Richmond, Virginia to Philadelphia to Milford, CT to Lincoln, NH
We set off from Richmond in early July to Philly. I was excited about Philly because our lodging looked like the kind of city loft I dreamed about as a boy.
I’d never been to Philadelphia before, and I was looking forward to being there for the Fourth of July, sharing food with friends, and walking around a city. I have already described the events that overshadow this place. With a little distance, I remember patio dining and even the late evening walk in the city to the fireworks display as the simple good pleasures they are.
What made our trip memorable was not any of the destinations. Most of all, who we are in those places—how a new backdrop can call your attention to something about you or your family you might miss somewhere more comfortable and familiar—who we are is a memento I carry even now.
The variety of travel is not something I had thought about in this way before: the feeling of closeness in some houses and that of space in others is like a palate cleanser. I can experience the whole of something better if I first take a sensory break.
And, to top it off, seeing (observing) people carrying on life and engaging with them is what I expect from travel. People live here? They pick up prescriptions from Walgreens in their neighborhood. Parents walk their kids to the closest park, clutching smartphones with eyes split between screen and playground.
Back to the road. Sara and Clementine came down with Covid just as we prepared to leave Philly. We tried in vain to quarantine them with separate bedrooms, masking, all that we could muster. We asked if our stay could be extended to wait it out. Failing that, we drove, windows cracked, masks on. We drove to the outskirts of New York City (we had hoped the overnight stop would be there). Bypassing another city stay, we stopped overnight in Milford, CT.
Milford was right on the interstate on the way to New Hampshire. We booked two rooms, one for quarantine and one not. I took two kids to a patio dinner in town and had my first lobster roll, warm and buttery, steps from the water. I walked with Anabelle and Clementine along the beach at Burwells Beach, and we dipped our toes in the Long Island Sound. (How different it was the last time our toes were sandy-wet in Orange Beach!) Later that night, I was helpless as Beatrix cried herself to sleep at the door, wailing for her mom.
The following day we set off for New Hampshire. We went straight up I-91 through Massachusetts, then into Vermont. I-91 hugs the Connecticut River, which separates Vermont and New Hampshire. This area was so pretty, riverine, and green with trees and plant life new to us: a foretaste of what was to become of our next month. I cannot wait to tell you everything we learned at “home” in New Hampshire.