Saturday, November 5, 2011

VT Places: Sugarbush Farm

If you want to
visit a family-working farm
and sample old-fashioned cheese
and taste test all the maple syrup grades
and learn about how maple sap turns into syrup
and touch the velvet nose of a humongous draft horse
and to behold an idyllic view of Vermont's farming pastures and thickly-leaved mountains...

then, I guess Sugarbush Farm is the place to be.


October2011 461A

Thursday, November 3, 2011


In my early teens, I visited Rhode Island for the first time. My family and I saw Newport's magnificent sailboats, Victorian mansions, and topiary gardens aplenty. We even toured through Hammersmith Farm--the summer White House of JFK. I remember first seeing the Atlantic Ocean and being disappointed. It was gloomy and gray, and as a 14-year-old still obsessed with bottle-nosed dolphins, I didn't see a single one jumping in its wide expanse. I was absolutely positive that dolphins frequented the Atlantic more than the Pacific. Oh, well. A career in marine biology wouldn't have worked for me anyway.

It wasn't until last Friday that I saw Rhode Island again. Providence didn't disappoint.
  • We got to see a brother-in-law, who was in town for a conference presentation.
  • We ate at the Cheesecake Factory...the fish tacos and the red velvet cheesecake were ALL MINE.
  • We shopped at real stores again. As usual, the kids were the beneficiaries. The pretty teal coat on sale at H&M could have been mine if only they had my size in stock. 
  • We walked the Providence Heritage Trail and saw the Oldest Baptist Church in America. 
  • We passed by protesters of Occupy Providence living in their tents.
  • We walked the outskirts of Brown University. (We were running out of time.) 
  • We saw a cannon and U.S. flags from the Civil War inside the beautiful Providence Capitol building.



We topped off the trip with a visit to Trader Joe's on the road back home. My visit to TJ's could have been delightful if only their Christmas merchandise was available.  What? No Peppermint Joe Joe's yet? Shut up. Our year in Indianapolis truly spoiled me. It's gonna be a cold, long, hard winter.

We came home in time to get our first snow of the season. You better believe that our winter has officially begun.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NH Places: White Mountain National Forest, Mount Washington State Park, and Franconia Notch

I grew up in a state that boasts five national parks. These places of red rock glory are our favorite playgrounds. If Boy could build our family a house on the top of Dead Horse Point, he would.

Here in the Northeast, there is only one National Park, in Maine, and it's a 6-hour drive according to Google. After our trip to the White Mountains, I don't see why New Hampshire doesn't have a National Park. As a place of such beauty with so many things to do and see, why not?


On our way up the mountain, the trees gradually became white. I love first snow. Our drive through the Kancamagus Pass felt like a Christmas tree wonderland. It would've been lovely if Bing Crosby was with us in the car.

We stopped at a place marked 'Scenic View'. With all the fog wrapped around the horizon, I felt like we were missing out. Our kids didn't seem to mind. Nor did they complain of cold little hands and noses.


We missed driving the Mount Washington Auto Road by a hair--it was a huge downer. Completed by 1861, the auto road to the summit is the oldest man-made tourist attraction in the U.S.  Can you believe that people traveled up the mountain with their horse and buggies? The road will reopen in May because traveling this road is too risky during the winter--did you know that Mount Washington is infamous for being the "Home of the World's Worst Weather"? You betcha. The WORLD. I didn't think that New Hampshire had it in her. We almost caved in to buy tickets for the Cog (a steam engine that climbs up to the summit), but the stiff ticket rates were too much for this trip. Next time.


Our last stop on our two-day trip was getting to see New Hampshire's state icon: The Old Man of the Mountain.
[Before the collapse. Source]

Old Man's face collapsed in 2003, so we only saw a little nubbin of his forehead. One unhappy little boy was greatly disappointed.


Although it was a colder-than-usual October afternoon, we loved the peaceful Profile Lake scene and its beautiful craggy mountainsides.

Okay, so I lied. Franconia Notch wasn't our last stop. A friend of mine suggested making a visit to Littleton so we could grab some sweets. Chutters is the world-record holder for the longest candy counter in the world. Yeah, I said it again...the WORLD. There was a 112 foot-long stretch of large glass jars ready for the taking. Out of the four of us, I'm unsure who was most excited. I don't think any of us have seen candy like this.



They had gumballs in every color. Circus Peanuts (eww). Bubble Tape. Sour candies to your heart's content. Their fudge counter would put BYU Bookstore to shame. They even had Pop Rocks. We drove home on a sugar high.

I already can't wait for summer so we can do this trip all over again.