So, here's what happened.
The weekend began with a bang, or rather the French Tarte ended the year with a bang. For the very first time she sold out every single thing in the shop, down to the last shortbread cookie. She even had to pull a half dozen coffee-filled profiteroles out of the reefer at the last minute to help someone out of a tight jam.
|ricotta tarts with raspberries|
|bouchon - buttermilk cakes rolled in coriander sugar|
|matcha raspberry financiers|
|Michelle from next-door -- Jamie Oliver at Home -- buys a load of goodies and teddy bears to boot!|
So, we had a nice dinner at home that evening -- friend Lee dropped by to chat and have supper, which included these superbly scrumptuous tiny Brussel sprouts from Pezza Farm finished off with butter and maple syrup (from Sugar n' Spice in Rutland of course!).
After leaving the shop Saturday afternoon we picked up our car rental. Since we were expecting a long ride out west (and back of course) in winter, we opted for an upgrade to an all-wheel-drive SUV and found ourselves with a Volvo S60. Indeed, the weather in the midwest seemed to be developing into something of an ice demon so we felt upgrading to an AWD vehicle was the way to go.
Since we opted to break the trip up with a stay at the Oban Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake we figured it would be about a 6- or 7-hour drive and so took our time Sunday morning, enjoying coffee and packing the car.
It was 64 degrees (F) with a light mist in the air when we pulled out of our driveway and pointed ourselves north up Route 146 heading for I-90, the well-worn and well-travelled Mass Pike. The temps were still hovering in the mid-60s as we cruised down the highway expecting to hit Albany before noon and Canada and our inn before 5pm.
It didn't quite work out that way.
We pulled off at the Ludlow service plaza for a bathroom stop and pick up some bottled water. While we were in the car Susan's mom called and told us that conditions in Grand Rapids were, in a word, terrible. The problems centered more or less on serious icing and that wasn't predicted to change anytime soon. She was concerned that our journey would prove perilous, particularly the closer we got to Michigan.
Anyway, after we rang off we sat for a moment and thought about what to do next. We decided to turn around and go home. This quickly became the right decision. I called our inn in Canada to see if we could cancel at such a late hour. Sure enough, they were experiencing ice problems as well and were willing to forgo charging us -- which leads me to say here and now that we should certainly stop and stay there someday. Very nice people.
So we turned ourselves back east and about an hour and a half later pulled back into our parking lot. After unloading the car we gave it back to Avis and spent the rest of the day feeling sad at not being able to be with Bernice for Christmas but also terribly relieved at not having to drive 900 miles, half of which would be in nasty weather with questionable roads.
So, I'll leave you with this, lighter, happier note -- and turn your speakers up: