We’re back! The Bartons spent the better part of August traipsing around the east coast and Canada, which is why there hasn’t been a column for the past four weeks.
Almost three weeks were spent at our cottage in Avon, N.C., in the middle of the ocean just a few miles north of Cape Hatteras. This in itself was something of a feat.
We are blessed with five children, their spouses and eight grandchildren. For several years now, they have taken all of the summer weeks, leaving us a couple of weeks in May and September or October, and a week or so in November and April, when we close and then open the house.
The house opened up unexpectedly, and we snapped it up. Not so much to go to the beach, which was gorgeous if hot and mosquito-y, but because I needed a quiet getaway to finish the dissertation I have been working on for almost five years – very sporadically. And I did it! I sent it off to my advisor and am awaiting his advice for revisions.
Then, we took a week’s trip to a friend’s place on Ahmic Lake, some four hours north of Toronto. On the way, we took a second honeymoon at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. The view from the walkways along the Niagara River is just beautiful. We stayed at a hotel directly overlooking the Falls and in the middle of a boardwalk-like area that featured a gigantic new Ferris wheel
The main event was a ride right up to the Falls on the Maid of the Mist. We were encased in plastic ponchos, but got drenched anyway. It was wonderful.
Ahmic Lake is exquisite: crystal-clear water, large “cottages” in the midst of a forest that went right to the water’s edge, and a perfect boating atmosphere. We took the boat everywhere – to the grocery store, to lunch, shopping and just plain sightseeing.
Our friend’s great-grandfather bought the place in 1908. In the old days, it could be reached only by a steamer which departed from a train station twice a day. Many of their neighbors’ families had been summering there for 100 years or more. It is a tight-knit community, waving to one another as we cruised all over the lake. Idyllic is the term.
Through all of this, we sporadically kept up with politics. Though on Ahmic Lake, it was solely through Canadian newspapers.
The most stunning news was the accounts of raucous and bitterly divisive town meetings on health care proposals. They were punctuated by completely false information and broad ignorance of what the various proposals were. We need to do better than this, and now that we have returned we will see to it!
And we received occasional news about the Virginia governor’s race and McDonnell’s strong lead in the early polls, until the release of his strongly misogynistic master’s thesis, written while he was a student at Regent University, albeit a 34-year-old student. It was a blueprint of the Republican’s record of opposing working mothers and gays, and enforcing their own moral views on people’s private lives. I think a strong Deeds’ campaign in the fall will be successful, but it will take work. Another project for our return!
Though we chose to stay on this side of the “pond” this vacation, we had a wonderful time anyway closer to home. It was a very good summer.