Sunday the 1st we had just started our vacation the day before. For the first time since Nina was born, we were taking off 2 weeks in a row. The first week we rented a house in Stowe with the Cannons. We drove up in the afternoon and stopped in Northhampton at River Valley Co-op (where our friend Nate does IT) and at Sandy’s Drive-In for fish and chips and burgers. We got the keys to the house and got to the house and waited for the Cannons. After they got there Chris, V and I went down to the big Shaws near the highway to get groceries. After I found Lucerne milk and O Organics raisins I realized they were a sister store to Safeway, and shopping got a lot easier. Meanwhile Jess and Jill had figured out the Wi-Fi and ordered dinner for everyone from Piecasso. The pizza was very good, and it wasn’t a secret, as the only day their parking lot wasn’t full to the brim was the day they were closed.
Monday Jill went over the mountain to buy an air purifier as Nina was coughing some the night before and her room was musty. That afternoon we walked along the trail and stopped for Red Barn ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s factory tour was closed for construction and they just had the scoop shop open). That night we grilled burgers and were able to use the refilled hot tub (the house had some issues, including water seeping up through one of the master bathrooms).
Tuesday we drove into Burlington, where I had to ask what could be a better post Falcon Ridge lunch than The Skinny Pancake? Others got bagels, and we shopped before meeting Jill’s childhood friend Erica and her daughter Mira at the Burlington Bay Café for creamies (soft serve ice cream) and we wandered down to the Science Center. I stopped at the Smugglers’ Notch Distillery before we left to pick up a sampler, and the adults had a taste test after we made pasta for dinner (the winner was the whiskey brewed with maple syrup for me).
Wednesday I made waffles with the remaining yeast (after I made a loaf of low sodium bread for myself) and bacon, then we took the gondola up to the top of Stowe Resort. That evening we had Piecasso again as Jill’s cousins Greg & Cathy came over and asked for pizza.
Thursday I lazed around and read comics as Jill wanted to take the kids to All Things Bright and Beautiful, which her mother had taken her & her sisters to when she was young. Some had lunch at The Mad Taco, and they considered going to Ben & Jerry’s but the line for the scoop shop was 40 minutes long, so they bought pints for everyone. The girls got their energy out with a giant blow up spray unicorn. Jill didn’t want a pint, so we went into Stowe and stopped at Stowe Sweets for cones, and I picked up a bottle of Barr Hill Gin (made with honey) at a market. Jill, C and I hiked behind the house to see if it was possible to get to the next day’s trail before we were greeted with a steep drop, then we made fajitas for dinner.
Friday we drove to entrance of the Mill Trail and hiked past Bingham Falls. We later learned most people come in the other side and go down slippery stairs to a wide pool at the end, but we found a very cold part of the stream before the falls and everyone went in as long as they could take it. For lunch we had made reservations at the Trapp Family Lodge and good thing as they were booked solid. There was a funny incident when we were waiting for the host and a lady why she couldn’t sit at an empty table. He told her that he didn’t have enough servers for those tables then told her if she’d fill out a job application he’d hire her on the spot. I doubt we’d have noticed other than that, the service and food was great. We stopped at the bakery afterwards and had leftovers for dinner.
Saturday some folks went shopping in Stowe, then we took the kids to the corn maze they’d been begging to do – after 15 minutes in the hot sun, they were begging to leave, but we got out in about 40 minutes and went to Red Barn again. That night we had the older kids babysit the younger ones and we made pasta for them, then the adults went to Lost Nation for burgers, brisket & beer (they handled staffing shortages by having everyone bus there table into a container at the end of the table). We also finished the deadly jigsaw puzzle of just Lego minifig heads.
Sunday we had more waffles then packed up and left. I decided I wanted to stop by Mt. Holly where my family had owned a cottage when I was growing up. It was redone but still there, along with 2 new houses on the land we’d owned. Jill and I had come to an informal agreement to retire to Vermont since we’d both spent parts of our summers there when young, and we checked out the houses on Amherst Lake, Echo Lake and Lake Rescue as we passed on the way to The Vermont Country Store in Rockingham. Jill found candy, I found jam, and Nina’s favorite purchase of the trip was a mood ring. We thought we’d stop at The Marina in Brattleboro for a late lunch, but they had closed their kitchen because they were shortstaffed. We went into downtown Brattleboro figuring that a pizza place would be open, but Echo was closed for several days due to staffing. But I saw they had a Turn It Up! and I went in there while Jill and Nina went in Boomerang for some vintage clothes. And good idea, as they recommended nearby Whetstone. They had addressed their staffing by having you order and pay from the app, then they delivered the food and we bussed when we were done. But the food was fantastic and they literally sat on the edge of the Vermont/New Hampshire state line with a great view of the Connecticut River. Nina and I also got to see the Amtrak train stop in town and tie up traffic. It turned out to be an early dinner, which was fine as when we arrived Jill’s sister Robin wasn’t going to be up much longer.
