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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Eddie and George Wake Up After Sandy

Eddie:  What happened?

George:  Sandy.

Eddie:  What a bitch.

George:  I can't see my hand in front of my face.

Eddie:  That's 'cause it's in front of MINE!

George:  Let's see how Kathy and Dave are doing.

Eddie:  Okay.  Oh, look, Kathy found a fallen tree:

George:  Someone else encountered a fallen tree too:

Eddie:  Well, we're pretty cozy with the generator running and the water back on:

George:  Yep.  The calm after the storm.

Eddie:  Well, I'm glad it's not windy anymore, but I'll be glad when the light rain ends and it gets warmer.

George:  Me too.  Let's see if they've finished cooking the scrapple and see if we can get some.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Trying to Survive the Storm on Minimum Rations

10:45 am on Monday, October 29:

Our pumpernickel-spinach-Canadian Bacon-smoky Provolone Eggs Benedicts with hollandaise sauce are barely keeping us alive as we look out the window and search for any falling drops of rain and try in vain to spy any rustling leaves.

But we know it's coming (they say), and we're ready!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Eddie & George Wake Up in Philly (!?)

Eddie:  George, where are we?

George:  I don't know, but it looks familiar.

Eddie:  I have the strange feeling we've been here before.

George:  I checked the calendar and it's not Groundhog Day.  It's almost Halloween.

Eddie:  Well, this must be some kind of trick.

Flip: Oh no!  Are you two at it again?

George:  (startled) Eddie!  It's Toto!

Eddie:  George, that's Flip.  We're not in Kansas anymore.

George:  Eddie, we never WERE in Kansas.

Flip:  Do I look like a dog?

Eddie:  When we went to sleep last night, we were in the Berkshires.

George:  This COULD be the Berkshires.  The trees are pretty.

Flip:  Yo!  Sawdust-brains!  This is Oak Grove RV Park near Philly.  We're back where we started.

Eddie:  I can't believe it.  DC, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Lake Erie, Seneca Falls, Cooperstown, the Adirondacks, the Green Mountains, the White Mountains, Maine, Cape Cod, the Berkshires - was it all a dream???

George:  Maybe this is like the movie, "Memento" and we're going back in time.

Eddie:  Am I gonna see dead people?

George:  Maybe we fell through a wormhole.

Eddie:  OMG, it's the Nexus!!!  Look down the road.  Do you see anyone chopping wood???

Flip:  Of COURSE people are chopping wood!  This is a campground.

George:  This is a nightmare.  If we go back to sleep and wake up again, maybe this will all be gone.

Eddie:  Yeah!  Give me the open road...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rainy Days and Tuesdays

Woke up this morning, checked the weather - rain was coming.  So, instead of hiking up Mount Tom, we got out the list of things to do. It is amazing how fast the list grows. Here is Kathy working on replacing the broken closet door clasp. If you look carefully, you can see that Baxter is helping!

Dave volunteered to do the dishes while charging the battery for the generator. We need to run the generator every week or so to make sure it is in good working order when we need it.

Chores done so we engaged in a little afternoon computer bibbling - surrounded by cats, of course. Dave found the new Van Morrison album on Legal Sounds and downloaded it put it on the Ipod. There were lots of news articles on the debate last night.  I am so glad I already know who I am voting for.

Time to stretch the legs before dinner. We walked up South Road (1.2 miles) until we hit the center of Westhampton.  It was more like a small intersection - church, township building and library - that's it. We tried to time the walk between showers.  We almost got back before getting sprinkled on - almost.

Tomorrow is moving day, so the next blog post will be George and Eddie waking up somewhere at the Oak Grove campground!  Happy Trails!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mass MoCA Road Trip

Today our friends Roseann and Glenn were kind enough to take us on a road trip up into the "real" Berkshires to see the city of North Adams, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (commonly known as "Mass MoCA") which is located in that city.

We started with a delicious lunch at Outlook Farm, which has become our favorite little farm market and restaurant near our RV campground.  We had a gloriously sunny day for the trip, and Glenn drove us up to Route 2, the "Mohawk Trail" to take us west toward North Adams.  The drive across the Mohawk Trail was breathtaking.  Here's a photo of the North Adams area west from near the summit:

We made a quick stop at Gould's Sugarhouse in Shelburne, where we found some great maple syrup and each bought a TWENTY-FIVE CENT soft ice cream cone with MAPLE ice cream, which was the richest maple flavor we've ever tasted!

