I love staying in motels with their generous allotment of pillows (yes, I admit to loving a whole bed to myself) and free crappy breakfasts. I love the variety of restaurants we find and our credo never to order something we could make at home (if rabbit is on the menu, one of us is having it.) I love the challenge of waiting as long as possible before a bathroom break. And stopping at Dunkin Donuts for a restroom and latte. Which leads to more waiting as long as possible.
I love riding shot gun and reading the highway signs. Pronouncing the names of towns. Imagining who might live in these towns and what might they do for work. I like watching the other cars and catching surreptitious views of the drivers. I like to imitate the steady, breathy voice of the GPS woman. I also love my passenger responsibility of handing out snacks and making light conversation. Much of which centers on thinking up more trips.
Recently, Brian and I took a mini trip to southeastern Connecticut, in pursuit of the so-called Connecticut Art Trail, a loose conglomerate of 18 or so small art museums and historical sites housing some little known stashes of American art. Despite rain, it was a near-perfect road trip.
First stop: Old Lyme, Ct – the Florence Griswald Museum. Museums generally have great cafes, and this was no exception. Highlights were a hot cider-rum cocktail and a clientele that looked like the Real Housewives of Old Money Connecticut. Complete with furs (pushing the season a little, I think) and facelifts (always in season). The museum was a restored former artist colony from the late 19th century. Artists traveled from the big city to enjoy the fresh country air and create their masterpieces, including painting the walls and doors of the house. The grounds of the museum were beautiful, overlooking the Lieutenant River. A special outdoor exhibit featured faerie houses designed by artists. Note to self: make a faerie house with Lo when she gets older.
An indulgent dinner was followed by a lousy sleep (maybe there is a connection) followed by aforementioned crappy breakfast, then back on the road to New Britain. The New Britain Museum of American Art is a hidden gem! Not sure how it is funded since it was free admission that day, but it is large with a great collection. Despite saving money on admission, sorry Lo, I could not part with $22 for that cute artsy onesie.
Back in the car to visit my brother and sister-in-law for a snack of homemade sauerkraut. Really, it is a thing in my family to outdo each other with ultra homemade food items. It is not enough to cook and bake from scratch, we must also make the raw ingredients. Bone broth. Yogurt. Cheese. Pickled everything. Maple syrup. Beer. Soon we will mill our own flour, I’m sure. The sauerkraut was delicious and I hope it makes it way to this year’s Yankee Swap.
We only hit two of the stops on the Connecticut Art Trail, but I am sure there are several more in our future. It was not as exciting as that trip to west coast in 1978 with my new boyfriend Brian and not as exciting as that time my parents, 4 kids, one poodle and a boat were traveling from Sacramento to NH and the boat broke free of its latch on the highway. But it was road trip, so what’s not to love?