Sat. June 23, 2012- Vermont:
I woke up just in time for the free coffee on offer downstairs, it was great because the coffee was still fresh and there was no one else around. I went back as well and got Brent a tea, because I know how much he loves tea (I swapped it out for my empty coffee cup, for the sake of not looking like a pig). We spent the morning sitting on the deck enjoying the fresh air and birds chirping, with a gorgeous view of the Green Mountains. And of course, we were anticipating 9am, which is when cider donuts were available in the gift shop. The donuts were amazing, they were reminiscent of sour cream donuts but less dense and they had just a hint of apple flavor from the cider.
Riding a mild sugar rush (the donuts were covered in a dusting of sugar) we walked to the fancy outlets that promised marble sidewalks. We should have realized something was up when the nice sidewalks ended and were going into a residential neighbourhood. We backtracked and realized that we had walked right by them! They were just off the street we were on, but we had been too busy looking at the little river on the other side of the street. The outlets alas, were not that great. We started out at Coach were there was a decent sale; however I had trouble with the idea of parting with $100 for a purse. Things only went downhill from there, Michael Kors (where the pushy saleswoman as trying to make a sale, even though I was already headed for the door) and then Kate Spade, it all just got progressively more expensive and the deals got worse. We ran out of time and decided that later we would go back.
It was second cup of coffee time, thankfully they still had it on offer at the hotel, and we had just enough time for me to grab a cup- just enough time before what? Why falconry of course! We drove down to The British School of Falconry, which is amazing we even found it. The driving directions said to look for a low wall of stones and a white building. Every house on that road was white and had a stone wall along the edge of the property! I was there to observe and photograph, no way was I going to let a giant harris hawk sit on my hand. We were joined by another couple, both of whom were partaking. In total, in a small space at first, there were three hawks flapping their wings, all excited about going outside and getting to fly about. It was more than terrifying, being stared at by a hawk is just plain uncomfortable. Of the three, Brent’s hawk, Haggis, was the calmest. The instructor took us all for a short walk, while she followed us from the treetops. At one point Haggis tried to attack a young crow, but the mother crow swooped in and a kerfuffle ensued. To show us how a harris hawk is used in falconry to take down prey, the instructor brought out a bait (feathers stuck together) tied to a string and swung it over his head. She swooped down and caught it and started pecking madly at it, pulling it apart. When he distracted he r by throwing a piece of meat into the grass, to pull the bait away, she kept attacking the grass, pulling up blades of it.
For lunch we went to the Woodfired Pizza Oven Co. and got just what the sign said, wood-fired over pizza. The oven was painted all sorts of bright colours, hippy-style. Back at the outlets, I had no luck finding any of what I was looking for, so I resorted to eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream instead (Bonnaroo Buzz). We drove through the Green Mountain National Forest; it was very scenic and beautiful. When we got to Mt. Killington (second highest peak in Vermont), I could not help but notice that there were clouds hanging over the peak which made it seem much higher and therefore a more dreadful hike. We parked near the main lodge, only to find out there was another parking lot at the base of where the trail started. There was a Waffle Cabin at the base of where the trail started, but for some odd reason, it was not open. Who does not want waffles while hiking in the summer?! We had walked uphill along a curvy road (rather tiresome) for no reason! The hike was mildly tiring, and rather steep most of the way (these were ski hills we were climbing after all) but the terrain was all gravel and easy to traverse. As we hiked further up it got foggier and colder, which was refreshing. At the very top however, it was only 15 degrees Celsius and you could not see ANYTHING, at all, just grey. We had encountered a father and son on their way back down nad the son asked us why we were trying to get to the top. We shrugged him off as an insolent kid being a brat. He had a point. So much for getting to see Quebec, all that was at the top were some ugly cell phone towers. Thankfully on the way back down it did briefly clear, just long enough to give us a view of the valleys and mountains across the way. In total there were about 7 layers of mountains receding.
From the bottom looking up we could see that the clouds were receding, but I was too tired to get mad. What tired me even more was when we walked too far and missed the parking lot and had to walk more. Needless to say, back in the car it was great getting to just sit down. We stopped in Woodstock, Vermont (the prettiest small town in America) for dinner at the Richardson Tavern. To start we split a fondue, or should I say fundue? It was a lot of fun dipping the various items into the cheese and making a mess, it was surprising how good a grape dipped in cheese is. I ordered the crab-cake burger because that was the most appealing thing on the menu. However I’ve got to ask, why bother making it a burger?! The crab-cake is already breaded! It was too much food. It also came with a rather troublesome fruit salad on the side. I say troublesome because it had pineapples, mangoes and honeydew melon in it, not exactly the best fruits. After dinner we walked around town, gawking at all the inherent prettiness contained in houses built in the 1800s. The old town hall had been converted into a cinema, but at first glance it seemed that Men In Black 3 was on the town meeting’s agenda.
On our way to the Super 8 motel where we were staying we drove over the Queechee gorge. It was really pretty, but I only found out afterwards that had I said anything, we could’ve stopped given there were no more plans for the day, my bad. I ended the day as I started it, stocking up on free beverages, pretending one was for Brent.