Gang, I had so much fun out and about with Mom last weekend! We started off on time early Friday morning and decided to stop for breakfast at a place we had heard about near Augusta (not Aunt Gin’s, which would have been a better choice, it turns out) and it took them over an HOUR to get us some coffee and eggs. Wow. So then we were behind schedule but not too worried as we had no deadlines or commitments Friday, just plans and anticipation.
It was raining and spitting most of the way through the boring turnpike driving. I had MapQuest plot me a route using “shortest distance” so that I didn’t have all highway driving all day. It was 8 hours of driving after all, I wanted to see something other than yellow dotted lines. 🙂
Mom navigated, and it was fun, though we have no idea where we were most of the time, we knew we could figure it out with maps and GPS if needed. We wandered through western Mass, and wound up in Amherst, which I have always wanted to see. It was very lovely, but it was UMASS commencement weekend, so to say that there was a little traffic is an understatement. It took forever to get to Northampton from there. And once in Northampton, we added road construction to the mix, it seriously took us more than half an hour to go the short distance from the pretty bridge to WEBS.
But get there we did, and by then the sun was shining (as it should over this wonderful place!)
It is in an industrial setting just in back of town. If you are looking for a cute yarn shop, this isn’t it (but there is one in town.) However – go in the door and you are transported to fiber heaven. There is a HUGE retail space with all the yummy yarns beautifully displayed. A whole entire section of Madeline Tosh just hanging there, showing off it’s lovely colors, calling for me to buy it. 🙂 There are wheels and buttons and yarns and fiber and pattern books and loads of room to move around, good lighting and (mostly) very nice staff.
And then there is the backroom.
It’s actually where we started, because the restrooms are back there… and we were five hours from coffee after all. 🙂
This room is much more like a warehouse, I can’t begin to guess how big it is. Aisles and aisles of shelves from the floor to over my head, filled with yarn.
I spent the most time in the Valley Brand aisle, touching everything (remember, this is why I was there!) If I liked how it felt, I took photos of the tag so I would remember it when I get to ordering online someday (soon I hope) and so my phone is filled with photos of tags. 🙂
All the prices were reasonable but some were on sale, so they were WAY more than reasonable. This coming weekend is their huge tent sale, I can’t imagine what a zoo the place will be, but I bet people will be getting some great bargains.
The other aisles are organized by fiber weight. I cruised fast through bulky but slowed to a crawl in fingering, sport, and lace. Oh so many things were calling my name. But I had a strict yarn budget for the weekend.
But I wanted it all.
But I had a budget.
I finally settled on this selection:
The Leyden for some socks, the Southampton for a shawl, or something light and fluffy. Southampton is a yarn I have been wanting to try since I can’t seem to get Soie et Doucette anymore. It is very similar to kid silk haze, which I also love. So I will give it a shot and see what happens. At $7.99 a ball, it didn’t seem too bad an experiment.
I was pretty impressed with myself, coming out of there with money left and my homework completed!
Then I caught up with Mom, and she staggered me. She was in there with me the whole time, and she bought NOTHING. Because she had no project in mind.
I didn’t know that was a thing. 🙂
Anyway – we got some vague directions about lunch and parking and muddled through that and got out of that town as fast as we could, which was not fast.
The directions continued to meander through the Berkshires in the general direction of New York, and we blindly followed them, trusting MapQuest.
Until we found ourselves in a two track dirt road wandering under leaning dead trees. A road not on the map we had, but clearly marked and where MapQuest said it would be. As we drove, the road got narrower (it hardly seemed possible) and ruttier. When we finally came to an intersection with a paved road we abandoned MapQuest and took the paved road. First chance we got, I pulled over and we set the GPS with our hotel address in Poughkeepsie.
Our new route zipped us along Route 23 through Great Barrington and out onto the beautiful Taconic Parkway. I mean it, it is a beautiful road. NO trucks!!! It’s a true parkway, loads of pretty trees and green grass. And of course, it is late spring there, the trees are fully out. The dogwood was blooming in the woods. It was really a gorgeous trip down to the hotel, which we found with no problem. Thank you, GPS. Sorry, MapQuest, I won’t ask you for shortest route again.