Further along, we stopped at a scenic place on the Deerfield River.  No sooner did we get out of the car then Kathy tore off along the riverbank, out onto some flat stones and, being asked to pose for the photo below, almost fell into the river:

Luckily still dry-footed, we drove around North Adams, sampled some pure mountain spring water, reminisced with Glenn about his winter sledding down the HUGE hill on which his childhood home sits.

The goal and high point of the day, however, was Mass MoCA, which is, in our view, the most immersive modern art museum we've ever visited.  Developed on the former Sprague Electric site, the museum is described as follows on its website:

The 13 acres of grounds in North Adams, Massachusetts, encompass a vast complex of 19th-century factory buildings and occupy nearly one-third of the city's downtown business district. Listed in the National Historic Register, the site's 26 buildings form an elaborate system of interlocking courtyards and passageways rich with historical association. Bridges, viaducts, elevated walkways, and red brick facades lend a distinct architectural ambiance to the complex....

We found three of the exhibits particularly interesting.  The most complex and fascinating was the Sol Lewitt wall drawing retrospective, which devotes an entire building in the complex - 3 floors - to wall drawings by an artist famous for his ground-breaking efforts to separate the act of conceiving a work from the act of executing the work.  The exhibit contains 105 "wall drawings," or paintings, which were designed by the artist but constructed by others under very specific license rights and design guidelines developed by the artist.  It's very difficult to explain the theory of the art in this short space, but you can learn more about it by checking out and  The following photo is of one of his later wall drawings, which seemed particularly interesting given its setting opposite windows in the museum building:

Another exhibit that was quite unusual was Sanford Biggers's "The Cartographer's Conundrum," constructed especially for this huge space on the second floor of a building in the museum.  Somewhat difficult to tell from this photo, it depicts, in a 3-dimensional space that can be explored by visitors, a dynamic church, complete with pews, piano, musical instruments and pipe organ elements.  Windows on the side of the hall are accented by colored sheets that throw light onto the floor in patterns reminiscent of stained glass:

A third exhibit that was very interesting is titled, "Invisible Cities," and includes works of a variety of artists who artistically re-imagine the urban landscape.

After touring the museum, we four retired for dinner at the Freight Yard Pub, a restaurant in North Adams that has a great deal of character, great food and some good beers, and we continued our animated discussions about North Adams and the art we encountered at Mass MoCA.  We finished the evening with a beautiful nighttime drive through the countryside back down to our RV.

All in all, a richly rewarding day with much pleasant conversation.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Berkshire Wine Tasting

After hoisting 35 pound backpacks for three days, we decided to hoist something a little lighter. It was time to hit the trail again, only this time, it was the Massachusetts wine and cheese trail!  We never realized when we booked this campground that we were within 20 miles of five different wineries.

Here is Kathy talking to Gary of Mount Warner Vineyards in Hadley, MA. Gary is a retired professor from UMass Amherst. He planted grape vines in his front yard and built a garage next to his house which holds his wine making business. He gives tours and tastings by appointment. In his small two acre vineyard, he has 10 varieties of grapes.  All of his wines were really good, but we were impressed with his raspberry port.  We've never tasted anything quite like it.

After leaving Gary's place, we drove through downtown Amherst - a very picturesque college town. We next stopped at the Amherst Farm Winery.  This winery has only been open for about a year.
When they took over the location of a former restaurant in a large 19th century post and beam red barn, they also inherited the giant foot.

Amherst had a much larger operation which included a gift shop.  Fruit wines seemed to be their specialty and we tried a dessert wine made from pumpkin. While different, it wasn't "pumpkiny" enough to warrant purchase.

Next we drove to Mineral Hills Winery in Florence, MA. Here is Dave looking over the tasting notes in the gift shop.

Before opening Mineral Hills, the gift shop was part of Godard's Red Hen Farm and they still sell apples and honey grown on the farm. Mineral Hills uses their home grown honey in a mead. Mineral Hills mead is a true honey wine and very unique.

Our last stop was Black Birch Vineyard in Southampton, MA. This was the first year of operation. While they made wine last year, their tasting room only opened in April. Since Massachusetts is a colder climate than California, they had to grow grapes that could withstand a cold winter. We really liked the Blaufrankisch, a nice dark spicy red wine.

