Change of Plans: Convalescing in Vermont

Traveling serendipity took a turn in ways not imagined recently. We had just finished our visit to Acadia National Park and started looking for the next place to explore. Maybe we would head North to Nova Scotia. We could head south instead and attend a Roadtreking rafting adventure in the Smokies. Hmmm, what to do, what to do.

Nothing needed to be decided for a few days so we booked two days at a campground on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Off we headed south only stopping in New Hampshire at the tax-free, state run liquor store to pick up a bit of juice.

As we continue our drive, Kris tells me that she’s not feeling well and is probably coming down with a cold. Our dog, Tucker, also wasn’t feeling well, but on we drove. The traffic was nuts but eventually we made it to the campground on Cape Cod. We would settle in for the day giving Kris some needed rest while I attended to Tucker.

Tucker really didn’t look good so I called our vet back in Arizona. After reviewing the symptoms and drugs we had on hand, Tucker was prescribed steroids and a antibiotic. The vet wanted to give Tucker an additional boost so I was to find a vet to give him a shot that relieved skin irritation.

The next day, Kris’ cold was really setting in. It took two vet visits to find one that would administer the shot to Tucker. By the end of that visit Kris was really hurting and I started feeling congested and a bit achy. All of us ended up being sick at the same time.

Did I mention that we booked Cape Cod on the days before the 4th of July with plans to head to Vermont on the 4th? Yep, pretty stupid planning. So off we went feeling lousy during a crazy busy holiday week to explore Cape Cod. Parking was nonexistent. In fact all but one had full/closed signs on them. We did manage to find parking a fair walk from Province town so off we went to explore the town.

Imagine walking a fair distance in 95˚F humid heat while sick with a summer cold surrounded by thousands of people. We did manage to dip our toes in the ocean, take a picture on the iconic huge beach chair and grabbed some ice cream before heading back to camp. Even the restaurant parking lots were packed along the way back so any hope of fresh seafood on the Cape was dashed.

The idea of going to Nova Scotia or the Smokies was abandoned. Instead we would head to Vermont and hopefully find a quiet place to recover and let the holiday week pass. As serendipity would have it, thats how we ended up exploring Vermont.

We checked into a campground near Brattleboro, Vermont and right away knew this was different. It was like being back in the 60’s as we checked in. Everyone made eye contact and greeted each other as they walked by.

The next day was no different as we visited the Brattleboro farmers market. It wasn’t the biggest market we’ve been to but it certainly was refreshingly different. Multiple cultures all from small farms dotted the market. One farm boasted of being only 1.5 acres  that was run and operated by woman. Another offered Indian cuisine to lunch on. Of course maple syrup was easily available. It felt very much like everybody knew everybody and outsiders like us were treated like neighbors.

With maple syrup and some fresh vegetables in hand off we went to the famous Vermont Country Store. The outside alone was worth the trip with the old store, covered bridge and mill taking us back to yesterday. As we entered the store, it was like going back in time 60 years. Things I haven’t seen since I was a little kid were there for sale. Candies included wax bottles, candy dots on paper and Bit-O-Honey! I loved Bit-O-Honey. 

There was Coke syrup for sale just like what my Mom gave me for an upset stomach. Oh, the memories! We spent an hour or so in the store picking up items while reminiscing of the old days. Just looking at the faces of the other customers in the store with their far-away looking smiles was priceless knowing they were reliving memories.

We were still in the middle of a long heat wave so staying cool was a priority. We stopped at the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory to cool off with some ice cream. The factory tour was skipped because it was down for maintenance but there was plenty to enjoy especially if you let your inner kid loose. There was a Ben and Jerry bus. You could get your face photographed on the top of a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream container.

The best thing at Ben and Jerry’s was the flavor graveyard that was up on a hill surrounded by a picket fence. Inside was a grave for each discontinued flavor with a catchy epitaph on the tomb stone. All I can say is that after that visit, Chunky Monkey became my new favorite ice cream.

The scenery in Vermont is magnificent with rolling mountains of green as we drove along. I can only imagine how incredible it would look in the fall. Our next destination was Vermont’s version of the Grand Canyon named the Quechee Gorge. We drove the Route 4 bridge over the gorge and parked nearby to walk back onto the bridge for the spectacular view. Its sad that a camera just can’t capture what you see in person, but I guess that’s why we travel all over to see these wonderful sights. You can hike trails for a closer look but our illness told us the bridge view was just fine for this adventure.

Onward we went to Champlain Lake in the northwest corner of the state. My wife’s parents had gone there and mentioned how much they liked it. We spent a couple of days there and really enjoyed just driving around this massive lake and stopping at various points to take in the view.

For me, the best part of Vermont wasn’t the views, which are awesome. It wasn’t the food which is very good, especially the ice cream. I found Vermont to be a perfect place to just sit back, relax and let the peacefulness of the area soak in. What better place to be as we both recovered from our colds?

NOTE: I’m writing this story while enjoying the Finger Lakes region of New York and battling my third cold of our summer-long trip. Maybe its just a continuation of the original cold, but we all agreed that it was time to just stay in place and get over this thing. I will say, the Finger Lakes region is another place of beauty but that’s a story for another day.





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