Saturday dawned gray and dreary and raining. We had breakfast with one of Mom’s classmates and his wife, and I left her with them to enjoy her day of reunion activities. Then I settled down to await another highlight of the trip – meeting up with a blogger in the real world! Slipped Stitches Weblog is a blog I have loved since I found it, Maryanne is hysterically funny when writing about her adventures with her little dog, her knitting and the calamities that befall one at the hand (or paw) of the other. We are friends on Ravelry and our blogs, so I knew she lived in the general area, but was nervous about suggesting a real life meeting. I was so excited when she was not only willing to meet, but willing to come to Poughkeepsie to meet me! I wondered if we would find enough to talk about or if it would be awkward, but the minute she walked into the hotel lobby I knew it was her and we just jumped right in, sharing current WIPS, stories, talking about our lives. It was like seeing a friend I just hadn’t met yet. 🙂
I used the app Yarn Places to locate a local yarn store, and the kind desk clerk told us how to find it, so we went there to start with. We spent quite a bit of time in Walkway Wools checking out the bright colors of yarn she had packed into her tiny shop (the owner is the dyer behind Mother Frogging yarns, check them out if you can). Keeping in mind that I had only $7 left in my yarn budget, I tried really hard to be good. But this yarn was too pretty to pass up!
I have been wanting to try linen, and the price was just right. I am thinking that someday I will make this into a shawl, but meanwhile, I am just enjoying the color. And I only went $8 over budget, which if you think about what I could have spent this weekend, was kind of like a miracle. 🙂
From there we went through the rain to lunch and gabbed for a couple of hours before Maryanne returned me to the hotel.
I am so glad that she was willing to take a chance to meet up with me and that she gave up a rainy Saturday to do so. I am pretty sure that she could have been chasing the dog through the mud, around the pond, and down the lane as he ran off with her Shetland lace shawl, or something equally entertaining instead.
Saturday evening Mom and I went back over to her school to have a fancy dinner “with musical entertainment.” There were a total of five from her class at this reunion, so with spouses and a daughter, we all fit at one round table. I heard a lot of funny tales about kids at boarding school in the late 1950s. There (apparently) was lots of smoking behind buildings, and some panty raids, football games against giant farm kids, and other memorable moments. After dinner, we went back to the hotel and hung out in the lobby for a few hours chatting with one couple until it was really time for bed if we were going to make that long drive home again in the morning.
I think Mom had a wonderful time, and is looking forward to the 65th reunion.
So – we got back to the room, mapped out a route (using a real, paper map with indicators fro things like pavement) that would avoid all major cities and be pretty and get us home reasonably quickly, and hopped into bed, where we slept like babies until 2 am when the fire alarms went off.
Have I ever told you about my hotel curse? I have rarely stayed in a hotel more than one night that I didn’t experience the fire alarms going off. Sometimes I even manage to do it on a one night stay. It is darned annoying.
We were up on the fifth floor, so we donned shoes and rain coats, (yup, still raining) and did take the time for a speedy bathroom break. And I DID grab the car keys. If the hotel was burning up, I wanted to be able to leave! And down the stairs we went to the dripping parking lot. I was sort of surprised at how full the parking lot was and how few people came out of the hotel. I guess they could stand the noise and didn’t mind burning up. Hmmm.
We sat in the car, watched the big hook and ladder trucks come in with sirens blaring. After a few minutes they all left and we went inside. Seems an overly steamy shower was to blame, so at 3 am we climbed back into bed to stare at the ceiling for a bit.
Naturally we got off to a later than planned start Sunday morning. At least it was sunny! We headed back up the Taconic Parkway to Route 90, by which time it was raining again, and all the leaves were still only thoughts and the world was gray and dreary again.
Our new route seemed a bit longer than the other way, though the drive time turned out about the same – 8 hours or so to mom’s house. And no Worcester, Hartford or any of those other traffic nightmares. It was after 8 when I finally pulled into my driveway, and I was really ready to be home!
This weekend I have an different sort of an adventure planned. I’ll get up and hit the road around 4:30 Saturday morning, and drive to my sister’s, in Portland. Together we will travel down to Connecticut (she will drive, I will knit – see, it’s different already!) to visit an aunt who lives down there, and our dad and step mom. Then we will drive back to Portland, and I will stay over night in there with her and her family. Home fairly early Sunday morning. At least that’s the plan. I’ll let you know how it goes.
And next weekend? I am going NO WHERE.