Gloucester to NYC to the Hamptons to HOME

We thought we had spent our last night in the van already, but luckily we got to do it again in CT, and loved every hot noisy second of it.  Then we sped down the coast toward NYC, but stopped in Stony Creek to dip our feet in the Atlantic!

We saddled up and headed for The Big City–I was the designated city driver, but thankfully we were on “s”–I went through and made playlists in alphabetical order on my ipod–so we had Sting and Stuart Murdoch to soothe us as I navigated the Williamsburg Bridge and lower Manhattan and SoHo.

We figured it all out okay, and arrived safe at Fred’s apartment in SoHo! Then he took us on an amazing walk through Battery City, to the new Freedom Tower, to the lower East Side, Chinatown, Little Italy, and back around SoHo. Probably 8 miles? A wonderful change of pace from sitting in the car all day. Then we met Travis for pizza at Lombardi’s (which has some claim to fame about being the first pizza something or another) and more walking! Then Grady came down to meet us, looking fresh in his business attire, and we caught up for a while.  It was wonderful to see friends in a city so chock full of people we don’t know, especially since we were pretty tired of the road, and ready to be back in the Old Dominion!

Then we headed up to the Hamptons for a day to stay with the Delaney’s, the Merrills, and Allie, which was very relaxing and very wonderful! We got a tour of a gargantuan house that was being remodeled down the street–something like 11 bedrooms? rents for $75,000 a week!–and had a wonderful time catching up with old friends–or meeting new ones!


Then it was off to Charlottesville! Ironically–or maybe appropriately–the last day of driving was hands doen the very worst, with TONS of traffic and BUCKETS of rain.  We didn’t even want to calculate how much time we lost to traffic.  We eventually made it safe to DC (Marg drove the whole time! What a champ!), picked up Jacob (Feldman) and struck out for Charlottesville, arriving around 11pm! I dropped off Marg and headed to my street, where I found that about 8378458745029 fratstars were there to welcome me home! Or maybe it was just midsummers…there’s some debate.

But we are definitely back, and if you check this again in a month or two (as if anyone will remember to do that!) we’ll put up our REAL pictures (Marg and I both shoot film) and some more poems.  Thanks for sharing our trip with us!


And a small shameless plug–I got the blogging bug and am starting a food blog– –it’s in the incipient stages right now–but I promise a delicious pie posting soon!








We visited Tatiana’s mom without Tatiana–I’m sure she’s jealous!– and stayed in their wonderful apartment in the wonderful town of Gloucester. We got a great tour in the morning, had a scrumptious lunch and headed out for Cambridge and Boston.
You could smell the sea from Tats’ bedroom, and Gloucester was beautiful and charming and it seemed like the perfect New England fishing town.
We walked around Cambridge Square, got bubble tea–normal tea for Marg– and walked through Cambridge around Harvard. We are both glad we go to UVa, and the longer I go to a public university, the more passionate I am about the importance of public schools in providing a quality, affordable education to a wide population.
We went to the South End and had dinner at Hamersly’s on my dad’s recommendation. It was delicious– I had risotto with mint and peas and garlic green beans. Marg had roast chicken, and we split a white chocolate panna cotta with raspberry coulis. Divinie.






Some more poems

Friday Harbor

Tourists with full moon faces

walk down all the pink and white striped streets

with taffy clutched in their hands

and strung between their jaws.

They go down to the shingle beach

and shriek in the icy water—not

because its so cold, but because,

secretly, they love to suffer it.

No doe

The cartoon orange poppies are twirling up

their petals, closing up shop

as the sun drops down onto the mainland.

The yellow grass patching the cliff

is yellow hair, balding with black rock,

and is matted into the spun nests

of does and fawns that would rise and run

the second you look their way.

The rock is warm as flesh

where it pushes through the grass.

Later, when seven trucks of seventeen year olds

arrive with smuggled cigarettes

and water bottles full of vodka-and-gatorade,

you realize that no doe

has ever slept here, on the cliff,

and the pressed nests are made

by young bodies in the night grass.

