I spent a couple of days in Vermont recently, wanna hear about it?
Sure you do!
I have been visiting one area of VT regularly almost all my life. When I was young my family camped at one particular campground (the now defunct Silver Lake Family Campground), and one particular site within that campground (#28) every summer. I endured the mosquito bites and relished the lake swims, endured sleeping on rocky ground and relished building camp fires, endured walking a long way to a dark public bathroom and relished trips into the gorgeous nearby towns.
Shortly after my beloved campground closed its doors, my cousin bought a vacation house in the same town. So instead of halting our family trips to the area, we increased them, complete with real beds, four walls and a kitchen.
This year he sold the house, but I returned the area once again anyway.
I went camping at a different campground, which turned out to be lovely. I spent time in town, and visited some of the old familiar places. I also did some things that were entirely new.
Central Vermont was hit very hard by Hurricane Irene last year. A year later, the signs of damage are still ever present. Luckily, the signs or regrowth and renewal are present, too. Inside the Woodstock Farmer's Market, a sign on one of the building's support beams illustrated what the water level had been inside the store. The line was nearly as high as my shoulder. Several covered bridges were damaged in the floods, and were in the process, still, of being repaired.
It felt good to visit this place and spend some money at their local businesses. This region has been hurt, a lot, but is also working hard to recover.
I visited Simon Pierce, a glass blowing store and workshop I have visited many times since my youth, which was nearly destroyed in the flooding. It was comforting to see them back in action. I've always loved watching artisans create their craft. I'd love to take a glass-blowing course some day.
The main purpose of my visit was two fold:
1. To give camping a good test drive with my road trip companion, Rob (We're gonna drive & camp cross country in August!)
2. Crossing a big item off of my 30-before-30 list. Yes, a very big one. I wanted to fly in a hot air balloon.
And now I have. And it was amazing.
We attended the Queechee Hot Air Balloon Festival. It was amazing not just to go up into the sky with our own balloon, over looking misty mountains and greenery, but also to see all the other balloons taking off around us!
What an extraordinary experience! I think I beamed the whole time. And as soon as we were done I knew I wanted to do that again someday.