Vermont, with its soft, rolling mountains, deep blue lakes, and laid-back vibe, is one of my favorite places. I grew up on the Connecticut River, the border between Vermont, and my home state, New Hampshire. I remember being very small and thinking about how you could always tell when you crossed the border. Sure, you cross a river, but the mountains are softer and the people are somehow gentler in a way I can't put my finger on. There are no billboards. Crossing into Vermont from New York was no different. I looked ahead and thought "That looks like Vermont". Sure enough, I crested a hill and watched Vermont unfurl below, the state line passing in a blur as I increased my speed, happy to see those hills again.
I headed for Brattleboro, where I would spend a couple of nights with my college friends, Suzie and Isaac. I mucked around in my car for a little bit, consolidating things and tidying up, then Isaac and I headed off to pick up his son at a local wilderness camp. It was the final day, so the kids made milkweed fritters and cooked fish they'd caught in a nearby stream. After chatting with some parents and listening to all of the kids describe their favorite part of the week-long experience, we made our way home.
We went to dinner at a place overlooking the river, finding a quiet spot upstairs after navigating through a Margaritaville themed party outside. The food was good, and it was easy to pick up where we all left off 20+ years ago.
We went for an early morning walk in Madame Sherri Forest, wandering through the ruins of the old house before heading up an easy trail to a deserted pond where we threw sticks for Goose. Bright orange and yellow mushrooms dotted the dripping woods and the scent of a recent bear was strong.
I wandered into town, poking into shops but feeling too hot and tired to try things on or spend money. I headed back to the house and went out with Isaac to see some of his recent development projects, watching the fields and woods stream by, happy with the luxury of keeping my eyes off the road. We stopped in at a small general store for some carrot cake jam and checked on the progress of a bridge. We made it home in time for dinner, and then some time in front of the fire pit under the setting sun.
On my last day, we headed to a lake that shall not be named, put in the boat, and putted off to find a rocky outcropping on which to spend most of the day. The place was packed, but we managed to find a good spot and spent a few hours lazing around, swimming, and eating lunch. It was time for me to leave too quickly, so my friends brought me back to my car, where we watched a bald eagle feeding her chicks for a bit before I left.