I think I was in love with Vermont before I ever set foot in the state. I have always been attracted to all things New England-y and so Vermont was included in that. When I found out there was a ferry to Vermont less than 1/2 hour from our Upstate house, I had to go. Vermont never disappoints. We have visited every year since, usually in both summer and fall.
It's not surprising that our oldest boy, a Junior in high school this year, is considering a couple of schools in Vermont for college. We decided to take a ride to them just to get a feel for the areas they are in. We had to drive right past the Ben & Jerry's factory so we figured we would finally stop and take in this quintessential Vermont tourist destination.
Taking pictures wasn't allowed on the tour, and we visited on a Sunday so they weren't actually making ice cream that day. We were able to see onto the floor where they make the ice cream and watch a video that showed the process. They also showed a quick video of Ben & Jerry's story at the beginning of the tour. All in all, it was quick and interesting. Plus, they give you a free sample of the flavor of the day. Our sample was "Milk & Cookies" and though we had never tasted it before, my whole family quickly became fans of this flavor. We also learned that employees of Ben & Jerry's get to take home 3 pints of ice cream everyday, so now our youngest aspires to work there someday :)
The grounds of the factory are gorgeous and it is definitely a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The flavor graveyard is just up the hill and you can visit all of the discontinued flavors.
Next stop was Norwich University, followed by the University of Vermont. Our boy got a good vibe from both impressive campuses. I may have gotten sick to my stomach just at the thought of him going to college, but I tried to keep it to myself.
Here's a shot taken from the ferry. Those are the Adirondack Mts as we crossed Lake Champlain.
My love of all things Vermont continued when we returned home from vacation and I started (and quickly
devoured finished) Chris Bohjalian's new novel, "Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands". I am a huge fan of his novels, especially those which are set in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, an area that he lives in and writes so vividly about. This novel is pretty dark and thought provoking, about the fallout from a nuclear power plant explosion that leads a young girl onto the streets of Burlington, VT among the homeless. I highly recommend it.
I am currently reading yet another book, this one a memoir, about (you guessed it)Vermont. I am only a couple of chapters in but I am already enjoying it. This one tells the story of a family that fell in love with Vermont on a leaf peeping trip. Instead of just writing a blog post about it like I am doing, the author actually picked up and moved her whole family there. That's not a feasible option for us at this time so I am happy to be a voyeur in Emma Simpson's tale, titled "Mud Season".
Billy and I have become obsessed with looking at real estate in Vermont and New Hampshire on the internet. We have no intentions of moving anytime soon, so it is strictly for entertainment. Do you do that too? I suspect other people do too, but maybe we are just a bit nuts :)