Tag Archives: College Road Trip

Ghost Stories

I don’t really know if I believe in ghosts or not. I suppose that sometimes I do — especially if I’ve seen a scary movie or read a scary book and am home alone. Also if someone I trust tells me about seeing a ghost herself or maybe her close relative saw one — then I get goosebumps and believe again. For a while.

I was a real skeptic until some friends of ours told us their story. They rented a home in the country and a number of strange things happened while they lived there with their children. Let’s call them Richard and Laura.

  • A large fan that was usually in one room was moved to the top of the stairs — no one in the family admitted to moving it. In fact the house was empty and Richard came home for lunch — that’s when he noticed the fan had been moved from where it was when he left in the morning.
  • They often heard footsteps on the stairs as if there were children playing on them. One day Laura’s sister, Rosie, was having coffee in the kitchen with Laura. She heard the footsteps and asked what it was — since she thought Richard and Laura’s were in school. Laura remarked that it was “just the ghosts”.
  • One night when Richard and Laura were asleep in bed they felt the bed move as if someone sat down on it.
  • Richard and Laura’s daughter also had stories of someone sitting on her bed.

Even my husband, who has never believed in ghosts, said that the story made him wonder. I was no longer skeptical and believed in ghosts after that, but didn’t really give it a lot of thought.

The other night my son and I checked in to a college owned hotel in Ohio so we could be close to the campus where he had a 9:00 am interview with an admissions counselor. We got to the hotel late, but were able to get a quick dinner in their “pub” at around 9 pm. I had two glasses of red wine — taking the second glass to our room when we left the restaurant. Andrew spent the some of the evening researching the college to prepare for his interview, then he watched some television. I read email and logged onto Facebook. I decided to call it a night and fell asleep around 11. I don’t know when Andrew finally went to sleep.

I woke up somewhere around 3 in the morning — something I often do if I drink wine late in the evening. I got a drink of water and turned on the air conditioning, which I had turned off earlier because we were cold. Then I got back into bed and tried to sleep. I know I slept because I dreamed that I was at my mom’s house and it had snowed. I saw a cat outside and ran to help it, but it was somehow killed — maybe a dog was involved. Anyway in the dream I brought the cat back in the house and for some reason put it in bed with Clare who woke up and, understandably, freaked out.

Clare’s freaking out in my dream woke me up, I remembered where I was and could feel the foot of the bed on the bottom of my feet (I scrunch down in bed and usually hang my feet over the bottom). I heard the air conditioner fan and felt the cool air. I pulled the blanket up to my chin. I felt, what felt like a cat, jump up on the bed near my feet, pad around my feet and come up near my face. I thought it was Annabelle, but remembered that I was not at home. Then I felt the mattress push down behind my back (I was lying on my left side, facing towards the middle of the bed) as if someone were sitting behind me. I knew it wasn’t Andrew because I could hear him breathing in his bed. I turned my head and saw a large white mass over my hip — I thought it was the blanket bunched up. Finally I felt myself being pulled off the bed as if someone had hold of the waistband of my pajama bottoms and the collar of my t-shirt.

Then I woke up. It was 5:30 am. All that was a dream — but a very vivid one.

I’ve had dreams like that before — where I feel like I am awake and know where I am (they mostly happen when I am not at home). The other times I’ve had these kind of dreams I see someone standing at the foot of the bed. This time it tried to pull me off the bed.

This dream, has pushed me back into being skeptical about ghosts. While it doesn’t explain the footsteps on the stairs at Richard and Laura’s rental house, it might explain the nighttime occurrences.

Of course, when we checked out of the hotel I did notice that our door opened right next to the stairway to the attic…

Rupert Rising Bread

Rupert and Rupert Rising Bread
Rupert and Rupert Rising Bread

Sometime ago Indigo Bunting wrote a blog post that mentioned getting a sandwich on Rupert Rising Bread. Of course the name made me research it because of my Rupert and I hoped that someday I could taste some of this bread.

Before we headed out on our trip to the North East to visit colleges I did a few searches about Rupert Rising Bread. I found their website that said they provided bread to local restaurants and shops. I thought we might be able to make a detour to the town of Rupert (for photo opportunities as well as bread) but didn’t know if I could actually buy the bread at the bakery. While in Vermont I kept a keen eye out for signs of shops that sold the bread or made sandwiches out of it. I nearly asked the folks at Carol’s Hungry Mind Cafe if they knew where I could buy some in Middlebury but was a little too shy.

