leap peeping and sundry things part 1

We just returned from a 1,600 mile driving extravaganza through New England, New York, and (ostensibly) New Jersey.   We leaf peeped, visited friends and family, went to a 45th reunion and became one with the mob of gawking tourists in Times Square.  

Maine.  Maybe the biggest surprise of the trip, as I had subconsciously likened Maine to New England's Mississippi.  But its coastline was spectacular, its towns excruciatingly quaint, and the forests were exploding with fall colors.  Acadia National Park:  one big win after another.  Additionally we stopped by Stephen King's house and took photos, which I'm sure he is a little over at this point, but it's his fault for buying such an easily accessible home in the middle of Bangor.   And please, Mr. King, a Pontiac?  Really?  

Stewart lived briefly in Agusta, Maine, and his sister Mel was borne there so we stopped by the old homestead.  It felt strange for me, and I'm sure for Stewart, to be standing next to the home he last lived in more than 60 years ago.  But still not in bad shape.  

New Hampshire.  A close rival to Maine, sans the coastline (okay, it has a teeny coastline, but we didn't get to see very much of it).  The White Mountains, gorgeous.  Mt. Washington, home of "The World's Worst Weather", was foreboding and mysterious.  And unrelentingly windy (that's me blow, leaning in).    Stewart might add a few more adjectives as he white-knuckled our rental car up the side of the mountain with no guard rails and on a road apparently designed by an Irishman with a penchant for uncomfortably narrow roads.  

Vermont.  Montpelier, big win.  The only state capitol without a McDonald's.  We visited the Rock of Ages quarry, home to the top shelf granite that graces many of the monuments in DC and elsewhere, and we made the pilgrimage to Ben and Jerry's of course.  I had forgotten how politically active Messrs. Ben and Jerry were, and the young docent did not shy away from mentioning it.  Good for them.   Ben and Jerry's has a graveyard, by the way, for flavors that did not quite make it in the marketplace (sweep potato, srsly).