July Road Notes, Day 13: Happiness Is A Cold-Water Flat

2

July 17, 2021, North Smithfield, RI- My visit with Dave Glick brought a different, but equally enjoyable, cast to this stop at the family’s greenhouse. Usually, Dave is busy with the operation, whilst Beth spends time with this visitor and fills me in on the family’s doings. This time, she was out of town and Dave was host. He happily explained the next phase of the operation, which will see centralization of the currently sprawling, and outdated, series of houses. This will bring the thriving enterprise forward, for the next several generations.

The springhouse will remain, and be renovated.

Glick’s Springhouse
One of Glick’s Greenhouses

I left Dave and the crew, around 10:30, and headed, in a zig-zag manner, northward. At one point, along I-78, a semitrailer blew a gasket and sat in the right hand lane, resulting in the rest of us waiting for 45 minutes, as the blocked lane cleared, one vehicle at a time merging with those in the left lane.

I got to D’s Diner, in Wiles-Barre, in time to have Linner, around 3:30 p.m. The two servers were clearly struggling in the warmer than usual dining room. I was most concerned about my waitress, Ann, a slightly built, older woman, but she was plowing through and encouraging her much younger co-worker, who at one point seemed ready to faint. I added my own words of encouragement, bringing a smile to the young woman’s face. I like D’s, but they need to do better, by their workers.

The traffic was lighter than usual, through the Hudson Valley and Connecticut. I was surprised to see a huge amount of traffic, coming the other way, exiting New England for the weekend-or maybe just trying to beat Sunday traffic. I got to what I THOUGHT was my room for the night, Quaker Inn and Conference Center, Uxbridge, MA, around 8:30 p.m. I was immediately told by the “attendant” (who was standing around outside) that the place was closed for renovation, that the hotel booking services were flooding him with guests and that I would have to somehow find another room somewhere else.

It was dark and rainy. I was tired and in no mood to either argue or surf my phone for the Hotels.com number and my confirmation code, so I left him and his two female friends- seeing as he would not let me into the Main House, for a source of light. Remember this place: Quaker Inn and Conference Center, and be forewarned. I will get to the bottom of it, tomorrow when I arrive at my more trustworthy next venue.

Five filled-to-the-brim motels later, I came upon an Econolodge, which had two available rooms. The rub was that the water heater was out, and would not be fixed until Monday. I took one of the rooms; the couple behind me took the other. Cold water is a mere trifle; after all, there were generations of urban dwellers in North America and Europe who made do with cold water flats, in the years before, and during, World War II. People in East Asia still bathe in cold water, during the summer months-and God knows how many people, across the globe, have no running water at all.

The day ended quite well.

Home Base Bound: Day 1

2

May 22, 2021, Bedford, PA- It is most often a good idea to end a visit to one’s hometown with a call on an old friend, or two. So, I spent my last hour in Saugus with a couple who live diagonally across the street from our old house, and down a couple of houses. It’s always good to catch up with local news and discuss what would be best for the town.

With the future of Saugus set, for now, I headed to nearby Wakefield’s Gingerbread House and got a coffee and breakfast, for the road. This was enjoyed at a Massachusetts Turnpike Service Area, giving me an extra boost, in the event that the Connecticut and New York portions of the trip became traffic-jammed and tedious. There were a few short backlogs in Connecticut, passing through Hartford, Waterbury and the junction of I-84 and Rte. 7, west of Danbury. This is de rigeur for the Constitution State (Connecticut’s ratification was what put the Great Document over the top, and put our country on the map, for real.). New York’s segment of I-84, sometimes a scene of long back-ups, was smooth as silk today.

The drive through Pennsylvania is frequently the longest stretch, east of the Mississippi. I zipped down I-81, and headed over to the Oley Valley, visiting with Beth and David Glick, their faithful collie, Manny, and their interesting house guests, Beth’s relatives from Illinois. The couple have four vibrant and talented children, the eldest of whom can pilot a small airplane. We discussed the relatively small number of women pilots, which, considering that Amelia Earhart was one of the pioneers of American aviation, seems a bit disconcerting. I think the young lady will do a lot to counter that, given her self-confidence, and her parents’ support.

As I have a late night Zoom call, I left the Glicks’ house, after a sumptuous dinner, and made my way to this community, in west central Pennsylvania. One of Bedford’s draws, for me, has been Bedford Diner. I found the omelets and freshly-ground sausage patties there to be worth making this my overnight stop, when heading towards New England. The old diner appears to have closed, but the crew is now at Route 220 Diner, so that will be my breakfast stop, tomorrow. It’s gratifying that people for whom I have developed warm feelings are able to bounce back from hard turns, and continue with what they do so well.

Goodnight, all, from Janey Lynn Motel, in Bedford.

The Two Faces of Newburgh

4

July 2, 2019, Newburgh , NY- 

One of the things I often find myself doing, when going back and forth across the continent, is spending at least  a few hours in a town or city that is struggling with a variety of social ills, yet still manages to keep a semblance of what made it tick.  Newburgh, in the middle Hudson Valley, is one such place.