Detroit and Rochester

We ate at Avalon Bakery, a sweet recomendation from my dad that was super yuppie and super delicious. It made me want to open a bakery. We ate there twice, actually. Spring onion foccacia, peanut butter brownie, and a rhubarb brioche. We explored deserted Detroit. Marg says, “I was kind of overwhelmed by the extent of the poverty and the extent to which the city was abandoned. I think I pictured there would be a PART of the city that was abandoned, but there was abandonment in EVERY part of the city. In that sense it reminded me of New Orleans, in that everywhere you go, poverty and wealth is really mixed, but there wasn’t much wealth left in Detroit.”
I definitely felt like the city couldn’t possibly avoid its decay and its emptiness, and the sheer inefficiency of so many empty buildings must leave the residents with a different sense of what growth for their city means. Not every abandoned house in Detroit will be reclaimed and lived in again- in fact, most won’t- and letting go of that vision of success and accepting the decline of a city, while still trying to help it and your neighbors flourish in a new context seems really exciting to me. I could see myself loving living there.
It was really empty everywhere we went, including Ford headquarters, which had–ironically– very poorly paved roads. It was wicked hot, and Marg and I both made ourselves sick on Dairy Queen. There was a huge thunderstorm at night, and the rain was absolutely lashing.
The next morning we set off for Rochester,NY, via Canada. Canada had a million dumb lane closures and detours, but we arrived safe and sound at the Helm’s, to have a delicious dinner! Marg had salmon for the first time and liked it! Now I just need to find an infant for her to hold and get her to eat bananas.





Chicago (pt 2)

We sent Sat off to work–in a huge skyscraper a few blocks away, natch-and set off to the Art Institute.  We spent hours exploring/strategizing our exploring, and our art obsession was slaked. For the moment.

The Chagall windows were beautiful, and the piece that I think I will remember forever was this.  It was a pile of metallic wrapped candy in the corner of a gallery, and visitors were supposed to take a piece of candy from the pile that originally was 175 lbs to symbolize the artist’s partner’s weight, that dwindled under AIDS.  The pile dwindles as visitors take it, and is supposed to be replenished, apparently symbolizing new life.  I took a piece, but didn’t eat it, and couldn’t help but think there was a sinister undertone that the info plaque wasn’t touching on.  The pile dwindles because we take it, not because of some uncontrollable illness.  It seemed to implicate all the viewers/voyeurs in the illness, in consuming it.



Then we went to the South Side, to around the University of Chicago, where my dad and mom lived while my dad went to med school. We went to his favorite fried chicken place, and I tried to make us look casual by knitting on the sidewalk as Marg took pictures.  Jury’s out on that strategy.

Then we drove to Detroit, where we have two (two!) separate beds.  Which hasn’t happened since Dallas.

Chi-City (pt 1)

So we spent our last night in the van in a Walmart parking lot.  The first and last of the trip. We got there around 10pm after leaving the Tetons and stopping by the ranch to see Jess and shower (wonderful, wonderful shower!), and we took advantage of the 24hr-ness of Walmart, and brushed our teeth in their bathroom. (I washed my hair in their sink.  Marg was grossed out.)

We had pasta with sundried tomatoes and bell peppers for dinner on the side of the road, whipped up on the camp stove. It was divine. I’m getting so attached to this stove–I’m considering taking it with me to the library so I can make myself grilled cheeses or something–I never want to be without it.

We woke up and got right back on 90, heading for Chicago, and just went and went until we hit the mother of all traffic jams, and her spawn–the tollways.  I have no idea why they have so many tollbooths in Illinois (and why they’re not at all like the Phantom Tollbooth).

We went straight to Frontera Grill–Rick Bayless’s Mexican restaurant in Chicago that I have always wanted to go to–and it was. So.  Good.  I can’t even really show you a picture of our delicious appetizer, because we scarfed it all up before we thought to document.  There was just a little masa corner left, with almost none of the delicious cheese filling.

Margaret had goat (!) barbacoa enchiladas, and I had pozole with the teeny tiniest lil mushrooms.  So good. Though mine looks a little…barfy.

Then we met up with Sat, who was turning 21!! He has an amazing (and amazingly empty) room with a knock-your-socks-off view of the Chicago skyline, including the Sears tower.  There was a thunderstorm with lots of lightning, which was stunning to see.


They didn’t respond to “buffs” or “bison.” But there were so many of them, all over the road, too, with their absurdly large heads. And calves too! We saw them in Custer State Park, near Mt Rushmore.