Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
56Trip End Ongoing
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A sunny (nearly 80 degrees!) day in Durham as UNH students flooded in and out of Breaking New Grounds coffee shop where I stopped for an iced latte. Down to Newmarket, arriving slightly before my friend or his wife were home from work. The dogs did not seem to remember me and barked and barked (which isn't really surprising since they bark at falling leaves) and looked at me dumbfounded and questionable at how I knew their names
We had a feast that night! They invited a few friends over and we delightfully filled out bellies with bbq'd steak and chicken, sweet potato salad with cranberries and nuts, homemade macaroni and cheese with four types of cheese and topped with crushed spicy Doritos. Shipyard Pumpkin Ale to wash it all down. Warm berries and ice cream for dessert. My God. Welcome to New Hampshire!
Jon took the next day off, Amy called in "sick", and we took advantage of another flawless fall (almost summer) day in New England. Amy soaked in the sun as Jon and I skipped stones into the ocean as the tides came in. We tried a few left-handed. Jon's first attempt got 6 or 7 skips - possibly his best yet! On his next attempt, however, he released late and rather than going toward the water and incoming waves the stone flew over his right shoulder, parallel to the beach, and plopped into the sand. It's all fun and games till someone loses an eye, Jon. On to Maine for some Mexican food (not too bad, Maine) in the sun and a visit to the Kittery Trading Post - the outdoorsman's (or outdoorswoman's) heaven. So much good stuff it makes me want to pick up a new sport just so I have an excuse to buy more fun stuff! We slowly digested lunch with a stroll around historic Portsmouth, originally called Strawberry Banke after the many wild strawberries growing along the Piscataqua River (thank you, Wikipedia).
Spending a few days in a single place was quite amicable after rushing across the country
Dinner in Portsmouth at Street - a restaurant specializing in street foods of the world - hot dogs, kebabs, falafel, phở, burgers, bánh mě, delicious french fries made out of yucca. Everything was amazing, including the ridiculous rain and lightning storm thrashing about outside. Boys night on the town, Jon and I went to a few of the local watering holes - a beer flight at the Portsmouth Brewery, a couple other random stops, ending at a narrow basement bar that I had been to on my first visit to New Hampshire a couple years earlier. A skinny bar, some stools, a narrow walking path, some small tables, and the band - all packed in to a space 15 feet wide at most. Both times I have been there they have great live music. On my first visit the place was packed (although 20 people packs the place), the band was hot, the air was thick with excitement, and two cougars were sitting in the corner just itching to dance. Just starting to get a buzz from previously consumed liquid courage, I decided I would order one more drink and then go ask a cougar to dance. I ordered a whiskey drink, but as it was being made the lights came on, the music stopped... closing time. I looked at the clock - 12:30. 12:30!? What the hell?
I was greatly looking forward to New England in the fall. Growing up and always living in the west, I have seen some beautiful sights of bright yellow aspen islands lost in a mountainside of dark evergreen, walked through thick quakee groves in morning sun that drowned everything in a yellow light, but have always heard that nothing compares to New England. In addition to being a tiny bit early, for some reason the fall colors were not as great as normal. Weird water patterns during the summer and an early freeze probably did not help. But, all that means is that I will have to go back someday, and I know that I will always have good friends to welcome me.
Everyone, at least I hope everyone, has those friends in life that will drop everything for them. As I think I was saying a few entries ago, I have been blessed with many of these. Jon and Amy are some of them. They are so gracious and generous and I am lucky to have them in my life, even though physical distance allows us rare company.