Oh how I’ve missed getting out and seeing New England!! With the COVID-19 precautions we’ve not been traveling much this year. After going to see the kids in July I had to work from home for two weeks. With school starting back, that’s just not a possibility any more. Fortunately, we are still able to travel within the 5 state region. Columbus Day weekend is always a good time to getaway. Janet was more than ready when I suggested a weekend retreat to upstate Vermont.
My goal was to see Stowe. I’ve read about it for years, and know this was the home of the Von Trapp family made famous in the musical, The Sound of Music. Lodging around Stowe, however, was hard to come by so I found a wonderful bed and breakfast a few miles away in the town of Barre. Janet got a good laugh of me as I pronounced it like bar when in fact it sounds like berry.
We arrived on Saturday afternoon too early to check in so we puttered down the road to Montpelier, the state capital. I’ve been to many state capitals but I don’t think I’ve seen one so nondescript as Montpelier. While the town is charming you would never know it was the seat of state government save for the state house itself. Though Concord NH has an equally small statehouse, it also boasts a whole complex of state department buildings. No such complex appeared to exist in Montpelier. Nor were there any fast food or chain restaurants to be found either. Not that that’s always a bad thing, but it did seem odd. People in Vermont have taken the virus seriously and most if not all wore masks even while walking the shop laden sidewalks.
After checking in, our hostess recommended a great little gastropub within walking distance. It wasn’t too difficult to see why the road was called church street as we passed about a half dozen on the way to the restaurant. Before returning to the inn we set out to walk to the drugstore, but quickly realized it would start raining before we were able to get back. We retrieved our car and proceeded to the CVS where it commenced to rain. Not just rain, it stormed the entire evening. Good call!
Google fall leaves and you’ll probably find pictures of Vermont somewhere. The server at the restaurant said that the peak week in Barre had come the week before. I was a little bummed as we made our way to Stowe on Sunday morning. My fears were allayed as we drove into town and beheld some amazing sites. Stowe is pretty much a village that is surrounded by ski resorts and outdoor activities. It is so picturesque. We parked and walked through the shops admiring the typical touristy stores and galleries. Janet’s father had preached in a church about 10 miles north of Stowe so we took an awesome Sunday drive through some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen to see if we could job some old memories. While we didn’t find the church, the drive was simply amazing. There is no way my camera can do justice, but I had to stop more than once to take some pictures.
On the way back we bypassed the town and drove up to the Von Trapp family lodge. It’s a very popular place and offers wonderful scenic views of the surrounding mountains. We didn’t stay to go inside, but were content with a quick drive by and a selfie by the sign.
While at the B & B I researched all the tourist pamphlets available. The one that caught my eye detailed activities to do in the Mad River Valley which lies just south of Woodbury, home to Ben and Jerry’s. The town of Waitsfield prides itself on being an artists community with visual and performing arts venues. Being somewhat artsy we thought this might be fun. Again, the vistas were amazing and the gentle Mad River made it even prettier. In Waitsfield we found an awesome blown glass shop where we selected a cute pumpkin for our shelves. The downtown had not only a selection of shops and galleries, but also a working covered bridge. I learned later that there are about 100 covered bridges scattered throughout Vermont. Maybe someday we’ll do a tour. After a nice lunch we took the scenic route back to Barre and were rewarded with much more autumn eye candy.
Our room did not come equipped with a television so we had to find the Chiefs/Raiders game on the community set downstairs. As we sat on the couch sporting our KC Chiefs masks, we found it incredibly surreal that another guest joined us who was an Oakland Raider fan, complete with a Raiders shirt. Who’d have thought to find rival fans in Barre, Vermont?
I bought a new car in August so this was our first outing with my Kia Telluride. It performed well and was extremely comfortable. Janet especially loved the built in GPS on the 10″ screen. Hopefully, this car will see as much of New England as my last two vehicles.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller