My Travels with Charley: Boston or Bust Part III

New England: Vermont and Massachusetts
Andy and I had an amazing trip.  This was the first vacation I had taken in a very long time and my first trip back East in over a quarter century.  Boston was amazing. Getting around on Charley made such a difference.   I had dinner with an old friend (Rachel) from college who was now living and working in Boston.  We were in Boston while Andy attended the AFT Convention as a delegate.  I did attend the forum on Palestine and Lebanon as well as Jonathan Kozol’s speech, both sponsored by the newly formed Peace and Justice caucus which Andy co-chairs with Nancy Romer. The event on Palestine was organized by Stanley Heller who I have known from Palestine support work, on line.  It was good to finally match a face to a name, and attend an event he produced. After Boston we stayed with Nancy and her husband Lou (of the Killer Coke campaign) and their rather enthusiastic dog, Abby, in Marlboro Vermont for a few days, a stop in Albany, a bed and breakfast in Ithaca, New York and then returned to Boston via Chicopee, Massachusetts.
-Jonathan Kozol at the AFT Convention.  ©2006 Emma Rosenthal All rights reserved.
Andy Griggs (right) with Jonathan Kozol.  Stanley Heller  ©2006 Emma Rosenthal All Rights Reserved
Our first day in Vermont, we rested and did laundry.  We went into Brattleboro and had dinner with Lou and Nancy on the terrace of a restaurant, overlooking the Connecticut River, a quick visit to the Brattleboro Food Coop for staples and the ride back to Marlboro, through the woods of Vermont. The second day in Vermont I woke up with a bad cold, probably from a dirty swimming pool at the hotel in Boston, We had planned to go to Amhert/Northhampton for the day, but opting instead to go into Brattleboro for cough syrup, echinacea a free clinic, acupuncture and to rest.   I started everyday with reiki meditation and yoga on a deck facing the Green Mountains, overlooking a beaver dam.  Brattleboro was pretty inaccessible as most of the stores have one step from the street into the shops, making use of a scooter rather difficult.  Such a small adjustment could have allowed full participation and autonomy to disabled members of the community.  So, between my lack of health and lack of access, we limited our tour of downtown Brattleboro.
Nancy and Lou’s home in Marboro ©2006 Emma Rosenthal All rights reserved.

Andy with Abby  ©2006 Emma Rosenthal All rights reserved.
In Vermont we did stop in the Spiral Shop; which is on Route 9 between Brattleboro and Nancy and Lou’s home.  Every time we passed it we asked each other: “What’s a Spiral Shop?”  Despite my meager strength, on one trip from town to  home, we pulled over to explore.  I’m so glad we did.  The Spiral Shop is an amazing combination of a stained glass and ornaments shop surrounded by creative gardens, woods and pond, with innovative and unique sculptures. Nothing goes unused.  Old bicycles and medicine cabinets (with mirrors) hang from trees.  Old tools, bottles, broken items of all types are spaced incongruously.  It shouldn’t work, but it does: magically.  It is the creative labor of love of artist Harold Makepiece whose failing health may bring about the closure of this amazing space.

The Spiral Shop ©2006 Emma Rosenthal All Rights Reserved

The Spiral Shop ©2006 Emma Rosenthal All Rights Reserved

The Spiral Shop ©2006 Emma Rosenthal All Rights Reserved

The Spiral Shop ©2006 Emma Rosenthal All Rights Reserved

The Spiral Shop ©2006 Emma Rosenthal All Rights Reserved

The Spiral Shop ©2006 Emma Rosenthal All Rights Reserved

<> We had decided to visit our college towns together.  I had gone to school in Amherst (Hampshire College and U Mass) and Andy had attended  Cornell. Initially our plans included going to Northhanpton and Amherst (I had lived in both towns) on two days during our stay in Vermont.  Marlboro is only 40 miles north of central Massachusetts. We did go to Northhampton, with a brief stop in Amherst one day.  Many of the shops in Northhampton were not accessible, requiring one step to enter.  I would have had to leave my scooter outside or walk.  I had fashioned a lock out of two bicycle cable locks, but to actually use it to shop casually would have been difficult.  We did a bit of shopping in the more accessible stores, but we had forgotten to recharge the battery the night before and it ran out of electricity so we needed to put it in the car and continue the rest of the day on foot.    We spent some time in the Smith College Library, my favorite of the five college libraries in the area, ate lunch at Paul and Elizabeth’s (a wonderful healthy restaurant,) in addition to the shopping.   We picked up some groceries in Hadley and had dinner in Amherst.  The shops in Amherst were generally more accessible, but without the use of my scooter I was limited in my mobility.  While Andy participated in a conference call, I went over to Food for Thought, the leftist bookstore that I had shopped in many times when I had lived in the area.

Images of Northhampton, Massachusetts.  Top left: the view of the town from Smith College._Top right: Smith College Library. Middle Left: Smith College Library.  Middle Right and bottom: My residence in NorthHampton.  ©2006 Emma Rosenthal All Rights Reserved.
I was exhausted and my cold was getting worse so the next day we rested before heading out that afternoon for Albany and Ithaca.  From then on, most of my sight seeing was from the seat of the car.  Between my cold and the fibromyalgia, I wasn’t strong enough to ride Charley or battle the heat.

<> The view from the car.  Wilmington VT. ©2006 Emma Rosenthal All Rights Reserved

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