July 3, 2019

No we have not flown back to the UK – we are now in Manchester, Vermont. Yesterday morning we had to pick up our van from Budget Car Rental. Every time I said to people we are picking up a car in central NY they looked at me as if I was crazy to attempt driving in central Manhattan but it actually wasn’t that difficult. S came with me to collect the car and then helped direct me back to the hotel where everyone was waiting at the entrance so we could load up and then leave.

We headed due north out of Manhattan aiming for Albany, NY and then into Vermont. We drove through New Jersey and then back into NY state. We have now been in 5 states (one tenth of US) since we arrived. We started by taking the interstate and then S directed us off so we could take a more scenic route (which it was) passing through some smaller towns. We stopped at a town (and a Walmart) to buy some lunch and then found a picnic spot on the side of the river to eat our lunch. We then headed on to Manchester, VT.

Our drive took about 6 hours in total and we arrived in Manchester around 4pm. We didn’t have accommodation booked so we just drove around the town and looked at the various options and then picked one we liked the most. We used to do this when I was a kid and my Dad had to go in and ask the price, then when he got the answer he would say “I need to check with my wife” and if it was too pricey we would simply leave. These days you have Google that gives you a rough idea but M still went in to ask the pricing and said “I will check with my Dad”. The lady on duty said “I know what that means if you don’t come back!”. But we did and we are pleased we chose a good place.

We are staying at Palmer House Resort Motel. It is in some ways a typical American motel but in other ways it isn’t. It has a 9-hole mashie golf course, a shuffle board and a croquet lawn. We have used all three. After we had checked in the younger ones all played croquet (S was the winner) and then 5 of us played golf (S, K, M, O and myself). The girls did surprisingly well for people who don’t play. And S actually managed to connect a few balls way to well and into the bushes. M would want to me say that he won so I’m begrudgingly doing that!

C incredibly has a university friend working nearby and she got dropped off at the motel to catch up. She is working at a summer camp at a ski resort for the next 10 weeks. Quite random that a South African and a Brit studying together at Kings College in London would meet up in Manchester, VT! She came with us to dinner and then after dinner we drove her back to her house that she is staying which is in the middle of nowhere (and included a 7-mile long strip of dirt road).

We walked into the town to have dinner (0.25 miles only) and went to Christo’s which did pizza and pasta. O needed a pasta fix. The pizza’s were massive and none of the people who ordered them finished them but that seemed to be their plan to eat it for lunch today. I don’t like pizza and so the thought of eating cold pizza doesn’t grab me either.

It is much cooler in Vermont (mid-20s C) and this morning it is actually heavily overcast but not raining at the moment.

Until tomorrow ….

P, S (for coming with me to fetch the van), M (for going in to check the prices), H, C, O & K (she deserves last spot today … earned for her dismissive snort of a comment I made while driving up)

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