Lyme 4 - Visitors 10
Oct 11, 2008
|We go trespassing on our way to Vermont - Saturday, October 11
Last night the temperature dropped to 33 degrees and this morning the campground was shrouded in mist. By nine the sun had burned off the fog and by noon we were fired up and ready to go. Another early start!
Our plan was to drive west to the Connecticut River, then follow the river valley south for an hour. This would take us through rolling farmland on the New Hampshire side of the river, with views of more rolling farmland across the river in Vermont. It also took us through several small towns, one of them strange little place called Lyme.
By the time we got to Lyme we’d been following the river for 30 miles and we had yet to get a decent look at it. When the road was straight and flat with turnouts, the river was always somewhere else. And when the river reappeared the road would suddenly get narrow and winding with no place to turn off and take a picture. Then we came to Lyme.
At Lyme it all seemed to come together. The road widened out nicely and ahead we could see a city park with a big parking area right next to it. Best of all we could see blue water on the other side of the baseball diamond. What a perfect place to park and take a look at the river! But things are never what they seem
The first thing we noticed was a big ‘NO PARKING’ sign posted conspicuously at the entrance to the parking area. I stopped and looked around. They couldn’t mean here - in this nice gravel lot - could they? The sign must mean no parking on the road. We continued walking toward the water.
As we walked across the baseball diamond we began to notice strange things. Jackets and shirts - even pants - were scattered here and there around the field. A white ball sat in the grass, and near it lay a lanyard with a referee’s whistle. It started feeling kind of spooky. Where were the people? Why had they disappeared and left their stuff lying around in a public place where it could get stolen? Had they been abducted by aliens? It was a scene right out of the Twilight Zone.
As we continued toward the water we started to see some clues. For one thing it wasn’t the Connecticut River but just a big pond - with a swimming area complete with a lifeguard stand. There were a lot of ‘NO DOGS’ signs and a ‘SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK’ sign, but you see those in parks sometimes. But then it got weirder.
At the gate to the swimming area was another sign announcing that this park is for ‘LYME RESIDENTS ONLY’. Below that it said, “No Dogs, No Alcohol, No Boats, No Fishing and No Rowdy Behavior”. You could go there if you were the guest of a Lyme Resident, but you had to register your presence by signing in with the lifeguard. A final warning admonished, ‘Please pack out your trash’.
The park was deserted. There was no lifeguard, no guests and best of all, no Lyme Residents. We ignored the sign and boldly went where no Californians have gone before. All the time keeping an eye out for the cops of course. At the lifeguard stand was posted the weirdest sign of all. This sign listed the CHASE BEACH RULES - and there were many: ‘No Dogs, Alcohol, Fishing, Boats or Flotation Devices, No Running or Diving from Docks, No Running or Pushing on a Float, No Swimming Under Docks or Float, No Swimming Into or Out Of Roped Area, and No Disposable Diapers, Bare Bottoms or Unsupervised Children Under 13 Years of Age’ The sign again told the visitor to pack out his trash, and it ended with the warning ‘THIS AREA IS FOR THE USE OF LYME RESIDENTS AND THEIR GUESTS ONLY!’ They forgot to say “HAVE FUN”.
It was now obvious that what we thought was a parking area really was a NO PARKING area, and we were in fact, unwelcome intruders trespassing on hallowed ground. Looking at the baseball diamond with its resident belongings scattered so carelessly about, I found myself hoping that next game the Home Team gets their little asses kicked. Looking at the scoreboard we saw that last game they had done exactly that! The scoreboard still bore a taunting Lyme 4 - Visitors 10. Since we were on hallowed ground it seemed appropriate to say a little prayer, so my prayer was, “May fire ants take residence in their tiny jock straps - and may their losing streak continue indefinitely!”
A few miles past Lyme we came to Hanover - home to Dartmouth College. By this time we’d had enough of New Hampshire hospitality so we skipped Dartmouth and headed for Highway 89 and the Vermont border. Soon we were crossing the Connecticut River and entering the state of Vermont. As we drove we realized more and more that this was not a great weekend to be touring this part of New England.
We spent the next few nail-biting hours negotiating the narrow, tourist filled streets of several towns, including Woodstock. As crowded as Woodstock was, we managed to score a great parking space a couple blocks from downtown, and we spent an hour finding a flannel shop Madolyn had read about. We bought some nice flannel sheets for our bed, and now those cold nights will be a lot cozier!
By dark we’d made it to a campground that miraculously was neither closed nor full, and we settled in for our first night in Vermont. This is the 43rd state of our 43 state, 5 province trip so far. My prayer tonight was “May it stay above freezing for a few more nights and then it can do what it wants, because we’ll be back in New York by then!” :-)