Oh Girlfriends, we’re going to have fun with this one. Last month our friends (and neighbors) Lowely and John suggested we all go on a Valentine’s getaway together, up to the big snow country of Vermont! What a good idea! Cozy fires, hot coffee drinks, flannel shirts, lots of barns (love barns, have a collection of barn photos, needed more!), Vermont maple syrup on our pancakes, who could ask for more? But there was more, there was a sleigh ride! And you’re coming along! So, here we goooooo! (It’s very long! Unhook the computer, take it to your sofa, get cozy with a cup of tea, and settle in for a virtual trip to luv-lee Vermont!)
MUSICA. It was, I admit, a wee bit hairy on the way up. There was a huge storm. It never stopped snowing and blowing from the second we hit the state line. Luckily Lowely and I were in the big back seat, sharing a cozy blanket, where we could see nothing, therefore could not comment on any sort of driving anomalies. Best for all involved. Trust being the main item of the day. We were strapped into a monster SUV of safety, which was filled with wonderful music! So there was lots of singing along. We had fun! Our map men did a great job, as I am reporting, now, alive, and back home, safe and sound, so it must be true.
And the snowplows were out in full force.
And when our windshield wiper stopped working, Joe popped out and fixed it! Because he can!
But it was gnarly sometimes. And did we mind? No, we just clicked away with our cameras! Lowely is a pastel artist and takes photographs for inspiration. I think some of our more out-of-focus photos look like paintings already! And I take pictures so I can show you! Look at this! Isn’t it beautiful?
I’m always in the mood to share the magic when I see it! I think I forgot how BEAUTIFUL Vermont is. Red barns and red brick chimneys with smoke curling into the white sky ~ softly painted clapboard houses, and everything polka-dotted with snow.
Not to mention old covered bridges, 104 of them in Vermont . . . the most in all of New England!
I liked this photo because of the juxtaposition between the rearview mirror, the bridge opening and the GPS screen. Visions and views, old and new.
Most of the buildings had good steep roofs, and here you can see why . . . the snow slides off in big sheets. Would not like to be under it when it happens! But, then again, it might be fun (if it doesn’t kill you!).
From right out my car window. Lowely and I were always teasing each other, I thought she had all the “good stuff” on her side, and she though I had it all! In this case, I was definitely the lucky one. But she probably had something just as good on her side, as you will see…. it’s all beautiful. Beginning to look a lot like Christmas, 🎶everywhere we go!
This homeowner put a pine-tree wind break around his house. Isn’t it cute? Talk about Christmas! Look at the tiny green building on the right. Snow on roof tops is very pretty! These people would never have to worry about a Christmas with no snow!
Had to be careful though. See that pole in the middle of the church? Didn’t want that in the picture, had to snap it at just the right time! Luckily the icy roads slowed the car down! Look below ⬇️, the graveyards were lovely. My favorite part about anywhere I go is the history, and Vermont is old and wonderful and filled with history of our country, and the people who built it, mostly of course, immigrants! AND, related to us, building America, fighting for our country in wars and buried here. See the little flag? 💝
Even the smaller barns had cupolas and weather vanes on top. Why? Because they can. It’s small-farm country around here, and beauty, little graces, which we see everywhere, seem to matter. I always appreciate efforts of home owners who make the world a more lovely place to be. They have such power and often don’t even realize it, they do it because that’s just who they are.💞
And it’s big-farm country too . . . and pride makes them choose blue and red paint to make the whole world brighter.
So we toodled along, taking pictures of everything. Besides wood, which was plentiful in all the local forests, they also used lots of brick for their buildings. This New England is as close to Old England as we can get in America!
Almost everyone has traded his wooden roof for one of these slippery metal ones where the snow can cause no water-intrusion problems for the homeowners.
Lots of the pick-up trucks come equipped with their very own snow plow! Smart! Taking no chances!
Sweet little log cabin in the woods. I will always be a lover of houses, all shapes and sizes.
Almost there! Our hotel is in Warren! In the Mad River Valley! Mad River, what a great name!
Just because it’s out of focus, doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful! By the time we got to the hotel, it was around 5 o’clock, and we had fallen madly in love with the whole countryside. MAS MUSICA? Oui! Favorite travel musica!
