Big Blue is packed, gassed up, tires pumped and ready to go. Me, too.

We leave Massachusetts and head north, way north, to the North East Kingdom, a.k.a., Vermont. I’m about to start a grand adventure: my first writer’s residency. The Vermont Studios Center offered me a grant to come stay for the month of February and write.

You’ve heard of dreams coming true. This is one of mine. I’ll have a studio of my own, a bedroom and shared bath. Kindly people will shop and cook and clean for me so all I have to do is concentrate on my art. It’s still hard to believe it’s for real.

Driving through New Hampshire, ice falls cling to cliffs where hills have been cut to make way for the highway. They burn icy blue in the grey light. The radio station I’m best able to receive changes as I drive from classical to jazz to ice falls from cliff on road to Vermont February 2011

Once in Vermont, the mountains do look different. They seem smaller, more rounded. And something else. It takes me a while to realize that most of the trees on these mountains are deciduous, not evergreens like I’m used to in the Whites of New Hampshire.

Their thin naked trunks poke up from the snow-covered mounds like thinning hair on an elderly lady’s scalp. And the music has changed to folk.

Deciduous thin trees poke up from snow on hills in Vermont Februrary 2011

I stop to photograph the hills and happen into a picture postcard view of a quintessential New England country town. It’s all marvelous.

ON drive up to Vermont February 2011 a picture postcard town

In Montpelier, I break for lunch at a homey restaurant that a woman at the gas station recommended. I’d pulled in there to find out where the restaurant I’d chosen from the Internet was. Turns out her sister and brother-in-law owned it. But they closed up shop nearly two years ago, so she sent me on to the Wayside Restaurant, where I eat a quick lunch at the counter to avoid the line of waiting diners.

Women in kitchen at counter of Wayside Restaurant in Montpelier, VT 2011

Less than an hour away now. What will it be like? Stay tuned.