It’s interesting when summer itineraries collide in unexpected ways. The only vacation we planned for this summer was to go to New England in mid-September—after school started and before tourists seeking fall color invaded. We flew into and out of Boston, driving up the Maine coast, across Maine and New Hampshire into Vermont, down Vermont 100, and back to Boston.
But plans can change serendipitously, which is what happened to me. I’d planned to attend a writers’ conference in Indiana in August, but the scheduling didn’t work out. Instead, I went to one in Portland, Oregon. Very productive conference, and Steve went along to make it an anniversary trip as well.
Then my cousin Annelle and I had the idea for a cousins’ road trip to celebrate her birthday. She was born on her mother’s birthday, September 27, and they had celebrated joint birthdays for 70 years. Since her mother died last November, this would be a difficult birthday for Annelle.
Annelle, who lives in Memphis, planned the trip for September 26-28 from Nashville, Tennessee, to Ellijay, Georgia, to Birmingham, Alabama, and back to Nashville. One cousin lives in Donelson and the other in Goodlettsville, both suburbs of Nashville. I drove to Nashville on Tuesday, September 25, and back home on Saturday, September 29.
En route home, I couldn’t resist stopping by my hometown of Portland, Tennessee, for a quick picture. We ate dinner in Portland, Maine, on September 12, so this was my third Portland in five weeks!
When we were in New England, I talked with a woman who had been hiking the Appalachian Trail, which begins at Mount Katahdin, Maine, and passes through fourteen states. (Steve asked if she’d hiked the entire trail, and she said, as though horrified, “Oh, my goodness, NO!”)
Known as the A.T., it ends at Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia, where my cousins and I hiked on Thursday. Considering my recent travels, I couldn’t resist buying this t-shirt!
If I’d decided to visit three cities of the same name—and there are many duplicate names, such as Springfield, Bedford, and Columbus—I could hardly have chosen three any farther apart than Oregon, Maine, and Tennessee. (Yes, I know Portland, Florida, would have been farther away.)
And if I’d wanted to visit each end of the Appalachian Trail in one summer, it would have taken some careful planning.
But both happened in five weeks, with a lot of fun thrown in. Geographical serendipity!