Monday, October 14, 2019

Week 41: Leaf Peeping in New England

Woohoo! Another awesome goal, wildly exceeding expectations! This one was #34 on my list of 60:

Visit New England in the Fall with Rebecca R.

Even though we have beautiful scenery and fall colors in Colorado, I’d often heard that nothing could match the New England fall foliage, so this experience had long been on my bucket list.  One of my best friends, Rebecca Ritter, is originally from New York, and agreed to join me on a trip out east and even offered up the opportunity to spend one of our nights at her parents’ beautiful home! 

We thought mid-October would be perfect leaf-peeping season, planning on spending our first couple of days and nights in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, and then head to Rebecca’s parents’ home. As our flight from Denver was leaving, the national news reported this:  I

It's going to be a wet and windy end of the workweek and weekend on the East Coast, as a fall nor'easter -- with wind gusts approaching tropical-storm-force -- slams an area stretching from Delaware to Massachusetts. 

Oh dear! Wind, cloudy weather, and rain was predicted for our entire 4-day stay!

What a surprise that the weather turned out to be so beautiful! The leaves were breath-taking, living up to their reputation. We heard that they’d been even prettier a couple of weeks earlier, with more reds, but it’s hard to imagine it could be any prettier.  The experience was so wonderful that I want to make it a tradition to visit the area each fall. 

What worked well:

Weather and scenery

I haven’t missed a day of walking at least 10,000 steps every day since the year started.  (As I’ve written about, I can be quite obsessive about this.) This goal can be difficult when traveling, especially if the weather is bad.  However, Rebecca’s such a good friend that she said she wasn’t going to let me miss a day and would walk with me in the rain if need be (despite her cold!)

Again, the weather turned out to be perfect, and the hikes were amongst the prettiest I’ve ever been on! My photos really can’t capture the brilliant hues of fall colors but the whole time we were there, I kept thinking, “Wow!! This. Is. Gorgeous!”

Bonus perk: We missed a record cold day back in Colorado! Yay!

The Berkshires 

Neither Rebecca nor I had ever been to “The Berkshires”, a touristy place with a lot to see and do. The vibe was friendly, and down-to-earth. The streets were lined with quaint restaurants and shops and every street looked like a Thomas Kincaid painting. 

Rebecca and I enjoyed exploring the neighborhoods, drove by the impressive Tanglewood, stopped and visited the Kripalu Yoga Retreat, and spent most of Friday afternoon at The Norman Rockwell Museum (I just LOVE Norman Rockwell!). Friday night, after a delicious dinner, we went out to see a thought-provoking play, Time Stands Still, performed by Shakespeare & Company.

Rebecca’s Family

Speaking of Norman Rockwell, Rebecca's family could have easily been the models for his pictures!

Norman Rockwell picture
Archer Family Dinner

Rebecca is the 3rd in a family of 8 kids. Her father (age 90) and mother (age 84) renovated a beautiful, big barn that the family used to use for a vacation home, but now is her parents’ full-time home.  What a fun, big home with a huge sunlit great room where the family gathered to talk and laugh.

Two of Rebecca’s brothers and her sister, along with some spouses and her sister’s daughter met at their parents place for the weekend, so I had the pleasure of getting to know her family more. Her family was all so sweet to me…. I felt like I was just another sibling!  I was especially impressed that her parents were so energetic and healthy, seeming much younger than their years. 

I’ve always loved big families, and it was fun for me to listen to all the stories as they reminisced. They even found a box of memorabilia from Rebecca’s grandmother with old letters and her mother’s report cards from elementary school! They were all laughing at some surprises that were uncovered including a drama about a crazy college roommate! It was better than an episode of The Waltons!


One thing I’ve learned about my 60 until 60 project, is that my favorite goals are those that I’m doing with someone I love. Rebecca has been one of my best friends for almost 20 years and I feel so grateful for having her in my life.

Even though she was sick and has been so busy, Rebecca made the time to take this trip with me. She never complained about anything, and whenever there was a little curve-ball, she didn’t let it derail her, She’s always positive and flexible and such a great travel buddy. She even drove the whole time because she knows I don’t like driving.

I feel very lucky that I got to not only experience beautiful fall scenery this week, but was able to share it with such a good friend and to experience her fun-loving family!

What could have been better

As I'm finding with most of my goals, especially the trips, the good things were SO good that the not-so-good things seem very insignificant.  However, here are a couple of minor things that could have been better:
  • The rental car smelled like smoke and had a broken tail light when we picked it up. The pick-up and drop-off processes were very inefficient.  I don't think I'd use Avis again.
  • We had to wait two hours on take-off because they needed to de-ice the plane and also a passenger was sick and needed to get off. Though this really wasn't a problem with Frontier, the flight-attendants were kind of snarky, and Rebecca and I agreed that we both preferred Southwest.
Again, Rebecca didn't let these things, or the fact that she was feeling under the weather herself, get her down.

Memorable trip with a wonderful friend! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a "colorful" time you must have had! I only wish I could click on the individual photos so I could view them better. When I click, they're still in collage mode.