“Your Vermont summers are special”
“Yes they are…we earn them.”
Everyone should endure some bad weather to make the glorious high pressure systems, sunshine, summer dresses and moderate temps exemplifying summer that much more memorable. Vermont isn’t home to world’s worst weather, but its residents do put up with long winters filled with ice storms, intermittent snow, brown dreariness, overcast melancholy and then push through mud season and the April showers that inevitably bring May flowers. Returning for visits in the summer months to capitalize on their cached weather karma will leave me forever grateful, so it’s helpful to be reminded of the not-so idyllic conditions gracing the region when I’m absent. Then I smile with the hoi polloi as the soft, humid, summer breeze cools things off under a sunset even Monet couldn’t do justice.
Is it that I’m getting older so my baths in nostalgia become longer and more memorable? I know not, but it seems like every time I get back to the Adirondack, Green and White Mountains of my youth, and swim in the clean waters of the natural lakes, rivers and quarries of New England, the visits are better, and the times more memorable. In what I’ll coin my eastern summer vacation, I had the distinct pleasure of returning back to the alma mater for the 10th year reunion, and stick around in Vermont to await arrival of my hedonistic and indomitable brother and his silly toys for a week of water-based summer delight.
On the sporting side, I’ve elaborated before on my tepidity when it comes to running, but with so many wonderful trails on the mountains and along the rivers of New England, it’s foolish to dismiss the peace of mind and fulfillment of getting in the miles by foot. Thanks to my friends, I was happy to refresh my memory of the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, and I’d recommend to anyone a run of the trails on 4800’ Mountain lending its name. Fortunately for me, Bing was willing to rise early to fulfill the doctors orders for a weekly dawn patrol, and get back to camp in time for a shower and most delicious breakfast served by our Junior underclassmen and women.
After some pump-festing at Rumney, mountains took a backseat to some of the finer things in life: superb company, great food and beverage, and taking advantage of the water and wind the special Vermont summer had to offer. I was asked by a professional colleague not long ago “Why is the food in Vermont so good?” I don’t spend enough time there to give a thorough answer, but from what I experience on my return visits - especially in summer – a critical piece to the gustatory puzzle is the prevalence of fresh produce and a population passionate about what appears on their plate. Ubiquitous fresh fruits, veggies and meats from around the block give you the right ingredients, and a dash of creativity in the kitchen with spices, marinades, recipes and heating techniques, only good things happen.
Then you get to the craft brewery scene surging in the state to accompany your edibles, and things only get better. You should probably know about Heady Topper and Hill Farmstead by now, and my latest go-to is the new Citizen Cider on Burlington’s Pine Street. I’m not a sweet drink lover, but I do love flavor, and because there’s a foundation of local apples in the press, I was a fan from the first sip. They range from a super dry, subtle champagne-esqe offering to a full-fledged alcoholic ginger beer, and seven variants in between. Go find out for yourself why they’re expanding with popularity, and let me know what you think.
Admittedly, I got a little too carried away with the wind part – zipping across Lake Champlain in a race boat for hours when there’s a wind advisory in effect was heroic…until things went wrong. Lets just say I escaped lucky to have merely surface wounds – this would come as a surprise to the leisurely beach-goers who stood staring, jaws agape, at my blood-soaked boat, sails and torso as I was towed into port. I washed down my humble pie with plenty of lake water and had a renewed appreciation for an external helping hand. Tail tucked firmly between my legs, I was gladly demoted to chauffeur of the petrol-driven variants of the fleet for the remainder of the trip as I let my dominant hand convalesce.
The last days were filled with the happiest of happy hours as I caught up with the family and friends and got some glimpses of brother continuing to impress. As we devoured the last batch of home cooked delectables and finished off the last growler of the local nectar, my appreciation of Green Mountain State only grew stronger.
On the way westward, I even spun the airline logistical SNAFU to benefit, getting to enjoy the company of a most gracious, beautiful hostess in one of America’s greatest cities. So with the close of this entry, I’m reminded that every year summer seems to skip from 4th of July to Labor Day and I’m going to do my best to slow down that rate of time passage by filling my days with memorable endeavors. I can say my summer has started off rested but with much merriment and first-rate company, and I’ll be back to 100% ready to tackle the objectives waiting in the Pacific time zone. I trust you’re well on the way to a great season, and the rest of the warm weather on your horizon holds fun and fulfillment.