I was resigned to not get the treat of Rupert Rising Bread as we headed to Parts West to visit Indigo Bunting and Lali. I knew we would probably chat a while and would not have time to visit the town of Rupert, Vermont.

So I was surprised and delighted when Indigo Bunting mentioned that she’d bought us a loaf of Rupert Rising Bread (which then caused all kinds of chaos while Rupert was brought out to meet Indigo Bunting, Lali and the God Cod).

After we left Parts West we thought of how to best honor this loaf of bread. Indigo Bunting warned us that it should be eaten soon because it had no preservatives so about an hour after we left Parts West we all had a chunk of bread. It was delicious and made us think even harder about what to have it with when we got home.

Rupert and Rupert Rising Bread -- close-up
Rupert and Rupert Rising Bread -- close-up

I suggested Vichyssoise since it was quick, but then remembered we had no potatoes. Dean suggested canned soup. I thought it should have something other that lowly canned soup. I suggested spaghetti with “red sauce. Dean suggested spaghetti with clam sauce. This went on and on and when we got home we were not all that hungry anyway so our first real meal complimented by Rupert Rising Bread was bread and cheese and tomatoes.

The next day we planned a better meal — eggplant Parmesan. Dean and Andrew also made sandwiches with it. Tonight we have a few small pieces left and will use it to sop up extra cheese from our au gratin potatoes and gravy from the Easter ham.

It was a rare treat and hopefully someday we’ll get to taste it again.

Thanks, IB. It was well appreciated and not one crumb was wasted.

Casino hotels and college tour guides

After leaving Parts West, Vermont we headed to New York State and our final two colleges. In planning the trip I really only looked at hotel chains that were relatively close to the first school of the day. I’m partial to Hampton Inns. Their beds are comfy and the rooms almost always immaculate and they serve a decent hot breakfast as part of the hotel stay. They also offer decent discounts for AARP members and I get points for staying at Hamption Inns through their hhonors program, although I’m not sure what to do with the points or how many I need for anything.

While there were Hampton Inns near the final two colleges we’d planned on visiting in central New York State (Colgate and Hamilton) their prices were more than I wanted to pay. I checked the college web pages and found a hotel that had good reviews which was cheaper than the Hampton Inns in the area. I figured if a prestigious college suggested this hotel it couldn’t be that bad. The only drawback — it was part of a casino. I asked Dean if he minded staying in a casino hotel and he thought it would be fun so I booked it.

Vernon Downs is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. We’d hoped for a decent restaurant, but the few eating establishments we passed were either closed, too far from the hotel or didn’t look appetizing. We checked into our hotel and were told that the buffet was closing in a little over an hour. Dean was sort of excited about the buffet. He had expectations of huge slabs of roast beef carved by men in white coats and tall white chef’s hats. I expected a cafeteria with gray food laden with too much salt.

To get to the buffet we had to walk through the casino and since Andrew was younger than 18 needed an escort. We got a friendly escort who told Andrew to save his money and buy a car instead of gambling. He added, “Look at these people. Do they look happy to you?”

When we arrived at the buffet we were told that in order to get the over age 50 discount we needed to have a “players card”. I was ok paying the extra $4 each, but Dean wanted the discount, so we left Andrew in the buffet (with his orange wristband) and walked to the desk where they issued us each a plastic “players card”.

The buffet was more like I’d expected, except with a little more variety. Dean was disappointed since he thought it would be more fancy. I hate casinos. I hate everything about them. At least this one was smoke-free. There’s nothing sadder than watching old, wrinkled women sitting at a slot machine with a cigarette in one hand and pushing the slot machine buttons or pulling the lever with the other.

Rupert and the Sunrise
Rupert and the Sunrise

In the morning we awoke to sunshine — and since we were on the side of the hotel facing east, we got to see a beautiful sunrise. We ate the free breakfast and headed south to Colgate University. (Andrew nixed Hamilton based on its tagline)

Dean and Clare had visited Colgate and only stayed for the information session — both feeling that Colgate was just not for Clare.  Andrew liked the information session enough to want to go on the tour.

We were lucky to get the tour guide we did. There were three tour guides: two perky sophomore girls with long lists of accomplishments and one slightly geeky Latino science major named Julio. He was the best tour guide we’d had on the trip, except possibly for the rugby-playing girl at Wesleyan. Julio told it like it was — told us what he liked about the school, what he didn’t like about the school, told us his story and really genuinely seemed happy to be there. He had a quirky sense of humor and was just an everyday person — someone with whom many high school juniors could identify as opposed to the many overachieving tour guides we’d encountered.

