The biggest upside to all this November travel is that I'm inching towards that bi-coastal life I aspire to. Especially this time of year, when I've caught glimpses of gorgeous fall foliage, and worn my beloved coat to help ward off the chill of mean nasty winter.
I also welcome the hours of uninterrupted reading and knitting time on these long ass cross-country flights. And more Delta/Song trips means I can renew my subscriptions to Vogue, Wired, Travel & Leisure, Lucky, and other dumb magazines by cashing in unused Sky Miles.
However, I can fool myself into thinking I'm loving the seasons and willing to take the good with the bad, but all the while I know deep down it's probably best that I don't have to live in five months of freezing temps and slush and ice.
Mixed feelings about the pros and cons of seasonal living aside, obvious downsides include my circadian rhythm being all screwy, and the embarrassingly little face time I've put in at my office. I think I've clocked about five days of respectable working hours in November. Which, truth be told, isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Best of all, this trip rocked in the food department, starting with O'Rourke's Diner in Middletown the morning of our arrival when we had breakfast with Ethan, one of the several visits we've had with friends who are becomming the next generation of the Wesleyan Film faculty. I had to confess my slight O'Rourke's aversion, which is tantamount to heresy among Wes folk.
It's not that I don't love this place, but the nasty diner grease smell and lack of hygiene can be a serious turn-off. But this meal was great, odor-free and delicious. The small portion of raspberry pancakes with rich Devonshire cream helped jolt me back to East Coast-dom.
We had not one, but two steel car diner meals. The other was at the super fabulous Modern Diner in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where I ate scrumptious neat stacks of poached eggs, cheese, and bacon on top of English muffins. Pretty cool to learn Providence's key role in the history of the stainless steel car diner, too.
Back to NoHa. Coffee lovers in Western Massachusetts have a new exciting headquarters. Northampton Coffee is a hard core, unapologetic coffee fanatic's delight. We engaged in all sort of geek talk with the baristas, and they made a killer smooth cappuccino with rich not bitter beans and perfect micro-foam (pictured above). The simple design and gorgeous hewn natural wood counters could not be prettier and more welcoming.
Snowy Thanksgiving Day in Northampton and Leeds felt very "Over the Hills and Through the Woods"-ish (pictured above and below; sorry for the visible window screen in one of the images). The meal itself featured the usual extensive spread, mostly prepared by H's Aunt Joan and cousin Kate, with our measly contribution being contained to the wines. Dessert course paid special homage to Grandma Ida, with all items based on her recipes.
Now that I think of it, Kate's been in charge of most Thanksgiving meals over the past six years. She's now a junior at Brown, so that would mean she's been the family executive chef for holiday meals since she was 14…and I'm sure it started before I knew her. Add that to her long list of accomplishments. (I've yet to make a Thanksgiving dinner myself.) H's other two cousins, Alexis and Jess, are equally impressive. I can't help but feel like a mooching loser as my attempts to be helpful usually fail.