On February 10th, we finally arrived in Wadhams, New York after touring along the East Coast for over a week. The small town lies a mile or so off of the shore of Lake Champlain, nestled up against a river in the adjacent woodlands.
When we pulled up in our van, the entire landscape was covered in snow, and the dam at the entrance of town was overrun with thick ice formations. This was in direct contrast to our last visit in July 2018.
On the corner in the center of town is Dogwood Bread company, which is run by a woman named Keri and her team of family and friends. Once a month, Keri hosts traveling bands at an apartment above the bakery. Bands come from all over the country to play for around sixty locals, who come from Wadhams and the surrounding areas to watch the music and enjoy good food.
When we pulled up in our van, Keri welcomed us with hugs and led us inside. We had a few hours to do laundry and relax before the show.
People sat at various tables around the hardwood floor as we prepared to play that night, and some sat on bags of flour in the corner of the café. Many in attendance had seen us the first time we toured through Wadhams, which was seven months prior. A couple of people were even wearing Meadow Mountain shirts and singing along to our songs. They told us later that our CD was on rotation in their vehicle since the last show.
The room was warm as we played, and I remember looking out at the road through the windows and noticing that cars never passed. Once every ten minutes, a truck would carve its way through the darkness outside, only to leave me with a feeling of isolation in tow. I couldn't think of a more welcome feeling after driving our large van through the streets of New York City only three days prior.
What a stark contrast! When we played in New York, we scrambled down the stairs to our show at Rockwood and played to an audience of roughly the same size. The only difference was how mobile everyone was. As soon as the show ended, people were darting off to their next engagement that night, and we were left hustling to pick up our gear and find parking with ten friends close behind. Our entire set of music was swallowed up by the big city.
In Wadhams, after our final song, the locals stayed around. We were the only event that night in town. No one had anywhere to go but home after the show, so the gathering lasted long after the music. We shared our stories of the road, and they shared stories of their hometown. The whole time we spent together, it was silent outside.
I met a man named Tom who took me ice skating the next day across miles of glassy ice in a bay off of Lake Champlain, and we met a man who ran the town's hydroelectric plant. He gave us a tour of the plant the following night, beers in hand.
There are many reasons that I love Dogwood Bread Company, but the thread that ties it all together is community. Dogwood is a town center. It is a place known for its open doors and good food. On any given night, Keri makes dinner for five to seven people, knowing that workers from the neighboring farm will stop in to eat and talk about the day. When bands come through, she makes dinner for sixty.
We have been to Dogwood Bread Company twice, and I hope to go back many more times as we continue to share our music on the East Coast. It is a place of rest on the long road.