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So We've Talked about Having a Real-Life Mereth Aderthad

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

So We've Talked about Having a Real-Life Mereth Aderthad

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ETA: You no longer need to tell me you're interested in this! You can now join the mereth_aderthad community for updates and planning! /ETA

A few weeks ago, a few guilty parties who-shall-not-be-named were joking around about using my large "backyard" for a Mereth Aderthad. I thought it sounded awesome, so I mentioned it to Bobby, and he thought the idea was as awesome as I did.

So I wanted to see who may be interested in this possibility.

Here are some details:

  • I'm thinking next summer for a date, probably July or early August.

  • I live in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, between the town of Orleans and the village of Coventry, about 15 minutes from the Canadian border. The NEK is the most rural and remote part of Vermont (which is itself one of the most rural and remote states in the eastern U.S.) However, we are relatively accessible by train; the train station is only an hour away! (If that sounds crazy to you, consider that there are parts of the NEK where the train would be two-and-a-half hours away!) I would be happy to pick up anyone who took the train from the Waterbury station (which is the closest you can get to us for the least money) or any stations to the north of Waterbury (if coming from Canada). We'd also do our best to coordinate transportation for anyone who wanted to attend but was coming in by air.

    We could also pick up relatively easily from Burlington and Montreal airports.

    (If you'd be intrepid enough to drive, our house is actually really easy to find. You'd have to drive some dirt roads, but it's only ten minutes off the interstate. I got my family here, so I can get anyone here.)

  • As for lodging, Bobby and I can offer (on a first-come-first-served basis) a guest room, an air mattress in my study, and a couch in the common area. (Note that I am not opening this for claims now!) We also have a large backyard that is perfect for camping. We have a tent and could probably borrow others from friends if needed.

    The Northeast Kingdom is also a three-season tourist destination (autumn leaves, winter skiing, and summer lakes ... no one comes in the spring, which is cold and mud season!) There is abundant lodging in a our area. If we have a large enough group, Bobby has already volunteered to look into group rates at a hotel or B&B, or we could rent a vacation cabin. In short, if you're someone who likes a few more amenities than we can provide in a single-wide trailer on a working homestead, there are Options!

  • Bobby and I would cook one feast for the whole group made entirely from local ingredients. That would be our gift to the endeavor. :) If I know Bobby, too, he won't be able to resist pushing blueberry pancakes made with Vermont blueberries on everyone ...

  • Our area offers a lot to do, much of it free or nearly so. It is outdoorsy ... but Vermont also has a vibrant arts and music scene and some wonderful restaurants (although you might end up eating at a picnic table at some of them! The NEK is not a ritzy area.) This is not an expensive area to visit unless you want it to be.

  • This is a Tolkien fandom event. All would be welcome. I'm not going to turn away anyone who wants to attend, so please don't be shy.

If we decide to do this, it is very open and flexible at this point. I am willing to provide our little patch of the Northeast Kingdom, and Bobby and I will do our best to ensure that everyone can get here and have a place to stay and be able to afford to stay and participate. At this point, I mostly want to know if this is something people are seriously interested in. What will probably happen is that those of us who are interested will start talking about it somewhere that we all mutually decide upon and making firmer plans. I have ideas, of course--this is what I do, people! have ideas! :D--but I don't want to put the cart before the horse here.

If you'd seriously contemplate attending this, please leave a comment here, send me a PM, or email me at DawnFelagund@gmail.com so that I can include you in future discussion and decision-making.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • I might be able to go, but I'm not sure yet. It depends on the dates you all decide.
  • I would definitely be interested in theory, but probably won't have the funds to actually be able to.

    In my ideal world, I'd get my MA next May and move out east for a PhD next summer, in which case I could probably swing it; but at this point it seems unlikely I'll have my ducks in a row that soon.
  • Nothing should stop me with a year to plan and save for transportation. You know I want to see the Kingdom and your homestead! Maybe that would inspire me to work harder at getting in better shape before then.

    Mereth Aderthad! OMG!
    • I should have mentioned in the post (but was trying to actually keep it to essentials for once, and I still prattled on!) that the Kingdom reminds me so much of Middle-earth. There is an essay in that book you gave me about how Peter Jackson created the aesthetic canon where New Zealand = Middle-earth unquestionably now for so many people, and that essay made me start questioning it enough that Bobby and I are pondering a photography project where we photograph "Middle-earth sites" in the Kingdom, or in Vermont as a whole.

      Anyway, my round-trip Amtrak ticket to New York for the conference was right around $100, and one of the things Bobby and I have been keeping as one of our priorities as we discuss the logistics of this is cost. Many, many people are on tight budgets, and if someone can afford to get here, I don't want cost to prevent them from attending because the event itself is so expensive.

