Promised a little more on our recent trip to Vermont and here it is, still fresh in my mind but once again out of reach (beyond the photos and memories), five hours and a million miles from our typical day-to-day.
Time up there still revolves around our core activities, most importantly the Bromley Mountain Adventure Park, which Ava still calls "the carnival." Alpine slide, rock climbing wall, water ride, huge swing, various other captivating elements including a new "ZipRider" we unfortunately weren't able to experience. I bought a ticket at one point, but the ride was shut down during my designated time slot and even though it reopened later on you don't really want to fly down a mountain on a thin metal cord at 50 mph shortly after the attraction had been closed for several hours due to some undisclosed technical issue, so I took a refund on the ticket.
There were ice cream cones at the little Ben & Jerry's window in Manchester, phenomenal hand-crafted ravioli from Fior D'Italia, the Turley we brought with us, all the old standbys.
But I think the thing that made this trip really good and special is the fact that we continued a trend of getting out and around and experiencing new and different attractions and elements that have only increased our love and enjoyment of this beautiful state. We drove about 90 minutes north and east of our home base one day to visit the King Arthur Flour Baker's Store in Norwich, which was a real highlight for the adults but not so great for the kids - basically a large, bright and incredibly well-stocked store featuring every kind of flour and baking supply/ingredient/tool imaginable, but not much to see in terms of live activity.
Luckily enough Norwich is very close to the Woodstock/Quechee area, which had plenty to offer in the way of family fun. We wandered down a long country road to arrive at Sugarbush Farm , where we fed the animals and tasted four different grades of maple syrup (including the rare "fancy" designation) and more than a dozen varieties of locally-produced cheeses. Also bought a bunch. We went to the Simon Pearce store and watched them blow some glass (noted in the previous post) and also stopped off at Taylor Farm in Londonderry, where we bought more cheese and talked to farmer/owner Jon Wright about raw milk, before he comped us on a $1 sample cup. It was good, if a little unsettling. Ava tried a sip, Madison declined.
We spent a few hours one day at the Emerald Lake State Park, the girls are pictured above in one of the pedal boats they rent there, along with canoes and kayaks. It's not the beach at Four Seasons Nevis, but it's not meant to be, and for a picnic lunch or a few hours floating or paddling around a mountain lake, it's pretty good.
We hit the Bromley Village pool several times, walked around quite a bit, had a terrific dinner at Bistro Henry, which has emerged as a consistently good and surprisingly kid-friendly option. Finally got around to taking Madison and Ava through Hildene, and the gorgeous mountain-lined gardens where their parents almost got married.
Most of all, we reconnected with each other and really dug in for a great vacation together. Before the trip I wondered how we were going to fill the time up there, before long I was wondering where it went. Our girls are 6 and 8 and full of opinions and insights and preferences and their own ideas. We're full on into the transition from kids to people, and luckily enough we've created a couple of people it is really a treat, privilege and pleasure (most of the time) to hang out with.
Last week was one of those times.