Six other girls and I recently took a weekend trip to New Hampshire. I met up with a fellow member of the group to take the train from New York to Connecticut, where our friend picked us up in her car. After a stop at her place, where we were greeted by her docile mutt and the other girl’s jumping German Shepherd, we drove up to Burlington, Vermont to pick up a fourth friend, who was choosing wine at a co-op.
From there it was onto the last leg, the nighttime drive from Vermont to New Hampshire. As we got further from the cute main street in Burlington, buildings became further sprawled apart and lights were fewer. Looking out the window at the pitch black surroundings, I was reminded of how diverse the United States is. In the suburbs I know, lampposts line some streets, and houses are fairly close together. Here, it was dirt roads, and our headlights provided the sole illumination directly in front of us. Sure, there were main roads that had the odd phone store on the side, but our GPS had turned us off to an isolated area with forest on both sides and a house from time to time. Supposedly we were somewhere in the vicinity of our rental cabin, but there was no sign of it. We turned off the road and suddenly found ourselves in front of this series of signs that straddled the private property of a house and a dirt road leading to dark woods.
The reason the photo is blurry is that we high-tailed it out of there. So creepy. The top sign informed us that our GPS had led us in the wrong direction. Another warned that this was “private property” and there was to be “no trespassing.” And why is the stop sign in French?? Did we go too far north and hit French Canada? We didn’t stick around to have our questions answered.
Of course, when we finally arrived at our cabin around 9, the other three members of our party were already there. Two, a mother and daughter team, had settled in hours earlier and turned on the outdoor hot tub (!), which had a view of a lake (!). The third person assured us that she had only beaten us by ten minutes.
We gathered around the table in the eat-in kitchen and had bowls of soup made by one girl’s sister, who couldn’t come but had sent bags of food via her cousin. We sliced into fluffy white bread that we thoroughly enjoyed and only later found out that one girl had planned to serve it with breakfast the next day (oops). I’m glad she didn’t say anything at the time because it really hit the spot after a near escape from a possible ax murderer with a penchant for totem pole signs.
In addition to figuring out the hot tub, checking out the backyard view, counting the beds (eight), and taking stock of everything in the kitchen cupboards in the hours prior to the rest of the group’s arrival, the mother-daughter duo from Vermont had also fired up the wood stove to create a toasty, cozy atmosphere. The mother emphasized to the New Yorker and the Jersey girl (me) that we SHOULD NOT touch the stove. A mere five minutes later, she repeated her warning before leaving the room. I’m glad she didn’t take it as a given that everyone knows stoves are burning hot. While it didn’t cross my mind to touch it, I have rarely been in the same room as a wood stove and can stand to be treated like a city slicker from time to time for my own safety.
And people say cities are dangerous.