Back in 2006, years before I began writing a blog, I took my first tour adventure to check out the sights, sounds, smells, even tastes of New England in the fall. It was my first autumn “after leaving the institution,” and since I’d taught both US History and American Literature, it was only fitting that I decided to begin my retirement by visiting the birthplaces of America.
But once a teacher, always a teacher, and I kept meticulous notes, which I later typed up into a 29-page (single-spaced!) travel log that I shared, via email, with many others on the bus. I even wrote a funny little couplet-driven poem, in the style of “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” about our tour. And here it is! Happy Fall, everyone!
The Fall Foliage Tour
Listen my travelers and you shall hear
The story of our journey, both far and near.
Was late September of two thousand six
When we boarded a “motor coach” just for kicks.
The “fall foliage tour” was why we came
We hoped the trip would live up to its name.
First stop was Philly, with the “bell” and the “hall”
Then on to New York, where buildings grow tall.
Our driver, named Tom, squeaked us through some tight spaces
We cherished the looks on those other drivers’ faces!
Quite a few of us dined on Philly cheese steak
And topped it off with New York cheese cake.
The mansions in Newport put on all the airs
And challenged our knees with too many stairs.
We looped through New England day by day
Our “step-on-guides” had plenty to say.
We gawked and we photographed all of the stops
Then rushed to make purchases inside the shops.
T-shirts and trinkets, we bought them in bulk
How are we going to get home with this hulk?
It was one if by land and two if by sea
While the women were standing in line to pee.
(What is it with toilets, that one never works
And no paper towels is among other quirks.)
We ate Bahston Clam Chowdah and Bahston Baked Beans
By now we could hardly fit into our jeans.
But we didn’t pass up the lobstah and bread
The shells were so scarlet, a bright crimson red.
The history kept coming, at Lexington Green
But where were the leaves we still hadn’t seen?
And then—there they were!— for hundreds of miles
Those who “came for the leaves” were nothing but smiles.
Next came the walled city of Old Quebec
Looking up at Ste. Anne’s put a kink in each neck.
Twenty-three miles of an underground mall
Would have done us all in, in Montreal.
Maple syrup, maple ham, sausages and sugar pie
Every single one of us went on a super sugar high.
It was quite a meal we had at the “Sugar Shack”
And quite a time that couple had in the leaves “out back!”
From the top of Sky Tower we could see for 40 miles
And One Thousand Islands was missing three isles.
Niagara Falls, we soon learned, is three falls in one
But thunderstorms and pouring rain isn’t all that fun.
In Corning, home of Corningware, we learned about the glass
The Maharajah’s furniture epitomized high class.
Then Hershey chocolate everywhere, chocolate piled in mounds
Over the lips, onto the hips, we gained a few more pounds.
Seven score and three years ago, Gettysburg turned the tide
We stood in reverence at the scene where so many died.
The Amish people ride in buggies pulled along by horse
Who would have thought they’d also have a town named Intercourse?
Thankfully, we never spent a winter at Valley Forge
Thankfully, we had a leader the likes of General George.
On Saturday, October 7, we headed for home sweet home
We’d come at last to the end of our trip, and this silly little poem.