Tuesday, August 31, 2021

A brief respite in Manchester, VT

It’s been a while since we found ourselves somewhere we’ve never been. It’s important for me to get out of what I know, see different things, take the temperature of the world outside of my area, expand my worldview…which is hard to do when the world is shut down.

We spent a few days in Manchester, VT, in August, trolling around within an hour of that spot, taking slow drives and feasting with our eyes. MFD did a little fly fishing and we spent some time at the table of a friend and his family. We also sort of formatted our days so we spent half of them doing and half of them just being, reading, resting, swimming, lounging, talking to people. We of course spent time creeping on other people’s flowers, drinking OPC, having fabulous meals at local restaurants, perusing antique stores, and sampling the local fare. 

The cherry on top was having no service a lot of times when away from the Inn at Manchester, where we were staying. This was our first time staying in a bed & breakfast and I loved it. The old Inn building felt at home given the age of our house at the shore. There was also a newer carriage building. The staff was excellent and the grounds were relaxing and lovely. It was clean, comfortable, had great services and spaces to hang outside of your room, was in a great location, and was extremely reasonable. 
Breakfasts were 10/10 and you sat with who you were with, not like sitting at one table with people you don't know which is my fucking nightmare. Monday was scrambled eggs with spinach and Vermont cheddar with bacon, Tuesday cottage cakes with sausage, Wednesday eggs over cheesey, and Thursday was buttermilk pancakes, which I do not eat so MFD's are pictured. I swapped for eggs over medium and called it a day. You can swap for eggs any way or just yogurt and granola and fruit if you aren't up for whatever the standard is that day.

Sunday we left Philly at 12:15 (initial estimated time of departure was 10:30 but we were on MFD time and nearly started off killing each other over that LOL). The drive up was a beaut despite having raggedy andy as a copilot during my drive time. We got to Manchester at 6 after two stops. We settled in, walked to the store for shit we forgot, and were asleep early.

Monday I went to a local coffee shop, MFD met Charlie for coffee and to check out Orvis Fly Fishing (Charlie is the documentary film student who followed MFD's last campaign for a project), and I got OPC at Charlie's Coffee House, putzed around some antique shops before hitting Northshire Books and the Manchester Library. I make a point of hitting an indie bookstore and the local library when possible on vacation. 

We spent the afternoon at the pool then reading in the shade, splitting a shrimp Caesar from Mulligan’s. We had dinner outside at the historic Ye Olde Tavern complete with someone’s wheel falling off down the block as they were driving. Thankfully down the block so it didn't skitter into our seats. The food was fine? Old timey. Cool setting and we had a nice conversation with table neighbors. If I had planned ahead more I would have made reservations elsewhere but this is what we got and it was fine. We finished the night out Southern Vermont Art Center sculpture garden and getting ice cream at Stewart’s where there was grand drama because the woman could not scoop the vanilla for MFD's root beer float. Back at the Inn we sat outside in rocking chairs until the mosquitos chased us in.
Tuesday we did the Mount Equinox Skyline Drive, which was gorgeous. It's cool to see the road end on your car map. We hit the Chiselville Covered Bridge after where a crew of bikers dicked around for an eternity doing their photo shoot. 
Lunch was from Amy’s on the Road, which is a food truck in an airstream and I had a bacon, lettuce, onion ring, tomato BLORT for lunch. It was DAMN GOOD. That was immediately followed up with a visit to Mother Myrick’s for some amazing sweets as they are in the same parking lot. After a rest, MFD went fly fishing and I went to TJ Maxx to get shampoo then back to read more in the shade. I mostly shop TJMaxx and Marshalls for Homegoods and beauty so when in another location I will almost always pop in, just like I will always pop into a local library to see what they have on display.

I made my way out Arlington to Bridge at the Green, a covered bridge in Arlington that leads to Norman Rockwell's homestead and a little church and green to wander, which I did. MFD was fly fishing there with Charlie and a guide. 
When they were done, we drove down some gravel roads to Charlie's for dinner with him and his parents. An amazing setting, great food, great dog, and great people we definitely align with on so many fronts. We drove home in the dark and called it a night.
Wednesday we drove around and landed at the Vermont Country Store (like the catalog, yes), then meandered back, filling up on Americana sites along the way. I spent the afternoon at the pool reading while MFD had a meeting. We had an early dinner at Zoey’s Double Hex then lolled around luxuriating in not having to get up ever to let dogs out. I chose the restaurant for the name but the food was really fucking good and there's a little garden up top with flowers and an owl. 
Thursday we checked out after breakfast and headed to pass through covered bridges (The Burt Henry, Silk Road, and Paper Mill), see the Bennington battle monument, and secure cheese at Henry's Market in Bennington before leaving the state. GPS took us well through the backroads home complete with deer grazing on the roadside in small towns and all and that was fine with us. Of course we were sick of God, the world, and each other by the time we picked Gus up and made it home in the excessive heat. But such is the nature of road trips. I love you, but get me out of this fucking car. 

Thanks to Sarah, Mark, & cousin Harry for watching Gus and Deionni for watching Bruce, Ben, and Mae. Traveling is a deterrent because of Gus alone so dog care is essential to us.

We're already planning to pass back through Manchester with Dad and Carol to or from Maine next year (along with checking out VT further north), and I am getting my ass reservations at Silver Fork (new location in the old library) because I waited too long to get them this time, managed to get on the waiting list in case someone cancelled, then missed the damn call because I was in the pool. Pit of the trip for sure, which was easy because it was very peaky. It was a nice, chill town. And that was nice because I really winged it this time - it was only a few days and moderately last minute for us so no excessive planning which is my usual. It was cool. Most things shut down by about 8 or 9, and that suits us just fine.

That's that on that. A bit rambly because I'm out of practice of both traveling and organizing my thoughts around presenting it. Happy Tuesday!

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