Category Archives: Travelogue

Weekend Trip to Vermont

Last Friday I reached home after a hectic weeklong trip from India. I never get jet legged on my inbound journey but still take about a day to recoup. Surprisingly this time I was balmy. We had a short weekend getaway planned for a while and it helped, for I had to drive the same day to Vermont. I ran a few errands, got my car serviced and I was all ready to hit the road.

This was our first trip to Vermont and we were looking forward to being in the green mountain state. We booked a beautiful house through Airbnb. After a 5 hours drive, we reached our destination. It was 10 in the night when we entered Vermont. The place was in the middle of nowhere, pitch dark pathways, cricket noises, and deserted streets. And to add to the misery, we couldn’t find our house. Our house number was 3336 but the only mailbox number we saw was 3334. We spent 30 minutes trying to figure out what to do. Tried calling the owner but he didn’t pick up. To be fair to him it was late in the night. In the US you don’t drive into people driveway, so I was hesitant but after 4 loops, my patience got the best of me and I turned into the 3334 house, only to find the way cut into two leading to our place.

The first impression of the house was not great. It appeared old, no air conditioning and had a distinct musty odor. I was tired and without much prejudice, I retired for the night.

I woke up at 5:00 to a gorgeous sight. From the window, I could see the beautiful green Mount Equinox. Birds chirping, breeze cooler, and silence golden, welcoming me to nature’s fold. What appeared as a run-down house appeared to be a gorgeous house. A sunroom with hammock, a large porch overlooking the mountain, a treehouse on the side, and acres of wood in the backyard. There was something in the air and I planned to run in the wild and it was one of the best decision I took. I have a 5k coming up so it helped the cause. I ran for 2 miles through the beautiful pathways of Sunderland.

We went to a local place for breakfast. The place was run by an old family. Great host and sumptuous food.

Vermont Trip
The breakfast place

In the afternoon we went for the Mount Equinox skyline drive. A beautiful drive, which takes you 4000 feet above the ground with many stops in between to capture the breathtaking views. The best was at the peak, for there was a serpentine natural trail down to the ground. One of the best trail I took in recent times. The trail was 3 mile each way.

Manchester downtown was nearby. An old town charm with local shops and eateries. We settled for a Mexican restaurant, by far one of the best Mexican food I ate in a while.

Please check out the following advertisement dating back to the 18th century. It was captured as a collage in one of the old town restaurants

We came back for a short siesta. The tiredness from my India trip must have hit me, for when I woke up it was the next day morning. We visited the local areas and headed back home.

It was all in all a great experience and I am going to explore this place more in the coming times.

Thank you for reading

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A Beautiful Gesture

Isn’t life all about treasuring moments to be cherished later in leisure? I experienced a similar feel during my stay at The Leela in Delhi.

Work trip to India is always short, sleep deprive and hectic. I arrived last Sunday and traveling back today.

Yesterday, after a long day at work I returned to the hotel with a sole purpose to get my much needed sleep. My battle with jet-lag was troubling me to a point of annoyance. As I was putting my phone to charge, a paper note caught my attention. And as I read the note, I couldn’t help smiling. All my long-held tiredness disappeared in a whiff.

I am reading the third book of the Amish Shiva Trilogy. The book was lying on the nightstand next to the bed, and right next to it I saw a bookmark, with the image of the front page neatly wrapped around it, and a note from the Butler on duty, Rebecca Williams.

Such a thoughtful deed, and for sure she invariably touched few chords within me. Here is a big shout out to her and to her beautiful gesture.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Air India Experience and The Movie – “October”

Because of the sociopolitical issues and subsequent flying restrictions over certain countries, United Airlines stopped all services to India. Ever since United started it Newark – New Delhi Non-stop, it was my obvious choice and I was at loss thinking which airlines to choose for my yesterday’s travel. I hate hops, and the best possible option left was Air India. Non-Stop New York to Delhi in straight 15 Hours.

I was skeptical, for there were so many bad reviews about Air India in the world wide web. But I was pleasantly surprised. The Staff was cordial, food decent, and the business class flat bed spacious and comfortable.

On my way to Delhi, I watched a couple of movies. And the one movie that stayed with me till this moment is “October”. An indifferent Hotel Management trainee, who was never happy one day found one of his colleague in a deep coma because of a freak accident.  The last word she said before meeting with her fate was his name. The girl was a mere acquaintance to him and the way he develops bonding with her while she was subconscious was absolutely mesmerizing. The girl eventually dies, but in the process changed the protagonist for good.

There is something I wanted more from the movie, and a tinge of restlessness still clouds my mind.

If Abstract movies are not for you, I will not recommend. But if you are into parallel cinemas, this is one movie you should definitely watch.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Off To Delhi

Hey dear blogger friends. I am off to Delhi for a week. I will try to visit your beautiful work to the extent my schedule will permit. Once I am back I will catch up with your interesting posts.

