Overview of my Summer: 2013

Summer has come and gone, with little to no blogging accomplished. I have no excuses. I had every intention of displaying my favorite summer recipes that used all of the veggies out of my new garden, but instead gobbled most of these up before I had time to snap a couple of photos. No worries, though, I will be writing some more about the summer in the upcoming days. Then, maybe once I am all caught up, I can get back into current blogging.

Anyways, I really had another amazing summer. It was so great, that I feel fine with letting it go and welcoming Fall with open arms.

Trapp Family Lodge

Anth and I kicked Summer off with a visit from my parents. We were able to show them around some of Vermont including Burlington and Stowe and made sure they ate and drank the best of Vermont (maybe too much!). Trapp Family Lodge, pictured above, offers amazing views, delicious beer made on the premises, and a variety of luscious baked goods.

Young Garden

Before

After

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also started our first real garden this year. We have been wanting a garden for the longest time, but have been moving in and out of new places with little to no land over the past two and half years during summer. This year, we moved to our new place, that had some room for a small garden in May, and were quick to start planting. Considering the hard ships many gardeners and farmers had this year with too much rain, we had a bountiful year. Here, you can see our baby kale turning into more adult kale. It was convenient and fun having kale, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and parsley whenever we needed it. In addition, we had beets, zucchini, mint, hot peppers, and chives at other times.

We didn’t end up camping as much as I had hoped but did get a trip in at the beginning of summer. Our favorite place to camp in New England is in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This time we ended up at a cute little campground set right behind a covered bridge.

White Mountains

White Mountains

Shortly after camping, we made our way into Portland, Maine for the “Festival“, an amazing international beer event. There, we got to chat with some of our favorite brewers from across the world, while also sampling their beer. We love Portland, so we also enjoyed the weekend eating, drinking, and basking in the sunshine around the city.

Portland

As I briefly mentioned above, cooking this summer was fantastic. I had so much to cook with from the garden, plenty from the farmer’s markets, and it seemed like everywhere we went, we were ending up with more vegetables and meal ideas. Although soup is usually thought of as a savory winter meal, whenever the garden would get too overwhelming, I would end up throwing everything together for some of the best summer vegetable soups I have ever had. One of my favorite memories of this summer, is having the door wide open, Pup laying outside in the sun, while I cook up a hearty vegetable soup.

Summer Garden Cooking

Summer Garden Cooking

Summer in Vermont is not complete without a trip to see Bread and Puppet. I have other posts on here just about Bread and Puppet, so if you have never heard of it, take a look here.

Bread and Puppet Show

Bread and Puppet Show

I continued my mentorship with Jeremy this summer and we ended up having all kinds of fun, finally getting to enjoy swimming holes and hiking. One of his favorite places ended up being Moss Glenn Falls which is located in Stowe, Vermont.

Jeremy at Moss Glenn Falls

Jeremy at Moss Glenn Falls

The Festival wasn’t the only beer festival of the year. Of course, we also enjoyed the Vermont Brewers Festival that takes place right on Lake Champlain. This year the underdog breweries were the highlight, and I will be adding an article about it shortly.

Vermont Brewers Festival 2013

Vermont Brewers Festival 2013

Surprisingly, Anth, Pup, and I also took a trip outside of New England this Summer. We usually try to save those types of trips for the other seasons, but when my Mom invited us down to the Outer Banks for a few days, we just couldn’t pass it up this year. I was able to show Pup and Anth all of my favorite childhood spots, including my favorite Southern Lighthouses.

Inside of Ocracoke Lighthouse.

Inside of Ocracoke Lighthouse.

This year, I finally jumped the Ausable River Gorge, right outside of Lake Placid. We had toyed with this idea late last Summer, but were never able to figure out the logistics of it at the time. This year, though, I took the leap.

Me jumping into the Ausable River Gorge.

Me jumping into the Ausable River Gorge.

Most of our Summer was spent enjoying hikes, covered bridges, and brewpubs right in our backyard of Vermont and New Hampshire. As usual, the Vermont Summer activities did not disappoint.

Martin Covered Bridge - Marshfield, VT

Martin Covered Bridge – Marshfield, VT

Sterling Pond - hike from Smugglers Notch

Sterling Pond – hike from Smugglers Notch

Hidden New Hampshire Covered Bridge

Hidden New Hampshire Covered Bridge

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Don’t Miss Warren

Warren Town SignBe careful when driving through Warren, Vermont. If you don’t know what you are looking for, you

could just miss one of Vermont’s original classic villages.  To get there, you must take route 100, a curvy, hilly road that sticks close to Vermont’s rivers and mountain valleys, and is also known as one of the most scenic drives in all of New England. Watch out, the Warren Village sign is your only reminder to change course towards town. Once in town, Warren Village welcomes visitors with a timeless atmosphere and many outdoor recreation opportunities, certain to make you feel like a kid again.

Throughout the 19th century, Warren was a lumber and grain milling center. The mills produced everything from wooden bowls to shingles and exported most products to southern New England. You can experience this 19th century history by visiting many of the original town buildings. There are over 75 buildings and sites in all that are a part of the Warren Historic District. Start your tour in the center of Warren Village, on the hill that houses the Warren United Church. The church dates back to 1838 and is a good viewpoint of the rest of town. Be sure to also include: the 1867 schoolhouse (now the Municipal Building and Library), the Village Cemetery of 1826, and the Warren House Hotel (1840) which is now the town’s general store. Although this building has a new purpose, it is still the center of village activity.

The Warren Store is a Must-Stop for local specialties, exotic clothes, and friendly chatter.