After the tour and an ice cream sandwich treat from the admissions office, we headed back home to Bethesda. Andrew had become a slightly different person since we left home 5 days earlier. He now had a good idea of the type of college he wanted to end up at and a plan for how to get there. He’s a cool kid and any college would be lucky to have him.

Rupert and the God Cod

Indigo Bunting, Cedar Waxwing & Lali
Indigo Bunting, Cedar Waxwing & Lali

Rupert was happy that his American family remembered to take him on their trip to visit colleges in the Northeast. Sometimes they forgot to take him along on their journeys and that always made him sad. He especially wished he’d been along for the Ireland trip.

Rupert was also happy that he had a warm and cozy place to ride when his American family toured colleges in the cold rain. While they were soaked, Rupert stayed dry — although he does regret not seeing Diane Lane. He thinks she’s hot.

On Wednesday, April 1, Rupert and his American family visited Middlebury College in Vermont. The day was cold, but not rainy, which made them all happy. At this point on the tour, at least for Dean and Dona, the schools began to blur together. They all had lovely campuses, lots of trees and perky and overachieving tour guides. Andrew liked Middlebury, but it is not at the top of his list.

After the information session and tour, Rupert and his American family had lunch at a cafe in the town of Middlebury. Andrew and Dona liked the food, Dean was not happy with his soup. Dona liked the friendly people who were behind the counter. That kind of thing doesn’t usually impress Dean.

After lunch Rupert and his American family took a slight detour to the town of Parts West, Vermont to visit with Dona’s blogging friends, Indigo Bunting and Lali. Rupert was excited about this visit. He’d met a few other of Dona’s Internet friends as well as Dona’s favorite singer-songwriter, but he’d never met another blogger.

Rupert could tell that Dona was excited, but nervous, about meeting Indigo Bunting and Lali. He thinks Dona was nervous because she felt she was overstepping an unmarked boundary — that some people like to be more anonymous than she does online and that Indigo Bunting and Lali might only be agreeing to the meeting because they were too nice to say no. He suspected Dona was also nervous because Dean was never comfortable meeting Dona’s Internet friends.

Rupert and the God Cod
Rupert and the God Cod

As soon as Dona phoned Indigo Bunting and heard her voice, Rupert knew that Dona was no longer nervous. It was exciting to turn that last corner and see Route 153 for real. She saw the post office and other landmarks she’d read about in IB’s blog posts.

Rupert and his American family arrived at Indigo Bunting’s house at exactly the same time as Lali did. When Indigo Bunting opened the door she hugged everyone, saying “I hope you’re huggers!” It was exactly how Dona hoped it would be.

Dona, Dean and Andrew had (delicious) coffee, cookies and pie with Indigo Bunting and Lali while enjoying a lively conversation about everything from college visits to birds to coffee to towns in Vermont. Rupert got a thrilling ride on the God Cod, some photos were taken and everyone drove over to visit Lali’s home where they met Bisou, Lexi, Wolfie, Lali’s husband and the chickens. They admired the wattle fence as well.

Indigo Bunting gave Rupert and his American family a loaf of Rupert Rising Bread which they tasted about an hour later as they drove to their next college town. It was delicious and they planned the meal it would compliment when they got home the next evening.

On the way back to Bethesda the next evening, Andrew answered Dona’s question, “So what did we learn on this trip?” with “We learned that blogging friends are really nice!” Rupert, Dean and Dona all agreed.

In which we get wet and probably see a movie star

We awoke to heavy rain and the prospect of touring two schools in that rain. I was not excited.

Our first stop was Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. Dean had already visited Wheaton with Clare on what he describes as a perfect fall day: abundant sunshine, colorful trees, crisp but not too chilly. Today was not a perfect fall day. It was a dreary spring day with, what we’d discover later that afternoon,  record breaking rain.

I’d misplaced my (still wet from yesterday) gloves and forgot to take my Connecticut College poncho into the admissions office and didn’t want to go back to the car to get it. I was cranky and cold.

We were divided into groups and took off across the campus with a cheerful senior tour guide. Luckily for us we spent much talking time inside buildings and were able to walk quickly from one warm building to another.

As we entered our second building I heard a female voice behind me asking Dean if we were part of the college tour. I didn’t look around, but wondered why the newcomers had not joined the second group.

