Big Chill Weekend
Every Year Since 1986....
(or 1987 depending on who you ask), a bunch of old friends gather for a weekend music, over eating and laughter in New England. Like a rock band that has lasted nearly 30 years, the players have changed, girlfriends/husbands came and went (for some), or became spouses and in a couple cases ex-spouses. The original core group of six gentlemen (and I use that phrase cautiously) remains largely intact. And for the most part, after a circuitous string of relationship boondoggles in the early years, the attendance has mostly settled down the last decade or so.. In a few cases, babies from the early days are now college grads will even join the festivities on occasion; much simpler than when we had to change their diapers.
This event has survived 30 years, including five Presidents (Reagan thru Obama), the invention of the internet, the dotcom bubble, the great recession, the full run of Seinfeld, and was skipped only twice. 28 for 30 "ain't bad."
Attendees come from near and far
Our drive took from Maine took us by Mt. Washington on a very colorful October day. Others drove up from the Boston area, Boston and a few even flew in from California.
The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont
... is comprised of three rural counties, 2,000 square miles, 55 towns and about 65,000 residents. It includes one of the northernmost ski areas in the country (Jay Peak) and it is just south of 80% forested. ..Being that far north, its growing season is a short 123 to 130 days and is quintessential New England.
Caspian Lake, located comfortably in the middle of the Northeast Kindom, would just about fit in Central Park ( New York City), occupying approximately 800 acres. Known as a summer vacation spot, cottages dot the shoreline with some full-time residences sprinkled in with an abundance of spectacular Fall foliage.
Cabin with a View
This particular year we landed a beautiful "camp" on Caspian Lake. The main cabin sported a large living room with fireplace, kitchen and dining area with no bedrooms.
The semi-attached bunk-house sported five bedrooms and all without heat. A three season camp, it would be closed down for the winter after we left.
The stairs to the lake gave us plenty of exercise... and the adults were happy the kids got along so well.
Road Trip ...
Taking a break from the lake, we set off to "Dog Mountain"...
Dog Mountain is a kind of shrine to all things Steven Huneck; Steven, who passed away a few years back, was a dog-centered artist. Dog Mountain consists of a Dog Chapel, store, a pond and access to spectacular hiking trails nearby. The interior of the Chapel is wallpapered with fan letters and the pond provides plenty of exercise for visiting four-leggers.
The adventure to Dog Mountain tired out all attendees, especially the furry ones and when we returned to the camp they found the usual and not-so-usual places to nap.
Alas, all good things must pass...
We wrapped up our annual event with hugs and tentative plans for next year, perhaps the Maine Coast? Perhaps Block Island? Regardless, all efforts will be made to keep the streak alive!
Alas, all long weekends come to an end and we packed it up and headed back to Maine, lucky to catch Mt. Washington in the clear.