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The leaves en route from Fairfield to New Paltz were gorgeous, and I’m so glad we saw them. After New Paltz we ran head on into winter.

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No smiles before coffee.

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New Paltz is a great little place full of art and antiques and beautiful walks.

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All smiles after vegetarian soup.

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We walked around the Huguenot Village, which is still pretty intact. Tim should really be posting about this – he had all the facts.

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We were staying with the mum of one of the interns that I met at Elsewhere (yet another reason that Elsewhere was amazing). She took us on a hike on Shawangunk ridge. It was such a beautiful afternoon and the dogs loved it.

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Possibly not as much though, as Lucy enjoyed sharing Nixie’s bone collection

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and as Nixie enjoyed sharing Tim’s lap.

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Haha. I totally love this photo – Nixie was so funny.

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We left for Ithaca the next morning, but stopped in Woodstock en route. Woodstock the town, not the field/concert. But it was kind of true to form anyway … lots of tie dye and organic vegetables.

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And a bit of ongoing counter-culture. These signs are everywhere in New York, but most of them aren’t this fun.

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It’s a cute little town.

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yarn bomb!

It started raining in Woodstock, and we set off back on the road for Ithaca. Our GPS, which we call Debbie Downer because she’s got this Eeyore kind of voice, has a bit of a personality disorder. Or whatever the equivalent is for inanimate objects. In any case she sent us on a “short cut” where we basically made our way into the back woods/fields of New York State, past decrepit farms definitely full of axe murdering zombies. She also found every single steep hill in New York – the steeper the better. The Yaris was struggling, which was incredibly nerve wracking given that stopping at Dan’s Deer Cutting and Guns was not on my list of things to do. We eventually ended up (not accidentally) in Bloomville New York, which is in the middle of nowhere (picture evidence to follow), but has an amazing cafe that wouldn’t be out of place in Brooklyn. It felt totally bizarre, because outside it looks like this:

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And inside it looks like this:

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We had some gorgeous and changeable weather en route to Ithaca, which was good, because the Yaris was making ominous noises and seemed to not be in good shape after our tour through vertical New York. And then we got to Ithaca, and the hills in Ithaca actually made the hills in back woods New York look like nothing. We made it to the top. Took a picture from Cornell out over the hill. Got back in the car and it made a truly disturbing noise. Kind of like a tin can getting crushed.

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So we all piled out of the car, and while I had a panic attack, Tim did useful things like kicking the tire to see if it was flat, or if the transmission was about to fall out or whatever people are looking for when they kick tires. And he kicked it again and a GIANT piece of hard plastic fell out of the car. Somehow the mud flap that goes on the interior of the wheel well had come off and gotten stuck in there, probably when we were driving through pot holes trying to get to Bloomville. Long story short, the car is fine, but I most definitely had had enough. We just went to the place where we were staying, ate dinner and went to bed.

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The place where we were staying was great. It was a little tiny cottage that was part of an off-grid farm/co-op outside of Ithaca. There are six people living there communally, and they built the place themselves from straw bales and plaster, with solar energy etc. And a shetland pony. And MINIATURE DONKEYS (which we didn’t see. Sad day).

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The full house.

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Our little cottage. The snow didn’t start until the morning we left, the first day was pretty nice.

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We went hiking in the Ithaca gorges.

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We also went to Cornell to see the Blaschka glass invertebrate models. I’m a little obsessed with them – they’ve been on this blog before, when I was in London. I just think they’re so beautiful, and I can’t imagine making something so accurate in glass.

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And brains. Because brains in jars never get old. That one right in the middle belongs to Edward Ruhloff who was a tricky academic and a murderer. It’s also the second largest brain ever recorded. The others also belong to the more or less famous. One of them was used to show definitively that female brains were not inherently smaller or less intricate than male ones.

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This morning, despite the snow, we made our way to Vermont. The Yaris was no longer banging and clanging around, and we ignored all suggested detours from the GPS. It was a much more relaxing drive. We stopped in Bennington, Vermont, inspiration for Shirley Jackson’s story The Lottery, and home of the Blue Benn diner. And now we’re staying in Plymouth. Tomorrow, we’re making our way to Montreal.

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Maybe the square that inspired the Lottery?

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