Which is how my wife had even known about Thetford, and also how we came to spend the weekend there.
This past weekend was reunion at Dartmouth (located in Hanover), which is where my wife went to school. Reunion at Dartmouth is a pretty big deal. First of all, they cluster some years, so this year featured grads from '97, '98, and '99 all celebrating their 15th reunions. There were also 1988 grads and I think 1978. And I think, due to the layout and location of the campus, and quite possibly the size of the class, though I think it's more the former than the latter, most people look forward to coming back for reunion and reconnecting with their classmates.
Why I bring this up is because I don't have the same feelings about Boston University that my wife does about Dartmouth. I see who I care to see from my days at BU, and I probably will not attend a reunion. Part of this, I think, is the more spread-out campus of BU. (Also part of this is my general lack of desire to socialize.) Anyway, my wife and I like to visit Dartmouth - it's a beautiful campus. I particularly like it when no one's around, but here we were attending the third Dartmouth reunion since my wife and I have been together.
But this time we didn't stay on campus. We rented this house in Thetford. I've only spend significant time in Vermont once before in my life, that I can remember. And I know exactly when it was - October of 1988. I know because my dad and I went up separate from the rest of the family (or we delayed the trip, I can't remember which) because we attended one of the games of that year's NLCS. (I'm also pretty sure we watched Game 1 of that year's World Series in Vermont, but I could be wrong - it doesn't seem like we'd be there that long in October. I'm more sure we saw Big in a movie theater there with my cousins.)
I don't remember much about the trip 25 (!) years ago. Just thought I'd mention it. This trip we stayed in a house off the beaten path and up a big hill. This offered a beautiful view of the surrounding area, and it looked like the type of place where we'd see wildlife. We did. 4 deer. 3 at once, as you can see in the picture at right. (The fourth wandered by Sunday morning before we left.) These 3 came by Friday evening and spent a lot of time picking at the tall grass for dinner, I suppose.
Another highlight of the time we spend in Thetford came Saturday morning, in East Thetford, actually, when we ate breakfast at Isabell's Cafe. If you're ever in the area, I don't know if I can recommend it enough. It was exactly what you'd want from a breakfast place in a small town like this. It was like you were seated in a kitchen, but there were plenty of tables, and it was just down-home friendly. I really liked it. The coffee was pretty terrible, though.
I told you that weekend that I was going to be off the grid, but it turned out that even in the middle of nowhere there was a wireless connection. I didn't expect that. I thought a few times that I might like to return to the Thetford house and just lock myself in the for the weekend and write. But I don't even know if I'd be able to eliminate the distractions. I was able to settle in after my girls went to bed and do some reading.
Still, though, I'd go back, if for nothing more than the family time. The girls liked it. They enjoyed the time in the house just as much as they enjoyed exploring Hanover. I would imagine it's very pretty in the winter time, and if we were a skiing family it would be awesome. But we're not. Yet. (My daughter indicated she might be interested.)
The other problem is that hill that offers the great view - I don't know how keen I am to drive up and down it in the wintertime. And how dark it gets at night. Whatever we were doing last weekend we made sure that we were within a distance where we could drive back to be in the house by 7pm or so, because we didn't want to get caught outside after dark. And by "we" I mean "I".
But for a city boy like me, it's good to sometimes experience some time in the country. I was proud of how I handled myself in a country house. I'm looking forward to doing something like that again.
As long as we're home before dark.