photo of the day (a quick trip to vermont)

I can’t remember the last time I was in Vermont. Not that it’s all that far away from me here in Connecticut. We just haven’t had any real reason to head in that direction. But this year, Nick wanted to spend a week at Camp Common Ground with his friend, Zephyr and we decided to drive him up there and make a mini-vacation out of the trip. Camp Common Ground is in Starksboro, VT and is a mere hop, skip and a jump from Burlington. It’s farther up than I’m used to traveling. When I was younger, my parents and I spent time over many summers visiting Southern Vermont. I don’t think we made it much further north than Manchester on most vacations although I vaguely remember going as far up on Route 100 into Weston. So it was uncharted territory for us to keep heading north.

After a stop for lunch at Snaps Restaurant in Bristol where we met some of the other teens who would be Nick’s companions for the week, we headed into Starksboro to drop Nick off at Camp Common Ground. Here he is in front of the straw bale cabin that will be his home away from home for the week. He’s staying as an honorary member of the Griffith family along with Zephyr, his mom, brother, Brooks, and sister, Shena. I know he will have a great time at camp, but it was hard to say goodbye to my boy and leave. But the later we stayed, the less time we would have in Burlington, so I gave Nick a hug and we were off.

I had hoped not to stay at a chain hotel, but all the local B&Bs, even the ones in Shelburne were booked for the night we were there. The husband sent me a link to the Holiday Inn and I started checking out reviews on Yelp.com and my fave, Tripadvisor.com. None of the moderate priced hotels in the area got great reviews. I punched them in on Google Maps just for giggles and found that most of them were situated right on a highway and were surrounded by strip malls. Not what I was looking for at all. I was remembering how we used to travel when I was little. The AAA guidebook was like the hotel bible in our house. I can remember pouring over the listings to find a place to stay. If a place got a good review from the AAA, you knew you were set. Now, you can not only get recent reviews online, but you can punch in an address and get a street view of the very hotel you are thinking of staying in. I’m so glad I did that because driving by the hotels on the way into town, they looked worse than they had appeared on Google.

We stayed at the Courtyard Harbor Marriott which was directly across the street from Lake Champlain. It was a short walk from the downtown area where most of the activities we wanted to check out were located as well as most of the restaurants. The Festival of Fools, a street fair of continuous performances by local street performers, was happening just down the street. We checked into the hotel, put our feet up just long enough to catch our breaths and headed out to see what we could see.

We wandered around the downtown area and watched a few performances before heading over to a well-known pizza restaurant for dinner. If you ever get up to the Burlington area, you should check it out. It’s called Burlington Hearth and it’s got me sold on flatbread pizza. They also feature a great selection of house brewed beers. Much of the ingredients for the food is local and organic. I’m never going to look at that dough-y crust we get on regular pizza the same way again.

I don’t get a chance to see very spectacular sunsets where we live because of the terrain (and maybe because we are on the East Coast) so I really wanted to get to the lake and take some sunset pictures. We headed over to the water right after dinner, thinking we had plenty of time but it turns out we were running late. We got there for the very tail end of the sunset and I was pretty disappointed. But I got some nice shots anyway, just not the amazing ones I was hoping for.

We walked around the waterfront until it got dark and then we headed back to the hotel for the night. Clare wanted to try out the hotel pool and I told her I’d come and watch her swim. I’m not big on hotel pools. There’s usually waaay too much chlorine in the water for my tastes. But to Clare, any pool will do. I can relate. I was young once.

We headed out early for breakfast so we could grab as much of the day in Vermont as we could before heading back to Connecticut and home. Clare and I had a riding lesson scheduled for Monday instead of Thursday this week so we can head back up to Vermont, spend another night and then pick up Nick on Friday.

Penny Cluse was just up the street from the hotel. We got there just a few minutes before they opened and missed the line that forms most mornings. Clare had the best smoothie and buckwheat pancakes with blueberries and Zki and I had French toast with fresh fruit. Yummy!

After breakfast, we headed back over to the lake to watch the Dragonboat races.

It was a bit overcast and that combined with being right on the water made the temperature pleasant, if not a bit chilly. After the brutally warm temperatures we’ve been getting this summer, it was a welcome relief.

We watched a few of the races and wandered around the lake for a little bit before heading back into town to see a little more of the street festival before heading back to the car and towards home. We left earlier than I wanted to but I could just imagine us walking around until we were tired and then having a tough drive back.

We called it quits about lunch time, grabbed an ice cream cone from Ben and Jerry’s, got the car and made it home in time for dinner.

Ok, that’s not entirely how it happened. Our exit from Vermont wasn’t exactly that uneventful. The way it really went was like this. The husband and I and Clare were wandering into stores on the mall waiting for the street performances to start. Clare and I were looking at crafts, art and photography in the Vermont Craft Center. I was enjoying the witty prints and saying of the artist, Dug Nap. At first, I thought I had looked into a bright halogen light and was seeing one of those funny after-images that you get from looking into a bright light. But the funny little flashing checkerboard spots in my left eye was getting worse instead of better. And bigger. And it was not only hard to focus, but hard to concentrate as well. So, I did what anyone else would do when faced with the uncertainty of a medical issue. I had a panic attack. But a very quiet one. Really, I was just panicking inside myself because I thought I might be having a stroke or going blind or something like that. I asked the husband to walk over to the police car just a few feet away from us on the bench and ask him to call an ambulance. I was that scared. The policeman came over and shortly after that, the fireman and the EMS. And as I was talking to them, the whole thing just started to go away. And then it was just gone. I knew I hadn’t had a stroke or anything like that. I didn’t go to the hospital. All my vitals were fine and I passed the neuro test just fine. But I didn’t want to be wandering around so far from home just in case it happened again. The husband went to get the car and I slept a good portion of the way home and after that I felt much better.

I called my Optometrist the very next day and the receptionist told me it sounded like an Optical Migraine. Hmm, never heard of that. But when I checked it out on the web, I was pretty sure that was what I had experienced. After Clare and I went riding I headed over for a check of my eyes and everything is good. That’s the good news. But it was an Optical Migraine. The bad news is that they do tend to re-occur. But they aren’t life-threatening or anything. Just annoying. And now, that I know what they are, if it ever happens again, I won’t be as freaked. At least there’s that.

Clare and I are heading back to Vermont on Thursday, on our own for an evening before picking up Nick. I’m not looking forward to doing the drive on my own, but I’m looking forward to a little more time in Vermont. I have us booked at a B&B in Shelburne for the night. It should be fun; just us girls. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of photos to share from our trip.

~ by photobella on 8 August, 2010.

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