Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Darlos Reunion at Loon Lake and Reconnecting with Old Friends

Loon Lake is the fourth lake that I visited during my tour of the Finger Lakes Region of Western New York State.
It is a small quaint lake full of fish and seasonal Loons. Nasher lives there. Her little house is like something out of a shabby chic magazine. She is a collector of all things old and unusual that she fixes up or just leaves as is and sometimes sells at an antique outlet where she rents a space. There are also road trips to huge antique fairs where she sets up her "mini shop".

It is always an adventure to visit her. I look forward to the latest additions and remodels to the small space.  She heats her cottage with a wood burning stove. There is no central heat and we are talking about her living in the "snow belt" of western NY!  Nasher is a very hearty woman, for sure.

Two years ago she and her friend, Anita, drove across the United States in an old truck towing a Shasta camper that they named "The Darlo".  They became known as "The Darlos" to everyone who they crossed paths with. Their ongoing blog was called " Cheap Thrills Across America". What a good read that was!  Their itinerary included my little town of Cayucos, CA. We had so darn much fun. They came when I was in a very fragile state. It was two months after Steve passed away. Fortunately we had alot more laughs than tears. Before they left we looked around for, to me, "junk" to them treasures. I was happy to donate an old rusty bistro set to the cause, plus, they helped clean up our beach of all sorts of flotsam that they carefully packed up and carried all the way back to the East Coast.

I was looking forward to the picnic she had planned with Anita and the "sistas" IE former Nuns that I visited when I went to St. Augustine, FL in 2012.  The Trail Blazer headed out to Loon Lake, a route I was very familiar with and only missed one turn due to a new misleading sign that actually was a dead end road. I think the "Laf-A-Lot Lounge" placed it there to draw people in as they are at the end of that road. Apparently plenty of peeps are pissed off at the owner for gouging the residents who used to be able to launch their boats next to the bar for free. Now he charges $100. or so for the privilege AND he is the only launch on that side of the lake.  Nasher has a canoe so isn't held hostage by him.

As I pulled up to the "Summer House" as she named her cottage, I had a little panic attack wondering how I was going to maneuver the slight slope and rocky path down to her house.  The knee/leg was killing me.  Somehow I carefully made it down. Soon I was seated in a lawn chair with a nice cool glass of local wine in my hand admiring the lake and Nashers beauty garden of flowers and various smokeable "herbs". The ladies arrived with bowls of good smelling food, eggy pasta salad, warm bacony German potato salad, rhubarb pie as well as a cooler of adult beverages.
In my honor Nasher grilled some hens (my nickname wayyy back when, was "Hen"- sort of a long story). Sweet New York corn on the cob filled out our picnic.
Perfect picnic plate with vintage serving pieces

this rhubarb pie was killer good

We laughed about our St. Patrick's day week spent in St. Augustine FL in 2012 and made tentative plans to reunite in 2014.  The Sistas rent the same house every year for 3 months or so and the Cheap Thrills Across America blog chronicled that party.
the Sistas, Barb, Julia and Carol in back with Darlos, Nasher and Anita in the front

I was staying overnight, my fav thing as the guest room is actually Nasher's porch and overlooks Loon Lake and her beauty garden.
Sunporch guest room

The next morning  she was up and at it making delicious French toast with bread from a local bakery and fresh berries.

The plan was to go out to Conesus Lake and visit one of our girlfriends. This would be my fifth and last lake visit.
It was hard to leave such a tranquil place and one of my favorite lakes but we were on a mission.

Shelley Lavner was a friend of ours from Tiny's Bengal Inn days and The Invictas rock band. We used to dance up a storm, drink lots of beers and laugh ourselves silly. I am sure we were silly anyway at 18 yrs old.  When the Invictas were on a break she would coerce guys into giving her dimes for the jukebox and would then play the same song over and over, "Baby Love" by the Supremes. Pretty soon they got wise to it and no dimes were dispensed. Our birthdays were a few days apart in September so we were Virgo soul sisters.  Shelley loved Florida!! She would go down there and bake in the sun, proud to show us the tan between her toes. We lost track of each other when I moved to California but Nasher lived near her and kept in touch. They both raised their kids together and even though I probably saw her twice in the past 40 years, it was like the old days.  We can laugh about our lost loves and the assholes in our lives.  She is still with the same guy, Fritz, who I only just met but used to hear alot about.  They finally got married a few years ago. I love it!!
We reconnected on Facebook ( of course) and I vowed to visit when I was in town.
Nasher and I pulled up to her beauty farmhouse that overlooks Conesus Lake and I hobbled up to the door.  Screeches and peels of laughter ensued. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. She has a little room that has all of this old memorabilia from the 60's. So cool. 
It turns out she and Fritz have an RV and spend 3 months in Key West each winter.  Some of their Key West friends from Ohio were visiting at the same time so all of us talked about Key West, one of my fav places in Florida. Before you knew it I promised to go down there and Nasher promised to meet up too this winter. That will be a story to tell I can assure you.
Pictures were snapped with hugs all around and we drove away.
Shelley and Fritz's house

Oh yeah girlfriends!

That was my last Finger Lake for this visit.  I was ready to head home. My brother Bob took me out for a fabulous lobster dinner at his fav restaurant "black and blue" in Rochester. The perfect end of a very fun vacation.