Friday, May 25, 2012

By The Time We Got To Woodstock......

Pastoral Vermont countryside on Scenic Route 100 between Burlington and Woodstock.
May 23, 2012

No, we weren't "half a million strong."  There were still only two of us and it wasn't THAT Woodstock, but we were happy to be there anyway! Wednesday morning, after retrieving a newly repaired Kia from Girlington Garage in Burlington, Vermont, we left our rustic cabin with this view........................

...................and approximately 120 miles of beautiful Vermont driving later, traded it in for this view which we will enjoy for 10 days.

View from our living room in Woodstock, Vermont.

I cannot leave the subject of our Kia misfortune without thanking Girlington Garage.  When we realized something was very wrong with the car, I immediately researched the area for AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities.   AAA was one of my clients during my days in CorporateWorld and I know for a fact, that the stringent criteria for obtaining and keeping this designation is TOUGH!  A facility has worked hard for it and must continue to work hard to KEEP it.  Girlington was the only garage listed in the Burlington area with the AAA Approved designation.  What fun to read EVERY WORD of their website and learn that the garage is female-owned.   But who cares who owns it with reviews like it has?   And I cannot use enough superlatives to adequately describe our experience with them from start to finish.  Yes, it cost us a lot of money we were not anxious to spend, but not once did we feel taken advantage of because we were a long way from home.  In fact, Demeny (owner) made every effort to explain to us ways in which she felt we MIGHT be able to make it home, but it was going to involve careful monitoring and daily steps to take.  We felt so good about the garage, we authorized the repairs and even let them go ahead and take care of a couple of things that should've been done during our pre-trip maintenance check prior to leaving.  There was NOTHING the garage or anyone we dealt with that wasn't done courteously, promptly and at no time, were we ever not kept involved in the process.  People, this is customer service!   Since it isn't likely I'll be able to use their services again, I truly hope by giving them a shout-out here, someone else might benefit down the road.  We wish Demeny and her staff the very best and have no doubt Girlington Garage will continue to prosper.  

Leaving Burlington, we chose our usual method of travel, avoiding interstates in favor of scenic driving through the countryside.   Our route took us down Vermont State highway 116, through Green Mountain National Forest via highway 125, down scenic 100, often listed as a top 10 scenic drive in the US and east on highway 4 into Woodstock.   Along the way, we took a break at the country store in Rochester, VT where Bill declared that his Maine Black Bear Ice Cream was the best he'd ever eaten!!  This time, I did not get a picture as I was too busy inhaling my Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt.  (Unfortunately, there was just enough sugar in this that I suffered for about 24 hours afterwards so jury is still out as to whether or not it was worth it!)  

Again, I cannot leave the subject of this day's journey without mentioning the devastating effects of Hurricane Irene on this specific area of Vermont.  Last August, Irene came through and I encourage you to take a moment to follow the link in order to see the extreme devastation.  These things seem so distant to us southerners, much as our April, 2011 tornados and flooding most likely seem distant to these folks in Vermont.  But we are human - the pain and devastation feels the same no matter where it happens.  Just as we in Tennessee are, these are resilient folks and the progress made is amazing.  But one only need to take a walk anywhere along water to see the remants.  What hurts us most is to see these wonderful old covered bridges either missing completely, half torn away or full of obvious new boards to replace the ones which were damaged.  
We arrived in Woodstock to our home for the next ten days and Bill declared it the best yet.  I've come to understand that he declares this EVERY time we arrive at a new place!  Since I'm the one that does all the trip planning and preparation, his affirmation is always appreciated.  But he's right about this one.  It is beautiful, perfectly located and will be a great place to hang out over the busy Memorial Day weekend.  We make it a point to have a comfortable place in a convenient location during the holiday weekend so that traveling in the car isn't necessarry.  We are 2 blocks off the main road in this perfect New England Village of approximately 1,000, situated on a hillside where we have a constant breeze and an unobstructed view of Mt. Tom.  The picture above is the exact view taken from our living room pictured here................. (enlarge any pic by clicking on it)
 I've taken up residence on the sofa while Bill enjoys the chair in the foreground.

 I saw Bill's eyes light up and the chef hat go on the minute he walked into this kitchen!

