Friday, February 8, 2013

Remembering Sunflower Morning

january sunflowers, 2013
Nineteen years ago in September, Mr. Bryant and I took a sort-of-planned / sort-of-unplanned vacation. We scheduled our time off and packed the trunk of the little red Miata (the suitcases wouldn't fit) to spend a week away, and we started off to New England. The only plans we had were to stop in Carlisle PA for Italian food, and to spend one night at the Molly Stark Bed & Breakfast in Bennington, Vermont. Everything else was all undetermined.

The vacation was a little bit of a walk down memory lane for both of us, as we had traveled to New England with our families many years ago.  We enjoyed the countryside and wanted to share beautiful places with each other.  Carlisle PA was fun and our Italian dinner was fantastic, as expected.  We enjoyed our drive to Bennington and loved the covered bridges in Vermont.  Bennington was beautiful, quaint, and historic - and we liked all of these things.  From Bennington we went North and had a quick visit at Killington Vermont, where my parents learned to ski many years ago.  Then we just started to drive through the countryside, taking northern roads to see what we could see.

We drove through little tiny towns and stopped and took pictures of dairy cows, and talked about everything.  I clearly remember the bright blue sky, the perfect weather, the many smiles.

As the day wore on, we drove by beautiful water and crossed bridges onto islands.  The day wore on and I started to get anxious about a place to stay.  We were driving through fabulous country, but not seeing any towns or places to stay.  We finally saw a country gas station as we were getting close to empty.

They sky was grey and cloudy by now, and I was tired of being in the car.  I remember saying, "Ask about a place to stay, ok?"  and Mr. Bryant saying, "Ok sweetie!"

So Mr. Bryant went into the store, paid for the gas, came out and got in the car without a word, and started down the road.  I was too tense and anxious to wait this one out.  I wanted to know we were headed to a room and dinner.

"Did you ask about a place to stay?"

"I did."

"Well, what did you learn?"


"What do you mean?"

"Well, there was this older guy in the store in blue jean overalls and a cap."

"Ok, did you ask him if there was a place to stay?  Did he give you any recommendations?"

"I said, is there a place to stay nearby?"

"And what did he say?"

"He said, 'Yep.'"

"What do you mean?  Is that all he said?  What did you say?"

"I said, 'So, up the road a ways?'  And he said, 'Yep.'"

"What?  Are you serious?  Is that all he said?"

"That's all he said."

"Didn't you say anything else?  Didn't you ask anything else?"

"Nope, I didn't.  And the guy?  Well, he turned around and did some work behind the counter.  And I came out and got in the car."

I was incredulous.  I didn't find this funny, I was not happy, I didn't care anymore about the scenery, I must admit, I fussed.  We kept driving, and we saw nothing.  No signs.  No shops. No stores. No place to stay.  I finally stopped even talking.

I frowned, and the car was silent.  And the day was getting more grey.

And then we came upon a little sign on the right side of the road.  Shore Acres.  We turned in and drove down a drive, past big oak trees and around a big white farm house.  There was a motel behind the house, with windows all along and everything crisp and clean. It was beautiful, and there was a calico cat walking the perfect green grass under the trees.  I still couldn't talk - but now it was because I was smiling.  Mr. Bryant checked us in, and we had a picture perfect room at the end of the row.  All blue and white and wood, with original watercolor paintings on the walls.  Every room faced the lake, and the lake was breathtaking.  Lake Champlain.  The lawn went down to the slate rocks and the slate layered into the water, and the entire place was peaceful and beautiful and calmed my heart and my soul.

We went to dinner in the restaurant (they had a restaurant!) and it was perfect, of course.  I do not remember what we had, but both Mr. Bryant and I remember the beautiful sunflowers on every table.  They filled the room with sunshine even though it was dark by the time we ate.  We loved the peace and beauty of this place, and in the morning we had breakfast with the sunflowers again.

Mr. Bryant brings me home sunflowers every chance he gets.  And we relive the trip and the gift of our stay, and our sunflower morning.


Tabor said...

Being the type of person who rarely shuts up, people who give one word answers drive me bananas. I just want to smack them.

Mage said...

It surely was worth traveling onward to find this special place. Thanks so much.


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