We have put enough miles on the van post-collision to know that the workhorse is going to stay together. Taking our time on our travels through upstate New York, we visited the lovely town of Lake Placid, home of the 1932 & 1980 Winter Olympics. We did a day hike up Catamount Mountain, taking in the beauty of peak color season (playing the part of "leaf peepers," as the locals call it). We stayed in a hostel for a night, meeting some folks who have come close to climbing all 46 peaks of the Adirondacks, which would earn them a badge and membership in the elite 46-er club. The next night we had the opportunity to camp under a beautiful sky in Keene Valley, with the Milky Way in plain sight streaked above our heads. The morning of September 28th, we departed New York and entered the Green Mountain state, Vermont (seeing a cute porcupine on the way!). We arrived in Woodstock at Kerry and Mary Beth Beck's house, our hosts for the week, in the early afternoon. Mount Peg is directly behind the Beck's house, so we hiked it on Saturday afternoon and acclimated to our new living situation.
Bethany Mennonite Church greeted us the morning of the 29th with perhaps the quaintest sanctuary we will see all year. It is an old mansion that was built in the late 1800's and converted to a church in the 1950's. Featuring a small space with all hardwood floors provided a great live acoustic to play in. During announcement time at Bethany, a man asked for volunteers to help stack 3 cords of wood at a local community member's house (a cord of wood is defined by 4 ft by 4 ft by 8 ft). Kerry and the band helped out along with many others to make quick work of the wood stacking in Woodstock. Later that day, we explored Bethany Birches Camp, where we recorded "In This Heart," which can be found on our YouTube channel.
We spent the final day of September singing and discussing the impact of music on our emotional states at Mountain Valley Treatment Center, where Kerry works. It was a wonderful experience to hear stories of how others have been impacted by the power of music, and how it can be used as a coping tool. After the session, we had the opportunity to play some basketball with Kerry on the Treatment Center's beautiful grounds. Next, Kerry took us to Salt Hill Pub in Hanover, New Hampshire, where we had the pleasure of participating in a "hootenanny," an Appalachian colloquialism for an informal gathering of folk music. Surrounded by a group of talented musicians, we took turns selecting songs and improvising on them, and it quickly became a highlight of our time in Vermont. Attending instruments included banjo, two flutes, dobro, cajon, and lots of guitars. Playing with this bunch landed us an extra gig in Vermont, as Bekah's flautist buddy helped get us into another church.
The rest of the week was spent writing music, working up new music and practicing old, going on hikes (Bekah saw bears!!), and spending time with our wonderful hosts. We look forward to our concert tomorrow in Taftsville, followed by morning music at Saint Martin's Episcopal Church, which will mark our last performance in Vermont.
Early next week we will be heading up to Acadia National Park to do some more sight-seeing before a full week of performances in Boston.