Well it only took us 3 years, 2 months, 2 weeks, and about 23,000 miles of towing our house around the country, but we finally made it back to Vermont where this grand adventure first began. We’ll be here all month visiting with friends and family. We had also hoped to enjoy some crisp fall New England weather, but so far Mother Nature is throwing us a curve ball with temps in the 90s and some high humidity to top it all off. I probably shouldn’t complain because there’s a real possibility that it could be freezing cold by the time we leave at the end of the month.
For our first night back home (I might never live here again, but it will always feel like home) we spent the night parked in the driveway of some good friends who live only a few miles from our old house. It was very strange driving that familiar route after all this time. We had a small gathering at their house where we stuffed ourselves with food, got caught up with everyone, and marveled over how much all their kids have grown in three years. Sadly, I did not take a single photo. But we’ll see them again before the month is up so I still have time to redeem myself.
The next day we drove to my brother’s house and squeezed our way into his driveway. Peter and Erin (who are newly engaged!) recently purchased this house and we had never seen it before — which made me a little nervous about parking there with the Airstream. Luckily, we had no problem fitting into a nice shady spot next to the garage.
My mom and stepdad were also here visiting which made for a busy week of family meals, projects around the house, and even a little gardening. When I asked Peter and Erin about a house warming gift they requested some gardening help. Their poor yard had obviously been neglected for many years, and while they have already done quite a bit to reclaim it, there are still some areas that need refreshing. So my mom and I jumped in and transformed an area of scraggly juniper shrubs and a single lonely Hosta into a nice little garden with the addition of a hydrangea and some mums for fall color. Even though it was unbearably hot, we had fun playing in the dirt, and everyone agreed that it tuned out very nice.
We also participated in an annual Vermont end of summer tradition — the Champlain Valley Fair. I grew up looking forward to the this fair every year. When I was younger it was all about the rides, and then in middle school it was a fun night spent with friends away from the parents. As I got older the fair lost most of its appeal, and since I’ve known Tim we’ve only gone once. But when some family members invited us to the Wednesday night Demolition Derby we couldn’t say no. It was my very first demolition derby, and while there was an entertaining aspect to it — I feel pretty confident that I can cross that one off the bucket list for good.
The Derby lasted a little longer than we wanted to remain sitting, so we took a break near the end and walked around to see the sights and indulge in some classic fair food, including fried macaroni and cheese balls (not as good as I had hoped), and fried dough slathered with melted butter, powdered sugar and maple syrup (just as good as I remembered).
We also did a loop around the midway and quick stroll through the animal tents. I swear some of the rides are the exact same ones that I rode when I was a kid.
Near the end of the week we skipped out on the family for a night to catch up with some more old friends. Penny and I worked together for many years, and when we left Vermont I went from seeing her nearly everyday to not seeing her at all for the last 3+ years. Needless to say it was a happy reunion. After we caught up on all their recent house projects and garden updates we stuffed ourselves with a delicious meal and ended the evening around the fire. So good to see Penny & Don both again.
Over the long weekend both Tim’s mom and Erin’s parents came to visit. Despite the unseasonably warm temps we attempted to find some Vermont fall by going apple picking. Due to the crazy winter and late spring that happened up here, apple season is a little late and they had only just opened the day before. We still managed to find plenty of apples.
This is the same orchard that we went to when I was a kid, and also the same one that we visited on school field trips. They’ve had some changes since then, but it’s still pretty much as I remember it with rows of trees heavy with fruit, fresh pressed apple cider, and the smell of apple cider donuts hitting you as soon as you step out of the car.
Since we had been with everyone for nearly week and I had yet to take any family photos I tried my best to get a picture of everyone at the orchard. It’s funny how I’m great at taking photos of scenery on hikes and when we’re out kayaking, but I am so terrible at capturing the people I want to remember the most.
The main event of the weekend was an early birthday party for Peter. More family came over and we sat around on their large back deck chatting and eating for hours. I wish I had taken a photo of the food laden table and homemade ice cream cake (a long standing tradition), but all I got was a before pic of my epic cheese plate.
Our first week in Vermont was undoubtably a success. We visited with many old friends, caught up with family, and got to spend some time with this very cute, very smart dog.
Yesterday we moved over to our friend’s yard where we’ll spend the rest of the week catching up with more friends, seeing more family, and maybe even finding some real Vermont fall weather.