The Greener Side

After a lot of anticipation, it’s hard to believe that our month in Vermont is already over. The time went really fast. We had incredible weather, albeit really hot. I don’t ever remember these kinds of temps for this long. But it was great to be among all the wildflowers and green grasses and not be the least bit cold for one second. We arrived back in Florida a couple of evenings ago after a long 2 day drive and I counted my lucky stars as I always do, that we made the trip safely.

At the end of July, Jon & I left our truck in Idaho with Mark & Anne and flew to Vero Beach to help drive his mom & her dog Katie up to Vermont for a visit. She’d rented a place for the month in Newport. Even though Covid made it more difficult and we didn’t get to see as many people as we’d wanted, we did fit in several and most importantly, we got to spend some quality time with our parents.

We were grateful to break up the drive on the way up by stopping at Jon’s brother Brad’s & his wife Trish’s house in Virginia. We took a day off to hang out and relax and I forgot to get any pictures. Except this butterfly. But then Brad joined us later in the month in Newport and I got these.

Sunsets were great up on the hilltop from the apartment in Newport
Brad, Mariette and Jon

Shortly after arriving in Vermont and taking our car out of storage, Jon & I scooted off to Massachusetts to catch up with a few friends. There’s nothing like a group of sailors getting together and doing a whole lot of reminiscing. We cruised Central America with John & Cindy, Bob & Maggie and we have so many funny memories together.

Great friends Maggie, Bob, Cindy & Jon

When Jon & I were just starting out from college, our first jobs were in Pittsfield, MA which is in the Berkshire Mountains. I met a dear friend Rita in the graduate nurse program as we jumped off the deep end into our new profession together. We often worked side by side on an overflow floor. It wasn’t easy! It’s more fun to laugh about it now with years of experience and wisdom behind us and no more floor nursing! It had been too long since we’d seen each other so we fixed that and spent a weekend at her lovely house in Lenox. We toured the grounds of some beautiful mansions and old farms by day and did a lot of talking over fancy meals in the evenings with lots of wine.

Hanging out with Rita in Lenox touring old mansions

While there, Jon & I also drove up to the summit of Mt Greylock, just outside of Pittsfield, home to Massachusett’s highest mountain and where the Appalacian Trail passes through. We found the little trail that meanders through the wild blueberry bushes, that leads out to the cliff view and the place where we got engaged 28 years ago. It was still there, and unlike us, it hadn’t changed. I put the pic at the top of this blog.

The Newport apartment rental was in a beautiful location less than a mile from the Canadian border on a rural road with lake views and good running. Newport has provided plenty of memories for Jon and his mom and many for me too. Still some family there as well like aunts, uncles and cousins. We even squeezed in an impromptu visit to see Kristin at her horse farm in Morgan. She was a bridesmaid in our wedding and it had been a long time since we’d seen each other.

We stopped in to see Kristin and got a tour of her horse farm
We picked loads of bluleberries at Jon’s aunt Lise’s house

We walked, took bike rides, sat in the gazebo and walked up to the lookout at sunset to take in the view. We searched out maple cream, fresh corn, sundaes from the famous Pick N Shovel in town and thought hard over what to make for simple meals in the very simple kitchen we had in the apartment. At night the crickets would lull us to sleep and in the morning, the crows would wake us up before we were ready. And Katie stood watch at the window whenever we left and welcomed us when we returned, even if we were only away for a few minutes!

Katie missed anybody that left the apartment
A walk with my parents Frank & Connie at the little airstrip in Post Mills, VT

In the middle weeks we visited with my parents in Thetford. Last year’s visit was very awkward with covid raging and no vaccine yet so this time we actually got to hug each other and stay in the house together. What a concept we never knew we could lose. Mom & Dad treated us to lobster, I was given carte blanche at the produce stand, we got maple ice cream cones and mom worked her magic indirect grilling a turkey on the BBQ which was the best one yet. We swam in the lake, took walks and enjoyed long happy hours together. Jon & I biked our favorite dirt roads and tried to burn off some of the calories. We did a couple of house maintenance projects and made plans for more. My mom & I did some cooking together but not as much as I’d hoped. It’s always that way. Since neighbors were away, we looked after 7 hens for a few days so we were flush with fresh eggs. I think it would be really fun to raise hens. I love their little clucking noises, their bright colors and well, eggs for breakfast are quite nice too. But we live in a truck and we love it so no hens for us!

The cute hens that provided us with fresh eggs

We walked around the village of Post Mills and the little grass strip airport that was owned for many years by Brian Boland. He was a famous hot air balloonist, balloon builder, inventor and unique individual and he always welcomed anyone to walk on his lovely grassy property and look at all the planes and other memorabilia that he collected. We were saddened when we found out recently that he’d been in a tragic balloon accident this summer. He died doing what he loved best.

I think my dad wants a plane now…

Then it was time to say goodbye to my parents until the next time. We never fit it all in.

The priest that did Jon’s dad’s service was personable and funny

On August 25th, Jon’s dad’s birthday, we attended a mass said for him and visited his gravestone. I’m not religious at all but the sermon was meaningful. The gist of it was that you can’t spread kindness to others unless you’re feeling OK inside yourself. That when you are feeling unfriendly toward the outside world or people, first look inside yourself for why. After the mass, we rented kayaks and paddled the Clyde River with Jon’s cousin Sue & and her husband Mike, with Brad & Mariette. It was hot but fun to be out there together doing something different. And colorful too.

Fun kayak day

Then it was time to go. We left Newport in the dark before the crows got up. It was a very long slog to Virginia that day in tons of traffic but we arrived to Brad’s house to a homemade dinner and a comfy bed. Family is nice to have!

The final push was much easier and now we’re ready to fly out on Wednesday- to Spain!! When we were cruising the Med on Evergreen, we spent nearly a year in Spain because we loved it so much. After meeting & traveling with Ivan in the Baja, we heard way too much about his village and Spanish lifestyle to not take the opportunity to go back and visit the northern mountains together, a part we missed because we were on the boat.

Then it’s back to the Vermonster and Mark & Anne. We have things we have to do before it gets to too cold like hike, bike, fly and kayak. Haha, that’s the pace we like to keep. And a couple of things for the truck too like installing another dual core radiator like we originally had but couldn’t get a replacement for at the time Jon swapped it out and a turbo upgrade (we’ll be schlepping this back from Spain in our luggage) for better power in low gears. He has also ordered new shocks for the truck from Germany.

As always, we feel thankful for the people in our lives who mean so much and make time for us. This summer, we’ve banked a lot of great memories for sure.

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