Last week, my family and I went on vacation. We packed up, headed out of suburbia and fled northward, as we do every year. Woods, lakes, fishing, kayaking, swimming and boating were our bedfellows for nine luscious, scrumptious days. We unplugged and were the better for it.
There are no Starbucks. If you want a big supermarket, it’s a shlep. Don’t even think about going to a mall or, as I think about it, even a movie theatre. There is only limited cell service. My husband and I joke that if you stand on the very end of the dock, stand on one foot and wear aluminum foil on your baseball hat you might get a few bars. Those are big city things. Although I am thrilled to be away from “it all”, I invariably think at points during the week, “how do these people live?”.
But being in a simpler place is a good thing for a while. You can recharge and focus. You can reorganize your brain and slow down. You can read a book or more in a week, for pete’s sake.
We experienced Americana in it’s glory the last day of our vacation. It was a perfect Saturday, from stem to stern. It was the kind of day that makes you want to be able to hit some kind of worldly pause button. Freeze the day, don’t let it go. Every part of it just was “right”.
The weathermen had predicted a cloudy, lack-luster day, but instead we were greeted with brilliant blue skies and fluffy, bleached-white clouds. There was the slightest breeze and the temperature cooperated more than it should for mid-August.
The day started with breakfast out at local restaurant that was once a train depot. Smack right up against the tracks in the dead center of town, this little place was a hub. As much as a hub as it can be in a teeny-tiny town. Local-yocal central, and I mean that in a good way. I can pretty much guarantee that no one in that whole place cared about the newest style of Uggs, what so-and-so wore on the red carpet or the pros and cons of Botox. As a side note, my asparagus, mushroom and cheese omelet with a side of crispy hash browns and homemade wheat bread was a hefty….$6. Score.
After breakfast, the family and I headed back to our lake, went for a boat ride and then proceeded to flop onto our rafts and bob around like corks for the better part of an hour. Four of us, floating in the sun, telling jokes, playing with lily pads, paddling around ever so slightly. It was insanely adorable. A big move for me, too, as I am not a pond-swimmer. I’ve seen one-too-many Friday the 13th movies and there is just way too much slimy, grassy stuff at the bottom of ponds for my feet to feel comfortable brushing up against. But, I also thought that if I sat on the dock watching my family, I’d be the lamest mom in the universe. So, bob I did. Bob, bob, bob.
Follow the bobbing with another boat ride around the lake, reading on the porch, and finally, a delicious grilled dinner. Marinated steak tips, corn on the cob, local veggies. Americana strikes again.
The evening was the frosting on the cupcake of this day, to use my own blog’s phrase. We decided to head into town (the larger town about 15 minutes away) and check out their free concert in the gazebo. It was a beautiful night and I had a hankering (yes, a hankering) to see something new. A bluegrass band was playing and the gazebo is about ten feet from the big lake. I thought that even if the music stunk, the view of sunset on the lake was sure to be pretty worthwhile. Blankets, sweatshirts were packed and off we went. We settled on the grass with locals and visitors alike, listening to sweet bluegrass music, watching the skies turn pinkish and finally dark blue. The gazebo glowed a golden hue and the musicians cracked squeaky-clean jokes. Chuckles from the crowd.
Ice cream cones were the natural ending to the concert, despite the evening’s cool that rolled in off the lake. The crowd swarmed around the ice cream stand, buggy-lights and all. Coffee Toffee with Heath Bar Chunk Frozen Yogurt. There is a God. We slurped ice cream cones, a blanket over our four laps, overlooking the harbor. The boats pulling in and out, their red and green lights bobbing in the water, just as we had bobbed around earlier in the day.
Cone were finished, yawns were beginning…we walked towards our car. As we crossed the street, we heard a loud “BOOM!”. I turned and caught the reflection of fireworks in a store window. Where were they? To the left…go to the left! We ran out onto a small dock that was on the inlet to the harbor and sure enough, the show began. We saw an entire fireworks display sittin’ on the dock of the bay. Blankets underneath us, only two other people nearby, it was as close to a personal display as you could get. The fireworks glittered over the water, at times being just slightly obstructed by the short rooftops of the towns little buildings. It was a magnificent show and it felt as though it was just for us.
Mother Nature gave us our final show of the day. After the kids were tucked into bed, my husband and I walked out to the end of our dock. The stars were ridiculously abundant that night. Tons, tons, tons. There were so many and they were so brilliant in their intensity that they were actually reflected in the still, indigo lake. I’ve never seen that happen before and didn’t really think that it even could.
Oh, but wait…shooting stars. Four of them. Streaking across that already fabulously cluttered sky.”Seriously? Are you kidding ?” my husband and I both thought out loud.
What a day. Pure Americana. No Starbucks. No Super Stop and Shops. No cell phones. And it was perfection.