Art · Artwork · Blogging · Illustration · Journaling · Sketch · TRAVEL

Old town road

Lancaster is an old town. Nearly 250 years old. The layers of history unfold in the Victorian buildings, row houses, arterial roads. For a friend’s farewell, we, a group of eight, headed to this historic town, on a whim. The two-hour drive from Newark, Delaware, to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was a breeze. The tough part was finding a parking spot in the downtown area. The roads looked clogged, dotted with cars on either side. The houses stood next to each other, generously sharing their walls. 

Our Airbnb was a three-storeyed apartment in white limestone. A stark contrast to the rest of the houses that were dark, dingy, and supported by layers of stained bricks. Inside, the decor was straight out of an IKEA catalog. Chic chandeliers, tall lamps, rustic dining table, minimalist artworks, and artificial plants. Warm yellow light reflected on its white walls, white comforters, white tiles and our pale faces. 

Fully furnished, well-equipped, and smart locked (the main door) — the house could be called ‘modern’, but for the toilet doors, which, akin to pre-1970s architecture, lacked locks. The fireplace switched on with the touch of a switch, and wax-less candles brightened up the room. But the ceiling, much like in Victorian castles, extended forever; and the floors groaned at every step. The bedroom doors had to be shut using a chair, and the attic beds baked under the morning sunlight. Next to a nice round Google Nest rose a wooden shelf with rows of cutlery that no one could reach. The kitchen opened to an alleyway, that led to a private porch from where you could see the popular-in-the-past grid pattern of streets spread out. 

On an evening, we drove to the Central Market and filled out carts with ambrosia apples and apricots. Built in 1889, it the one of the oldest continuously run farmer’s market in the United States. We walked along the paved roads in the downtown area, and saw expensive cars chasing one another, groups of youngsters hopping from one bar to another, and rows of ancient buildings trying hard to blend in with the new ones. Of course, some couldn’t, like the Lancaster Prison building, which stood out like a king’s abode in an otherwise modest town.

In the night, we heard passersby and speeding cars on the street below; in the morning, we woke up with the chatter of kids in the playground nearby. When it was time to go, we caused a traffic jam, our car swallowing up the entire road, waiting for our friends to get in. When they did, we drove away from the old town, past several Amish carriages, farms and bakery, onto younger suburbs — content to know that we could always go back a couple of centuries in a couple of hours.

Nature · TRAVEL

Not a haunted pavilion

This post is a little late, but the weightless flurries outside my window and a grey-ish tint that they bring with them, remind me about my first getaway after moving to the States last November. It was the long weekend of thanksgiving.

My husband and I packed for three days, and left town to visit the quaint beauty that is Watkins Glen.


After a long drive — through a kaleidoscope of trees, mountains and an endless sky — we reached a small village called Hector in Watkins Glen, Upstate New York. Past a vast Seneca lake and a small hesitant Montour waterfalls, we entered a narrow gravelly road, covered with a web of trees to discover what would be our home for the next two days.

A garage-turned-cottagette.

It looked like a fancy little doll house on Airbnb website. Unfortunately, the size did matter in real. Will our luggage fit in? we wondered.


We parked our car on a bed of stones and slush. Right opposite was the main house. Just as we were ogling at the luxury of space…


Jeremy and his wife Ellen, our hosts, rushed out of it to meet us.

Ellen, with a nest of frizzy white hair and a permanent smile, hugged her sweater tight around her, and looked at us with genuine interest. She had the same expression that we probably might have had if we were in her place. ‘How did you guys end up here of all the places?’

Her husband broke the awkward silence by pointing at the woods beyond, “that are not to be ventured into”. “It’s the hunting season,” he warned us.

Maybe it’s the clouds, but just then a sense of darkness fell around us. And just like that, the doll house seemed Annabelle-istic.

We looked around, and strangely, we realized that it was unfairly easy to get spooked by the most ordinary of things. Like a set of harmless discarded discolored shells.

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A swing that sways on its own.


A chipped chalice.


Chairs concocting a secret plan.


Sharp rusty iron bars.


Or a starless moonless sky.


Hotel California now played in our heads. That’s when we noticed that our coop had a name too: Warshaw Pavilion. The paint on the letters smudged all over like when someone rubs there eyes after applying kohl.


The creaking of the woods gave us the cue. We got in and shut the little door for the night, like two frightened chicken.


And shut the little windows too.


Once inside, surprisingly, the little space offered a lot to explore. Like this whole shelf of board games, books, DVDs and video cassettes!


And interesting artworks that lined the walls.


We stumbled upon an old and tattered book, which had sketches done by kids. Maybe by Ellen and Jeremy’s kids? Maybe by young Ellen and Jeremy themselves?


And then retired for the night with a Meryl Streep movie. The Bridges of Madison County.


Next morning, the thin blue-frilled curtains did little to keep the sharp light at bay.


We made coffee in the Hobbit’s kitchen.


And sipped on it sitting in our Hobbit patio.


Minutes went past, and except for the slow and soothing rustle of leaves, the ambiance had little to scare us. Our bijou Pavilion was not that spooky after all.


Wait, do you see a face in the window?