September 9th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
More Tales Of A Flatlander by Shannon Albritton
I spoke with my Dad in Pennsylvania yesterday to give him my regular update on what’s been happening here in Vermont. My parents have plans to visit us at the end of the month for “Leaf Peeping Season” and Dad is concerned about the roads and the general condition of area. “Will there even be anything to see and do when we get there?” (Silent pause)… hmmm… “Do you mean other than visiting with your favorite daughter and son-in-law?” Joking! Not really.
This question, of course, is common among Vermont-loving Americans outside of our state as our trees prime themselves for their Fall Foliage Spectacular. The media has done an excellent job of communicating our devastation and I mean that sincerely. Yes, many roads and quaint towns have been ‘rearranged’ by Mother Nature? Perhaps she’d become a bit bored with our landscape and wanted to redecorate? Yet even as I take in the disruption and damage around me I can’t stop thinking about its stunning beauty, rearrangement and all.
You see, I’ve lived in Vermont less than 6 months, which still qualifies me as a tourist and a flatlander. My husband and I are always on the hunt for something interesting to investigate around our new home in Windham County. When our out-of-state friends visit we spring into tour-guide mode. Here in Southern Vermont there are endless options undisturbed by the effects of Irene. Outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and mountain biking are plentiful. Despite the flooding you’ve seen on the news most everything is still accessible.
A casual stroll through downtown Brattleboro’s charming shops, galleries and restaurants can pleasantly fill your day. It’s an eclectic and interesting town that some have referred to as the ‘San Francisco of the Northeast’. You may even spot a Brattleboro resident walking his pig on a leash down Main Street! I can’t make these things up.
If you’re lucky to be here for the first Friday of the month don’t miss Gallery Walk, a year-round, festive FIRST FRIDAY stroll, 5:30 to 8:30, in downtown Brattleboro, Vt. and nearby locations. The Brattleboro Farmers Market is one of the best I’ve ever visited and they have the most delicious prepared foods for breakfast and lunch. Take home some Vermont Maple Syrup, savory cheese and locally grown organic apples, veggies and many other Vermont-made treats.
The Southern Vermont Natural History Museum located atop Hogback Mountain in Marlboro is sure to please nature enthusiasts and the 100-mile view from their location is a show-stopper every time. If you’re an earlier riser there is no better location than this to watch the sunrise over the vast mountain range.
Adjacent to the Visitors Center Grounds and Hogback Mountain Conservation area you can access an entry-level hiking trail leading to the steel fire tower at the summit of Mt. Olga, Molly Start State Park. Those without a fear of heights (not me) can climb to the top for, what I am told, an incredible sight. Using the Molly Stark State Park Trail Guide you can branch off into a trail system with varying difficulty. Campers at Molly Start Campground can connect Hogback Mountain and the museum via this trail system. Travel just a few miles west toward Wilmington and take 100 north to the Mount Snow base lodge and hop on the Scenic Chairlift Ride. This had been a favorite outing for our guests and I can hardly wait to do ride the lift this fall!
When you’re hungry for a great outdoor meal head straight to Wahoo’s Eatery in Wilmington where you can upgrade your burger, wrap, sandwich or salad with grass-fed beef or free-range organic chicken. Their Bacon Blue grass-fed Burger is the best in the area. Wahoo’s was almost destroyed but with the help of it’s community is back on it’s feet again and donating 50% of ALL sales to directly to helping the hundreds of people displaced by the historic flooding. Now that’s community!
The Official State of Vermont Tourism Site hosts an extensive amount of well-organized information and writes, “The vast majority of the state is accessible and most lodging and dining properties are fully operational and ready to welcome you”. Visit their site to learn more about available lodging and activities here in Southern Vermont and points north. All we Vermonters (and Flatlanders) ask is that you have a little patience on our roads, obey the detours and have consideration for our construction, and relief vehicles. Here’s a bright side to consider; if you have to drive a little slower and if it takes a little longer that’s just more time you’ll have to absorb the scenery of the great state of Vermont in all it’s splendor and beauty!
Oh wait, before you go… Did I mention we’re on tap for the best Fall Foliage Season we’ve had in years. The leaves on the trees have survived and remain strong, in true Vermont fashion, and this year's Fall Foliage Season looks promising. Many thanks to Irene and Mother Nature… Perhaps too much rain does make some things better.