Home in Woodstock, Vermont!

Yes, those are tulips seen from any window in the picture just above!  Color me happy!

 Downtown Woodstock, 2 blocks from our house!
Where the parade will be on Saturday - small town America!  Can't wait!

 Woodstock, VT Village Green

Downtown Woodstock covered bridge - seems it might have escaped Hurricane Irene!
The one in Quechee Village just down the road, not so lucky!  It's half missing.

 View from the covered bridge!

At the corner of the street that leads 2 blocks up to our house!

The ten days here was strategically planned.  It will include the halfway point of our trip and although we have much to do while here, it will also involve lots of resting, both physically and mentally.  The focus changes from biking to hiking.  Woodstock has 30 miles of trail, most of which can be accessed directly from our house.  We plan to hike most, if not all, of those 30 miles.  Two long daytrips are planned while here, one to Vermont's capital, Montpelier and the other to Boston. 
I'm writing this early Friday afternoon and will readily admit that we haven't done much except rest since arriving on Wednesday.  There have been leisurely strolls through the area which BTW, closes up promptly at 6 p.m. every night.  It's never noisy, but after 6 p.m., it's silent!  Yesterday afternoon, we drove into Lebanon, NH for groceries.  It's about 15 miles and the closest town with a full size grocery store.  It was time to stock up and once Bill saw the large, well equipped kitchen and understood that the word of the day while here was slow pace, his mind started working and based on the grocery store run yesterday, I'm anticipating some nice dinners over the next few days. 

Last evening, it began raining and we've had some brief rain showers this morning although the sun is predicted to peek through the clouds shortly. Once it does, we'll put on the hiking boots (yippee!) and head for the summit of either Mt. Peg (directly behind the house) or Mt. Tom (directly in front of the house).  Daytime highs expected to be in the low to mid 70's with lows in the low 50's throughout our time here.  I suspect there might be some front porch rocking and lots more reading.   

Speaking of reading, thanks so much for following along!  Your comments and feedback really do make us feel not quite so removed from home!


  1. Looks fabulous! When we were on our drive home from PA, we stopped to get gas and food. I had a packed a sandwich for myself but when the guys all got foot long subs, I got a small (and boy do they now make them SMALL) cup of sugar free fat free pineapple coconut ice cream. I enjoyed every bite.

  2. I love your adventures and descriptions of places you go. I would love to be like that with Brent after our kids fly the coupe - go on excursions exploring parts of the country! I love that bridge and the tulips! You have such a way of writing!! Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!!

    Best Wishes my Friend,

  3. I'm glad you're enjoying Woodstock!

  4. Isn't Vermont just gorgeous? Driving through it is never boring, that's for sure. That place sure looks like a wonderful resting point - love the kitchen!

  5. Love the weather too. The 90s and the humidity have arrived here. Thank goodness we had one of the last temperate weeks for our bike ride! Hail to the Chef from us!

  6. Hi Sharon, Color you HAPPY is right!!!! I'm so envious... Your trip is amazing... Sorry though about the car problems --but glad you got it repaired and liked the people who did it for you. We were heading to Vermont and New York last Sept. Even had alot of the trip planned... We were going to see all of their covered bridges up there. WELL--then that storm hit. SO--we cancelled that idea and went to West Virginia instead. Someday I do want to do that trip ---but was upset to hear that even after almost a year that many of the bridges are still either gone or in disrepair... Guess we'll have to wait a few more years before going.

    Thanks so much for taking us with you on this glorious trip...

  7. I loved Vermont when I got to visit there a few years ago. and that house you're staying in--makes me want to get out and travel again. I just love staying in houses when I travel instead of hotel rooms! so great to be able to spread out, and of course to have room to cook and keep good food.

    Thanks for the great travelogue!

  8. I think I want you to plan my next trip! It all sounds so lovely and you have stayed in the cutest places. Enjoy!

  9. We lived in Rutland, Vermont when my youngest daughter was born. We had more snow our last winter there than we had in three years of living in Anchorage, Alaska. It is beautiful country. :)

  10. I have traveled throughout most of the continental United States and Vermont is without a doubt the most beautiful of all the states. Its unspoiled beauty is unrivaled by any other state in the country.