It’s not even a dot on the map. Best Value Motel (recently renamed, which is why Barbara couldn’t find it) sits demurely atop a grassy knoll. It hasn’t got a proper address. Just Route 7, Pownal. None of the places have addresses. They don’t need them, because Route 7 – one lane each way – is all there is.
The scenery is breathtakingly beautiful in this part of the United States. Outside my door, acres of the greenest lawns I’ve ever seen roll gently down into a wood, and a babbling brook. The rooms are actually studio apartments. Mine is big as a small house. Its dawn, and the birds are singing and the mists are rising like Brigadoon. And there’s an internet connection -- although for reasons that remain unclear to me, it will not allow me to upload photos.
Bao and I took it easy, yesterday. Canada wore us out. I’d forgotten how tiring it is, being in a foreign country. And Canada is a foreign country, even though they speak English and drive on the right side of the road. They seem to resent Americans, the way you’d resent distant, very wealthy cousins who are perfectly nice, but bossy, and rich as Croseus. I found Canadians to be especially ambivalent towards tourists, and often got the impression they’d rather I’d just sent them my money, and stayed home. The theatre was awesome, the art impressive and the wine delicious. But I don’t know that I’d go back. I have to say, I feel much the same about Australia.
Although we’re technically in Vermont, New York (the state, not the city) and Massachusetts are only a few minutes away. In fact, the closest supermarket is in Massachusetts, and the closest drugstore is in New York. Here in Pownal, there’s a liquor store, several antique shops, a couple of B&Bs and a shop that sells maple syrup and homemade fudge. Really, what else do you need?
Canada was lush and green, but it was a different kind of green – floral, and disciplined. The trees were pruned, and the flowers bloomed tidily in beds, or pots. Here, it’s just mountains and forests and fields, as far as you can see in all directions. Most of the buildings are made of wood, and appear to be freshly painted, like the toy buildings that used to come with electric train sets. (Do kids still play with electric trains, or have they gone the way of mimeograph machines and carbon paper?) Quintessential New England, almost too perfect to be true.
It’s time for our morning walk. Bao doesn’t really need his leash and harness here, but he won’t budge without them. When you go for a walk, you wear your harness. That’s just the way it is. So here we go. Urban Dog meets Arcadia.