Yesterday we went to the Nearby Somerville downtown and saw the lineup of some gorgeous vintage cars. Some even dating back to 1930s. Here is a a quick preview of some captures

Take care and will see you on the other side

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

First Summer Biking

Hey, dear bloggers hope you all had a fabulous weekend. I concluded the weekend on a high note, for I officially started my summer biking.  I have been biking with my kids since the beginning of May but that doesn’t count, for the speed was slow and it was mostly to go to the nearby park. Today was the perfect day, the family was out for shopping and I went for a loop.

About two miles from my house exist a beautiful trail, called D&R trail. It is 77 Miles (124 Km) dirt road trail that traverses three counties. The trail goes through woods, water canal, and NJ’s natural habitat. I rode for 20 Miles and completed the loop in 2 hours. Please find below some of the pictures I took today.

Thanks so much for your read.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Trip To Richmond

Last Sunday I was traveling to Richmond for work.  If you had read my previous travel posts you would know how much I detest work travel on the weekends, but when work demands travel the options are often limited.

I landed around 9:30 PM and stepped out in the open waiting for my rideshare to arrive. The weather was mild, and a gentle breeze graced the beautiful evening. The wait wasn’t long and soon I saw my ride arriving by the curb.

My first encounter with the driver was not encouraging. His trunk was loaded with metal, my bag somehow found its spot in the crowded space, the car back seat was folded, forcing me to take the front seat, and the music was not of my taste, blaring loud enough to disturb the tranquility of the serene evening. I hesitantly took my seat, adjusting my handbag between my legs, as he drove towards the hotel.

After I settled down, I observed many things that were intriguing. There was an additional glaring speedometer with big dial attached to the top left driver’s side window, a segment of many reflecting mirrors occupied the top of the windshield, and a 9.7 inch iPad covered the center panel. My curiosity got the best out of me and I asked him casually about the speedometer.

He smiled and said he had converted the Hyundai Sonata to a racing car. Though the appearance suggested otherwise, he was extremely polite and very courteous. He asked me if it was ok for me to deal with a small demonstration of what he meant. I nodded and I saw the real power of the car. It made all the noise of a racing beast and the car zoomed past, pushing me back into my seat. Before I could react he enquired about my music taste. I mentioned Rock Music. He smiled and probed, what about Bollywood. I didn’t know an American would know much about Bollywood, but he surprised me again. He played love ballads, to cheeky songs, he played famous romantic duets to the latest numbers. More so, he had the lyrics on and he tried lip syncing to a few. And then he shocked me – as he turned on the volume. The music blasted from the custom speakers. Apparently, the metal in the trunk was the woofers.

I was at awe and he amazed me more when he mentioned that he had a YouTube channel with half a million followers. He had a camera in the car where he records the passenger with music, talk, and everything and posts those videos on YouTube. He was making 5-6 grand a month from the social channel.

The ride turned out to be one of the most enjoyable ones, transforming my gloomy Sunday evening to a memorable trip. At the age of 23, Jay was earning over 10 grand and living life by his terms.

Here is a shout out to you Jay. Stay happy and blessed.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

A Weeklong Trip to India

So, I learned two days back that I need to make an official trip to India 🇮🇳. Here I am on my way to Delhi. Will be in Chennai for two days, two days in Delhi and an over the weekend short visit to Jorhat, Assam to see mom. (That part is exciting😊)

I will try my best to read your lovely blog, in case I am delayed, please bear with me. I promise to catch up on all your beautiful posts soon.

Talk to you guys soon. Love and peace

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Live Your Dream

I concluded my first official travel of the year yesterday. It was a weeklong trip to the west coast. I landed after midnight and I was looking forward to getting some much-needed sleep. I called for a Lyft (ride share), and soon I was on my way to home sweet home.

I almost planned to doze off in the car but then I got engrossed in a conversation with Brad, my Lyft driver, and couldn’t get enough of what he told.

Brad is in his late twenties and is a free soul, living his life by his terms. He is a nature photographer and an avid lover of national parks. About two years back when he was out of his full-time job, an idea struck him to visit all the national parks in the mainland US. While he had the time and the grit, there was one issue, he didn’t have the money.

After some deliberations, he thought of a plan, travel across the United States in his car. So, he spent 17 months on road, traveling 48 states, covering 153,500 miles, and taking some breathtaking captures along the way.

Whenever his money depleted, he did ride share using Lyft( thanks to technology). Some cites were less crowded than others, so sometimes he stayed long in more populous cities and gave rides to raise the required funds.

He mostly slept in his car and remained a loner living his dream. I happened to check his website and Instagram account and was in complete awe. Please do check his website at Bradshutack.com

He is currently scouting for a full-time job in the photography field, and I am sure with such talent, he will be in immense demand.

Sitting in the comfort of my house, I wonder how many of us live an ostensible life, far away from what we desire, in the name of stability and superficial growth.

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Trip to Maui – Day 5

This post brings an end to my Maui travelogue. Our flight was late in the evening and we thought of taking a trip to Haleakalā peak, the highest peak in Maui Island.

