It’s only been four weeks since we flew home from New England, but it looks like the landscape we enjoyed so much will have changed significantly already. Hurricane Sandy is making her way north today, with Vermont in her sights.
While we were there, we saw areas that had been badly damaged when the last hurrican blew through – bridges that had been destroyed, homes that had been cut off, roads swept away and trees downed. They said on the news today that Hurricane Sandy is a storm the size of Europe, which my little brain can’t really take in.
This picture shows the view at sunrise from one of the bed and breakfasts we stayed in. A nice side effect of the jet lag we experienced was that we got to see the sun come up over the mountains, illuminating all the trees. (Jet lag also meant that while we were in Boston, I was able to get up and go for a swim in the hotel pool before the sun came up. One morning I saw the dark pre-dawn sky turn pink and red through the pool’s roof-top windows, which was a nice start to the day.)
Vermont is a lovely place – definitely somewhere we would like to go back to. The scenery is beautiful, with so many waterfalls and gushing rivers all over the place. One morning we drove past a large lake which was draped in clouds of mist, floating just above the surface of the water.
Farming is an important part of the economy, and we were able to visit two farms and meet the animals that lived there. The first was a small alpaca farm, where cuddly (and apparently very valuable) alpacas roamed around in a lush green landscape. Later that same day we went to Shelburne Farms, close to Lake Burlington. The farm buildings were of such extravagant construction that they wouldn’t have looked out of place at Hogwarts, and they were filled with goats, calves, sheep and hens – and sparrows, who flew in and helped themselves to the animals’ food.
The following day we headed further east and ended up in the sort of small town that shuts down on Sundays. And of course it was Sunday. Just when it seemed that we’d all have to spend the afternoon and evening at the hotel playing cards and eating snacks from a vending machine, Megan found a restaurant for us in the next town, and I spotted that the local bowling alley offered a discount to people staying at our hotel. From its name, the restaurant did not sound promising, but it was actually very good – I wish we’d paid more attention to what went into the meal we had, so that I could try to recreate it at home. And the bowling alley was exactly the sort of experience I always love to stumble across on my travels, a glimpse into how local people live. It was an old-fashioned place, and many of the bowling balls had people’s name engraved on them. There were noticeboards filled with pictures of veteran bowlers, and a bar serving generously-poured drinks. And, unlike any bowling alley I’ve ever been in at home, there were signs up advertising the local gun shop.
It was dark by the time we finished bowling and drove back to the hotel. As we got out of the car to head up to our rooms, we noticed how clear the skies were – there were plenty of stars on display, more than we usually see in our urban surroundings. Megan and Scott are exactly the sort of people you want to be friends with on an evening like this: Megan immediately got us all back in the car, and directed Scott to drive us to a spot even further away from the city lights so that we could see more of the sky. We parked on a fairly remote lane, and all got out of the car to take a look. Within seconds we saw a shooting star.