Well, the fall foliage certainly was stunning, up in northwest Connecticut. Of course there are autumnal landscapes in the UK, but the colours are definitely deeper up here, with more dark, dark red maples, together with leaves of pumpkin orange and other bright yellows that catch the sunlight, or sometimes even look more gorgeous standing out in contrast to a grey misty morning.
On our short 'leaf-peeping' trip, we stayed in a classic small New England 'country inn' in the beautiful Litchfield Hills, which to most Americans probably seemed like a real slice of the 'olde world', but to us was reminiscent of various elderly relatives' houses in the English countryside, all rickety wooden furniture, faux peeling plaster and iron bedsteads. It did, however, serve delicious breakfasts, with home-baked muffins and breads, and our hosts were friendly and welcoming.
I don't know why, but I always forget how going on holiday with small children is never relaxing. Eating in restaurants with them every night was particularly challenging; in their usual manner, the Littleboys were quite well-behaved until their food was finished, whereupon they wreaked havoc and usually had to be removed from the crime scene. Even on the night when we ate in our hotel, and then daringly stuck them upstairs with a DVD while we finished our meal, they reappeared, having been found wandering the stairs by a fellow guest (the embarrassment...). We never managed to get them to sleep in the adjoining room till after 9pm; whereupon we were quite ready for bed ourselves.
As they get older, the boys also resent being removed from their usual surroundings and routine; not having the right cereal for breakfast, a shower instead of a bath, no marble games. Littleboy 1 began asking on day 1 when we were going home again; his face shone with glee on the penultimate day when I told him we were going after breakfast the next morning. It's not that they didn't have a good time - they went to a safari park and petting zoo, walked in 'magic forests', crossed 'troll bridges', and even climbed a mini-mountain - but I guess they just couldn't see the point of being in a hotel that wasn't home. And although I enjoyed it, I'm not sure they really appreciated our excursion to L.L. Bean either - and neither did the staff there....
So in some ways, it feels good to be home again - and it also underscored that this really does feel like home now. Littleboy 1 in particular was delighted to be returning to Long Island after five whole days: and I notice that what he has been calling 'our new house' for the past five months has now become 'our new home'. And, crossing the Throgs Neck Bridge back to Long Island, the landscape seemed familiar and friendly.
We have all sorts of Halloween delights to look forward to this week. And, looking around the garden and the street today, I decided the fall colours here are pretty damn good as well.