The Warren Store is a Must-Stop for local specialties, exotic clothes, and friendly chatter.

After you have enjoyed the classic ambiance of Warren Village’s rich history, you can move on to Warren’s outdoor amusements. On your way out of the village, though, don’t miss Warren’s unusual covered bridge. The Lincoln Gap Bridge, built in 1879-80, is a queenpost type covered bridge; unusual in how the two portals differ, meaning that the entrance extends farther than the exit. To this day, a town ordinance exists that restricts any alterations to the bridge unless two-thirds of the voters approve a change.

Don't forget to stop at Warren's covered bridge. Make sure to drive through, then park and read about the bridge on the plaques inside.

Don’t forget to stop at Warren’s covered bridge. Make sure to drive through, then park and read about the bridge on the plaques inside.

A trip to Warren in the summer is not complete without experiencing its natural wonders. An absolute must is a visit to what the locals know as Warren Falls. Although somewhat hidden off route 100 south, Warren Falls, is a natural water park for all ages, complete with water slides naturally carved out of boulders and diving platforms high enough to get your adrenaline going. Whether or not you are interested in taking a dip, the cosmic variations of blue and green that exist throughout the falls are sure to impress. Next, drive or bike down route 100 south to Moss Glen Falls. This unique landform is not a swimming hole but is an easy hike to two magnificent, clear blue waterfalls. If the swimming holes of Warren are too off the beaten path for you, take a trip to Blueberry Lake, a warm, pristine lake that was actually once a marsh. The lake is great for swimming, kayaking, and sailboats.

Warren is a must stop on any trip to Vermont. It is close to many other Mad River Valley attractions in addition to being less than an hour to Stowe, Montpelier, and even Burlington. Although summer is the best season to enjoy its many swimming holes, Warren is remarkable during any season.

Enjoy more pictures below:

Warren Falls is one of Vermont's most beautiful swimming holes.

Warren Falls is one of Vermont’s most beautiful swimming holes.

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A Vexillology Lesson in the Green Mountains

Well known around southern Vermont, Molly Stark was the wife of an American Revolutionary. He said of her, “There are your enemies, the Red Coats and the Tories. They are ours, or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow!”

“Why do you ask about that flag?”

“I don’t know. We have a recent interest in flags from places we have been to. Neither of us have ever seen that flag,” I respond. I’m fidgeting as I wonder exactly what I may have gotten myself into by asking a simple question about a brightly colored (red, white, blue) flag with eight pointed stars that looks as similar to “the” American flag as it does different.

“You like flags, do you? Do you know what a flag canton is?”

“No…”

“Well you have a lot to learn about vexillology,” Albert replies as he begins to relay his thoughts on the the history of American flags.

Albert tells us about his trip to D.C. to represent the North Eastern states in a vexillology conference that focused on creating a law to make it illegal to burn an American flag. However, he was more interested in defining what is and isn’t an American flag and why we would want to create more laws around how we treat the flag. His voice rings in pure excitement as he mentions that the trip ended when he was kicked out.

“Now you can say you met someone who was kicked out of a national vexillology conference.”

A giant block of cheese divides the two of us and the smell of cheddar fills the store. Anthony and I end up listening to Albert’s history on flags for close to a half hour before we make a $25 offer on the flag. We watch as Albert slowly climbs on top of an old wooden chair to unpin the flag from the ceiling. He is excited to sell this flag so that he can finally replace it with a more popular Vermont flag.

Albert and his hometown of Wilmington, Vermont ended up being the highlight of my weekend to southern Vermont. Our route started at the Waterbury exist on 89S down to the floating bridge in Brookfield via the Northfield exit. I wasn’t very impressed with the floating bridge which is no longer used by cars and had begun to mold where the water sits on top. Our next stop was at our favorite Irish pub which resides in Killington, VT called McGrath’s. The pub is part of the Inn at Long Trail which sits right off of Vermont’s Long Trail. We had a couple of Guinesses before making it to our final destination of Bennington.

The best place to grab a Guinness in Vermont.

 

Bennington has a lot to offer in terms of history. The Battle of Bennington took place during the American Revolutionary War and the Bennington Battle monument is the tallest structure in Vermont. The battle even has its own American flag. However, I was surprised by the lack of character Bennington seemed to have. It seemed somewhat lost when compared to my favorite towns of Vermont and we ended up spending most of our time down by the river enjoying the weather and the clear, warm water. We did make a stop to Madison’s Brewpub to give the local brews a try. The beer was great, but once again, the bar was lacking in atmosphere and we didn’t end up spending much time there.

Madison Brewing – Bennington, VT

Sunday is when we mosied around much smaller towns on our way back home. We stopped in West Dummerston to see the covered bridge. I was impressed with how long the bridge was and how many locals claimed the spot as their weekend beach. We also stepped through time when we stopped in Grafton where there are a few, original buildings (post office, inn) and the Grafton cheese company. However, Wilmington won for the most character and most to do. This quirky small town had wonderful little shops and eateries sprinkled along the river. It was one of the many southern towns that was horribly hit by Hurricane Irene which can still be detected.

West Dummerston Covered Bridge

I couldn’t get a picture in before I took a bite out of the Maple Cream Pie.

Before returning home, we pulled into one of our favorite diners in Vermont, the Wayside. After a Vermont-centric weekend, I was craving a slice of maple cream pie. I thought that was the perfect ending, however, a half hour later, we passed an outdoor concert that just happened to have a performer from one of our favorite folk bands. We were able to catch the last four songs of Brittany Haas before finally considering the weekend over.

Brittany Haas at the Skinny Pancake in Montpelier, VT