I spent last night, and this morning, in Oley, PA, at the home of friends who operate Glick’s Greenhouse.   It’s always a pleasure to stop there, with a house full of people and one sometimes grouchy greenhouse dog. When I was about to leave, after breakfast and lunch served up by a budding eight-year-old chef, the proprietor of the Greenhouse showed me some of his nephew’s latest blossoms.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The evening brought me to the Hudson Valley, and Newburgh.  I made the choice to focus on the Inner City, thus spending the night at Imperial Motel, which has seen better days, though still home to some of the most regal people on Earth.  A wander about the downtown area showed both early 20th and contemporary 21st Century architecture.

The City Courthouse is a busy place.  Newburgh is said to be the murder capital of New York State, so it isn’t a place for the distracted or the unwary.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There are plenty of safe havens, though.  These two churches signify the legacy, and the promise, that exists in places like Newburgh, and its upriver cousin, Poughkeepsie (more on it, in the next post).

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I spent a little time, here and there, along Newburgh’s Riverfront, with plenty of locals celebrating the majesty of the Hudson-and a few signs of decay in spots.

Here is a view of a crossing, from south of Newburgh.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Looks like the boat might need some work.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Nonetheless, there is an enduring charm about the great river and its banks.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

From this area of Newburgh’s waterfront, several ferries take people across the Hudson, to Beacon.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I took a walk, from Imperial to a small “spa”, which is another term in the Northeast for a convenience store.  The dour South Asian proprietor took no crap from any of the young men who cam in and out, basically trying one scam or another.  I got my coffee, treated everyone politely, while walking with confidence and had no trouble.  Then again, it was broad daylight.  Most trouble here seems to come from domestic disputes, and in a city where too many men have lost hope, that violence comes all too easily.

Up on the bluffs heading out of town, there is a far different ambiance.  This Korean-American establishment offers one mindset that is the basis for solving many social ills:  “We are one family.”

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

NEXT:  Poughkeepsie, without Popeye Doyle

 

Sixty-Six, for Sixty Six, Part LX: Freedom, Borne of Fire

4

July 17-18, 2017, Philadelphia-

After treating my mother to breakfast, at Saugus’ downtown cafe, Hammersmith Inn, I bid farewell to the town of my childhood, and headed towards Pennsylvania, and more family bonding.  My middle brother spent a good many of his working years in Pennsyvania, lastly in the Main Line precincts of Chester Springs.  Two of his children still live in the Philadelphia area.  He and my sister-in-law were here visiting, so this was a natural stop, for a day or so.

I took my now customary route, south and west, stopping first at Newtown, CT, where I have been intending to visit the small reflection area, where Sandy Hook Elementary stood, at the time of the massacre of 2012.  I was, of course, unable to do that last year, with my car trouble.  No such issue rose this year, so I stopped, prayed and reflected, with the new Sandy Hook Elementary School behind me, and many people carrying on the business of summer school.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Freedom allows people to make some odd choices, as those who threatened the lives of the victims’ families did, in the wake of the tragedy.  Thankfully, no harm has come to any parents or siblings of those slain.

I drove down I- 84 & 81, at one point having to detour through Middletown, NY, ironically the place where I first took the dying Nissan, last summer. Again, there were no issues with my trusty Hyundai. I continued to a place which has come to feel much like home, these past six years:  Glick’s Greenhouse, Oley.  After a lovely welcoming dinner and some quiet time, I was honoured by this sunset:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The next morning, with a breakfast to match the dinner, I bid farewell to my Oley family. For those who remember Cider, the Glick’s old collie, Manny- his successor, is getting the hang of greenhouse life.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I headed south and east, into the Main Line area, and connected with my Georgia siblings, at their hotel, then went to a deli-style restaurant, in the town of  Wayne.  Nudy’s Cafe is a thoroughly tasteful establishment, with wonderful food and attentive, well-dressed servers.

After this repast, Dave and I headed to the Museum of the American Revolution, in downtown Philadelphia, experiencing relatively mild traffic, en route.  The first sight greeting the visitor, in the area of 2nd St and Chestnut, is a statue of Pennsylvania’s founder:  William Penn.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Museum of the American Revolution, itself, is less than a block from this little square.  It is just south of the domed building in the foreground.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The entrance posits the challenge that may well have been a battle cry, in the years just prior to the outright rebellion.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I stood in front of the copper engraving depicting the First Continental Congress.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Declaration of Independence is adjacent to the museum entrance, as well.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Inside, the Museum offers a complete, and well-balanced depiction of the experiences of both sides, in the conflict, and of those trapped in the middle- the merchants and the Quaker pacifists.  Most of the exhibits did not lend themselves to photography, being in dimmer light, with no flash photography allowed.  I did get a few shots, first being the Philadelphia Liberty Tree.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Patriots were not, at least initially, a unified force.  Disagreements between townsmen of the Northeast and woodsmen from the Appalachians and the Ohio Valley had to be mediated, with George Washington reportedly directly intervening, at least once.  The boy on the lower left recalled this, in his memoirs, later in life.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The more iconic scene, of Washington crossing the Delaware River, is also given prominence.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The plight of African-American slaves, who were not uncommon in the northern colonies, any more than in the South, in the late 18th Century, is symbolized by this portrait and commentary by Mumbet, a Massachusetts woman, who won her freedom in court, after her master assaulted her, for having listened to a reading of the Declaration of Independence.  This case resulted in the prohibition of slavery in Massachusetts.  Mumbet became Elizabeth Freeman, and lived out her days in Stockbridge, a town in the central Berkshire Hills.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The American experiment is far from perfect, but has resulted in the most diverse democracy on Earth, and still has so much to share, with those who want to study our nation’s experience.  We will keep on going, experimenting, refining and retooling, hopefully so that the three generations shown below, and their fellows, will never again know oppression.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

