07 - Charlottetown - fall colorIt’s been all quiet on the Western front for the last couple of weeks. Primarily because we’ve been cruising the St Lawrence Seaway in search of fall colors between Quebec and Boston. With the exception of an occasional flaming tree, there were lots of yellows and oranges, but relatively few reds in the famed autumn displays of the Northeast. Locals explained that the weather had been mild with not enough freezes for the color-changing miracle that produce the famed vivid crimsons.

Colin & JudyNevertheless, we had a delightfully refreshing time, with several days at sea plus brief port calls at Charlottetown Prince Edward Island, Sydney, Cape Breton, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Bar Harbor, Maine, before disembarking in Boston, then heading via car to New York to visit our granddaughter Judy and her boyfriend Colin, both cadets at West Point. To our great pleasure, there was lots of flaming color along the beautiful Hudson River Valley between West Point and Hyde Park, NY where we visited the FDR Presidential Home and Library and, a few miles further up the road, the “smallest” Vanderbilt mansion.

But I think my favorite part of our cruise-n-drive vacation was the captured time aboard ship to read, reflect and be creative, both in the early mornings before the activities of the day began, and in the late afternoons when we returned from our various shore excursions. Each day I was, more or less, the first person at the Exploration Cafe coffee bar when it opened. A grande latte in hand, I settled into a comfortable lounge chair with footstool positioned in front of a spacious window to enjoy the awakening day and reflect on another chapter of Christine Valters Paintner’s lovely book The Artist’s Rule. Intended as a twelve-week journey, it focuses on nurturing one’s creative soul with Benedictine monastic wisdom. Most days reading prompted visual or writing responses which were enfolded into the flip-book art travel journal I was creating of our autumn cruise from Quebec to Boston…and points beyond. A short quotation from the book accompanies each image. Just click on the images to read them. 

33 - Exploration CafeLate afternoons often found me in the library area of the Exploration Cafe working at this lovely inlaid marble table working on my flip-book art journal, or sitting in a comfortable chair making progress on a cross stitch Christmas stocking for a grandson. Along with scissors, painted papers, postcards, brochure collage materials, assorted ephemera, and a few simple watercolors, an art travel journal began to grow page by page. And glue sticks, lots of glue sticks.


We intentionally chose to fast from electronics while on the cruise. What space that made for creativity and reflection!!! Even if the fall foliage didn’t blaze with the hoped for reds, the yellows, golds, and oranges were wonderful. But the quiet, empty, spaciousness of our days was sublime. A sublime autumn of the heart.

Have you ever anticipated a vacation would be one way only to have it become something all together different? If so, what was your expectation? How was reality different than what you expected? How was that an unexpected gift to you?

I’ve missed chatting with you the last several weeks. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

3 comments to Autumn

  • Luisa Johnson

    Thank you so much for sharing this autumn journey with us! Makes me really miss the East coast. So much beauty in God’s world.

  • Jeannie Cavender

    Perhaps could have waved at you!! Am currently in New York waiting for return flight back to California. Began Oct 18 in Montreal up to Quebec City then down St Lawrence,across Lake Ontario to Erie Canal, Hudson River Hyde Park , past Westpoint and on into New York. We too did not see the beautiful foliage until Hudson River Valley. Jeannie

  • Lynne

    What wonderful memories your trip has given me.In 1989 I took my sister and her husband

    on a trip from Boston North along the coast ,stopping at many towns an villages along the way in the season of early Fall.We turned west and explored New Hampshire and Vermont before turning South to return to Boston. Fall leaves were just turning into flaming forests.It was such a good trip for them as her husband was born and raised along the coast of New Jersey and he had traveled these roads many times before.We ate lobsters and scallops in roadside taverns as well great restaurants. Thank you for rekindling these memories!

    You have had a wonderful journey without the Internet!


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