4. Did you go anywhere new in 2011? Where was it - a new grocery store, a vacation spot, a new class, a new website? Describe this new place.
There were several new places I visited this year. I took my first trip to Trader Joe's. I I took my first class at Big Picture Scrapbooking, entering the digital classroom for the first time. I visited Pinterest.com for the first time. I also visited two new states for the first time - New Hampshire and Ohio.
New Hampshire left the biggest impression on me. I'd been watching the TV series The West Wing with Trevor for over a year via Netflix discs. President Josiah Bartlett was a native of New Hampshire, and the character often spoke about the beauty and wonder of New Hampshire on the show. It was everything I'd hoped it would be.
We stayed at the cabin Russ inherited from his grandparents on Sand Pond Lake. It is a pristine lake, home to loons and trout and red newts. Mountains surround the clear water. The granite mountain tops are covered in wild blueberry bushes. We picked several quarts of the berries while we were there, and I still have about two cups in my freezer.
The cabin is a huge old house. It has been in Russ' family for about 100 years. His great-grandparents honeymooned there and loved it so much that they bought it. His grandfather lovingly cared for it for many years before leaving it to Russ when he passed away in 2009. Russ' grandmother passed away the following year. A granite bench bearing their names faces the water outside the cabin -- their ashes have been spread over the mountains and the lake.
What struck me about the cabin was the overwhelming sense of peacefulness there. No television, no air conditioning, no internet, no computers, and sometimes, no cellphone signal. While I was raised in the country without those things for many years, the cabin was on a whole different level. Perhaps it was because I've become acclimated to the metropolitan life, where I always have a cellphone signal. It was just so amazing to be living without those distractions for the three days we were there. It felt like a week, but it was simply three glorious days.