Monthly Archives: October 2014

Back in Tallahassee

Every year I make at least two trips back to Tallahassee. It’s difficult to get my head around the fact that I lived here for 37 years, then left so easily. Having been brought up in the northeast, attending Syracuse University (which prepared me for living in snow country!), and visiting the New York area while the kids were small, I always felt a sense of belonging in the north that I did not feel in the south. That said, when I got here last Thursday afternoon after eight states and a quick overnight stop in Weaverville, North Carolina, it was all so familiar and comfortable. wescott

While there are many many changes in the Tallahassee landscape, I still have trouble feeling so comfortable and yet not living here! It’s a very weird feeling. But, after 2 1/2 years away, I find myself identifying the things I miss. For example, the town the day before a big football game. It was a home game weekend so the university area was exciting, crowded, anticipatory. Only hours after arriving, I was in College Town, an area that didn’t exist when I lived here; beautiful apartments, restaurants, bars, parking (valet parking for students — are you kidding?!), all for students and within walking distance of campus. Fine dining in all parts of town, new shops, renovated buildings, a new downtown entrance, and a roundabout approaching the stadium. I miss getting in the car and pretty much getting wherever I want to be in less than 30 minutes — shopping is 5 minutes away for anything you could possibly need. Getting to the airport which is about as far as you can get is 30 minutes. Going to Costco was a fun activity for me (doesn’t that sound pathetic?!) mainly because it was so convenient. In the Pocono community where I live now it’s 20 miles each way to Home Depot or a decent grocery store, an hour to Costco in New Jersey, or to Homegoods or other stores. It’s 45 minutes at least to New York and shopping; 1 3/4 hours to New York City. These things are advantages as well, but when I went into Publix for a couple of things, I wanted to shop and shop and shop.

Canopy Rd Miccosukee I miss the beauty of Tallahassee, going out to lunch or dinner and running into people I know or taught or worked with. Now there are many things I do not miss: summers in Tallahassee, humidity, palmetto bugs, driving near the university or down Tennessee Street (especially on a game weekend), running into people you know everywhere you go (it’s a double-edged sword for sure!), Florida politics (although it is always entertaining), and working full-time.

Visiting here, coming home again, re-visiting — whatever you want to call it — is wonderful. I have said many times that I am thankful to be flexible enough to come to Tallahassee whenever I feel like it. So, having a great time in the gorgeous weather and wish you were here!!

Mountain Rumors

I have been thinking a lot about the 24/7 news cycle and the need for the media to fill in time with what sometimes amounts to rumors rather than news. Then I also realized that there have been a few rumors in the community lately that might or might not have direct bearing on my quiet life. I’m pretty sure that some people up here thrive on not just hearing rumors but then spreading them with great joy. When I define rumors I am also including old wives’ tales and folklore. So here comes the latest from Lords Valley.

First and foremost is the gunman in the woods. He’s still there and even the national news reports that he is eating a lot of ramen noodles and tuna. Reminds me of college. Anyway…if they know this much why can’t they catch him and, more importantly, is he really a threat to the general public. NO, says the current rumor. Try and keep up with this one: Frein shot the deputy to avenge his brother whose wife was having an affair with the wounded trooper. He was wounded in places that would preclude any more affairs. AND, his partner was shot and killed so that the wounded trooper would have to live with that guilt for the rest of his life. In the meantime, two troopers fell out of a deer blind and were hurt, troopers keep spotting him (supposedly), yet they cannot catch this guy. Leaves are covering everything and even I could hide in the woods given a brown hoodie!

Rumor #2: Laurel Ridge Restaurant is going to re-open. There are few places nearby to get a decent meal (other than at home!). Laurel Ridge was open when we bought this house and one Thanksgiving weekend, after watching the Florida-FSU game, we went there for a family dinner. It had a huge roaring fireplace, firepits outside for the smokers, and decent food — horrible service because the owner’s son, the chef, spent most of his time chatting with customers. It was very crowded and we were happy to have it so conveniently located. laurelridge By 2009 it had closed and ever since there have been rumors, news reports, reliable information that it would reopen in 2013. It didn’t. I’m pretty sure that it is some kind of money laundering thing since there are cars there and last year someone was working on it. Rumor has it that it will be a diner, a sports bar (I would like that), a banquet facility (why?), or some combination of all of the above. So far, however, nothing.

bearRumor #3: Bears. Oh my. According to my neighbor who I met on my morning walk, bears (several) are breaking into crawl spaces of houses — occupied or not. He has this on good authority because he was getting ready to report a crawl space door open across the street. I believe him of course, but the idea that the bears are hibernating already is difficult to imagine since it’s supposed to be in the upper 60s this week (although it has been in the 30s at night). So, I’m wondering what I’d do if I really saw a bear on one of our walks. I’ve seen them of course from the comfort of my porch, but not when Sydney and I are vulnerable.