      The good news on that front is that Vermont is relatively inexpensive, as far as the East Coast goes.
  • I'd be interested, if I can make it work financially and get the time off with someone to cover my shifts. At any rate, I won't say no without eliminating all possibilities first because I'd love to meet more friends from LJ in person.

    - Erulisse (one L)
  • Please keep me in the loop, even though my budget is very restricted. "There is always hope", and who can say what next year may bring?
    • I certainly will! As my husband and I discuss logistics, keeping costs low is at the very forefront of our concerns. Many, many people who would be on the list of possible attendees are on a tight budget, and my feeling is basically that if you can afford to get here (or at least close to here!) then I want it to be possible to attend because the event itself is low-cost enough to do so.

      So there is hope. :)
  • YES!!!

    But now I want blueberry pancakes...
  • I'm intrigued! A lot of my life is up in the air right now, so I can't say now how possible it would be, but I would like to if I can.
    • I will keep you updated then! :) We are nowhere near the point of needing firm commitments from anyone; this is more just a "hey, should we actually talk about this thing or were we only half-serious when we said we wanted to do it?"
  • Woo hoo! Looks like a reasonable 3.5 hour drive from Boston. :^) Is this where I can confess that, after you and Bobby officially announced that you'd be moving to Vermont, I started checking out B&B's in the area?

    Yep, please keep me in the loop.
    • Yay! I was really hoping you'd be in, but I know the Eyeball Tower can sometimes keep one confined within her ring of mountains, so I also didn't want to hope too hard. :D

      Is this where I can confess that, after you and Bobby officially announced that you'd be moving to Vermont, I started checking out B&B's in the area?

      Well, then I'd have to confess that every time Bobby and I passed the I-90 exit on our jaunts back and forth between Maryland and Vermont, then we talked about how we absolutely need to go to Boston sooner rather than later!

      Incidentally, when we were up here with my parents for the home inspection, we stayed at a really great B&B in Newport, 15 minutes from our house and right on Lake Mem. I'd be glad to pass that information on to you should you ever feel you need it. ;)
  • I am definitely interested as I told you :D I'm saving money already plus I need a visa but who cares. And I can bring a tent to live in it.

    ETA: I have a friend who would love to attend. She's from the US and I've known her for 11 years now. We even met up in Vienna in 2010 :) She's on the SWG but not really active. If it's okay for her to come to the Mereth Aderthad 2017, I'd be delighted to keep her posted.

    Edited at 2016-08-11 11:58 am (UTC)
    • Yep, you're on the list that was getting put in the loop whether I heard from you here or not. ;)

      Please do keep your friend posted! (Or I can include her directly if she'd rather ... whatever she's most comfortable with!) I'd love if she could make it. I want to keep this open to all Tolkien fans. What I absolutely don't want it to be is "You have to have an invitation from Dawn to go"; the SWG has never been about encouraging cliquishness and I don't plan to start with this! :)
  • Not sure but please keep me in the loop? It sounds so amazing to be able to meet everyone!
  • I realise that I very likely won't be able to make it, since it's... well, a fair bit away. But HOW AWESOME WOULD IT BE. Very awesome, that's how.
    So yeah, I'd like to keep an eye on further discussions, just in case we win the lottery. :P Unfortunately, Vermont is not at all close to my Canadian relatives. Why are countries in North America so ginormous! ;)
    But anyway, keep me posted. Who knows what the year will bring?
  • Noah and I are, unsurprisingly, into this idea. :-)
    • Oh cool! A merging of my friends groups ... an intriguing idea! :D I will definitely keep you guys posted!
  • Gosh, here I am on the West coast, so it seems ... unlikely, but you never know! I would sure love to come!
    • hrymfaxe and I keep insisting on our need for a fandom tardis! That would be handy now.

      I understand it's a long shot but am happy you want to be kept in the loop, just in case! :D
  • Would love to do it if at all possible. It's a long way, but you never know.
    • People keep joking about winning the lottery, but maybe I need to win the lottery so that I can just buy airfare for everyone! :D

      I will keep you in the loop!
  • Visa - tick
    wants to go - tick
    time - could be arranged if it's July
    distance - far far away
    funds - short :(

    Anyway, why not? I'd love to be there! As Lyra says, there's always the lottery.
    • I just told Elfscribe that I need to win the lottery so that I can just fly everyone out here to hang out for a week.

      But that would necessitate playing the lotto, I suppose. ;)

      I'll keep you informed--who knows what might happen! :D
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