We recently spent a weekend in Southern Vermont to attend a beautiful outdoor wedding (Congratulations Michael and Kate!). Before the ceremony we had a few hours to explore and managed to fit lots of fun in the day.
We began in the comparatively lively and heartbreakingly “Vermont” adorable town of Manchester. There we found the recommended gem of a book store Northshire. It's a massive shop, with lots to impress, but no section was more impressive to me than their used fiction.?Small in scale, it only occupied one rack in the big store, it managed to hold an unbelievable selection. I found eight books I wanted, several that I have already read and loved, and more I could have tried out. Either everyone in region has excellent taste in books (which is highly possible if my friend Stacy who grew up nearby is any indication) or the store is very selective in what they resell.
While that was my only shopping excursion in Manchester, it is home to a number of outlets, including Polo and Lilly Pulitzer (which had two tan preppy tee girls running a promotional lemonade stand outside) which draw people from all over.
About a thirty minute drive west you'll find Weston, where Jim's grandpa “the Ripper” worked and met wives at for years at– the Vermont Country Store. Itself a tourist destination, it's like a huge non-chain Cracker Barrel store where you end up walking out with the most bizarre array of junk. Myself, I got a scented cat pillow (partially for work inspiration, so chill out on the weird cat lady judgements), a box of My-T-Fine butterscotch pudding mix (I've been having an inexplicable and unquenched butterscotch fits lately), a candy necklace, some hand balm, and an amazing eight dollar bag or caramel corn.
Nearby, also in Weston, Jim was saddened to see his childhood favorite, the bowl mill was now just a shack.
But it wasn't all wasting money, we got in a couple great meals too. First, a surprisingly good sandwich and soup at Mulligan's a spot whose name and claim to have “great prime rib” had me skeptical (for some reason places that specialize in prime rib read as code for terrible food to me). We also chowed on fantastic pancakes at Gourmet Cafe and Deli. Seriously fantastic and they came with maple butter, yum.
The happy time map, which is my preferred way to get around a tourist town only failed me once, when it put French Hollow Alpacas on the map, but failed to have an exact address. The farm too has no sign to help you, so we kind of just wandered around as my dreams of petting a llama died. According to their site, you may have to make a appointment to visit, but the fun time map didn't tell us.
We weren't completely deprived of wild life though, our beautiful B&B, The Hill Farm in did actually have a small farm on the grounds with a few goats, a few cats, a lovely spotted horse and an awesomely gigantic pig all for us New Yorkers to gawk at. The inn was clean and quaint with friendly service that wasn't too in your face and a decent home cooked breakfast with (yay) Constant Comment tea.
One of the greatest parts of Vermont though, is just taking in the scenery and nowhere is the view more splendid than the magnificent steep drive up the Equinox mountain. For a fee you can drive up to the top of this green, heavenly mountain – heavenly for real as it's home to a monstary and features an all Catholic gift store. The views are unreal and make the long drive up and slow drive down worth your time.
No wonder why so many kind hearted long-grey haired ladies have made VT their hoem, I've hardly even been in a place more beautiful or more peaceful.