In the mid-90s my beloved returned to the UK from working near Lake Constance in Germany. Now he was no longer travelling the globe, he was happier to consider a long-haul vacation. I wasted no time and we enjoyed two consecutive vacations in New England. The first was spent touring around Boston and then Vermont in the fall while the second covered Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts in late August/early September.
The following year, my parents said that if we were going back to New England they’d like to come with us. They had visited Boston some years ago while cruising around the Caribbean and East Coast of the United States. I took great delight in putting together the itinerary. The vacation was topped and tailed with a few days in Boston. Thereafter we drove firstly to Manchester (Vermont) and then to The Berkshires (Massachusetts).
When I rang the hotel in the Berkshires to make a booking, I was told they didn’t take reservations. Instead, they took requests for reservations and then decided who they’d invite to come and stay. Pretentious or what? Nevertheless, I submitted my request in writing and was successful in booking one of the cottages in the hotel’s grounds. I have no idea what swung it in my favour but it may well have been my English accent.
I’d chosen the hotel not only for its convenient location for exploring this part of Massachusetts but because a cottage would give us all a bit more space. My parents tended to enjoy having a rest after a full morning of activities and lunch so they could keep up with us in the evening. I also knew that my parents would enjoy strolling round the hotel’s beautiful grounds or sitting quietly reading on the cottage’s veranda.
One morning at breakfast my mother waived and said good morning to a gentleman enjoying his breakfast in a quiet corner of the dining room. When we enquired how and where she’d met him, she’d said it had been on a stroll through the gardens. Both apparently keen gardeners, they had enjoyed a long discussion and walk. My mother had no idea of the gentleman’s identity but he was a well-known US entertainer.
We spent the last few days of our vacation together in Boston. My beloved had expressed an interest in watching a baseball match and a girlfriend had kindly obtained two tickets to watch a Red-Sox game at Ridley field. While the boys were out, mum and I decided to have a drink and a light bite in the hotel bar. Now when my mother said we’d have a drink in the bar, it meant only one thing – champagne, her favourite tipple. It’s something she’s passed on to me and my two sisters. We all love a glass (or two) of bubbly.
We settled onto one of the many comfortable sofas, glasses in hand and nibbled on some salt and pepper squid while we indulged in some serious people watching. We’d earlier witnessed the arrival of a rap star at the hotel. Everything about him was supersized from the car, his entourage, security detail and, of course, him and his bling. But we never saw any of them in the bar; no doubt they were partying on their own floor. My mother did however spot her new best friend at the bar and the two exchanged smiles, nods and small waves. Mr Entertainer was clearing stalking my mother.
The boys joined us after they returned from the baseball game which they deemed incredibly boring. My beloved said there had been more action in the crowd as they’d drunk and eaten their way through endless beers and hot dogs! Mum and I didn’t mention her encounter with her new fan; we decided it would be our little secret.
(Images courtesy of the relevant hotels’ websites)