Friday, January 18, 2013

Five for Friday: Favorite places I’ve been.

Sorry this is running a little late. Remember my Mysterious Monday and those lovely people I produced who take my time hostage? Well, once again, I let them. School was out today and I wound up running them all over God's creation, starting my day off super late and without breakfast or exercise.

At any rate, I had a great idea. Well, I liked it, anyway, and I hope you do, too. Fridays can become “Five for” Fridays, where I’ll list five things and explain a bit about why they’re on that list. This week, I’m going to list five places that I’ve been that I would revisit in a heartbeat. This is not necessarily the top five, but the five I thought of this week.

1.  Lake Tahoe has to be #1 on my list. When my husband was a lowly little E1 Airman, fresh out of his initial training for his MOS (Method of Service, in his case, lab tech), I flew out to California to visit him. He was stationed at Edwards AFB; I stayed at a motel in town. He got leave to take me for a trip to Lake Tahoe and I thought it sounded like a great idea. We drove up and up into the mountains before stopping at a little park by the lake itself. I was enjoying the view and “flirting” with a little girl when I saw her mom, who had been smiling at me, gasp and grin. I was befuddled and turned to my handsome airman to ask him what was going on. When I turned, I was face to face with a diamond ring in a ring box, all held in the hand of my now-husband.

2.  Bar Harbor, Maine is very likely second on this list. I was born just south of Maine and raised most of my life in New England, so the entire region owns my soul. Why this particular beautiful area out of all the beautiful areas of that region? When I was around 20 years old, I took a trip, driving up Route1 from Connecticut to Maine. I saw many beautiful, historic sites. In Bar Harbor, I discovered not only an extraordinary, quaint little village, but also the most breath-takingly rugged terrain I had thus far encountered. In those days, I hiked often, and while in Bar Harbor, I was determined to do some climbing. I wandered about the often sheer rocky faces of the bay, enjoying the sense of freedom and the power of the waves as they collided, crashing and frothing on the rocks a hundred feet below me. I will never forget the raw beauty of that place and, despite the harsh winters, I would very likely move there permanently if I won the lottery.

3.  Denver, Colorado is where I finished my BA in English by participating in a publishing course. My first sight of the Rocky Mountains as I drove across the plains of Nebraska haunts my dreams to this day. If I was so overwhelmed, and coming from the mountainous northeast of the U.S., I can only imagine the awe of those first pioneers as they spotted the peaks in the far distance with the clouds draped over them like a bride’s veil. In Denver, I put myself to the test: I drove my poor 4 cylinder car up the mountain, despite the honking of the more powerful vehicles behind me. I hiked up a mountain trail with a group, carefully keeping watch for bears and mountain lions, and ran like Hell back down it when the thunderstorms moved in with the speed of angry warriors. I discovered a new phenomenon in a bookstore called The Tattered Cover—couches and coffee being served in a bookstore! This bookstore also made it to the top of my favorite places list by offering multiple floors and a stock of books that included many different Native American languages as well as Irish, Scottish, and other Celtic languages. I visited a silver mine and drank hot chocolate with Baileys for the first time; it is my favorite drink now when the weather outside is frightful.

4.  Valley Forge, Pennsylvania is where hubby and I used to take the children to get out of the city when we lived in south Jersey. Valley Forge was a place that was alive with the past. You could peer into shelters much like the ones the luckiest of our brave soldiers holed up in for that terrible winter of 1777-1778. The valley itself is quite beautiful, especially after the concrete of the cities of South Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. I love places like this, where the history fairly oozes from every blade of grass, where you can look at the trees and realize that your forefathers may have looked upon or sat under or leaned against, these very same trees. Oh, sure, that’s true of most anywhere that there are trees of any real size and age, but in a place like Valley Forge, that idea really hits you.

5.  Cheshire, Connecticut is the place I called home for many years, and still do. I was not born there, my family is not from there, but I did live there from my thirteenth year until I left at the age of twenty-seven to move to Texas with my new hubby. Cheshire is one of those small New England towns that one thinks of when one thinks of small New England towns. Small shops are located in strip malls along “main roads” that only recently acquired two lanes for one driving direction (and then, not for more than a mile or so). The town green is located in front of the most picturesque Protestant church and each year, an enormous evergreen tree is decorated there to celebrate Christmas (it’s a Christmas tree, not a “holiday” tree—lol). The town has grown, boasting two major grocery stores, numerous gas stations, and even a McDonald’s and a Subway. My favorite place in town is the coffee shop; before I ordered a modem for my parents’ house and installed it, that shop was where I used to go to conduct business, check emails, and post stories to They played non-intrusive music, and served coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and an assortment of cool drinks, bakery items and small sandwiches. In the winter, a fire was lit in the fireplace. I dream of moving someplace with four seasons and opening a place like that.

Well, there are my Five for Friday this week; I seem to be on a historical bent. What do you think? Do you like this idea? What do you think of my five this week? 

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