brattleboro

Downtown Brattleboro, Vermont, a city of 12,000 residents, succumbs to floodwaters caused by Tropical Storm Irene.  Montpelier, the capital, faces a flood threat from the confluence of rivers in the area – rivers which could crest at 20 feet – as well as the possibility of an intentional release of water to alleviate pressure on the earthen Mashfield Dam, four hours upstream.  At least one resident is confirmed dead.  (Photo: Zach McLaughlin / WCAX)

Vermont Gothic
  • The green feels strange on your feet as you stroll through the thawed meadow. It’s wispy strands seem to clutch onto your feet as you stroll. What is this strange green substance? Somewhere, deep inside your mind you feel as if you once knew, but it is gone now. Only speculation remains.
  • Driving down route 7, you see a car wreck. All New York and Mass plates. A wide grin begins to find it’s way over you as you speed past. The brightly colored leaves nod in approval.
  • They say the bloodstains found in the fresh snow were only from animals, but you know Timmy did not come home last night. In order for spring to begin, the winter must take it’s payment. Buds begin to sprout on the trees, and the temperature suddenly rises.
  • Spring is in the air and the roads subsequently turn to mud. Dirt roads no longer exist, and we are not sure how much longer the pavement is going to hold up.
  • Walking alone on a trail, you suddenly trip over a root. Before you have the chance to lift yourself up, a voice in the trees whispers your name. You forgot it was maple sugaring season. The trees are hungry.
  • Your shoe sticks in the mud. As you begin to sink deeper and deeper, you are glad. There will be a bountiful harvest this summer.
  • After years of living near the power plant, you begin to forget it even exists. The black and white spots developing on your skin must just be a rash, you say. Soon enough the only thing you can say is “moo”, and you come to realize something.

For the past fifteen months we have been very fortunate to run part of our business out of this old Cotton Mill along the Connecticut River in Brattleboro. We shared hallways and advice from granola makers, jam makers, pie bakers, sign makers and tons of artisans. We come away rich with friends that have helped us flourish and grow. Now the time has come though & we have rented a big truck and are moving our caramel wrapping & packing & shipping back up to Townshend to a former stuffed animal factory at the bottom of our hill. While we are sad to lose such good neighbors, it will be very thrilling indeed to have the goats, the caramel making and the shop so much closer together (and in much more space!). It is an exciting time for us here at the farm, so stay tuned!

7

Road Trip: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 

Monday I had the full breakfast option – quiche and, because it was Vermont, Reader, banana pancakes with maple syrup – and chatted up Amy, one of the B&B owners. Amy and her husband used to be working stiffs like me. She offered to sell me the B&B, which had made them enough money to fund the purchase of their home and the restaurant and brewery they were renovating in Town. I didn’t bite, but I’m not ruling out B&B Owner as a future occupation. Especially if I can justify my own pub. 

I packed up and headed to Sam’s – Brattleboro’s sizeable outdoors store – where I invested in a wonderful pair of hiking boots (sold by my favorite Vermonter hands-down – and they’re a pretty likeable people), an allegedly bug repellent top and many pairs of Smartwools on sale. (Reader, you can never have too many.)

Absurdly stocked with outdoor gear – which I’m sure will prove terribly helpful in the wilds of Brooklyn –  I made my slow way towards the Berkshires along beautiful Highway 9 (see for yourself, Reader).

There were no moose.

I stopped in Bennington along the way, passing a funeral as I drove in, which seemed appropriate. Bennington felt like a fading retirement town. My lunch didn’t improve my opinion. The deal was sealed for me when I found myself behind a fellow with a bumper sticker reading, “IT WAS NOT MOTHER NATURE … IT WAS FATHER GOD.” (My un-soul mate.) I had a mind to yank him out of his truck and beat the sexism out of him (and possibly a little Darwinism in), but opted to continue on to Williamstown, where I met Hamilton and George and, apparently, stopped taking photos – even with my iPhone. (Hence the abbreviated post.)

We ate that night at the Man of Kent in Hoosick (you sick) Falls, New York, Hamilton’s pub of choice during his time in the Berkshires. Burgers and beer and a relaxed crowd among an impressive collection of sports paraphernalia. Reader, you would dig it the most.

The next morning we hiked Greylock (Massachusetts’ tallest mountain, in case you hadn’t heard) in the rain, which was awesome, and made awkward friends with a Mass. State parks ranger. My newly acquired hikers proved a terribly wise purchase. (I have not yet tried out the bug-repellent shirt, Reader, but will get back to you on that.) That evening we rewarded ourselves for… arguably nothing with a delicious dinner at Mezze, which has a great local menu – try the Northeast Family Steak dinner – and a charming staff (including our waitress, who withstood the test of Hamilton’s hijinks.)

After wandering the town Wednesday and stuffing ourselves with burritos from the college’s burrito truck – not so good, Reader, although a bargain – we hit the road, stopping partway so that Hamilton and George could pee and I could purchase the enormous soft serve ice cream cone I’d been longing for the entire trip – which ice cream immediately flopped lengthwise across my hand. (They gave me another, Reader – likely out of pity – almost all of which I managed to get into my mouth (and George’s).) And thence we made our way back to the BK, where I became soundly cranky and began plotting my next road trip adventure.

(Images: my light breakfast at the B&B; my new hikers(!); the views from Highway 9; the closest I got to a moose on this trip; my un-soul mate)