Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Vermont Summer Getaway

I have to tell you... I think I have found the place where I would like to spend the rest of my summer days. I am in love... with Vermont.

I have been thinking about going to Vermont for years. "It is the closest scenery to home that you will find in this country" I had heard. They were not lying. Rolling green hills, lush forests, wild berries, apple orchards, crisp mornings, sheep... I found it all there.

Another thing that I should tell you is that I have a great friend. A friend who I met in my first months of blogging and has remained close ever since. I even wrote about her a few years ago.

Nadia lives in southern Vermont on top of a hill with breathtaking views, surrounded by blueberry bushes, apple trees, a pond, and what could be an enchanted forest. When we arrived last week, I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought about the Basque Country and my family back home. All so familiar.

My plan was to relax, cook, and have long conversations with Nadia about life and art. I needed to getaway from my kitchen and computer. Her nephew and niece, Dylan and Elle, were visiting from Montreal and I knew Jon and Miren would find the perfect playmates in them. They fed the chickens and ducks, played with the dogs and cats, and admired the horses. Activities that I grew up doing and seem so foreign to so many children these days. I was excited to watch them in nature and just be.

On our first day there, we took a drive to a farm-stand in Shaftsbury. It was such a beautiful morning with clear skies and cool breeze. We stopped to get some vegetables, berries, and cheese. Elle and I walked around with our cameras in silence. She is quite the photographer herself.

We started driving back and on the side of the road was this sign for fresh farm eggs. We made a quick stop at Red Comb Farm without realizing that it was the home of a fellow blogger. Abi and her husband were generous enough to show us around their property. Their chickens, ducks, and even alpaca. Abi who knits, uses their wool for these vintage inspired baby caps.

It was so inspiring to see her three beautiful children run around with the animals. It left me longing for a life in the country.

Once home, I made a zucchini risotto with fresh herbs from Nadia's garden and local Vermont cheese. It was sunny and quiet.

Abi had talked to us about a berry farm in Massachusetts, so after a little rest, we packed up the car and drove south. It was a warm afternoon, but the kids had fun picking raspberries. Miren couldn't stop eating them right off the bush. Then it was time for ice cream in Williamstown.

Friday we woke up early to drive to Boston. It was a long drive, but the kids managed well. We had a great lunch at the bustling Flour Bakery where to my surprise, had a few gluten-free desserts and wonderful soups and salads. I have to say, I have never been so tempted by a grilled cheese sandwich in my entire life.

We played duck, duck, goose with the kids at the park. Had more ice cream and then back home.

I was excited for Saturday morning because Nadia promised me a trip to the Brattleboro farmers' market. She began the day by making us a delicious breakfast, a berry crisp from the berries we had picked days before, and an apricot and raspberry galette. The house smelled heavenly.

I was again so inspired by all the young farmers with young children. The market is located under a forest of maple trees. The produce was abundant and so were the dairy and meat stands. I talked to every single one of them about raising children on a farm, what keeps them going through the hard labor and commitment. Truly inspiring.

Miren and I had gluten-free pizza topped with kale as we listened to the local band. She played in the sand box with other children and we sampled homemade apricot kamboucha.

After the market, we drove around the countryside some more. Nadia talked to me about the area's history as we stopped along the way to photograph the surroundings.


Once home, we enjoyed the galette and crisp that Nadia had baked in the morning. The kids were ready for some outdoor activities so we drove to a near-by lake. It was sunset and the water was chilly. The kids jumped in the water without hesitation. They laughed, played tricks, and threw rocks as I watched with a smile on my face.

That night, we had a campfire with Nadia's comforting lentil soup and s'mores.

I took time early Sunday morning to take a walk alone around the property. The blueberries were popping up and we even ate apples right off the trees. The kids played with the baby chickens that were born just a couple of days before.

I took it all in for one last time, but I must be back soon. Autumn perhaps? I must visit soon.

This place stole my heart.

Thank you Nadia for having us over. I will never forget it.

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