I've mentioned previously that this time of year -- Little Summer -- is special to me. It's when time actually seems to slow down just like it seems to do around the winter solstice. I think it's got something do with the balance of time itself, with the switch over into Leo being something like a mirror, or bookend, to the winter solstice.
For some reason, the summer solstice has no effect on me other than a sense of sadness when the days start to shorten before summer has even had a chance to bloom in northern New England. I never feel anything around that time but a pronounced sense of melancholy.
On the other hand, Little Summer gets better and better the more I celebrate it.
Nestled in the clear air of the Green Mountains and fed by the meandering Little River, Stowe feels fresher to me than almost anyplace else. Even the pace feels altered as if it is somehow slower than the rest of the world.
Vermont is not called the Green Mountain state for nothing, and Stowe, being surrounded by hills and mountains, feels as if it resonates with subtle energy.
Perhaps it's no accident that the von Trapp family settled in Stowe after fleeing their native Austria just prior to World War II. It reminded them of home.
As their song went --
The hills are alive with the sound of music...
This makes it one of my favorite places to get my inner hippie on.
. . . . . .
The fun started, as it almost always does, just over the State line in South Royalton, with a stop at The Worthy Burger. No food this time, just a beer.
Seeing this sign a lot as more and more establishments opt-out of ridiculous 3% credit card processing fees.
Said to the bartender, "Listen, I'm trying to do some drinking and driving. Do you think you could pour me a short one?"
|A short one. Sip Of Sunshine IPA|
from Lawson's Finest Liquids, Warren, VT
It's not Vermont until you see the ubiquitous Couch On The Porch somewhere.
Getting ready to wash the stones in the river (after cleaning them in the bright sunlight the other day).
That's the White River, man. It was in the path of Hurricane Irene in 2011, and its intense flooding devastated much of Vermont. The scars are still apparent in many places.
How did the gas station know I was on a road trip?
Next stop was Prohibition Pig in Waterbury. Cask-conditioned Gose from Lost Nation Brewing in Morrisville, dry-hopped with galaxy hops and sour oranges. A lively taste that went boom. Thank God the waitress mentioned it, just minutes after the cask was opened.
She also mentioned, after I told her I was on my way up to Lost Nation, that she and a waitress there send notes to each other, little poems and things. I think she had writer's block because she was nowhere to be found once I was ready to leave, so I couldn't help her out.
The weekend's standout vegetable: blackened string beans paired with grilled kielbasa and kimchi hot dog.
At Lost Nation, took a flight and said hello to Jenny, who is the friend of Andrea, the waitress from Pro' Pig. Jenny did give me a note to give to Andrea on my way home. Banged it out in under two minutes and handed it to me folded in one of those football shapes I recognized from grade school.
Logo for Mountain Bike Vermont. Hilarious.
Yeah Baby's, just down the street from Lost Nation.
Special treat of decaf the next morning because I really like this spot but I don't drink coffee anymore.
The view from the porch at the inn where I stayed. Right in the heart of town.
Went blading along the Stowe Recreation Path -- 5.5 miles of bucolic awesomeness.
|One of the many bridges over the Little River which meanders through Stowe. |
It can and does flood. And can turn into a Not So Little River.
As I've said before on this blog, I don't find blackberries. Blackberries find me. Apparently it works for black raspberries, too.
Happened upon a cool sushi place along the path called Sushi Yoshi and really wanted to have lunch there, but it was very early. Needed a place to spend some time until it opened. Found a cool sculpture garden (West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Garden) and Zenned out for a while, which made me even hungrier for Japanese food.
Also caught a bit of a lacrosse exhibition, but it was so crowded and busy that I didn't stay long. Just long enough to see this funny tagline.
Knew this was the place for me the moment I happened upon it.
Zen bliss, right on the recreation path. Worth the wait.
And this small reminder that, yes, I was on the right path.
The light at the end of the tunnel.
Tequila Mojito at Plate restaurant (walking distance from the Inn, haha).
Pomegranite Gimlet (with tequila instead of gin).
Dinner was grilled skirt steak ("on the rare side of medium rare, please" which the grill dude caught perfectly) with grilled summer vegetables. No photo (didn't dig the vintage plate it was served on which seemed to compete with the food photography, dig?)
The next day after check out the clouds rolled in and heavy rain started. Hit the road and headed back down to Waterbury to deliver the note that was entrusted to me from Jenny to Andrea.
|Jenny's cute note.|
As if a small reward after doing a good deed, the clouds parted and the sun came out, so I roared back up the valley to the Trapp Family Lodge for an Austrian-style pilsner in their beer garden.
|The perfect beer at the perfect time in the perfect place.|
Thank you Stowe, and to all the friends I made. See you soon again.
A few tunes that put me in a Vermont state of mind every time.