Later I saw the newcomer – a tall young woman with long dark brown hair dressed in opaque gray tights, a yellow cashmere cardigan under a waist length charcoal gray (leather?) jacket. On her feet she wore dark gray ankle-height Wellingtons. She was definitely the most stylish student in the tour group. I also took notice of her because she flashed a lovely smile at everyone she saw. No one, that I saw, returned the smile. I felt bad for her.

We continued the tour, and when we went into the residence hall I saw the mother of the newcomer. She reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t quite place her. Someone I’d seen on television or in the movies. I assumed that I’d figure it out later – who this woman looked like. We exchanged a couple of words in passing (excuse me / pardon me)

As we ended our tour another woman approached me and asked if I’d noticed the movie star among us. I said I thought I recognized someone, but couldn’t place her. The woman whispered, “Diane Lane”, and added, “but I don’t think she has kids the age of our kids.”

I snuck a few more glances at “Diane Lane” wondering if it could really be her. I convinced myself that it probably wasn’t her. She and her daughter left while I was using the bathroom. Neither Dean nor Andrew really noticed the mom so they couldn’t judge whether or not it was, in fact, Diane Lane. However they both noticed the daughter.

On the ride home we checked IMDB which told us she has a daughter born 9 months after Andrew was born so she could very well be looking at colleges this year. Andrew found a photograph of Diane Lane and her daughter on a website – tall, dark hair, same shaped face. That cinched it. We were convinced Diane Lane and her daughter were on our tour. I just checked again and saw more photos of her. I’m sure it was her.

Oh, and the college was cool too. Andrew might consider it, depending on whether or not Diane Lane’s daughter goes there how his other college visits go.

We drove through Boston via Boston University and Harvard (just to look) to get to Medford and Tufts University. I didn’t go on the tour because my coat was still wet and I still couldn’t find my gloves. I sat in the car in the parking garage while Dean and Andrew walked in the [record breaking] rain. The university is on a hill, so the wind was very strong. I do feel guilty for not trekking through the rain along with my husband and son, but the fact that I was warm and dry was enough to squash the guilt. Andrew probably won’t apply to Tufts because of their foreign language requirement.

So far this trip has been quite useful. Andrew is learning what he likes and doesn’t like about schools and will be able to make informed decisions about more schools he might like to visit and ones he knows he probably won’t like so much.

We’re on the road to Vermont now where we’ll stay in Rutland and drive to Middlebury tomorrow morning.

And they lived to tell about it

As we walked into the admissions office of Wesleyan University yesterday morning, Dean looked at the rain clouds  and wondered if any statistics were kept on what the weather was like the day students who applied to certain schools visited for the first time. If more were likely to apply if the weather was good and fewer if the weather was bad. Given  yesterday’s weather and if students chose their schools based on the weather the day of the visit, both schools we visited yesterday would have lost several potential applications. It was horrible and all of us (excepting Rupert who was snug and warm in my waterproof purse) were wet to the skin by the time each tour was over.

Andrew loved Wesleyan University (as did I). We had an excellent tour guide (Wesleyan admissions folks, in case you monitor blog mentions about your school, the tour was the March 29, 9 am tour  and our guide was the woman who was on the played rugby) and, despite the lousy weather, got a great sense of what the school was all about.

After a delicious lunch at a sandwich shop in town possibly called Brew Bakers, we headed towards New London and Connecticut College. On the way we saw signs for Gillette Castle State Park, and recalling a happy visit there with a friend who lived in Bridgeport in the 1980’s, thought we could spare a few minutes to drive past the castle so Andrew could see it.

It took much longer than we expected to find the state park, and even longer to drive to the castle, which was closed, but since it was raining and we were already wet from the tour, didn’t consider getting out of the car anyway.

Our trusty GPS took us through back roads to New London, which would have been fine — we had plenty of time before the tour — had the local rivers not been flooding. Did I mention there were flood warnings in Connecticut yesterday?

The car rounded a bend and we were dismayed to see the road ahead was flooded. I was ready to turn back and retrace our steps, but Dean drove on, deaf to my squeals of “OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD” and Andrew’s echos of “ohmygodohmygodohmygod”. The Highlander made it easily through the first part of the flooded road, but we could feel the pull of the water in the second half as the wheels began to lose contact with the road. All the time I was thinking about the warnings to NEVER drive through a flooded road and wondering if the fences on the side of the road were strong enough to hold our truck from being plunged into the pond on the other side.

