We're back. From the wilds of New York State. From the winding, dirt roads of back country America. From Lake Champlain, home of porcupines, trees, mice, trees, rain, trees, real solid American citizens (one who said he's never even been to a website!) and...trees. Did I say trees? Oh yes...and water. I saw the water from a distance, though. I'm afraid I cannot report on that aspect of the trip.
Our story begins on a sunny afternoon at the end of a wild work-week. Tom and I are frantic to get out of the house and on our way. Having been invited to the shores of Lake Champlain, on a "little paradise of 85 acres" - so our hostess wrote and told us, we are eager to rent a car and get started. Off we go - into the sunlight, grab that car, and zip...we get on the road to Albany.
The trip itself was uneventful. Tom got a little testy in rush-hour traffic as we cruised through Albany, but other than that - there is little to report on the travel front. Once we arrived in Essex, as per our hostess Suzanne's directions, we were dependent upon maps and written information to get us to our destination. I favor words, Tom favors pictures. It's a match made in heaven.
The country roads of Essex are reminiscent of days past - being so close to nature on all sides, with vast stretches of grass and fields. It was soothing on the one hand...and a bit scary on the other hand. For a city girl like me, all that vegetation was a bit imposing. Too many monster movies, I guess. Monsters all seem to hide in the woods. Big monsters - you know, like moose and critters with eyes that glow in the dark.
Once we'd found our hostess's driveway - we made the turn with a smug little grin on our faces. Despite the twisty-turny roads and the long stretches of, "Did we miss a turn?" leading up to this turning point, the driveway proved we were on the right path, headed straight to the house, as described in our notes. Yep. We were going in the right direction. Down this long driveway/road... around a curve, brushing up against a few tree branches hanging over the drive (a space big enough for - a wheelbarrow and little else!), we were on the track, all right. Anxious and eager to arrive at our destination. Yup...just around this curve...nope, not that one. One more curve and we'll...nope, not that one, either.
"Just a little further, honey," I said to Tom. He was non-plussed. I was calm - glancing out the window to my left now and then, watching for bears or mountain lions. Secretly humming, "Lions, and tigers and bears, oh my!"
"Maybe up there," I said, as the rental car spit dirt and gravel to the wind. "Okay...not up there. I'm sure it'll come in view soon."
Soon is, of course, a relative term. The house did come in view - at last - after a few more moments of clunking and clanging down the road. We city folk are just not used to driveways a mile long!
Big sigh of relief! We're here! Not sure where 'here' is...but, confident that being located in Goldilock's realm - the forest of the Three Bears, no doubt - was going to be fun and exciting, we parked the car and jumped out! The house before us was grand. Not fancy - but very big, obviously built with love and attention, all the way from the roof over its 3-stories, to the front porch, inviting and welcoming in its simplicity. We gathered our bits of luggage from the car and proceeded to the front door. Where we were greeted by - a note...
"Tom and Yvonne, am down swimming. Grab a suit and follow the path on the lakeside of the house. The water is great! Larry"
Obviously, Larry did not know with whom he was dealing. Yvonne - go swimming? Not likely, champ! Tom, yes...though, not at that moment. Instead we opened the door and - true paradise met our eyes. True beauty, beyond the warm outdoors with its down-home, pre-techno charm, this room in this house was so beautiful it took our breath away.
Beauty is also a relative, term, I know that. When I mention the word beauty, in relation to a house - especially the inside of a house - some of you might be thinking Home Beautiful or Good Housekeeping. And, while this home would certainly fit in either of those magazines, its beauty isn't from fancy furnishings, or elaborate room design. The beauty is part of the rustic charm, the simplicity of old-world living, when man (or woman) was one with the earth. The room we entered was huge, open and delightful. From the wooden beams in the high ceilings, the open arrangement of the furniture, the tall brick fireplace at the far end, it all seemed like part of a story out of America's past. A little glimpse into the heritage that this country was built upon - when people weren't living over-processed, sterilize, harried lives of hurry and invisibility. When folks were folks, before we learned to be hand-fed our entertainment. Before we were taught that Velveeta was real cheese. Before the world became processed and homogenized.
We set down our luggage and entered. And...the rest of the story will have to wait. We met some Internet marketers that are, at heart, the most delightful crew of folks - this side of the Atlantic. Or, is it the Pacific? Well, one of those oceans. I will talk more about PR Traffic via Marc, and The Technology Diet via Lena, Sage Wisdom via Maryam, and Getting Famous via Suzanne, and lots more about Larry (Suzanne's other half), and a mention or two of Eric. You will also hear about Andy Wibbels...who was chewed up by the Chicago airport and did not make it (although Maryam and Marc were in the Chicago airport - and THEY made it. What's up with that, Andy?)
There is not enough room to go into the details now. Stay tuned for Part II of the Get Known Now saga aptly titled, "The Marketing Big Chill" You, too, could see a porcupine. Or climb a rope to your room. Or wonder where the mouse disappeared to. Indeed.