Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sturbridge Father And Son Video Volcano In Iceland!

Two days after a volcano in Iceland erupted, a Sturbridge man and his son who were vacationing in that country shot video from the volcano's upwind side of the billowing ash cloud.

"I can't begin to tell you how incredible it was to be there," John Kittel said. "It was just magnetizing. We couldn't leave it and kept being drawn toward it. We didn't want to get too close because it was scary, but at the same time, it was just so awesome."

The trip to Iceland was a college graduation gift Kittel gave to his son Benjamin, 21. Along with their plans to snowmobile over glaciers, climb through caves, and hike to waterfalls, they had planned to see a smaller eruption on the same volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, that had been occurring since March. When they arrived in Iceland nearly two weeks ago, rainy weather and cloudy skies kept them from seeing it.

When the weather finally cleared, the duo immediately booked a helicopter flight and instead headed toward the new eruption and the ash cloud that made worldwide news when it floated over Europe, forcing the closures of airports and disrupting travel plans for millions.

After the flight, they hopped into their rental car and drove to a spot where they could get another good view of the spectacular cloud.

"We wanted to see it from a different perspective because watching it was just incredible," Kittel said. "It was a very windy day, so the ash and the particles from it were clearly being swept downwind."

Kittel said he and his son didn't take any undue risks. "I'm a safety buff," said Kittel, who works in the insurance industry. "We did this thoughtfully and cautiously."

Benjamin filmed, propping the camera up on lava rocks and pebbles for some shots and steadying it on top of the car for others.

"It's the magnitude of the whole thing," Kittel said. "If you look carefully, you can see an airplane flying right in front of the volcano, and it looks like a fly.

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