By Kathy Andersen
If Dan Andersen is expected to drive his Model A truck in the July 4th parade with our local veterans next year, he needed to have the entire rear drive shaft repaired. This being beyond his typically excellent mechanical capabilities, required a road trip to Mendon, Massachusetts, to deliver said part to a trusted vintage Ford restorer.
This very large piece was strapped to the top of our Subaru Outback and we headed to New England with daughter, Molly, on Friday morning. We experienced scary roof-rattling the entire way even though it was safely secured.
After a stop at the famous Rein’s Deli in Vernon, Connecticut, for lunch, we headed into Massachusetts. Delivery of the drive shaft went without a problem and we spent the next two days on a whirlwind tour of Central Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island.
We saw the “church in the lake.” A large reservoir was formed in the 1800s, flooding the local towns and leaving only a church still standing on a hill by the shoreline. We visited the only vintage Ford parts dealer in the USA for other needed old car “thingys.”
We were invited to see the proprietor’s restored cars, which included one that will be in an upcoming movie with Ben Affleck.
That evening, we went to the Mendon Twin Drive–In, the last of two left in New England. No more sitting in your car with a sound box clipped to the window. You tailgate and play the sound through your car radio. (Bug spray a must.)
On Saturday we went to Tower Hill Botanical Garden, a gem larger than Chanticleer, but smaller than Longwood. A caterpillar festival was taking place, where we saw the most amazing tiny creatures including the Hickory Horned Devil. There was also an exhibit of carnivorous plants. Who knew there were so many?
Driving past Walden Pond, but with not enough time to stop, we headed into Lexington and Concord to experience some of our country’s most important history. After a stroll to the North Bridge to see where the British faced our Militia, we walked around the shops and galleries of tiny Concord. Then it was on to the Colonial Inn where my college roommate, Rhea Simon, sings with her jazz trio on Saturday nights.
On Sunday we drove south to Newport, where we took a trolley ride experiencing the high points of this fabled town. With no time to tour the famous mansions, we did manage a walk to the Truro Synagogue, America’s oldest, and then to the oldest Jewish cemetery up the street.
Then it was a long slog home to Swarthmore in torrential rain and traffic, arriving home late Sunday night.
We crammed quite a lot in for a summer weekend out of town.
P.S.: There will more than likely be a fall or spring trip back north to retrieve the repaired car part so it can be installed in time for the 2017 parade.