AMOC at Lime Rock 2018

My favorite event of the year has come and gone, and it's time to recap, reflect, and share my experience. This was my third year attending the Aston Martin Owners Club annual Lime Rock meeting, but it was a bit different this time around. I'd lived in Virginia during the last two years and drove to attend and participate in the series of events. It was a 7-hour drive on average each way - long but very doable. Now that I'm in Tampa, it's 19 hours each way - not including stops. I couldn't take enough time off work to drive a couple days each way so I decided to fly. One of the perks of flying was it shortened by travel time significantly and I was able to attend Thursday's road rally and lunch for the first time. My good friend Blade Kotelly lives in Boston and offered to chaufer me for the weekend.

This trip was an especially memorable one because of the generosity of my friends that made sure I had an unforgettable time. I drove a 1960 DB4, a 2017 V12 Vantage S (7-speed manual!), and rode around Lime Rock in a 2013 V8 Vantage S, a 1938 2-Litre Short Chassis, and a 2017 Ford GT. I cover each of those and the rest of the trip in this article.

A quick note before you continue reading: There were a few Bobs at the event. I generally exclude last names to maintain the privacy of the people included in my articles. I’ve done my best to clarify which Bob is which and hopefully it comes across without too much confusion. I just wanted to give a warning that I introduce a “Bob” on a few occasions because there were more than one. As if that wasn't enough potential for confusion, there's also two Roberts and a Rob. Yeah.

Wednesday

I start off just about every trip the same way: I get to the gate early to make sure everything's good to go, then I find the closest bar and pull up to it and get my mind into travel mode. I ordered two of my favorites - a mojito and a Cuban sandwich - and started taking notes to organize my thoughts.

 Pre-flight planning -Richard Seidlitz

Pre-flight planning -Richard Seidlitz

My flight from Tampa to Boston was smooth and easy, really uneventful. I flew Delta on an Airbus A320, which I really liked. The overhead bins were deep and designed for roll-on bags to be sat on their sides, allowing for an extra bag to fit - a small but thoughtful detail in design that made a meaningful difference. I felt like a complete jerk as I had a bi-fold suit bag rather than a rectangular roll-on, which wasn't possible to place upright and took up more space than the rest of the bags.

The other thing I quite enjoyed was that they had fully-functioning screens on each seatback offering a great variety of free TV shows and movies. The seats were tight and there was little room for my somewhat-large laptop, so the fact that I had an excellent source of entertainment made the flight rather enjoyable and kudos to Delta for offering it without any additional charges.

 Flying into Boston -Richard Seidlitz

Flying into Boston -Richard Seidlitz

Blade picked me up and we went to his condo to pack up his luggage. It took a bit of extra thought as he had a rather large award he had to return to the club. Last year he'd won the Victor Guantlett Trophy for Overall Performance in a Current Production Car. It's a club award given out each year, and each year it passes hands to the next winner with the previous winner's name freshly engraved on one of its placards.

 Blade and his bowl -Richard Seidlitz

Blade and his bowl -Richard Seidlitz

The fact that we could fit all of our luggage (two medium duffel bags, a bi-fold, two backpacks, and a large award) into his V8 Vantage is one of many reason why I love these cars. They're some of the most practical exotic cars there are. Another thing we had on board was a gift Blade had surprised me with when we got to his condo. Blade's thoughtfulness never ceases to amaze me.

Off we went on a relaxing cruise from Boston to a town called Great Barrington. We were meeting Bob Welch, Chairman of AMOC NA East, for dinner Allium Restaurant + Bar.

We started off with cocktails and appetizers. The fried onions were addictive, the other appetizers good. It was "burger night" when we were there, so Bob was denied his request to skip the included cheese. The reason given was for the sake of the kitchen's expediency - odd given the restaurant really wasn't that busy. That, and she didn't even bat an eye when I said I didn't want cheese because I'm lactose intolerant. Being a seasonal farm to table restaurant, the menu was understandably limited. The manager on duty was friendly and courteous, even bringing over some house-made popcorn for Blade that he'd mentioned in conversation.

Our waitress enthusiastically recommended the burger and all three of us ordered it (all with the required cheese). It was very good, but I think slightly overrated. That’s a personal opinion, though, and is not aimed at the quality of the burger by any means. For me, burgers are a dirty food. It’s the kind of thing I like to be greasy, like Five Guys. I want lots of gooey cheese, chewy bacon, and juicy meat. I want to feel like I need a shower afterwards. So I’m never entirely satisfied by “fancy” burgers. They’re great, but I still have yet to learn my lesson to just pass entirely and order a dish more suitable for my own palette.

After dinner we parted ways with Bob and carried on to the hotel. There were plenty of Aston Martins parked throughout the Troutbeck estate grounds when we arrived, and plenty more would be coming the next day. We checked into the hotel and got our room cards. The hotel is laid out as something of a compound with a few different buildings. Our room was in the Century building, so made our way over and looked for our room. We never found it. We used the phone in the common area of the building and waited for someone to come and help. Eventually a young lady did arrive and took us to our unmarked room. She couldn't open the door.

She went back to get another set of keys, and I opened my gift from Blade while we waited. It was a pair of red (well, red-ish) pants. He had conspired with Clare to get my current sizing. Can't help but say "well done" to her for keeping it a secret - I had no idea whatsoever that anything was going on.

 A surprise gift -Richard Seidlitz

A surprise gift -Richard Seidlitz

New keys eventually came, which also didn't work. Eventually the manager came and finally opened the door. It had taken an hour to get into our room. Blade was rather short at that point, oddly enough I was quite the opposite. He quipped that it would be nice if a bottle of champagne made its way to the room. Rebecca came back quickly with a bottle for him. We put the bottle aside for later use and called it a night.

Click the button below for Part 2 of this feature.