We did make it through the flooded road, but Dean realized after that he should never have driven into it. We all have different opinions of how deep it was. I said 8 inches. Dean thinks 6. Andrew thought 4.

We made it to Connecticut College with no more mishaps and Dean had time for a nap before the tour.

This time we were given plastic ponchos with Connecticut College logos on them. Dean and I opted to wear ours. Andrew chose to not. Andrew looked much less silly than we did, but we kept reasonably dry. The tour group was smaller than the one at Wesleyan, but instead of stopping and talking to the group the Connecticut College tour guide walked backwards while talking and, unless you were in the very front, could not hear her over the sound of rain on the poncho hoods.

I felt nothing of the excitement I’d felt for Wesleyan. The campus was pretty enough, but I preferred the architecture of Wesleyan over Connecticut. Andrew preferred Wesleyan as well.

We had just enough time to check into our hotel in Raynham, Massachusetts before we needed to head out to meet our friend (and my matron of honor) Marie for dinner. She’d not known of a place to eat around where we were staying except for an outlet mall with chain restaurants. While we’re not so big on chain restaurants, we noted that there was a Timberland shoe store among the outlet stores, and Andrew had been wanting a pair of Timberland boots for a while.  Dean found a couple of pairs of shoes as well.

Dinner with Marie was wonderful. We’d not seen her since the summer before she and Neal divorced about 5 years ago. This was the longest we’d gone without seeing her since we met in 1981. We used to visit Neal and Marie at least once ever couple of years and they would visit us occasionally. Despite not having seen her for so long, I always consider her one of my best friends.

Today we visit Wheaton College and Tufts University. The rain is not going to be quite as bad, but I imagine we’ll still get wet.

Ok, breakfast….

On the road again

Rupert
Rupert

College hunting season has begun. I spent two days plotting our strategy for visiting 8 colleges in 4 days in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New York. Yesterday morning we left Bethesda, drove north, dropped Clare off at Sarah Lawrence (where she gave Andrew a mini tour of the campus), then drove to Rocky Hill, Connecticut where we spent the night in a Hampton Inn. Today we will visit Wesleyan in Middletown and Connecticut College in New London before heading to Massachusetts.

Andrew has been texting friends, many of whom are visiting the same colleges we’re visiting, only in a different order.

It is raining and is supposed to rain harder this afternoon. Not the best way to see colleges, but it is spring, after all.

Rupert has come with us, he’s hoping to visit Rupert, Vermont if we can fit it in and maybe taste some Rupert Rising Bread.

Day 10 — A final tour and then home!

We arrived at Allegheny College a little after 10 am. We walked into an empty admissions office, but were soon greeted warmly by the receptionist who took Clare’s information and then got a tour guide for us.  While we waited another woman walked in and welcomed us to the campus.

Our tour guide, Dan — an elementary school major and Dylan fan, was friendly and knowledgeable (except for the fact he didn’t know about Dan Bern). Clare liked the campus — it has a lot of trees and, while not Gothic, the architecture is attractive. The school contains a building that is considered the second best example of Federalist Architecture (after Constitution Hall in Philadelphia).

After our tour, we headed home. Clare was hungry, but said she could wait a while because I wasn’t. Bad idea. We ended up having to wait a couple of hours because:

  1. I got lost
  2. The PA turnpike doesn’t have very many service plazas
  3. I was in the wrong lane for the first service plaza
  4. I didn’t want to get off the turnpike in case I got lost again

We eventually stopped at the Somerset Plaza and ate at Pizzeria Unos.

After being refreshed by food (albeit fast, salty, greasy, bad-for-you food) we pointed our GPS to home. Everything went well until Breezewood, where I should have turned off the GPS because I neglected to look at signs and ended up back on the turnpike after just having exited it. We traveled another 18 miles towards Harrisburg and got off the Turnpike, only to be taken on winding, hilly roads that the locals thought were racetracks. The trouble with the roads were that I’d be going up a hill and not know if it wound around to the right or left until I was at the top. I didn’t want to go the 60 mph that the locals seemed wanted to, so I had a couple of angry drivers on my tail for several miles.

One road took us way up a mountain and back down. At that point we decided we were glad we made a wrong turn because the views were spectacular.

The GPS eventually got us back on the main roads, and we arrived home around 6:30 pm to a delicious meal of baked salmon, salad and mashed potatoes, cooked by Dean and Andrew.

