I don't often get a chance to get away in the summer, but I had a few free days, and I felt like a little break was in order, so I hopped on the 401 with a couple of friends and we set off for the "Big Apple". Although this drive can easily be made in a day, I prefer to break it in two so that it is a little more enjoyable. The first night was spent on the eastern edge of the Finger Lakes in a pretty little town called Skaneateles. My friend the GPS lady took us through some interesting parts of Syracuse to get there, but we got there, none-the-less. I had booked us in at the Mirbeau Spa - always try to incorporate a little competitive analysis into every trip, if possible. This is a lovely spa in a lovely town, well worth the drive. I would love to pick the whole place up and drop it into the middle of Ste. Anne's property - I just love the feel of it, very well thought out. Next morning, got a good start to our day and made time on secondary roads so that we had time to stop in Old Greenwich, Connecticut - a town I spent 2 of my teen years in during my dad's stint at IBM World Trade in White Plains, New York. My sweet sister Anne welcomed us into her home in Westport for two nights. Anne was instrumental in helping me get the spa started back in the early 90s. She is a collector of many things, and she has a wonderful sense of humour. She and her husband Paul have two cottages in New Hampshire that they now rent out to wayward travellers, so that has kept them very busy fixing them up and furnishing them in Anne's very warm and inviting fashion. Paul drives a truck that runs on used french fry grease, so he spends early mornings on the prowl for fuel. Gives new meaning to "chip wagon". Seems there is a whole cult movement towards this kind of thing. I think he was planning to attend an event called "Greasefest" - interesting. Next day we took the train into Manhattan - a very civilized way to get in and out of the city. It was raining, so we decided to spend the day in museums - the Cloisters, way up town, and The Frick, in mid-town. Both were incredibly beautiful and a wonderful way to spend a rainy day in the city. The next morning we set out for home, but again decided to break up the drive with a stop in a charming little town, Dorset Vermont. All of the homes on the main street where white clapboard and neat as a pin. We also took note of the United Church where a sign humbly proclaimed that "all welcome" since 1784; what a concept! Of all the meals we had while we were away, dinner at the Dorset Inn was the best by far (not counting meals by Anne, or course!). For the last leg of our journey we headed to Montreal, always a favorite of mine. As usual, the city was alive with joie de vivre, and a plethora of street festivals. To get home we took the 401 to the Thousand Island Parkway, stopped for a quick gab fest with my friend Jacques, the ever gracious innkeeper at Trintiy House Inn in Gananaque, through downtown Kingston, then along "prison row" - the Bath Road to the Glenora Ferry, into Picton, Bloomifield, Wellington, Brighton and Highway 2 to Grafton. We are truly blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world. I left most of the navigating to my GPS friend, and I can honestly say her route through Ontario, New York, Connecticut, Vermont and Quebec was, for the most part a full of eye pleasing scenery. You really don't have to go far from home to relax and enjoy a little time away.