After a two-week delay due to airline flight cancellations, we made it to Vermont to visit Paul & Serena before they finished up their year at the New Community Project farm. It was a typical Vermont spring with snow, rain, clouds and even some sunshine!
After a hearty breakfast, we toured a photo exhibit which included some of Paul's works (note the Bluebells to his right). There was also a shot by another photographer of my favorite northwest peak--Mt Shuksan in the North Cascades which I had climbed two months before Paul was born! Meanwhile, Gail decided to explore the ocean depths in a pod!
What's a visit to Vermont without a trip to capital of anti-capitalism . . . (or at least two guys' version of it)! Ben & Jerry's factory was open for a tour and the flavors were hot even on a cold, snowy day! The small tribute to Elton John was classically tasteful!
We grow a lot of apples in the northwest but I had to go to Vermont to learn that it takes 36 apples to make a gallon of apple cider. And the cider press we visited goes through 144,000 apples per day when in production! It wasn't pressing apples but impressing audiences with the Sound of Music that made the Von Trapp family famous--their Vermont lodge and resort was set high on a hill; I was grateful for the all-wheel drive rental vehicle. Hot Asian noodles proved to be a fitting end to the day.
The New Community Project farm is about thirty minutes south of Burlington--a pleasant drive through the country with a dirt and gravel road at the end. This was maple season but the temperatures were too cold for the sap to be 'running'. The ground was covered in snow--much of it from the three feet that fallen ten days earlier. Paul & Serena live in a Yurt heated with a wood stove which can get toasty! The wood floors and natural wood support struts with skylight add to the warmth and cozy feel of their home.
The maple may not have been running at the farm but it was certainly available throughout the area--this was the Maple Open House weekend so we sampled 'sugar on snow' and 'maple hot-dogs.' I did draw a line at the maple-flavored coffee!
We toured downtown Burlington including Church Street which is closed to vehicles. There was time to visit some galleries, craft-stores, fudge-making demonstrations and sample delicious Lake Champlain hot chocolate. We ended the day with seafood by the lake . . . which still left time to play euchre and watch the Oregon Ducks advance in the NCAA basketball tournament to the Final Four!
We attended Sunday morning service at a small country church in Hinesburg. I was impressed that such a small church had a pipe organ and a choir (singing Andrew Lloyd Webber's Pie Jesu). Then it was short visit to pick up maple syrup at the farm and onto Middlebury for lunch and window-shopping. I even signed up to be on the next rocket mission to Mars!