Long one today! Grab a cup of coffee and prop your eyes open with toothpicks, folks. ;-)
Have you noticed that we have a bit of an autumn tradition? Yep. Every year, we make it a point to take a quick overnight trip to Vermont. Our first stop to the state was actually early on, when we were first dating, to attend a friend's wedding. We fell in love with the state and its awesomeness back then, so we returned for our honeymoon, for our one-year, three-year, and now our four-year anniversaries. (Our second-year anniversary, Hadman was only a few months old, so we nixed it.)
We had taken to pretty much following the same equation every year: head to Middlebury, hit up the co-op to stock up (and shops if they were open), have "tea on the veranda" at the inn, and crash until dinner. The next day, waffles at the inn (a MUST), followed by a slow trip back home, stopping in at antique shops and Camelot Village along the way.
This year, we adjusted things a bit. We've been noticing some changes; some of our favorite antique haunts on the way home had closed, and because we visit Sunday into Monday, a lot of shops in Middlebury are closed. So, we headed out early on a Saturday morning. We also added a couple of stops and deleted a couple of unnecessary ones.
The foliage from NY into VT was absolutely perfect this year. Sometimes they're not even close to turning; other times, there are very few trees left. We lucked out this time! So, after a quick gas-up and a grab of a couple of local egg white sandwiches (Hadley ate at home before we left), we were on our way.
This time, we stopped at the outlets near Queensbury. It was a very last-minute thing, and I promised Dave that we'd be there no longer than 30 minutes (just to run into a couple of kiddo stores). I was true to my word, and in no time we had a few deals and were back on the road. Woohoo!
By the time we rolled into Middlebury, Had was napping in the back and needed far more time to do so. So, Dave checked in with the inn (strangely enough, our room was ready early), and we tag-teamed staying in the car with the sleeping munchkin while grabbing potty breaks and lunch. I ran to the co-op nearby to stock up on salad bar fixin's (and, ahem, homemade organic desserts), and we all enjoyed the quick lunch in the car. We're fancy.
After getting settled into the room, we explored the town and did some small shopping. The shops ranged from quirky to adorable to kitschy to stylish to traditional (we finally hit up the Ben Franklin! And it was exactly what I imagined it to be, LOL). Hadley picked out our Christmas ornament (a sterling silver old-school truck hauling a Christmas tree) before melting down, so we high-tailed it to the park to get some energy out. Let's just say -- LEAVES!!! And an awesome gazebo was icing on the cake. A sweet local guy ran over to take our picture without us asking.
We always like to eat dinner and breakfast at the inn since they go out of their way to source their food locally and it's always a good meal. This year, we were a little disappointed that our waitress didn't offer any children's ideas (last year, the waitress was a sweetheart and worked hard to make suggestions), so I had no choice but to give him some of my food and some healthy snacks I had brought along. I know this probably ticks off wait staff, but I would've been happy to purchase a meal for him...had it been offered.
Otherwise, our meals were delicious and Hadley, while coming close to having some "bother folks near us" moments, maintained his composure pretty well. *huge sigh of relief* Seeing a couple of other young children in the space helped calm my nerves about it, too. ;-)
There were waffles! So, we loaded our plates and went to town. Hadley had made a little friend who came over to greet him, which was downright precious. All while eating breakfast, though, my thoughts were onto our next adventure...
See, we weren't able to go apple-picking locally this year thanks to weather and scheduling. So, I figured I'd see if there were any local apple orchards or pumpkin patches so that we could at least do SOMETHING fall-ish while in VT. These weekends seem to breeze by so quickly that before you know it, it's winter. So, when I discovered Happy Valley Orchard in Middlebury, I couldn't wait to get there.
It was everything I hoped for and more! We were the second customers of the day, so it wasn't busy at all. They had a wagon to pull him around in, plenty of apples, tons of pumpkins to choose from, and the woman running the place adored Hadley (her grandkids are out of state, and he's such a ham it's hard not to fall for him). It. Was. Perfect.
We only visited one antique shop (and didn't find anything, which is fine), and stopped at a maple shop to pick up some candy for folks back home, then meandered towards Bennington. Starving and unsure of what there was to eat locally, we found a Stewart's and I grabbed burgers before we high-tailed it to the monument.
Dave was kind enough to let me go inside and look around (we brought Hadley in and he was doing fine, but Dave thought it'd be nice to get him outside for awhile longer before the long haul back home). I saw some awesome stuff and almost grabbed a thing or two, but more than anything it was just nice to have the chance to look.
Then, before we knew it, we were home. The trip back does get excruciating, but the fact that we were traveling on a Sunday made the traffic far easier to deal with.
So, there's all the boring details of our trip to VT! It's somehow an exciting, relaxing, fun, at-times stressful trip that we LOVE to go on, but that I LOVE getting home from all at the same time. Like, after we do it I feel like we can hunker down for the winter (unless we want to take a quick day trip to Mass to see friends). Either way, it's always invigorating to see a place that feels like home but that takes us to a new comfort level every year.
Oh, and you know we stocked up on soap while we were there, right? That's our thing.