"... we are always harking back to some occasion which seemed to us to reach perfection, setting that up as a norm, and depreciating all other occasions by comparison. But these other occasions, I now suspect, are often full of their own new blessing, if only we would lay ourselves open to it. " (C. S. Lewis)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Vermont Day 3: A Drive in the Country

If you've been stopping by this blog for a while now, you probably know me well enough to know my favorite thing to do is drive in the country.

I've been out in beautiful snow storms

I've eaten ice cream with the cows who gave the milk.

So when everyone decided we would spend our third day in Vermont swimming in an almost 100-year-old swimming hole full of huge boulders and who knows what else, I heard the country calling me! 

After I loaded my cameras in the car and dropped everyone at the quarry, I turned on my favorite playlist, rolled down my windows and went to my happy place for a couple of hours.

I'm a sucker for a great name. I mean, who wouldn't want to explore roads with names like 7 Hills Road or Roaring Brook Road. They just beg to be explored.

So I was giddy when I followed the road next to this beautiful place, The Barrows House Inn and Restaurant on Hwy. 30 in Dorset.

The road was called Dorset Hollow Road. 
(If it was in my home state of Tennessee, we would call it Dorset Holler Road!)

I followed this road until I came to a fork (quite appropriate for the state where Robert Frost was named poet laureate in 1961).

When faced with the decision to go left or right, I stopped in the middle of the road and looked down one as long as I could. It was called Upper Hollow Road. Weighing my options and fearing it might lead me to the top of some mountain, I took the other, as just as fair. It was called Lower Hollow Road,

and it was begging to be explored!

Almost every road in the state of Vermont follows along some river or creek or stream, and this road was no exception.

And almost every house on my drive had a view of the mountains 

or a beautiful barn

 or a stone wall

or a unique fence  

or  grazing creatures of some kind


or quaint little touches that just made me want to stay a little longer!

And this road even had a bit of history to it.

This little spot reminded of Robert Frost's poem Birches and the time my daddy told me about riding the trees when he was a kid. I think of him every time I read Frost's poem. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Lower Hollow Road did not disappoint. 

I'm glad I chose the road I did!

I stored the images deep where memories provide spaces to linger when life weighs a little too heavy, and I know I will visit often. 

As for the Upper Hollow Road, I kept it for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I ended my journey at this quaint little store overlooking the village green in Dorset, the Dorset Union Store. 

They have been selling "necessities & frivolities" for over 200 years and are listed on The National Register of Historic Places. 

I was only inside for a second when I got the call that my clan was ready to be done at the quarry. I had just enough time to grab an ice-cold Dr. Pepper and eye the amazingly enormous cookies in big glass jars at the front counter. (I'll have to go again some day to enjoy those!)

Dorset is just a small village, and I didn't think we would actually get to experience it, but I'm so glad we did. It made all the difference!

(Words in italics are from the poems, The Road Not Taken and Birchesby Robert Frost.)

Vermont Day 3: J. K. Adams

After a wonderful day at the Dorset Quarry, we packed everybody up to do some shopping in Manchester, VT, but I made a little stop on the way.

The J.K. Adams Store is located between Dorset and Manchester on Hwy. 30.

J.K. Adams has been specializing in handmade wooden products from North American hardwoods since 1944.

They believe in their products so much that they offer a 100% guarantee for replacement.  

I promised myself I would not leave Vermont without a cutting board with this symbol,

and here's the one I brought home. 

It made a beautiful tray as we celebrated the fourth of July with friends back home! (It was a great time to share the Vermont cheeses and maple syrup we brought home, as well as the homemade granola I made with the ginger honey I bought at the West River Farmers Market in Londonderry.) 

I love that people are still using the time-honored methods of creating hand-made wooden products for the kitchen.

This beautiful cherry cutting board was our gift to each other for our 30th wedding anniversary this summer. 

It will stay on our counter for years to come, and I'll never forget our time in the beautiful Dorset, Vermont area!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Vermont Day 3: Dorset Quarry

After a very busy 2nd day in Vermont, we decided to begin day three by letting Dad go fly-fishing. Our house was located about 13 miles from a four-mile section of the Black River that is classified as a trophy trout stream. It is in the town of Cavendish, just east of Ludlow. The river follows along Hwy. 131 in Cavendish and provides some amazing scenery, especially by the Downers Covered Bridge.

Photo Credit here 

While he was fly-fishing, we decided to begin our day enjoying some of the maple syrup we bought the day before at the Sugar Shack. Breakfast was especially yummy.

