So, I went to Vermont recently. I went with a friend. I’ll call her Sherry. Sherry just loves Vermont because she is rich. Rich people just love Vermont. I guess it’s because the whole state is like a little postcard of white bread patrician wholesomeness. It’s so clean and everyone there looks outdoorsy and freshly scrubbed like they just came from an L.L. Bean photo shoot. Anyhoo, she wanted to go (and I’m a vacation whore) so of course I said, “Vermont? Hells yes!”
If you don’t know, a “vacation whore” is that person/friend/paid escort who is willing to go anywhere, anytime at the drop of a hat. That is me. If you called me right now and said, “Hey, wanna go to…” I’d be packing a bag and leaving skidmarks on the driveway before we hung up. My kids know how to order a pizza and the Current Legal Spouse can pick up the slack, so I’m your gal.
I live in Texas where we don’t experience the seasons. But oh! Vermont in October! Crisp Autumn days! Leaf peeping! Maple tapping! Cheese tours! I was pretty jacked up. As I packed I knew this wouldn’t be our “typical” girl’s trip. There have been a few wild ones… this would be more like “Girls Gone Mild.” Still, I was excited. I started to realize how few flat boots and shoes I owned. I assumed Vermonters pretty much frownie-face on the fuck-me pumps.
Sherry made the travel plans but I picked all the restaurants because she knows I’m a level 10 foodie freak fatty. An eatomaniac, if you will. I care way too much about food. Some would call it an eating disorder. I call it a discriminating palate. A bad meal can ruin me for the day. So, I gathered my laptop and notebook along with my food-porn trifecta: Conde Nast, Bon Appetit and Zagat.
|This is probably Martha Stewart’s maid’s house.|
We flew into New York and rented a car. Just driving through Vermont is stunning. A quilted patchwork of farms and freshly starched little towns painted white and green. Quiet, dappled sunlit back roads that stretch on for miles. No fast food joints. Not a billboard in sight. And the trees! The colors! It’s like an acid trip! It’s like God ate too many Fruity Pebbles and hurled up this technicolor masterpiece. The tourism board should really contact me to write their brochure.
The hotel was in the heart of historic Manchester Village and did not disappoint. Our room was luxurious and romantic. We decided the bellhop had us pegged as lipstick lesbians. (Or just plain old lesbians- it had been a long day of travel and I didn’t have any lipstick on.) Maybe I shouldn’t have held Sherry’s hand in the lobby? I’m very affectionate… sue me! In any event, the hotel was perfect for me and my life partner. We spent that first afternoon out exploring the shops, sampling cheeses and sipping hot cider. That night we lingered over a maple-glazed porkfest and many glasses of wine by a roaring fire. I told the waiter it was my wife Portia’s birthday and to bring something special for dessert. We were so exhausted, fat and happy to be there, anywhere, without our children or husbands. Nobody jumping on our beds or trying to have sex with us while we’re bloated. Perfection.
Vermont’s main claim to fame is maple syrup. There are several types of maple trees that they tap this liquid gold from. You’ve got your grade A, your grade B and your “fancy.” You didn’t know you were going to learn so much did you!? I make learning fun! Another fun thing to do is to walk up to a maple tree in front of random strangers, start stroking the bark and say, “Aww yeah.. I’d tap that!” It never gets old. I don’t care what Sherry says.
There was also a lot of cheese making going on. And a shit-ton of samples everywhere. You could not go anywhere without someone shoving some maple-flavored goat gouda in your pie hole. It was awesome! We could not stop sampling. There is an actual “cheese trail” through Vermont. It was a whole lotta dairy churning in the belly. Cholesterol rising by the minute. By the end of the day I could feel my organs shutting down one by one, so we limped back to the hotel. Then it was time for dinner! Holy crap- literally. Let me just sum up our “gastrointestinal adventures” this way: That toilet saw more ass than Charlie Sheen at a porn convention. Sherry and I took our friendship to another level. Enough said. Let’s never speak of it again.
The next morning Sherry had arranged for us to do something called “falconry.” I didn’t really question it, thinking maybe it was going to be a historical reenactment of the 1980’s television show Falcon Crest with Lorenzo Lamas. Which would be totally kick ass!
But no, that wasn’t it at all. Turns out falconry is the ancient art of hunting wild quarry by means of a trained bird of prey. A falcon. Huh. In layman’s terms you basically walk around with hunks of meat in a fanny pack until a huge-ass bird swoops down out of nowhere and plucks it from your gloved arm.
What. The. Fuck.
Um. Saywhatnow, Sherry? How in hell did I become friends with this crazy bitch? I was totally ready to break up with her. Oh, Lord it was too late- we pulled up to the place and were greeted by Brenda, the 6 foot flannel-clad falcon mistress. She did kinda look like Lorenzo Lamas. You know how earlier I said everyone in Vermont was outdoorsy and freshly scrubbed? Well upon closer inspection all that cold, bracing outdoorsy-ness can really do a number on your skin. Brenda’s face had all the suppleness and texture of a Chicken McNugget. Maybe she didn’t have access or knowledge of a decent moisture regimen. Maybe she had a run-in with an uppity falcon, I don’t know. I was too afraid to ask. I wondered if falcons could smell fear. I asked Brenda if falcons had nostrils. She ignored me while she and Sherry waxed poetic about the majestic beauty of giant killer birds.
|This is Brenda and her faithful companion.|
We spent an hour learning more than I ever wanted to know about falcons, all the while this feathered assassin kept eyeballing me. And by that I mean Big Bird clearly wanted to pluck my eyeballs out and fly away with them. I’m so glad Brenda made us sign and initial the five page disclaimer saying that *might* happen, but hardly ever does. Good times.
Sherry seriously had to make it up to me the next day with a trip to the spa and a drive to the original Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream factory. I must have lacto-amnesia because I was stoked! It was a fun tour and- you guessed it- more samples! By this time I was like a conditioned eating machine. Nothing could stop me. I just needed to.. maybe.. lay.. down…
We headed back towards town through the winding country roads, aflame in autumnal splendor. Occasionally I would urge Sherry to pull over so I could get out and take a picture of some of that splendor. Also, I needed to fart and I’m very considerate like that.
On one of our little “detours” for “pictures” [farts] we became lost but weren’t too concerned because hey! We had our phones with directions, maps etc. and hey! Adventure! Then it got dark. I’m not talking about dark like where you live, looking outside and it’s dusky because you’ve got street lights, maybe a Burger King in the distance. No. I’m talking the inky-black-country-dark-can’t-see-jack-shit. We were driving and driving and our phones weren’t working. I started to get a little uneasy when we passed the same spooky farm several times. We’d look at the map then turn back around. Vermont has some fucked-up back roads, not to mention several *key* bridges were washed away in the flood earlier that year. Super. That detail wasn’t on the map. We were experiencing the little-known underbelly of Vermont. Banjo’s and shit. I was starting to sweat and it smelled a little like maple syrup. Hours later we finally made it back to the hotel alive and soothed ourselves with room service and a Ryan Gosling movie.
All in all, it was a fabulous trip and like all experiences, I learned some things that will stay with me:
1. Sherry is weird
2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
3. Falcons can smell fear
4. My cheese threshold isn’t what it once was
5. Vermont has an underbelly
I’m so happy to impart the wisdom of our carpet-munching capers onto you, Dear Reader.
Happy Cheese Trails!