While the trail was long, it held many rewards. We even found a 1950's style diner just outside Amherst for a delicious lunch along the way.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Parrots and Puttering

Today was a day for puttering.  We completed our backpack yesterday amid the pouring rain, and the storm continued as we got back to the RV.  We left all the wet gear outside, hoping to dry it off today, and only took in the stuff we could throw in the dryer.

This morning we woke up, decided to do some P90X-Stretch (partly to work out the sore muscles from hiking and partly to get ourselves back into a regular early morning exercise regimen), made some coffee after our shower, and took a walk around the campground to see how everyone had fared in the rain.  It dawned sunny, and already the air outside was warm, so it was nice to enjoy the autumn smells as we walked with t-shirts and no wraps.

The stream in the campground was running full and cold, and the sunlight streamed through the nearby trees:

A wolf maple tree up in the top area of the campground was showing its last colors:  bright yellows, oranges and reds:

We completed our walk and, after a hearty breakfast, starting drying out all the gear in the mid-morning sun.  We had tents, backpacks, boots and other gear spread all over the picnic table and hanging from every conceivable place outside the rig.

We had had to get our propane tanks filled just before our backpack, and went over to the office to settle up.  Just after we arrived, a woman came by with two parrots on her shoulders (!?!):

She is the "wagonmaster" for an RV camping group called "The Happy Wanderers" from Connecticut, who periodically venture out together and stay at a selected campground for a weekend.  This was the weekend for our campground, and we had seen all of their vehicles streaming in on Friday in the rain.

The two parrots are her pets - one male and one female.  The male was very vocal but not particularly friendly to strangers.  The female, while demurely silent, was very easygoing and would, in fact, sit on peoples' arms.  Here's a photo of Kathy getting to know the female parrot:

Having been diverted for about an hour to chat with the parrot lady and our campground host, we returned to our site and continued the drying and cleaning process.  David took the opportunity to do some cleaning of the truck that had been deferred for too long.  By the time late afternoon rolled around, we had completed these chores and had time to plan a wine-tasting tour for tomorrow.  More on that in the next blog entry.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Berkshire Backpack - Mount Greylock Loop

We finally got back out on the backpack trail again - after a hiatus of nearly three-and-a-half months.  This trip was an 18 mile loop including the Appalachian Trail, Mount Greylock, and some aggressive trails in the Mount Greylock State Preserve.

We were out from Wednesday, October 17 to today, Friday, October 18.  We drove our truck to North Adams, Massachusetts, a pretty little town tucked into the northern Berkshires, and parked it at a nearby AT trailhead spot.

Wednesday was sunny and bright.  We only had 5.6 miles to make that day, so we planned to get up at our leisure and start by noon.  However, the best laid plans go awry: we awoke and found that we were out of propane to heat the RV while we were gone, so we had to wait until the campground could provide us a refill.  By the time that was done and we completed the 1.5 hour drive, we hit the trail at 1:15 pm.  This left barely 5 hours of daylight to do a strenuous (the park trail guide calls it "aggressive") 5.6 miles, and we felt we were racing the clock toward the end of the day.

That didn't prevent us from enjoying the views.  Here is a view to the West from a viewpoint on the Appalachian Trail about 2 miles into our hike, after a rigorous, vertical uphill climb.

At that viewpoint, we met an older fellow who was section hiking this section of the AT.  The more we talked with him, the more desperate his story seemed.  He had to take time off for "doggy hospice," which could only have meant that his dog started the trip but didn't make it.  Then he mentioned that he had had hip replacements, so he was doing this strenuous hike with that impediment, a chipmunk chewed his trekking pole, and he had run out of time before he could finish his planned hike.  We decided he must have just had a black cloud following him.

We, however, had sunlight.  We continued along the AT, over Mount Williams, Mount Fitch and south along the ridge toward the top of Mount Greylock.  We arrived just before sunset and were just able to get into the lodge to take some spectacular sunset photos.  Here's one:

Bascom Lodge at the summit of Mount Greylock will take overnight guests.  They provide rooms (private or bunkhouse) and meals, and also offer Happy Hour from 5-7 pm each night to watch the sunset.  The "happy hour" wasn't so happy, because they were understaffed, and the poor woman who was doing everything (receptionist, cook, bartender, greeter) was just too overwhelmed.  We didn't get our wine for sunset.  However, also on tap for Wednesday evening was a performance of African music and dancing, which was free, and which we enjoyed while chatting with Dawn, a young hiker, and Paul, a fellow on a backpack bicycle trip:

We eventually retired to our overnight accomodations - the Thunderbolt Shelter, near the lodge on the summit.  Built primarily to support winter back county ski activities on Greylock, the shelter, like the lodge , was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  It is all stone, with wooden window frames and roof.  Every wall has windows from one end to the other, and we got some great views of sunset in all directions, as well as sunrise the next morning with all four points of the compass aglow:

At the very summit of Greylock is a huge War Veterans Memorial which is striking in its unique design.  We caught a dramatic photo of it in the dawn light.  Others drive up the summit road to watch sunset or sunrise, and we had the privilege of viewing both under the power of our own feet!

