Allison is a country girl and I am a city girl. She loves rolling hills of green trees, I find it mysterious and kind of fear it. She is from upstate New York. I am from California. She walks absurdly fast. I walk rather slowly (not surprising because I have very short legs).
I met Allison during my first two weeks in Europe. We were both Americans, far from home (me farther than her of course) and somehow went on the same tour of Coventry together. Then we went to London together. Then Paris. Then Italy. Then the Germanic nations. And etc, etc, etc.
So when I first moved to Syracuse, the first person I told was Allison. The next thing I knew, we were planning a trip together, to her family's cottage on the Finger Lakes.
That was how I spent my first vacation weekend, chilling by the water, doing some wine tasting. Contrary to Professor Rubins, the Finger Lakes Riesling was not "passable," it was quite delicious. And at five different types of wine for $1, it was a bargain.
One moment stands out: when we were driving to the lake, Allison told me about how her grandparents, parents, and aunt and uncle banded together to buy this little piece of real estate heaven. It's dated to the 1800's and was once a tavern and inn. But now, no one has enough time to upkeep it yet at the same time, it's been on the market for two years and no one wants to buy it.
"I wish they'd leave it until I'm old enough to buy it," she said. "It's important for people to have a country house." To bask in the beauty of nature, was the tone of the conversation, which amused me because while I appreciated nature, I did not feel the need to visit it every year via a country house. Especially when country houses were not exactly cheap commodities.
Then I finally spent some time in a country house. Singing show-tunes by the dock, having dinner with her parents, relaxing by the windows as the rain poured outside. And a half-way convert. Like a pair of shoes that I'm trying on, I kind of really like it, not for any amazing reason, but for the feel of it.
It was lazy and kind of really nice, the quintessential thing to do at a lake house: relax and get away from the grind of the day. One of these days, I will have a waterfront house. And mine will also have ruffled curtains.
P.S. A special round of thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Hopkins, for feeding and housing us that weekend so that the cottage felt like home to me, the newcomer. And what was more amazing: Mrs. Hopkins read every word of my Europe blog.
Your little piece of the American dream.