It is great being home, but I would not have missed this experience for anything. It was wonderful spending so much time with my daughter. She’s a delight. She’s compassionate, gracious, talented and smart. Any college would be lucky to have her as a student.

Days 8 & 9 — Stinky Sandusky and two non-tours

We spent Monday driving. The rain continued until we were nearly into Ohio. I’d checked prices for hotels near Cleveland, and as they were over $100 I decided to stop about an hour before Cleveland to find a hotel. Big mistake. Sandusky is an hour before Cleveland. Have you been in Sandusky? Take my word for it — don’t jump into your car and drive there. If you do, bring a gas mask. The air there smells toxic (Clare’s words). We checked into a Day’s Inn (after trying the Hampton Inn and being told that the only room left was a King Jacuzzi Suite for $175.)

We could have driven further into the town, but I suspect the hotels got more expensive since Sandusky seems to be the Wisconsin Dells of Ohio.

Our room was gross — swaybacked beds and mildewy shower. There was some commotion in the room next to us, but it stopped as soon as it started. We ate dinner at an Olive Garden about 5 miles from the hotel. Our friendly waitress explained Sandusky to us. It grew up around Cedar Point — an amusement park that is on Lake Erie. Then other attractions arrived, such as a couple of water parks. Clare and I didn’t bother to drive to see the lake — we just went back to the room and watched a little tv before we went to sleep.

We drove to Berea, Ohio after an inadequate breakfast. We were visiting Baldwin-Wallace College the same day as Barack Obama was, so there were a few people there, including a few news vans.

Clare liked the look of Baldwin-Wallace. I thought it was too spread out — and Clare commented that it seemed too integrated with the surrounding community. We went to admissions, but were not offered a tour. There were nothing but students in the admissions office. Someone began to ask if we wanted one, and — although I didn’t see it — another student may have hushed him. I suspect (huge stretch here) that she wanted to be free to go see the town hall meeting with Obama. While I don’t blame her, I would have liked a tour.

After getting coffee at Caribou Coffee in Berea and looking around at the buildings on campus, we moved onto the College of Wooster. Clare loved the campus, which we self-toured, after a lunch at Muddy Waters cafe in town. (we tried to eat at The Bead Cafe — since our GPS directed us to it, and thinking it was a restaurant — but all they serve is beads.)

The admissions office was staffed, again, by a student who didn’t offer us a tour, but gave us a map and sent us on our way. She was friendly enough, but I suspect that if there was a real admissions receptionist there, they might have been a little more accommodating.

I was impressed by a couple of buildings. The humanities building was a beautiful Gothic structure — like a Norman castle. The classrooms were paneled in dark wood — at least the “tower” classroom was — it had an observation window for some reason.

Clare spent a lot of time touring the campus. It is a beautiful campus, so I don’t blame her. I think it’s going on her yes list.

After that, Clare wanted to do at least one “Weird USA” / Roadside attraction thing. On the way to Meadville, PA (our final college stop) is the site of a local legend about Melon Heads — creatures that once were orphans, but experimented on by an evil doctor. We didn’t see any secluded wooded areas, much less small creatures with large heads. Clare was disappointed. I was not.

I wasn’t sure how big a town Meadville was, so we decided to find a hotel in Erie, PA — about an hour away from Meadville. Clare fell asleep before we reached Pennsylvania, so was not a lot of help once I reached Erie. I glimpsed Lake Erie, then drove towards the beaches, hoping to find a motel that we’d like.

The town was crowded and none of the close-by hotels looked like something we’d want to sleep in, so I headed towards Meadville. Just outside Erie were a couple of large motels, and I decided that if Meadville didn’t work out, sleepwise, I’d go back there.

The road to Meadville promised more motels, so I knew we’d be ok. Then I saw signs that the exit to Meadville was closed, and had to exit early. I ended up on a long gravel road. Thank goodness for the GPS — it lead me to Meadville — albeit the long, slow way.

The couple of sleep options in the town of Meadville were no good, so we eventually decided to go towards Pittsburgh or Erie to find something. We ended up near the main highway outside town, at a Holiday Inn Express. The staff was very friendly and the room is clean with comfortable beds. What else did we need? We ate dinner at an Italian restaurant called Chovy’s (10% discount from Holiday Inn Express).

We watched a little television, then I crashed. Not sure what time Clare went to sleep.

This morning we had a great breakfast (fresh fruit, eggs, corned beef hash, fresh orange juice) and are getting ready to visit Allegheny College. At this point, I’m not expecting a tour, but it would be nice if we could have one.