Thursday morning, we got on the trail early because we didn't have to break camp, having slept overnight in the Thunderbolt Shelter.  We're not sure if this was permitted, because we encountered an inscrutable sign near it stating:  "No Camping - Overnight Shelter Only."  Well, I guess we weren't camping if we didn't set a fire or pitch a tent, but we certainly did need overnight shelter for sleeping, since we were at the summit without any other place to stay for the night.  Kathy couldn't fall asleep for a while, fearing some park ranger would barge in and evict us summarily.  David, however, cared not, and dozed right off.  He felt justified because he had, as the park website requested, called the park office to try to register us for the backpack and check our itinerary.  IF the shelter was off-limits, the park administration might have been able to say so, PROVIDED they answered David's phone calls or returned his phone messages.  However, they did neither of those, so David had his excuse ready for that intruding ranger.  However, no ranger showed, and we slept the night in the shelter.

Just down the Appalachian Trail from the summit of Greylock, we encountered a picturesque little pond with a cabin on its shore.  The cabin appears to be, or to have been, used as a shelter, although there were wood-carved testaments to passionate trysts, so it doubtless is used for other purposes as well.

We continued down the AT on Thursday, catching a great view of the Catskill Mountains in the distance to the west as we peered out from near Jones Nose:

From there, we caught the CCC (for "Civilian Conservation Corp") Dynamite Trail, turning north to start to complete our loop..  This was an easy but beautiful trail (birches with glowing golden leaves) along what appeared to be an old road that we imagined, from the name, to have been built by the CCC to haul dynamite to blast the rock needed for Bascom Lodge on the summit, or to carve the park roads and trails.

We continued up past the Sperry Road campground, onto the Hopper Trail, so called because it circumnavigates a huge bowl known as "The Hopper," ringed by Mount Prospect, Mount Williams, Mount Fitch, and Greylock.  We had beautiful views into the bowl.  Eventually, we intersected the Money Brook Trail, so called because it follows Money Brook up from the depths of The Hopper toward Mount Williams.  We imagined that Money Brook got its name because it looks too natural as a sluice for sending logs down from the heights of those mountains, and, of course, that makes money for loggers.  We followed Money Brook up the length of that trail.

The climb up Money Brook Trail was very steep and tiring.  We logged 9 or 10 miles this second day, and by the time we made it to Wilbur's Clearing, our camp, we were pretty tired.  Wilbur's Clearing has a lean-to and other camp facilities such as outhouse, bear box and tent platforms.  We pitched our tent on a platform, with Kathy finding an ingenious method for anchoring our tentpoles to the platform in anticipation of a stormy night.  We ate our dinner down at the lean-to before retiring.  In the middle of the night (8:30 p.m.), two backpackers arrived, walked with their headlamps around our tent platform (waking us and putting us on alert), finally settling to unroll their sleeping bags in the lean-to.  Because they were sleeping there, we lost our anticipated breakfast spot.  We had hoped to eat in the lean-to as shelter from this morning's wind and rain.  Due to the sleeping beauties, we had to quick pitch a tarp and cook our hot breakfast under that.  But it was no big problem and we feasted as desired.

The hike back down to the truck from Wilbur's clearing was one of the most technically difficult backpack hikes we've attempted.  The trail itself is described as "aggressive" - steep with many rocks and roots.  We had to climb down it with 35 pound packs, in driving rain with the trail completely covered in slippery leaves, such that all of the dangers on the trail were completely obscured.  It was like walking blindfolded downhill on ice.  We made it with only a few slips and no injuries, and that in itself was reason enough to celebrate!  

On our way home, we stopped for lunch at a rustic little Berkshire mountains restaurant, got back to the RV, and attempted to unload all our equipment and garb in the driving wind and rain without getting the whole inside of the RV sopping wet.  We actually succeeded, cracked open a beer each, and proceeded to blog away. 