Interestingly, the summit crater is not formed by volcanic eruption lava but because of erosion over eons. The Haleakala Crater is gigantic and provides a mesmerizing picturesque view.

The drive was about 50 miles. The first 20 miles were around the valley and the next thirty was a steep climb to over 10,000 feet. Unlike the road to Hana, the driveway was not narrow and we could manage a decent pace of about 25-30 miles per hour. However, as we climbed up, the roads got narrower and at times without the road guards, gave me a jittery feeling as I observed the steep fall. When we were around 7,000 feet above sea level we literally crossed the cloud. The temperature also dropped by about 20-25 degrees. Here are something to take care of if you are planning to take this peak

  • Take a light jacket and a pair of good shoes, it gets cold up there
  • There are no shops. Please take water and other essentials
  • Also, no gas station ⛽️ so, fill your tank before the drive.
  • There are cyclists 🚴‍♀️ all around. Drive carefully
  • If you plan to see the sunrise(we didn’t), plan to leave home by 2:00 AM. Also, you need a reservation for the same. So call and find out. Usually, the time to book is between 3 and 7 in the morning
  • The park has an entrance fees of 20 dollars. We didn’t pay, as there was a government shutdown.

Once we reached the top we found a signage claiming it to be the world 4th most cleanest peak. The US government had setup a huge observatory with telescopes 🔭. It was out of bounds and we took a picture from a distance.

The observatory at the peak
The observatory at the peak

The view from the top was breathtaking. After taking some pictures we traveled down half a mile to another scenic spot. It was a climb up to another Volcanic hill. We took the half mile climb up, to capture the panoramic view of the carter created over millions of years.

The climb stairs
The climb stairs

Before the climb

Before the climb

Another half mile down we had another overlook stop. I casually looked at the display board and found my favorite author, Mark Twain, climbed the mountain in 1866. See the quote in the picture.

Zoom to read Mark Twain’s Quote
Zoom to read Mark Twain’s Quote

We were hungry and we climbed down to find the first restaurant to eat. It was a local lodge and both food and the view was amazing.

View from the restaurant
View from the restaurant

We drove back to the airport, bringing an end to a beautiful vacation. Thanks so much for your read. If you are interested to read my previous day posts you can do so by clicking the links below.

Day 0

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Trip to Maui, Day 4

Hoapili Trail

Going trekking in Maui was high on our agenda. We did some research and found the Hoapili trail, which was not too far from our temporary home. Hoapili trail was an integral part of the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve. One of the most interesting facts about this trail was it being the youngest lava flow in the region. The trail is moderate but graveled, I highly recommend a toe covered shoes if not boots. The trail was about 4 miles long winding across the rocky beach ocean and offered some of the best-hidden areas for snorkeling and surfing. Find below a list of my recommendations if you ever plan to take the trip:

The land is dry and arid – go early in the morning to beat the heat waves

Wear a good pair of shoes. The trail is uneven with steep climb and gravel around. One can easily get hurt

Take the map snapshot at the entrance. The cell phone doesn’t work.

If you love snorkeling. Take your gears along. There are some beautiful spots on the way to explore the same.

Take a bottle of water per person. You will need it for sure

Take some first aid medication. Not to scare you but I had a fall. I tried climbing a rock to get a good view of the terrain and fell 😊 the medication worked like a charm. There was no help anywhere close by.

Here are some pics for your views

Somewhere along the trail
Somewhere along the trail
On the Trail
On the Trail
Us before the trail walk
Us before the trail walk

Our Lunch Place
Our Lunch Place

Boogie boarding in Ocean

I got some good number of bruises on my hand and legs and my kids were sad, for they thought our hitting the beach plan was in danger. I teased my daughter and she sweetly said: “we can go home if you are not feeling well.” I couldn’t have broken her heart and so I looked around for some urgent care center. Healthcare in this country needs a serious uplift. For my simple bruises, the charges I was asked to pay was over 500 dollars without the medication. While my wife was insistent, I was in no mood to pay such an obnoxious amount. Instead, I went to a nearby medical store and got some first aid material under 50 dollars and it worked like charm.

We ate Mediterranean food in a nearby place. Food was outstanding and I was ready for my next adventure.

We hit the beach next to our temporary home. I ran by the sandy shore for about 2 miles and then plunged into the water. The waves were tall enough for us to try boogie boarding and we had an excellent time. I forgot about my pain and then my son was hit by a tall wave, flipping him over and in the process, he lost his glasses. We tried looking around but failed. He didn’t have a spare one with him but fortunately the next day we were returning back so, the hassle was for about two days. He wears his glasses all the time and to say he was uncomfortable was an understatement.

By the Beach
By the Beach

We had enough of a thrill for a day and retired for the night.

Thank you for your kind read. If you are interested to read our previous days’ travelogue, you can click on the links below. Thank you

Maui Day 0

Maui Day 1

Maui Day 2

Maui Day 3

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shantanu Baruah, ckonfab.com, and afflatuz.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content