You know you are staying with a wonderful host when they give up their bed for you. Willi, Hannah, and Katy were all the most gracious hosts when Macey, Adrian, Daniel and I visited them each in their homes in Hanover, New Hampshire, Newton, Massachusetts, and Burlington, Vermont.
We learned that it’s the littlest acts of kindness that can make you feel so welcomed. Like being greeted after a long drive with a cherished East Coast Heady Topper beer, being shown around to one of Boston’s famous spots and learning its family significance, or being treated to a cup of coffee and a great chat.
Although we had some bumps – or rather popped tires – along the way, we squeezed so much into one week. We got to participate in Green Key weekend at Dartmouth where one of our most favorite activities was probably the free barbecue. We checked out the frat scene, played volleyball, learned the rules of pong, and explored Hanover. Hiking Franconia Ridge was also one of the highlights. For Adrian’s first ever hike we spent 9 hours climbing, sliding, and sweating as we hiked up a mountain with magnificent views, walked along the ridge, and then began our treacherous descent that seemed to last forever, but included beauteous waterfalls to distract our shaking legs.
In Newton, Hannah showed us around her hometown, where we got to have drinks and then a delicious brunch the following day. One of my favorite things was exploring Boston Commons and learning about her grandma’s creation of the ducklings in the park. We also visited Cambridge and Harvard Square in the afternoon, wandering in and out of bookstores and shops. Later in the evening we went to Quincy Market, only a little bit too late for din.
The following day we left for Vermont and had to make a stop at Ben and Jerry’s before arriving in Burlington to a warm welcome on Katy’s magnificent porch, complete with fresh watermelon and a glass of wine. The next day we did a smaller hike that was not quite as difficult, but still ended with a great view. Our final night we celebrated with lots of cider and our favorite jams before going out for dollar beers and dancing.
A great coffee chat with Katy the morning we departed left me feeling happy and excited for the summer. What wonderful souls we encountered on this journey.
As we pulled up to Adrian’s house in Ann Arbor after our 12 hour drive, he said two of the most important things he learned on this trip were that it doesn’t matter where you’re going, it’s who you’re with and the value of being kind to others, because of how happy it can make you feel.
It warmed my whole heart to hear that, as through many of my trips, I have learned that the people truly make the place, and I’m so happy Adrian had a very happy first road trip.
Thanks Willi, Hannah, and Katy for making our trip so special! & thank you Adrian, Macey and Daniel for being great travel companions. Until next time!