Winter in New England… Part One

I love all of New England. I would happily spend the rest of my life in Connecticut. I wish we could live in Madison!

OK... now for the good stuff:

After not seeing my husband for 4 months, I had a surprise for him. I told him to get in the Jeep and that I would drive us to an undisclosed location... 5 hours north. His only responsibility was to keep good music on the radio. We arrived at the mystery place at around 3 PM:

We had to be somewhere at 4:30 PM. All he knew was that we would be driving up a steep mountain on snowy roads. YIKES! But... our Jeep handled in well. Where... you may wonder... were we destined to be at 4: 30 PM??

Surprise!!! We went to Trapp Family Lodge. Do you recall the vonTrapp family of "The Sound of Music" fame? They left Austria and settled in Stowe, Vermont because the mountains resembled their beloved Edelweiss. Well, that was our mystery destination.

What would two people (who do not ski) be doing at Trapp Family Lodge... one of the top 5 ski resorts in the world... at the height of ski season??

Going for a horse drawn sleigh ride.... of course!!

Even though it was 14 degrees... with a wind chill making it feel like it was 5 below... we went for a ride in an open sleigh! We were dressed in layers, with scarves wrapped around our faces and two down blankets covering our legs. Not exactly toasty, but it took the frostbite potential down a couple notches.

My husband was very happy about my surprise and was impressed with how I managed to keep him in suspense until we walked up to the sign in the first picture. He thought I wanted us to cross-country ski. Maybe next time...

After the sleigh ride, we went into the Lodge and had mulled cider. I loved how each mug of cider came with a cinnamon stick and slice of orange. My husband was a bit worn out from the frigid half hour ride, but he survived!

The next day, we drove to Hardwick, Vermont to visit one of my favorite independent bookstores: The Galaxy Bookshop. I have written about it in a previous post.

I discovered this bookstore in 1993 when I was riding along the back roads in the Northeast Kingdom section of Vermont. As I mentioned in a previous post, the bookstore is in a former bank, so it has an interesting interior.

The Children's section is inside the vault! I brought my twin boys here when they were small. They would sit in there and look at books for 30-45 minutes at a time, while I browsed. When I took this picture, I could remember so clearly how they would hang out in there. Now they are 16...

I love the window design and the granite floors.

The next day, I took my husband to Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury, VT. Next door to the cider mill is a winery that sells supplies. My husband makes his own hard cider, so he was thrilled to get some white wine yeast. It is hard to find that stuff!

His favorite section seemed to be wherever coffee was brewing. I don't drink coffee, but he need regular doses throughout the day in order to function! Case in point:

On the way back to the highway for the ride back to Connecticut, we stopped by Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream headquarters.

Neither of us are ice cream eaters, but how could we resist?

The most interesting things I learned while there was that Ben and Jerry decided to take a $5.00 correspondence course to learn how to make ice cream. Then, they bought a $25.00 ice cream machine and opened up their business in Burlington, VT in a tiny retail space. To drum up business, they bought a bus (pictured above) and would drive around giving out free samples. Their little business grew. Now, that is impressive!! They've since moved on...

My husband dubbed our overnight excursion our "second honeymoon." I agree.

You have reached the end of part one...