East Coast represent. I was born and raised in upstate New York, not western New York, not New York City, but the whole state that exists above it. It’s pretty big, you should look it up sometime. I have never loved going ‘home’ but as I grow, mature, and develop into a woman my relationship with the family I estranged myself from for so many years is growing strong, and this means more frequent and longer visits. This was the best visit I have ever had and this post will document my time hanging with the fam. I will do a separate post which will cover my climb of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. I visited New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine over the past two weeks and many an activity was had.
I flew into Albany, New York on a clammy Tuesday evening. My father and his girlfriend Laura picked me up from the airport. He brought me to his charming New England bed and breakfast. The amenities were nice, although I thought the pool could use a bit more chlorine.
My father and I did a lot of straight up chilling. He is a really fun person to spend time with. He has a PhD in mechanical engineering from RPI and now that I am neck deep in engineering school we have even more to talk about. We see eye to eye on everything including the big X on marriage and kids. I am absolutely my fathers daughter, 100%, adult tantrums and all. He will forever be my favorite human.
We explored the abandon house across the street from his house. There are eight barn cats that I attempted to make friends with. The house was super nasty inside. Food was left in the fridge (which I opened) and a curious black fungus blanketed everything. I wanted to sample it and bring it to the biology lab at school but refrained.
My brother came up from the dirty Jerz on a Saturday and we all went to Doc Browns, a bar on Saratoga Lake. Saratoga Lake is so much fun and my father’s life long friend Karl has a house (dock included) right on it. This is the center of all summer chills. There is boating, kayaking, sailing, napping, and most importantly floating in a tube while drinking beer. There’s no app for lake life.
One of my favorite days in New York, my father and I whipped around his 86’ mustang and then he took me sailing on the sunfish he has had since he was fourteen years old.
I also ran a marathon. It is called the E.B. Jeb marathon and consists of drinking PBR for 7 hours at The Mill (a biker bar) while listening to the greatest southern rock cover band my ears have heard. I met some members of The Rolling Pride motorcycle club and learned all about The Hells Angels. I also drank 15 PBRs and danced my face off. As my father said, “all the mutants come out for E.B. Jeb,” and he was right. It was one of the most fun parties I have attended to date. And getting drunk with your dad is always better. This is the only photographic evidence.
Dad time is the best time. Also, upstate New York is beautiful. Never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I miss the humidity, the rain, the old charm, and the out of control greenness.
My father let me drive my grandparents (now his) 1995 Honda Accord from New York to Maine where my mother retired to an absolutely gorgeous log cabin. She has always had good taste and everything she owns is well thought out. I had not seen my mother in a long time and I was incredibly excited to spend some good quality time with her and my stepfather Ty.
On the way I stopped in Willmington, Vermont and ran up Haystack Mountain in a down pour.
I continued on through the back-wood roads of New England. Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine are old states. There is a lot of history, a lot of trees, and a lot of charm. The driving is enjoyable but goes from 55 to 30 and back up to 55 in a matter of seconds.
In New Hampshire I stopped and had a snack at Lake Winnipesaukee.
I wanted to go for a swim but the moment was not right. It took another hour or so of me falling into the deep driving trance to realized I needed to run. I pulled down a random dirt road in Tamworth, New Hampshire and ended up at White Lake. I ran two miles around the lake and realized I was completely alone. I dipped my feet in the water and it was just the right temperature. I was still alone. I decided to cross skinny dipping off my bucket list. It was the perfect moment and thirty minutes I will never forget.
My visit with my mother was absolute perfection. We had all the talks we needed to have and resolved all the issues we needed to resolve. I feel like a piece of me has returned. I feel whole again. There is only forward and I see us developing the relationship we both always wanted to have. My mother and stepfather are active and love adventure so they were eager to show me around. My mother lives in a small town in Maine that borders New Hampshire. I would retire to this area. There is SO much to do. There are SO many pristine waterfalls and creeks. There is SO much wilderness and the White Mountains are in her backyard. She picked the perfect spot to settle down. I cannot wait to go back for Christmas and see it with snow.
Sabbatus Mountain is in my mother’s backyard so we all hiked it. It was really nice to share something I love doing with my family.
The same day we did a beautiful hike to a place called Diana’s Bath in New Hampshire. I had my hand at some water photography.
The next day we drove up Mount Washington, king of the White Mountains, Emperor or the Presidential Range. Mount Washington is iconic and the proud owner of the some of worst weather in the world. The highest recorded wind speed (231 mph) was clocked on the summit. All the buildings are chained down. The road is super nasty and my mother and Ty said they would never drive it again. This is the day I got the brilliant idea to climb the beast and I will write a separate blog with lots more photos on how I did just that. It was about 40 degrees with howling winds the day we milled around the summit.
Next my mother and Ty showed me Jackson, New Hampshire, a favorite of theirs. I nailed my head on the covered bridge trying to take photos.
I wanted more water so they brought me to Kezar Falls (in Maine behind my mom’s house) where we saw a moose!
On the final day, Ty took my mother and I canoeing on Kezar Lake in Maine. It was my first time and I absolutely LOVED it. This was my favorite day with my mom and Ty.
Residents of my mother’s town have private access to an exclusive beach. We went and put our feet in the sand and observed a small child bathing in the water. Gotta love people!
They also treated me to two different breweries; Moat Mountain and Seacrest which both had vegan options and delicious beer.
After some tears were shed, I left my mother’s and made my way to the base of Mount Washington which is where I will pick things back up….
I had a wonderful and necessary extended visit with my family. I am so happy I grew out of my bratty younger years into someone they can be proud of.
“Time as he grows old teaches all things” –Aeschyuls