Rumor #4 (the last one I promise!): A new grocery store is going up on Route 739 only a few miles from here. My hairdresser says it might be a Wegman’s; others in the mail room said it was definitely going to be a Shop Rite (and they deliver!); a local realtor told me it was going to be a Price Chopper. I laughed when I was at the mail room and said, “wouldn’t it be great if we got a Whole Foods?” (This is a pipe dream of course.) Before I even got a chance to chuckle, someone said, “We’re getting a Whole Foods?!” I’m sure this is now a “reliable source” rumor that is spreading as quickly as the leaves (and acorns) are falling.

I passed by the empty lot where everyone says we are getting a new store, but no signs, no construction, nothing going on so I suspect that, like Laurel Ridge, it’s all just something to talk about. Now that winter is coming (oh, one more rumor — it’s going to be a mild winter or it’s going to be a terrible winter because of acorns and furry caterpillars) I suspect there will be no construction of anything! I’m headed south in a week or so to Tallahassee where I’m pretty sure there are no people spreading rumors. Right?

Living in a Postcard

fallcolor This morning on my walk with Sydney I wished I could capture the beauty of it all. The view here is what we were looking at as we walked toward home. Must admit, I never realized that ferns changed color (I may have mentioned this last fall!) but they turned golden from green overnight! The trees are all sorts of colors even though the “official” fall foliage tour folks say we haven’t reached the peak yet. The golden leaves are falling as quickly as they are changing color and acorns are raining from the trees making lots of noise on the roof! I can hear chain saws in the distance and it’s clear that winterizing has to happen before I leave for my trip south. What does this mean? Finding someone to deliver and stack wood — the person who was going to deliver last week hasn’t responded to my calls so I’m waiting another day or two before I call someone else. Don’t people need the work? The money? I guess not. Then, the plastic needs to be put up along the bottom of the porch screens to protect it a bit from snow and ice. And the air conditioner cover of course. All the planters and porch pillows, etc., need to be carried to the shed — the grill too. And, the Adirondack chairs should be put away as well. Not very interesting to blog about I know, but it does provide a sense of what we think about at the change of seasons. Anticipating winter has become a hobby!

photo-3I will remember to bring in my little ceramic good luck birds that were the subject of a blog last winter and have already winterized the beds with down comforters. The car will get its pre-winter pre-trip check up next week along with new front tires. There’s a lot to think about when the fall weather is beautiful and the landscape changes from lovely to spectacular. On Monday I drove to Fishkill, NY, which is about an hour away and tried to take photos out the car window while driving. Not very smart and I won’t do that again! Besides, I couldn’t capture the colors and the vastness of it all. fallcolor2

While driving to Brooklyn yesterday, I tried to remember what the roads were like when it snowed. It’s all people are talking about up here. At the diner last week there was talk about how awful the winter was going to be but hope that it wouldn’t be as bad as last year. Whatever all that means. My neighbors moved in next door and we chatted during my morning walk. They wanted to know what it was like being here last winter. So the talk has begun in spite of the weather being lovely. On the other hand, what else do we all have to talk about? The fact that those we call for help with the house show up when/if they want to? That no one up here seems to return phone calls? The gossip at the mail room the other day is that we are getting a new grocery store! Big news for here since the only local store within 20 miles is the Weis Market which is pretty bad. Everyone is wishing for Whole Foods or Wegmans but it’s likely not to be anything that sophisticated. We are in the mountains after all!! The gunman is still on the loose and people around here seem to be leaving their lights on at night so I am too. State troopers apparently keep spotting him but, for some reason, cannot apprehend him. Very creepy and I’m so glad to have a dog who barks at everything! So that’s about all from the Poconos today. Facing my third winter here, I may be finally getting used to living in this house in this place. Not quite, but almost there.