Geez, this road trip has turned into an unexpected vacation full of spontaneous adventures.  I've seen many familiar faces, met some new ones, and finally feel that I got a true summertime break.  Driving across the country was my only real chunk of free time before school started, and that hardly felt like relaxing.  This trip has also included a good amount of road time, but each stop along the way has held sweet moments with people I feel comfortable with, and chunks of time where I truly feel free to wander around and relax.  Not a dull moment to be had over here.
  Anyway, to kick off the trip I met up with an old friend in her new home in Boston!

Connie is this completely cute and charming lady who I went to high school with, down in North Carolina.  It's hard to hang out with her and not be a little in love. I'm super excited that she's living up in New England with me now, close enough that I'm ever feeling lonely I can make a trip down and have a friend to play board games with, or steep in coffee shops.
And we did just that - coffee, board games, delicious dinner at Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge, and then more board games until we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore.  She, in addition to working full time as an art instructor at a nonprofit, makes art herself!  You can look at it here and buy it here!  Support my friends!

Anyway, it's Sunday, and so, the day of gratitude.  These last few days I've been endlessly thankful for my safe journey to the southern mountains.  But, more so, grateful for all the beautiful people I know in various places along the way.  People who I haven't seen in months, or years, and still welcomed me into their homes, shared meals with me, introduced me to their friends.  These are the sorts of the things that make me happy and enlivened.  And these last few days I've been glowing, sitting among different groups of people, some I've know for years, and some I've just met, happy to just share our time together.

dog chapel.

The story is cheesy and sweet.  A man wanted to commemorate the things he valued most which were his family and his dog.  So, he created the Dog Chapel in St. Johnsbury, Vermont - a place with pews shaped for dogs and a podium at a dog-appropriate height.  The walls are plastered with photos and testimonials for dogs living and past.  It's the sweetest.  Every month or so there are dog parties up there and I was lucky enough to go and see all the dogs running free on the many acres of land - swimming in the lake and group games of fetch.  It turns out if you take leashes off of dogs they all play really nicely together - so many dogs running around and no fights!  Plus, there were so many hiking trails on the land which meant walking around picking flowers and eating wild blackberries.  Nothing better.


I'm pretty sure that it's scientifically proven somewhere that if you eat a nice breakfast in the morning your day goes better.

**the first photo is outside of this little place called the coffee corner right down the street and it's the sweetest diner with the best food and real maple syrup and fresh squeezed orange juice.  I've already been there four times since moving here.