Monday the 9th I had cereal in the morning, while Nina had ramen, toast & raspberries (she saw the ramen when we packed up the Vermont house and demanded it pretty much every day of the week). We went out to take a walk in Robinson Park, vacant of people because the riverside was closed, and only lasted 5 minutes as the mosquitoes literally chased us out. Nina was happy as they had installed a pool since our last visit, and we had to pull her out before we went over to the Bradys for pasta (and I got to hear about Ava’s brush with bald faced hornets).
Tuesday Nina and I had bacon & cereal for breakfast then we all went to Northampton. Jill went to Webs while Nina and I walked down to Turn It Up! She wasn’t in love with it, but crossing the street to Newbury Comics was a big hit – between the Avatar merch, Harry Potter merch and squishies (she got Nana to buy her a big squishy). We went to Osaka where we had Japanese food for lunch, then Robin’s husband Mike and son Finn got home for their trip to Maine and we got takeout from Golden Peacock and soft serve from Northside Creamery.
Wednesday I hadn’t slept well, plus I had a headache and my blood pressure was up (and it had already been up since my doctor had changed my meds), so I stayed in bed during the day. Nina had cereal & ramen to eat, then Jill and Robin’s dad and his wife came over and we got pizza.
Thursday I got up late and had a BLT. Jill and Nina were out and I stayed home with Mike and Finn. Finn can memorize numbers, and I thought it would be fun to call our home number since it had has a fun message. At least until he called it for the 30th time (and left a message I had to delete each time). After that I took a nap, then we had burgers & corn for dinner. A storm blew in and Mike and I had to run out to stop the patio tent from tearing itself apart with wind (the nearby airport measured gusts of 68 mph). Later I posted in things I never thought I’d say: “I really appreciate the former Skid Row frontman’s take on current events”.
Friday I had bacon & a donut, then Mike, Finn, Nina and I went to the Holyoke Children’s Museum. For dinner we got takeout from the Maple Leaf Pub and went out to Northside Creamery for dessert.
Saturday we headed out after packing. We made it more of a Falcon Ridge trip by taking 84 past the usual exit, then 87 into New Jersey. We’d been talking for years about stopping in Red Bank, and we finally did it this trip. We had to stop at the iconic Quick Stop (no sign of Kevin Smith, who was in town filming Clerks 3), then went to Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, and on Free Comic Book Day. We stopped in Oceanport at The Marina for a nice waterfront lunch. When we finally got home, Jill found I’d left the freezer door in the downstairs fridge open a crack, so everything was spoiled. That was fun to clean up.
Thursday the 19th was concert #6: Vertical Horizon and Train at Wolf Trap, nice to be in the pit with Linda. Full capacity and sold out – and so humid the first time I’ve only worn my mask for 2 hours and it came home damp. Friday we got takeout from Ozzies. Saturday we had tickets to go to Awesome Con, but it was inside and unsafe, no vaccination required and masks “encouraged”, so we took the loss and stayed home.
Monday was Nina’s first day of school. I was pleased later that day when Wolf Trap joined most of the other local venues in requiring vaccination to attend shows. The next day I shared an image of “No shoes, no shirt, no mask, no vax, no service” and said “Now it’s time. I want to see this sign everywhere I go.” Friday I had Southern Electrical Service over to fix the post light, which turned out to be a burned out darkness sensor, later we ate takeout from BGR.
Saturday the 28th was concert #7: Eddie From Ohio at Arrowbrook Park. Back for a third try after canceling in past years due to weather and Covid – got 40 minutes in before the skies opened up. But good to see Bob, Susan, Lorna & David beforehand. Nina was just happy there was a playground and an ice cream truck (and when did cones hit $6?). Sunday was Nina’s birthday party at The Water Mine. Unlike the last 2 pool based parties, the weather cooperated and Nina and her friends had a great time. I spent most of the time getting pizza and 14 sundaes (Baskin Robbins was selling dolphin themed cups, which was the party theme). She got to have some of her friends over to the house as they had an hour to kill before their Girl Scouts meeting.
Monday was Labor Day. Nina played the ping pong matches for a tournament a neighbor had created (I’d played the previous month). I gave money to The Mutual Aid Response Network (a group of Louisiana residents, led by Imagine Water Works, that activates during floods, storms, and other natural and manmade disasters) after Hurricane Ida.
My music collection listening continued this month – highlight was an entire week of Tori Amos.