Vermont is known for a few things. Maple syrup. Cheese. Ben and Jerry’s. More simply… Sugar. Fat. Sugar and fat mixed together and served frozen. I consider myself an expert when it comes to consuming both fat and sugar, so Vermont may be my favorite state in the union. They are known for these three edible commodities for good reason, too. I’m willing to bet they do them better then anyone.
Yesterday was kind of a wash. We got the air conditioner replaced in the morning, went to the King Arthur Flour Company for lunch after a scenic drive through Hanover, New Hampshire. What do you think of when you hear of the town Hanover? If you guessed Synders of Hanover Pretzels like I did, you would be right! The citizens of Hanover would probably rather I associate Dartmouth College or The Appalachian Trail with their fine city, but what can I say? I love me some carbs.
After lunch, we settled in for a nice nap after making camp in Quechee, Vermont. We cooked up some brats, enjoyed s’mores. Nathan taught the nice Dutch folks in the campsite next to us how to build a fire. They had decided to see America from behind the wheel of an enormous motorhome. I’m sure they are in for some fun.
We watched a hot air balloon float overhead as we packed up this morning and immediately decided that we love it here. After breakfast at a quaint train car diner, we decided that Vermont is kinda like Washington- full of weirdos, but in a good way. It is nice and green, there is lotsa pride in locally produced goods and socially responsible business and the mountains are beautiful. They aren’t quite as magestic as the Cascades; Vermont is sorta like a tiny little Washington-in-Training.
We started off at Sugarbush Farm in Woodstock; sampling twelve different types of cheeses and four kinds of maple syrup is something we definitely should have done before a big breakfast. We walked through the forest of maples strung with miles of plastic tubing to carry the sap down the mountain, fed the goats and rifled through the gift shop. Admission was free, but as we walked out to the car, I thought: Well, friends, that is how you spend fifty smackers on a few little bottles of maple syrup, a pound of cheese and a plastic goat.
The litlins crashed in the car on the way to our next destination. The Ben And Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. Ohmygod. This is my Mecca; my Holy Grail of tourist traps. We pulled into the parking lot, and holy amazeballs; my mothership had landed.
First of all, there were a bajillion people there. It was almost like a little hippy commune of ice cream lovers. You could tie dye your own T-shirt, make spin art, watch a dude carve amazing ice cream bowls out of chunks of a cherry tree and enjoy homemade brick oven fired pizza from a brick oven attached to the back of a fella’s truck. It was amazing. We sat on the front lawn of the factory, eating our pizza and realized there is a reason for the bright, blue sky, puffy white clouds and rolling hills on every B&J’s ice cream pint; it looks just like that here, I swear.
We got to the part of the tour where you see the production line, and I would imagine this is how folks who love Jesus must feel about setting foot in Bethlehem. Every bite of Ben and Jerry’s I have ever eaten was born in this very room… Then I found out there are a few other B&J factories, so I was a little crestfallen, but no matter. I was eating my free sample of freshly frozen Mint Chocolate Chunk, so I cared no longer.
Our original plan was to hit Lake Placid, New York on the way back, but we realized it would add many hours to our trip. We headed south a ways, but not after crossing Lake Champlain on the ferry.
It was Alice’s favorite part of the trip; there is no doubt. She could not stop laughing, smiling and kicking her chubby little stems while her hair whipped around in the wind.
The ride was only twenty-five minutes, but Finn explored every inch of the boat… Twice. It was actually really fun. I’m not sure I’ve ever thought that about public transportation before.
The end of the ferry ride marked the end of our stay in Vermont. I think it is also one of the few times I’ve been sad it is Friday… Our vacation is drawing to a close.