Dashboard Diaries

We have a number of friends who are full-time RVers like us. We noticed that every now and then, they posted photos they had taken while driving.  While we don't tend to drive as often as some folks, tending to stay in each location for two weeks, there are times we do have to drive in order to get to some cool location. Along the way, we've passed some cool stuff and often wished we had a picture to remind us. So, we have decided to keep the camera handy while driving.

Here is some amazing fall foliage we passed on our way to see Laird and Risa in Albany.

We had to leave pretty early in order to get some medical tests done before our visit, so we got to see the sunrise.

Once the sun came up, the colors in the trees just seemed to come alive.

After the medical tests, we met R&L and headed to our favorite brunch spot - Cafe Madison (formerly known as Madison's End). We spent the day kibitzing and playing chuckluck.

On the way back from our backpack this week, we drove through clouds, fog, mist and rain. It just made the mountains seem so much more spooky.

The small highways in Massachusetts are so cool. Here is one lined with really old trees.

As we pass more cool stuff, we'll add it to our "Dashboard Diaries."  Until next time.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Caught In the Act....

Strange things were happening with my laptop. I was beginning to wonder if I had a virus. I would get up to get a drink and I would come back to find the web page I was on changed. Emails were sent out and not by me. I ran a virus scan, but it came back clean. I thought maybe Dave was playing tricks on me, so I secretly set up the webcam to snap photos if anyone use the laptop while I was away.

I caught the culprit....BAXTER!

Moral of the story - never leave your laptop unattended if you have cats! It must be the mouse pad.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Visit from Laird and Risa

Today, Laird and Risa drove over from Albany to spend the day at the RV.  We started by taking them over to Outlook Farm to experience true country.  It is a cute little farm market with a little breakfast/lunch area.  They make their own sausage and smoked bacon. The place has a lot of "character" or is that characters. Just what you'd think a country store and kitchen should be like.

After brunch, we went back to the RV and sat outside in the cabana playing Chuckluck. For those of you who have never played chuckluck, it's something like Parcheesi.  I don't think I can explain it well enough in this blog for you to understand. But, if you really want to know, email me and I'll send you a diagram of the game. The campground is full of leaf peepers, so there was plenty of coming and going in the camp today.  We refer to this as "camp tv." The afternoon went by quickly, with only one break for Grandmom's Blueberry Pie - with vanilla ice cream!  (Tom, you would have loved it!)  Five o'clock came too soon and Laird and Risa headed back home. We will see them again on Tuesday, when we go into Albany for some medical tests.

We are looking forward to getting out and hiking tomorrow.  Hopefully, we'll have some nice photos of fall foliage to post. We realized after it got dark this evening that we forgot to take photos.  C'est la vie.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Arrived at Berkshires Campground @ 2:15 pm, BUT...

... as we tried to extend the landing gear and the stabilizer jacks, they moved only so far and then quit moving.  We wrestled with the landing gear for a half hour or more before giving up and calling an RV service guy.  The problem was that the landing gear extended far enough to let us unhitch, but not far enough to let us pull the truck away from the RV without catching on the kingpin (!?!)

The RV guy was on voicemail and we weren't sure how long we were going to be in this predicament. Luckily, the landing gear did extend enough to let us level the rig, so we were able to open the slides and hook up the utilities.

We had just gotten "settled" (if you can call it that) when the RV guy called back, asked a few questions, and told us he was coming over.  We killed the time waiting for him by checking e-mail, tuning the cable TV channels, setting the RV clock, etc., etc.

When he did arrive, he went through a basic check, and the first thing he checked was the batteries.  He found that the nuts holding the two live leads to our batteries were loose, causing the leads not to contact the poles securely - hence the batteries weren't able to push enough power to the hydraulic motors, and thus the landing gears couldn't push beyond a certain point.  The stabilizer jacks and slide-outs apparently worked, even though they work off the same hydraulic system, because they didn't require as much electric load to drive the motors to push them (i.e., the landing gears had to lift more weight).

Well, we were so happy the RV guy found the problem, we offered him a beer, which may have been a mistake.  He gladly accepted, proceeded to spend the rest of almost two hours giving us every pointer he could think of about RV's, their electrical systems and every other system, finally digging down deep to tell us all his horror stories, whether RV-related or not, and finally charged us $150.  Well, the quick response and solution were worth the $150 all by themselves.  But we got lots of other tips from him, and a lot of entertainment, so we decided that, all in all, it was worth it.

