The Roadhouse

I have been on the road a lot this summer. It is one of the things I love about my new job. Although I officially started this position last September, I was paid as a contractor last summer so I could begin attending the yearly meetings and conferences. So, this is my second summer on the road. I love it. I love meeting people, some whose names I see on social media posts and on checks that come in as donations. This being the second summer, I have gotten to see some people for the second time around, and experience the joy of recognition and catching up.

This year, one of the trips was to Toledo, Ohio. Because of the amount of stuff I was bringing with me and because this particular event was for a full week, I drove. It turns out, West Virginia is about half-way in between Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Toledo, Ohio. I found an airbnb that looked just right, and booked a night both for on the way up, and for on the way back.

It was perfect. There were three separate buildings for travelers on a working strawberry farm (although this was not strawberry season). As much as I love people, I love quiet and fireflies and bats in twilight, too. The accommodations were amazing and private (I stayed in a different building for each of the stays). I thought those aspects were my favorite things.

But, it turns out, it was breakfast that has called to my reflections. Not all airbnbs offer a home-cooked, full breakfast with the addition of home-grown cantaloupe and berries. The hostess, there, did. There was one long dining table in a dining room that was just for us, the guests.* The first morning meal on my way to Ohio I shared with various members of a family who had traveled together from Oklahoma for the funeral of the beloved family patriarch in a nearby West Virginia town and with another lady who was returning from visiting her children and grandchildren. The morning meal on my way back home to North Carolina was shared with two graduate student friends who had met halfway in their journey back to UNC-Chapel Hill. They were both studying library science with a focus on archives.

It was this, rather than the old buildings and furniture, that transported me back in time as a lone traveler on the road, meeting other fellow travelers at a pause in our journeys. At hotels, there is often the offer of a “continental breakfast,” but the food is of varying degrees of freshness, never cooked just for me, and often grabbed on the way out the door. Even at a “regular” bed and breakfast, it is often so easy to sit at a small table with family and friends or alone. Rarely do I find the long communal wood dining table of an inn and the food cooked by the innkeeper.

______________________

*Unfortunately (or fortunately), I did not take a photo of the dining room.

This post is not written as a “review.” However, for those who would like to know, the airbnb was Country Road House and Berries in Clendenin, West, Virginia. I also bought a jar of strawberry preserves, and it has been a delight. (Obviously, not being the hostess, I make no guarantees about continued offerings.)

Advertisements

Timing

I just got back from a trip to New England (Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, to be specific).

Dover Friends Meeting.

It was an intense few weeks with work leading up to the trip and a little crazy actually getting out the door. We had just hosted a play on tour from England–in a town about two hours away from Fayetteville, had a board meeting at Quaker House (the locations rotate), gotten the newsletter out, made presentations at the Piedmont Friends Fellowship and Yearly Meeting’s Spring Retreat, and, just days before I left town, finally gotten our kitchen floor repaired. Thank you to all the people who donated funds to help with this necessary work and who donated a new refrigerator! Because the House is still fully working even in my absence, I needed to put things back together before I left. It was a late night with an early morning following.

Kitchen floor in need of repair from water damage.
New kitchen floor and donated fridge!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, I made it. We made it (I met up with my daughter and son-in-law for parts of the trip). We made it to the not-unheard-of-April-sleet-and-ice-weather in New England from the fully-into-spring-70-degree-days in North Carolina. Luckily, we had checked the forecast and were prepared, and we had some well-timed coincidences.

Red Sox v Orioles. Score Red Sox 3, Orioles 1.

For example, I drove down from Maine to Boston to help my daughter and son-in-law with luggage so they could walk the Freedom Trail Tour before driving them to our next destination. They were running late, walking in the freezing rain and wild gusts of wind (same day as the Boston Marathon, if you saw those weather reports). I just happened to drive down the same one-way street in the same direction and recognized them in all their bundling. I could not pick them up there at that second (city traffic), but, amazingly, found a loading zone just around the corner that I was able to pull into without raising anyone’s ire while they caught up with me. We were still late getting them to the starting point of the tour, but my son-in-law looked out the window and wondered aloud, “Do you think that’s them?” pointing at three separate groups of poncho-clad people. They jumped out of the car and randomly picked the correct tour group that had them listed. The two history buffs were off on their tour.

Next, we visited two of my brothers and their families. It has been approximately 12 years since we have seen them and, therefore, had actually not yet met some of the newer family members.

There was lacrosse;

inflation of an indoor bouncy house while sitting in the middle of it;

baseball (Maine spring weather stops no one);

games of Foosball, Connect Four, and Apples to Apples; hair gel applied to match the visiting cousin-in-law’s style; and good food at every turn.

One of our final adventures was to buy a delicious “medium” (half-filled paper cup) of hot chocolate sold by a young guy in the parking lot of the art studios that neighbor my high-school-days home. Price: $1.00.

I returned to North Carolina about 12 hours earlier than I originally planned, and was very pleased with that decision for traveling arrangements. After that adjustment had already been implemented, I found out that the Quaker House web site was in urgent need of my focused attention. So, that timing worked out, too.

Hopefully, it will not be another decade before returning to Maine.

Rebar took on a little mentee at his sitter’s house while we were away.