Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Northern Vermont Pt. 1

Some of my friends and probably whoever reads my blog must have wondered if I ever get out of the house and my kitchen. Well, I do and perhaps not as much as before I had kids, I still enjoy travelling but I do start to miss my humble nest after 2 or 3 days away. I am lucky to be residing at the New England area of USA, which comprises my state of residency, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, where all are linked with easy to navigate interstate freeways and within hours reach. When the world was just the 2 of us, Curry and I would take the plane and travelled to the West Coast but now with Missy E and Prince D and the ridiculous air flight charges of miscellaneous unavoidables like charges for checked baggages and pillows and blankets, we might as well take our reliable and free to load MiniVan and explore places nearer to home.

I have always wanted to go to Vermont but for some reason, Curry was not into the idea then. Perhaps he thinks it is a very countryside State that proudly declared itself the Green Mountain state, with red barnyards and maple sugaring as well as farming being Vermont's publicized image in every travel catalog that we read so far. Indeed, I can only regret now that I didn't started my trip to Vermont earlier, as I really enjoyed its people and whatever it has to offer.

Indeed, throughout the 4 hours drive to Vermont's city of Burlington up north, all we saw were mostly green lushes of forest on both sides of the freeway and we opted to go through the backroads of small towns as Vermont has plenty of attractions, mostly scattered along these hidden little towns. The drive was not too bad except that half way, it rained heavily and for a while, the sun popped out but it was wet throughout the day. We drove on Rt 125, with its scenic views surrounded by the Green Mountain and spiralling through Ripton, Middlebury, Ferrisburgh, Charlotte and Shelburne. There were churches, old town meeting houses, corn fields, silos, farms with cows and horses grazing who couldn't care less of the passing traffic and we even saw a camel! Hard to believe that a camel can live in Vermont's harsh winter condition. There were colleges along this route, mainly in Middlebury and their campuses were so pristinely green and neat. Every town seems to be well equipped with their little country stores, complete with modern amenities and people just go about doing their business without minding me, poking my camera in and out of the car and at every nook and corner on land!

Our first stop was the town of Shelburne, around 8 miles south of Burlington. I am really a big fan of museums and would visit every one if I can and I so wanted to do the Shelburne Museum which houses a diverse collection of art, design and Americana products of quilts and furnitures as well as carousels, Warren Kimble's folk art works, all located in different unit of exhibition buildings scattered around in a 45 acres area. However, we were short of time and it was drizzling and never a good idea when kids are starting to whine! I managed only to look at replicas in their museum gift shop and I made a pledge there and then that I will go back next time. Come rain or shine.

Our next stop was a few miles up north to a corner side by Lake Champlain. Shelburn Farms was an absolute delight to visit for both kids and grown ups. This farm looks grand compared to the usual red barns and silos in Vermont. Obviously, a rich man's perspective of a great farm estate, modeled after the European style in the 1890s, with 2 prominent towers on each side of the entrance greeting us into the area and the atmosphere sure felt like it was in Europe, surrounded by lush green pasture that simply has no ends. There was cow milking session and those over exposed and squeezed udders belonged to a cow as big as a horse and I thought it wise to stay far away with the kids while other tourists eagerly waited their turns to try their hands on the poor cow. Instead of meeting the rich people from the Webb family who built this magnificent place, we strolled around meeting chicken, lamb, sheep and cow. They were as curious as we humans are.

Next, I eagerly moved to the other side of the building where the cheesemaking is done. And of course, the tasting part was fun too with plenty of plain and flavored cheddar to go around. Missy E was so immersed in the guide's explanation of cheese making while Prince D was amazed looking at the spinning big hook thing that churns the milk into cheese.

For the final part, we moved to the next tower of the building. My favorite one... the Bakery! I was so excited to see a farm bakery with all the messy sacks of flour sitting everywhere, the bakers hard at work and the full racks of loaves. I was not disappointed at all and infact I was lost for a while just gazing at those freshly baked bread and the people working in there were all smiley faces and not a grumble one in sight. I will feel happy too working there.

1 comment:

Agnes said...

That is SO MUCH FUN!!!!