So now we sit in our RV, at dinner, having truly completed our nesting, trying to remember the difference between converters and inverters.

Depart Plymouth @ 11:00 am

On the road again.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cape Cod

Today was our last full day at Pinewood Lodge Campground outside Plymouth, Mass.  We decided to spend the day on Cape Cod. We knew we wouldn't have time to see the entire Cape, so we stopped at the Salt Pond Visitor Center to ask a Park Ranger to point out the highlights.

At the Visitor Center, we did take some time out to walk around the salt marsh and see the ocean.  From there, we went to see the Nauset Light.

We stopped at the site of the old Marconi Station, which was the site of the first transatlantic wireless telegraph station.

Then we went from the ocean across the Cape to the bay side.  Duck Harbor Beach is a beautiful natural beach out on a peninsula known as Great Island, west of the town of Wellfleet. We ate our picnic lunch near the dunes. It was hard to believe we were in the middle of such a big tourist attraction.  We only saw four other people while we were on the beach.

This is the Cape Code Light:

It almost fell into the ocean. The folks in the town of Truro came together to save the light.  They had to move it back 450 feet. In the Visitor Center, we watched a really cool video of the process of moving the light.

The big tourist draw in Provincetown, at the end of the Cape, is the Pilgrim Monument. The climb to the top was slow and steady. Once we got to the top, Dave took this photo looking down the stairwell as it wrapped around the inside walls of the monument. Just thinking about looking over the railing made Kathy's knees weak!

There is a lot to do on the Cape. We only managed to see some of the highlights.  We were afraid it would be very built up and commercial, like the Jersey Shore.  We found the National Seashore area of the Cape to be very wide open. There wasn't as much development as we thought there would be.  However, the town of Provincetown is very old and the streets narrow, but we still managed to get the truck in and out with only one wrong turn requiring the tightest three-point turn ever!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fungus Family & Friends

Today we took an 8 mile hike in Miles Standish State Forest.  Leaves have started turning now and we saw some brilliant yellows, reds, oranges and golds.

Our hike was a "figure 8," first looping around East Head Reservoir, followed by another loop that passed by several other ponds, known as the Bentley Loop.  Along the way, we encountered several meadows.  It was unclear how the meadows were formed, but we guessed that perhaps they had been bogs or ponds that had dried.  Some of the meadows had dramatic wolf trees.  Here is one:

...and another:

On our hike around the East Head Reservoir, we also found a red maple with 8 trunks!

As we hiked, we saw a number of unique mushrooms.  We decided to take photos of each type of mushroom we encountered.  An album containing photos of 45 different mushrooms we found is located here:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Bog Blog

Today, Kathy's friend Jo visited us at our campground in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Jo's grandson Jason came along, too.  They got a tour of the campground and Jason fixed our iPhone.

Then we all piled into Jo's car and drove to the Annual Cranberry Harvest Celebration, put on by the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association.  We weren't sure what the event would be like, but it turned out that this is a BIG event.  Ocean Spray Cranberry has a large facility here, and its headquarters is nearby.  The whole area south and west of Plymouth is filled with cranberry bogs, and the celebration is located in the heart of the bogs.

There was food and entertainment galore.  We even got to see cranberry harvesting in action and understand how the plants grow in the bogs; how the bogs are flooded to make the cranberries float so they can be harvested; and how large vacuum tubes suck them into machines that filter out the berries, which can then be sorted on a conveyor belt.  Here's a photo of workers gathering the berries in the bog (compare the other photos of this same bog from other perspectives, below):

One of the features of the festival is helicopter rides.  The four of us decided to take flight and look at the festival grounds from the air.  Here are Kathy, Jason and Jo in front of the helicopter before their flight:

As the helicopter lifted off, we could see the same bog in which the workers were gathering the berries, which is shown in the photograph above:

Lifting higher, the helicopter headed off to give a bird's eye view of the grounds.  Here is Kathy enjoying a panoramic view including our favorite bog and berries:

The ride was exhiliarating!  Kathy tells the whole story as she motions "thumbs up" after the ride:

After feasting, variously among us, on a pulled pork sandwich (Kathy), chicken fingers and fries (Jason), a burger (Jo), peanut butter and chocolate cinnamon cookies and cranberry-apple crisp (David) and humongous fried dough (Jason again!), we bought some cranberry preserves, cranberry-maple syrup, and fresh cranberries, and headed home, greatly satisfied with all of our happy festivating!