23.09.22 — Travel

Leaving Vermont

The day after the curious show by Bread & Puppet, me and Megan opted to have a relaxed morning at home before going out for a late breakfast around midday. Megan wanted to take me to one of her favourite local spots, an old diner that she’d picked out after I’d waxed on about wanting the whole American experience.

After shoving some quarters in the parking meter, we headed to Henry’s Diner, an ugly looking place on the outside which was then lovely and cozy on the inside. We were seated in one of their yellow booths and the pinafore-sporting waitress took our order: two “Little Henry” breakfasts with a choice of all our favourite delights.

The food was absolutely amazing and the coffee was absolutely awful – but I think that added to the charm. As Megan said, it’s not a diner breakfast without some bad coffee! I tucked into some poached eggs, home fries (deliciously spiced fried potatoes), French toast, maple syrup, and an “English muffin”, in inverted quotes because I’ve never actually seen one in England.

Back home, Megan went for a nap and I decided to jump back on the bike that I’d used just a few days before and head down to do a spot of tourist shopping. I gave Ellie a ring from the supermarket, where we laughed at the supersized versions of everything and she decided what she wanted me to buy for her to try when she comes to visit me in Madrid: some peanut butter M&Ms.

As I left the supermarket I saw that it had began to pour it down, but I hopped on the bike anyway and enjoyed the refreshing rain as I powered up the steep hill back to Megan’s place and ready for our evening’s plans of watching The Bachelorette once again.

In the end, we went over to Maureen and Terry’s for our Bachelorette evening. Maureen cooked up some delicious butter chicken and we served ourselves some generous gin and tonics whilst we watched the show in their cozy basement room. The traditional dessert break involved some tasty treats, including lime cheesecake and chocolate shortbread.

The next day we headed back into the centre of Burlington so I could finish off buying some gifts for Maureen and Terry to say thank you for them having me and ferrying me around so much to show me their beautiful state. We decided to have lunch back home as we’d to eat up all the leftovers before leaving Vermont for our next adventure – but I’ll leave that surprise for the next post.

We’d then another evening around the telly planned, this time at Malory’s. A few days prior whilst drinking before our an evening of karaoke, Malory had asked me if I’d ever watched Diana: The Musical. I was shocked to learn that such a musical existed, and she was so excited to show it me that we simply had to organise a night in to watch it all together.

The evening kicked off with some pizza and a good chat, after which I was served yet another mediocre gin and tonic. I’ve had lots of lovely drinks during my time in the US, but Kevin was absolutely on the money when he made his observation that all American gin tastes like trees.

Diana: The Musical was then quite the experience: we laughed through the whole thing until a dessert break for some lime biscuits which were dangerously moreish. I wasn’t really sure how to react to the existence of a musical recounting the life and death of Diana, but it was a great evening of lighthearted fun.

The next day saw me and Megan back out on our final adventure before the two of us were to leave Vermont, a trip that would take us to the peak of Mount Mansfield. It began with a pass through a thin and winding road called the Smuggler’s Notch, which was used back in the prohibition era (when alcohol was banned in the US) to smuggle all sorts of tipples from Canada and into the United States.

During the drive we had the music on full whack, singing and giggling our way up to the cable car which would take us up the hill. I hope you weren’t fooled into thinking we’d suddenly decided to scale a mountain after our bike ride: we were doing some bougie mountaineering.

The views as we climbed the surprisingly long journey up the hill were spectacular and so I took way too many photos to even begin to share here. Once at the top we wandered around to take in the views, during which time Kevin rang and I took the opportunity to wave hello from the top of Vermont’s highest mountain.

After a quick chat with Kevin, we decided to look at having a go at one of the trails to get to the ridge, the highest part of the mountain. The trail looked pretty rough though and the non-stop barrage of warning signs at its entrance was the final nail in the coffin for our hiking fantasies. We did wander in for a while, however, taking some photos in some cool spots along the way before growing tired and heading back out.

This was the very top of the mountain which we’d still not reached.

This tight, wet, and mossy squeeze was the only way to carry on, so we called it a day.

Now back at the gondola station, Megan grabbed a waffle and we headed outside to eat it on some of the famous Adirondack deckchairs which had been placed overlooking the valley below. The clouds eventually began to roll in heavier and heavier, so we grabbed our return gondola and headed back down to the car.

We then headed on to our next destination, one I’d been super keen to check out since Megan had told me so much about it in Madrid: the Von Trapp Lodge! This hotel is still run by the Von Trapp family, the same one whose feeling from Austria was so famously depicted in The Sound of Music.

Of course we drove on with the soundtrack from said film playing on full volume, singing along to the many catchy songs that the fabulous film has blessed humanity with. Once at the lodge we grabbed a drink and out outside, where Megan told me that the girl that had just served us was the great granddaughter of Maria and the Captain! Crazy!

Megan knew the place inside out as she used to work there, so she suggested that we then head down to the beerhall for another drink and a spot of lunch. There, we shared some pretzels with cheese sauce, bratwurst with sauerkraut, and a chicken schnitzel. The food was good and the company even better as we got chatting to many of Megan’s ex-colleagues.

Leaving the Von Trapp Lodge behind, me and Megan had one more stop to make before we headed back to Burlington: the Ben & Jerry’s factory! We didn’t have time to do any kind of factory tour of Vermont’s most famous frozen export, but we did grab some delicious exclusive flavours in some fresh waffle cones and goof around at the photo opportunity…

Megan was very impressed at being roped into taking this touristy photo.

It had been another busy day, and I’d to get packing ready for the next leg of my trip, but this moment of packing wasn’t the end of the days plans. Maureen and Terry came over to Megan’s place and I presented them with their gifts, after which we headed out together to a local Italian restaurant.

Pascolo’s was a great place where we were seated in an old cellar with a low roof and a lovely atmosphere. We grabbed some wine and spend the evening chatting about all sorts. My fresh gnocchi was delicious and we had lovey evening which made for a fitting sendoff, after which I said goodbye to Terry as we headed to our separate cars in the pretty Burlington evening.

I’d not said my goodbye to Maureen just yet, as she was back at Megan’s place bright and early the next morning in order to give us a lift to our next destination. Megan and I then waved her off as she dropped us off at Burlington Airport, where we grabbed a short one-hour plane and our next adventure begun…