The plan for day three was to return to a place we had spotted on our trip the day before. Everyone was intrigued and wanted to go swimming in the Dorset Quarry, the oldest marble quarry in the US.

Marble from this quarry can be seen in the New York Public Library's main branch and in the medical buildings at Harvard.

We had stopped the day before just to check it out. Kids were jumping off cliffs and swimming in the the 60 ft. deep water. 

An artist had her easel set up along the path and was painting the beautiful cliffs towering over the bluish water.

We knew we had to come back to spend the day.

So we packed a cooler and found a perfect place to claim for the day!

Then the fun began.

And the cliffs just kept getting bigger

and bigger!

When everyone was exhausted, we made sure to take everything with us, including our trash. Even though this quarry is privately owned, the owners graciously allow the public to enjoy this treasure that has been delighting children and adults alike since the first time it became a swim hole back in the 1920's. 

If you have a chance to go, make sure to leave it better than you found it so generations to come will be able to leave with smiles on their faces!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

~ Vermont Day 2: Mount Equinox and Arlington

On our second day in Vermont, we spent the morning at the Bromley Adventure Park, and then we decided to take Skyline Drive to the summit of Mount Equinox. The toll road up the mountain is a 5.2 mile drive. It is owned by a cloistered order of monks known as the Carthusian Monks. 

We stopped at the toll house right on historic Hwy. 7A in Sunderland, Vermont to buy our token to pay the toll, 

This photo courtesy of Trip Advisor

we checked that our car was in good working order, and then I started to get a little squeamish.

I have driven up mountain roads in Colorado with my head between my knees because I couldn't breathe. 

I road across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on our last sabbatical with my chair leaned all the way back and my eyes closed.

I have started up mountain roads in Tennessee only to have Ken turn around part way up because I was about to hyperventilate.

One might ask why going to the summit of Mount Equinox was on my list of things to do!

I had read that it was one of the safest mountain toll roads with guard rails most of the way up, and they were right. 

I didn't even panic (once I convinced Ken that if I was going to enjoy the trip, he would need to proceed with caution).

There were pull-offs along the way to enjoy the view, but the best part was when we got to the St. Bruno Scenic Viewing Center at the top.

This photo courtesy of Trip Advisor

You could see the only Carthusian Monastery in America down below and the 7,000 acres owned by the order.

Standing at the Summit, we had views not only of the Green Mountains of Vermont, but we could see the White Mountains of New Hampshire to the east, the Adirondack Mountains of New York to the west, and the Taconic and Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts to the south.

No matter where you looked, you had amazing views!

When we came down off the mountain after letting our brakes rest for a bit, we headed south on historic Hwy. 7A to Arlington where we stopped at the Sugar Shack on the banks of the Roaring Branch River. 

While we were there, we got to see the evaporator that turns 40 gallons of sap into one gallon of maple syrup.

We also met Kim who explained about the different grades of Vermont Maple Syrup made right there at the Sugar Shack. We tasted the Golden, the Amber and the Dark grades. We all decided the Dark was the best, so we grabbed a half-gallon jug to take with us.

We also tried a maple creemee. If you don't know what a creemee is, think soft-serve ice cream. That's what they call it in Vermont. It was yummy! And if you are at the Sugar Shack on the right day, you can pick up a cider doughnut covered in cinnamon-sugar. Yum!

One of the reasons I wanted to go to this Sugar house was because they have a Norman Rockwell exhibit. It focuses on the works he created during the fourteen years he lived in Arlington. Norman Rockwell used many of his friends and neighbors in his paintings, and the exhibit features many of those friends and neighbors as well as the paintings in which they were featured.

We couldn't leave Arlington without going to see the house where Rockwell lived. We just followed historic Hwy. 7A a few miles south of the Sugar Shack to Hwy. 313 and headed west to Covered Bridge Road.

We drove through the beautiful old bridge across the famous Battenkill River.

From the road you get the first glimpse of the Chapel on the Green (West Arlington Unites Methodist Church) built in 1804.

As you pull through the bridge, straight ahead is the beautiful Inn on Covered Bridge Green, the former home of America's favorite Illustrator, Norman Rockwell. I can see why he chose this tranquil spot on a quiet country lane overlooking the river to call home. 

After a very full day, we headed back into Manchester to stop by the farmer's market  for some nibbles. We hadn't been there ten minutes when I saw my boys holding bags of this yummy bread. 

We ended the night with some great pizza and pasta at Christos' in downtown Manchester. It was a great ending to a great day!