You can't beat getting yourself acclimated to the potential of the fall rainsweep of England, Scotland and Wales than by settling in to an old fashioned New England nor'easter. Since Carol took charge of the accommodations for this trip, we were confirmed in an upscale Atlantic beach inn outside Boston, complete with gas fireplace and a picture window view of the ocean delivering the three day blow.
As there was a liquor store directly across the street from the hotel, there'd be no crisis for stocking up on room wine to wait out the storm in style. Luck would have it that this was a zombie apocalypse storm of what might suggest the new normal for post-climate change weather. Part northern winter storm and southern hurricane, the nor'Easter earned the rarity of being named. Nor'easter Melissa was only missing the onsite presence of the-sky-is-falling Jim Cantore to make the whole scene suitably over-dramatic.
Carol's sister Joan was our designated guide for our Boston excursion, and she puttered us around in her Mini Cooper as if it were 80 and sunny outside. While the dreary, raw weather took away from a New England fall sightseeing tour, it more than made up for it in a kind of Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff-on-the-Moors starkness.
Our hotel was located on Nantasket Beach along a narrow skin tag of land stretching into Massachusetts Bay. It is rich in American colonial and revolutionary history, home to the famous Adams (with one d) family. I'm sure the area was chock full of historical markers, colonial cannonballs, powdered wig museums, pewter mug exhibits and 18th century decorative crockery. But alas, the lousy weather would put a damper on all that leg-wearying traipsing about.
What the weather did offer a lot of was sitting on a comfortable couch in front our gas fireplace with a cheerful glass, and enjoying the nor'easter pounding the seawall across the street from the hotel. It was also perfect weather for a movie, and the Hingham Town Hall was featuring Downton Abbey.
The only disappointment was that shortly after we checked out of our room to head to the airport, the storm delivered up a blanket of snowy sea foam that coated the roadway and the handful of joggers out braving the elements like packing peanuts. We missed that show.
We wound up renting a car for our trip to Yonkers and Carol's high school reunion, and the foliage, even through the overcast and rain, gave us a chance for some quality New England "leaf peeping." There was time scattered around the reunion events to take In some of the urban decay that is Yonkers, New York. That included a photo op of the home of mass murderer Son of Sam, which was only a few minutes from the house where Carol grew up. Small world.
I watched for some tell in Carol's facial expression on all the childhood nostalgia she was revisiting, but except for a wry smile at the corner where she got her first kiss (Joe Dratch, no tongue) I think her overall impression was something like, "How the hell did I ever make it out of Yonkers."