Our day started wonderfully, waking up slowly in the Maine sun, a chilly, but SUNNY morning. I don’t think we’ve mentioned that in the last two days, we did not get even a glimpse of the sun. So waking up to blue skies was incredibly exciting. I took a hot shower in a white bathroom filled with light and put on my shorts and flip-flops.
Greg and I said goodbye to Chris (we said goodbye to Michelle before bed) and headed out.
Our drive started back the way we had come – through Ogunquit (yes, I made Greg stop so I could put my feet in the ocean when it wasn’t pouring rain.) I had actually worn my swimsuit under my clothes from the get-go so I could go splashing into the ocean. But let me tell you – the Atlantic near Maine is cold in May! I ran in at least up to my hips – by the time I made it that far out my feet were numb.
We stopped for ice cream; it felt like summer.
The drive into Vermont was beautiful. Probably the greenest land I have ever seen. (I wonder if that will change in the next 60 days). The thing about trees in Vermont is that they are so many different colors of green and so many different textures – but consistent. A consistent muddled green and hilly landscape. We stopped at the Cabot cheese-sampling center near Quechee to sample some cheeses and maple syrups and attempt to chat with locals in order to find a place to stay without our camera. I love talking to people, but I hate asking for favors and so I really never made it past small talk and general chatting.
We drove a little further, into Woodstock to try and do our experiment without the camera. We decided that the best approach was to be honest – we don’t need the camera but we should tell people what we are doing.
Aside: This has been a constant source of debate. Will people treat us differently if we have a camera? Will they feel like we are manipulating them if we ask for a favor and then ask to film them? Will they feel like we are manipulating them if we ask to film them and then ask for a favor? How can we do this experiment in the way that is the most honest and straightforward? But also how can we do this experiment in a way that represents the journey of any American.
We stopped at Mac’s grocery store – deciding to tell people that we were traveling through, making a documentary (not mentioning specifics) and asking if they knew of a place we could pitch our tents for the night. The first woman we asked, Cathy, offered almost instantly to take us home. We bought some juice and granola and followed her up the winding road. But her home was not just any home – it was a beautiful farm nestled comfortably on over 1,000 of the most lush acres I have ever seen – complete with cattle, chicken and the cutest blue healer – Roo.
Cathy’s husband, Bill, took us on a tour of the farm – telling us many wonderful stories. We got to see their event space, which is currently being built – it’s beautiful. I really really really would love to have a screening there sometime. We talked cameras and travel and grants and adventures with Bill, did a quick interview and piled into our tent for the evening. The weather was lovely! And Greg got a real glimpse at stars. We passed out with in seconds and didn’t wake up until early morning when the farm started rustling – chicken cooing, wood pecker pecking, Roo running around. Bill and Cathy had us in for breakfast. Yum!
Then we were off – back to New Jersey. Time to reflect, replan and keep working until June 15th, when the adventures begin again.
(Our last planned stop was in Brattleboro – a town Chris and Michelle told us we couldn’t visit because it would be too easy. They were right, the people we spoke to were very friendly and recommended a great diner for pancakes with real Vermont maple syrup.)