NEXT:  Brandywine, and More of Downtown Philadelphia.

 

 

Tales of the 2016 Road: Bushkill Falls and Busted Pipes

10

July 7, 2016, Middletown, NY-  This is another of those years when I could not be present for my son’s birthday.  He was at sea, anyway.  I rose early, at Glick’s Greenhouse compound, and bid Beth and Dave a fond adieu.  My goal was to reach Saugus in time to visit a bit with a nephew and his family, who were visiting from Indiana.   Some goals don’t get reached.

The day began nicely enough.  I made good time past the Lehigh Valley, and its tough, surviving cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, jumping on Rte. 209, past the Stroudsburgs, to Bushkill Falls, where my in-laws spent their honeymoon, and several subsequent wedding anniversaries.

The privately-owned park retains its magic, and offers a fairly extensive network of hiking trails, some of which are paved.  Families and single wanderers alike were having a fine time, this morning.  Here a few of the scenes I encountered, in this Pride of the Poconos.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Entrance and concessions complex, Bushkill Falls, PA

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Approach to Main Falls, Bushkill Falls

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Main Falls, Bushkill

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Signs of a rain forest, Bushkill Falls

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Frontal view of Main Falls, Bushkill

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Nice picnic spot, near Bridal Veil Falls, Bushkill

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Bridal Veil Falls, Bushkill

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Cave, at foot of Bridesmaid Falls, Bushkill

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Bridesmaid Falls, Bushkill

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Pennell Falls, Bushkill

Pennsylvania has had copious rain, so far this summer.  Thus, the rain forest ambiance of Bushkill Falls, and other places in the Poconos, make for a lovely vacation stopover.  The sense of peace and tranquility I found there, sustained me through what followed, in the afternoon.

After stopping in Port Jervis, NY, in the Three Corners region of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and enjoying a hearty lunch at Muller’s Diner, I sensed something was awry with Nissan.  Once on I-84, it was worse:  Lack of acceleration reduced my speed to 50.  It was fortunate that I made it up the road apiece, to Middletown, and found a Nissan dealership.  The men took two hours to find and fix what their diagnostics said was the problem:  A clogged front exhaust pipe.  Thanks to them, I was back on the road by 4:30.  It was too late to see nephew and his family, but I made it safely to my mother’s house by 10 PM.   Safety is always first.

Tales of the 2016 Road: Blessed the Family That Stays Together

4

July 6, 2016, Oley, PA-  I can’t drive through these parts, without a stop at Glick’s Greenhouse.  It was getting near Dave’s birthday, and Beth was having the family over for dinner, so I got to be a part of the festivities.  Besides, the accommodations are the best in the area.

The day started with a lovely breakfast at Bedford Diner, which has become an instant favourite of mine- first and foremost because of the exquisite breakfast sausage.  The regulars and the waitresses bantering is always a delightful aspect of sitting at the counter, anywhere, and it certainly was there.

My only sightseeing of the day was at Leesport Farmers Market- one of the biggest in the Reading area. I picked up a few things for Beth, and enjoyed the bustling atmosphere.  This event only happens on Wednesdays, but I am sure the pavilions see plenty of use for other purposes.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Leesport Farmers Market

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Leesport Farmers Market

I found my way to Oley, by the backroad, past the regional middle school, patting myself on the back for having done so.  I did have to get reassurance from Beth, though, that I was on the right track, heading past the one-lane covered bridge, which I’ve shown in previous posts on the Greenhouse.  We had a fine dinner, with a new addition, the Glicks’ youngest nephew has joined the brood, since I was last here, in 2013.  After dinner conversation centered around the stuff of country life- yes, that includes guns, which I regard as tools for hunting and target shooting, as well as for personal safety in an unsafe environment.  We all agreed that guns are not a means of showing off one’s power.  Baling hay also held center stage.

No family photos, this time.  It was a bit on the hot and sticky side.  Some enjoyed the rubber swimming pool, as a result.  The sunset, though, was vintage PA.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

An Oley Valley sunset

 

As I said earlier, the room is fabulous, and I got a fine sleep.  This proved to be fortuitously necessary, for what followed, the next day.