Load the car and write the note
Grab your bag and grab your coat
Tell the ones that need to know
We are headed north....
I know you guys are sick and tired of hearing about all our exciting vacations and outings—I mean, after all, wasn't it just TWO YEARS AGO that we headed up to Portland, Maine, to see the Avett Brothers? Yes, it's true, just TWO YEARS LATER, we took another kid-free overnight, this time to see the Avetts in Gilford, New Hampshire (up near Lake Winnipesaukee).
I had bought the concert tickets months ago, figuring we'd work out the details later. So then when it was time to find a place to stay overnight, I learned that every single place in the area (and there are a million and one little B&Bs and inns and actual hotels in the area) was booked. Huh? I kept widening the radius of my search, and finally ended up with a room in Portsmouth, which is about 50 miles away! But Portsmouth is lovely, so I grabbed it.
We later found out why everything was booked solid up there: In the nearby town of Laconia, it was Bike Week, the oldest motorcycle rally in the country. OH. MY. GOD. And that is all I'll say.
So, Saturday we drove up to Portsmouth, stopping off in Kittery, Maine, for some lobster rolls and a (very) little bit of outlet shopping (got some cute lowball glasses at the Crate & Barrel outlet). Then we checked in, and soon enough, headed back out. I had Googled to find a place for dinner in Laconia (yes, before we knew about Bike Week), outside of Gilford. Once we drove past all the bikers, we came to Tavern 27, which is a sweet little tapas place in the middle of nowhere. We sat at the hammered-copper bar and shared some lovely dishes and a yummy Malbec. We split a Caesar Salad (with quite a kick of something hot in the dressing!), some positively amazing Duck Confit Rolls (two steamed and two fried, with both sweet chili and ginger sauces), and then a really delicious Chicken BLT Bocadillo (open-face sandwich). Two other couples at at the bar were going to the concert too!
The Bank of New Hampshire Pavillion, known simply as Meadowbrook, is a huge concert venue. They seat 8000 and have several bars and restaurants on the premises. We had great seats!
The opening act was Old Crow Medicine Show. I love them and have all of their CDs, but I'd never seen them live. Wow. I know that if you ask Andy, he will say that he enjoyed them even more than the Avetts, and I'd be hard-pressed to pick myself. I don't know how to describe OCMS if you don't know them—they play old-timey music (complete with fiddles, banjos, etc., just like the Avetts), but it's not old-fashioned music. What a show they put on! Their amazing frontman/ songwriter is Ketch Secor, who is also incredibly handsome and charismatic, has a great singing voice, and plays the fiddle like nobody's business, as well as the banjo and guitar, and is maybe the best harmonica player I've ever seen live. The other Old Crows, Critter Fuqua and Chance McKoy and the rest, are all impeccable musicians. They did all of my favorites, including "Take 'em Away," "Cocaine Habit," and "Caroline," and of course "Wagon Wheel" (which you may remember me waxing rhapsodic about a while back). In fact, here's someone's homemade video taken during that song at last night's show! If you don't know OCMS, that is a good place to get started. Oh, and they also did a swell bluegrassified cover of "American Girl."
So then my boys came out, and they did not disappoint. However, I will say that a bunch of the songs they chose for their set list were not my favorites. But ... that balances out because the #1 song I most wanted to hear was "Laundry Room" (perhaps the most romantic song ever about teen love) and they did that, and I never would've dared dream that they'd also do "November Blue," but they did. Awesome.
But then ... THEN! For the encore, OCMS came back out to do two songs with Scotty and Sethy (and Bobby C. on the fiddle and of course Joe Kwon on the cello)! They did a cover of "Wild Horses" and then "The Girl I Left Behind," which I didn't recognize but sounds like a traditional hootenanny-type song. Watch this one, really. I was already standing and dancing and jumping and clapping, so there was little else to do but fly through the air.
The only thing I want to add here is that there were A LOT OF REALLY DRUNK PEOPLE at this concert, and that made me feel kind of bad.
We then drove all the way back to Portsmouth and fell asleep, then woke up and got yummy muffins at Ceres Bakery—and they had PG Tips, which made me happy beyond belief, because I always travel with my tea but had forgotten it this time, and it was the first time I've ever seen PG Tips in America outside of my or my in-laws' home. We enjoyed our breakfast in a little park down by the water (did I mention that the weather just happened to be about as good as it gets around here?) and then walked around for a while, poking into all of the cute shops. We decided to have lunch at Surf, which has a little balcony right on the water. I really enjoyed my fish tacos.
And then back home we went to greet our children, who had been having their own fun with Andy's parents. The girls went to the Red Sox game Saturday afternoon; Pete, meanwhile, had a soccer game. (Of course the one game all season that we missed, he bent a corner kick right into the goal, just like Beckham. Ah well.) Then they all went out to dinner in the North End (Boston's "Little Italy"), where they ate all the pasta, then followed that up by eating all the gelato and all the cannolis, so don't bother going there until stocks are replenished. Then the next morning they went out for brunch and ate even more.
And now we are all back home and not so ready to start a normal week tomorrow morning....