) Vermont is quite an underpopulated state, much to my surprise. I wasn't sure what to expect when I got there, other then some probably fabulous leaf color changing, etc. Compared to California though, VT has a hell of a lot of trees, it's like all forest and mostly agricultural (with all the pretty barns and churches with the white steeple). It's rural roots are somewhat deceptive though (with rural areas one would expect redneckedness), with VT politics being surprisingly progressive, and free Wifi at every rest stop. There is also an absolute lack of Starbucks, MacDonalds and Walmarts anywhere (down the road from where I live there are 3 Starbucks within a block of each other).
In a nod to the absolute miles and miles of hiking and wildlife there were to be found in VT, Hubby and I did walk .3 miles from the parking lot to to view the Quechee Gorge overlook
. The real walking was to be done in the endless shopping (poor Hubby)! By talking with fellow b&b'ers at the B&B we stayed at, I'd randomly pick an area in the morning, we'd drive there and grab an area map. I would circle all of the area bookstores and stores of interest and then hand the map to Hubby.
"Engage." I commanded Hubby.
Then Hubby would dutifully drive around to all the places I had circled...though when we hit the 2nd yarn shop on a certain day, he elected to stay outside with all the other exhausted men.
Indeed the week turned into a VT Independent Bookstore Tour of sorts. There was nary a B&N or Borders to be found anywhere. My favorite was Bear Pond Books
in Montpelier (there were 3 other bookstores within the same block, LOVELY!). We ended going up there 3x and it was like rediscovering a long lost friend. They featured books I probably would never have found on my own...and omigod, these books I snapped up immediately. They turned out to be great reads (will go into that in a minute).
The first one was Little Chapel on the River
, by Gwendolyn Bounds. As a staff reporter for the WSJ in NY, Wendy survives 9/11, and in trying to piece her life back together, she finds an Irish pub in Garrison NY where she bonds with the folk there, and in doing so, is able to find herself again. The pub owner, Jim Guinan is getting on in years, and the future of the bar is in question. You begin to care about the pub and its denizens almost as much as Wendy does. It's a very nicely written book that is staying on my keeper list.
Also great is Hunting and Gathering
by Anna Gavalda, a French author I'd never heard of before. She paints a portrait of four different people who come together and somehow manage to become a family. I'm not doing it justice with my vague description here, but the way she writes is so...French
, it's like your reading it in French because you know how to read French but it's in English and you catch all the nuances of the dialogue, etc. I'm 3/4 of the way through it and it's very good.
Finally, another fave of mine is Smoke & Mirrors
by Neil Gaiman. This kept me entertained through the long plane rides, each story an amuse-bouche
. I think my fave story Shoggoth's Old Peculiar
In all I think Woodstock VT was my favorite place, it's tiny downtown a group of charming colonial buildings, including an art gallery that sells Sabra Fields
prints. I couldn't resist buying that print (inset).
Had a thoroughly enjoyable time, all in all. I only wish I could've stayed longer, but glad to be home now...if only because I miss my kids and back to work to pay off all the bills I ran up. :P