I’m a bit rushed because I want to make it to my parents’ house for Christmas, but it's not so bad being rushed when I've got the motivation to get home for the holidays. So I speed down the coast of New Hampshire and upper Massachusetts and spend the night in a beautiful hostel just minutes from Walden Pond. That’s when the snow storm hit. I’d seen something about it on the news, but I didn’t worry too much about it: they said it would stop snowing by noon and anyway, weren’t they used to that kind of thing in the Northeast? I’d be fine. But in the morning it was still snowing hard and they were shoveling the driveway by hand. On another date, I would have stayed another night, but as it was, I had to get going.
The biggest consequence of this decision to move forward was that once I got to Boston it was still snowing and the snow plows hadn’t run through since early in the morning. There were very few people on the road and I saw a couple cars skidded off and stuck in the snow. It all was a little too much for me, being inexperienced at driving in the snow, so I had to pass by Boston. I had looked forward to seeing the city, but I couldn’t wait around for the snow to be cleared. So I reluctantly headed down to Cape Cod.
In Cape Cod the next day, the snow was still on the road in sloppy grooves of tire treads. I guess most of the Cape just boards itself up and stays warm inside with a cozy fire.
So that meant I was the only one on the ruthlessly windy and wave pounded beaches. But the sun is out and the snow still covers the sandy beaches. It’s actually incredibly beautiful in a magically strange kind of way. I‘ve never seen snow on a sandy beach before. I can imagine this place in the summer with the van-fulls of children and sunbathers and people packed in line at the frozen custard shack. But for now, it’s haunting and lonely and beautiful.
The next day I’m in Newport, Rhode Island just in time to see the sunset at Brenton Point State Park. On the way to the Point the roads are still dusted with snow, making the path there seem mysterious and fresh. There are lots of cars parked for people to enjoy the sunset from the safety and warmth, but I put on my gloves and scarf and run down to the edge of the sea.
In the morning I tour The Breakers. It has a reputation as the most extravagant mansion tour available in the area if not the entire US, and it does seem to stand up to its reputation. The audio tour keeps people moving, but feels impersonal, and offers somewhat bland observations and stories. It's not the biggest place I've seen, but the detailed extravagance of the interior can't be equaled. After this one though, I think I've had my fill of mansion tours. I need a break.