We left on Friday, June 30, around 5 pm. By the time we got out of Cincinnati (had to stop to pick up the DVD player power cord from our friends, and to get some dry ice to transport Graeters ice cream to Vermont) it was 5:45. Traffic was heavy but not terrible. The police were thick. Thankfully I was driving, and my foot isn't quite as heavy as Aaron's. That's not entirely fair, since I've probably had more speeding tickets than he has, but not in the past year :)
We made it to Buffalo around 1 am. Figured we'd stop for the night. There wasn't a non smoking vacancy anywhere.We kept getting on and off the NY Thruway--- the toll road. I don't travel toll roads a lot, so this was annoying to me. We finally found a room on the other side of Buffalo and stopped for the night. We got up in the morning and continued on our way to Vermont!
Around 5 pm, we rounded a curve into a small Vermont town and were greeted by the sight of my friend Melissa and her little boy, Aiden standing on the side of the road, looking out for us! We pulled in and were immediately welcomed. What joy!
That night, we spent time getting caught up on things. It's not like Mel and I don't talk, but things like how your children have grown, what your hairstyle is, the look in each other's eyes--- well, those cannot be described accurately in emails and IM's. I can't remember if it was that night or the next one, but I also learned how to play Texas Hold Em. OH YEAH! Can I just say that I like this game? I'm no good at it, no poker face, you see. But I like it a lot! Jerry plays the game frequently online, but Mel had never played it before either. So she and I were the novices. When the game was being set up, Mel said, "I want to be the red ones!" Not realizing that the chips were for money, not for something else. :):) Mel cleaned Jerry out that night. Beginners luck and all that. And skill. And a poker face.
One of the things that really hit me about Vermont is how similar it is in appearance to the area that I grew up in. Beautiful mountains, clear skies, and a rural area. The capital, Montpelier, has about 10,000 people. Small town capital and utterly charming. I loved it. Except there was no Target. How do people survive without a Target? :) Actually, I'd sacrifice a Target any day for the beauty of the area. Who needs a Target when you have clear streams and rivers? Who needs a Target when you have family and friends nearby? Who needs a Target? Well, ok, a Target in the middle of the town would have been a lovely sight too. :):) Just kidding.
Mel and Jerry have a lovely home and yard, complete with an awesome playset. I think we adults had as much fun playing on the play set as the kids did. Of course, Aiden and Ethan had fun too. But I don't think they appreciated the awesomeness of the playset as much as their parents. :)
Mel and Jerry live in a small town just outside of Montpelier, named Worcester. Pronounced Wooster. Jerry has a lot of family in this small town. One of their traditions is to do family night at someone's house. We were fortunate that family night was at Mel and Jerry's on Sunday night. Family night this week was a bonfire and grill out. WHAT FUN! Now, this is the sort of thing that we do at my mom and (step) dad's down in Georgia. So I felt right at home. However, the family kickball game that followed was like nothing that I had never experienced. They let the little kids play too! And they let people with no coordination play! (That would be me!) We had a blast. Of course, I kept getting cautioned about playing too hard... so I toned down my slightly competitive nature...
The Fourth of July dawned hot and clear. The town parade route went right past Mel and Jerry's front yard so we had a fabulous view and a great place to collect candy. This made the Hethan very happy. He gathered a lot of candy. A lot. We left a LOT at Mel and Jerry's when we left. But I got the bubble gum. I love cheap bubble gum.
On the fifth, we bade tearful goodbyes and climbed into our car for our next adventure. Camping. With no electricity. In a tent. With a three, almost four year old. No mattresses. No soothing nighttime music. No microwaves. But there were bathrooms nearby and pay showers. And the campsite had a fire pit and a picnic table. So it really wasn't that rough. In fact, it was fun!
The Hethan did remarkably well. He thought sleeping in the tent was an adventure beyond belief. We have a three room tent, so he had his own room, which made him very happy. Other than getting eaten alive by bugs, he had a great time. He enjoyed paddle boating, the small hikes we went on, and the sightseeing jaunts we dragged him on.
I enjoyed our Vermont vacation. If it weren't such a long drive, I'd go to visit Mel, Jerry, and Aiden quite frequently. Alas, 16 hours is too much for more than a few times a year. But when Mel has her new baby, I might have to go back out. Oh wait! She's due only a few weeks after me! So maybe I'll have to wait! We're gonna have girls, Mel. We have to! :)