And this is our hotel. The Pitcher Inn in Warren, Vermont. Plan ahead if you go there, because their hotel packages give a significant discount if you do! Romantic, perfect for Valentine’s, set in the smallest little town, but right in the middle of everything.❤️
Here’s the parking lot. With this darling little clock building in it, a converted barn we think is probably offices for the hotel.
And there’s our beast-like vehicle that got us here alive.
Here’s the view across the street.
Snowy Warren, Vermont, says, “welcome!”
Quite a cute little store attracting our attention across the street. Lit up with stars and twinkle lights. Looks like a country general store. Probably a good one. Note to selves, go here first thing in morning!
The hallway display on the way to our room.
Here’s the entrance, with a look into the dining room, and the stone fireplace far beyond. Every room had a fireplace of course.
Charming lighting in the hallway . . .
We unloaded our bags and went right down stairs to the cozy pub to drown our driving jitters in hot toddies and cold toddies and all the toddies in between!
Below, is one of the lovely views from our room. Note starry curtains.
And this frightening thing with wild eagles on the posts, was our very comfortable bed, with ice cube light tables on both sides! You just never know!
And at the foot of the bed, this . . . a crackling fire made with white birch logs . . . Every night, or any time you asked, they would come and make you a real wood fire.
And this bathroom was SO good, I’ve never seen one like this. For anyone thinking about building a house, you might take a look at this! (The reflections from the windows behind me get in the way a bit, try to look past them.) For one thing, the entire floor is heated, including the tile in this glass room, which is totally enclosed, right up to the ceiling, with a glass wall and a glass door. On the left is the whirlpool tub (you see the bathroom counter in the reflection, but that’s the tub) ~ there are two shower heads, a really good drain in the heated non-slip tile floor, a steam control, so you can take a steam bath, and a little wooden seat on the right that folds down in case you are the sitting-steam-bath-shower type. It’s very possible to spend the day in this room. I couldn’t help but picture my mom, who could only bathe three kids at a time, (all that would fit in tub, with her on her knees getting soaking wet), putting herself and her babies in here for group shower! Would have been very handy!
From our room, looking across the street . . . colored lights. How could we not love this!
And here it is again, looking from their side back to our hotel . . .
Birch trees are snow art . . .
The dining room where we had breakfast every morning. Breakfast comes with your room: French toast or flapjacks and Vermont Maple Syrup, delicious coffee and ice-cold fresh-squeezed orange juice with all the delicious pulpy parts intact ~ poached eggs, all white and soft and juicy with yolk, and crunchy seedy toast, with jams and honey and every good thing, and so much more. Fruit and yogurt and granola too. . .
We were happy. Nicest guy waited on us. Remembered all our little preferences from day to day.
Then across the street we went through softly drifting snow to the “almost world famous” Warren Store, built in 1839 as a stagecoach stop, which, from all the action, people going in and out, seems like it’s probably the community center, both for locals and for our kind, the not-so-local, but-still-very-appreciative, too.
First thing I noticed, in all the cuteness of this store where they pretty much sell everything from groceries to home goods, clothing to champagne, with worn wooden floors, the fragrance of fresh coffee brewing, was the extremely hygge wood stove that you couldn’t help but cozy up to. (This store reminded me of the one in the wonderful movie Baby Boom, where Diane Keaton sold her Country Baby Food, remember? SUCH a good movie with a darling Vermont house in it, in case you haven’t seen it . . . you’d love it!)
These are my people. Lowely, Joe and John as we go upstairs to the WONDERFUL clothing store, where they also sell home things, like beautiful hooked rugs and pillows! I found a darling little wool vest up there.
Then there was this framed print hanging over the cash register that made me laugh. So much, I had to go home and show it to Jack, and this is what his face did:
Did someone mention ball? Wait a minute, does someone have my ball? Where is it …. you took it? You took it to Vermont and gave it to that strange zebra cat???? Jack was very confused.
They had children’s books too…isn’t this book cover adorable? Not to mention the play on words. Had to take a picture of this!
A label on a box of chocolates. Quite cute. Have I mentioned how much I love barns and lettering?
Then it was into the car, and back on the road for a day of serendipitous meandering. And more adorable red barns (just like the one on the chocolate box!).
If you really want to get in the mood . . . look at this old video. Because on the actual day of Valentine’s Day, this is what we’re going to be doing ourselves… eeek.
Store window in the neighboring, somewhat larger town, of Waitsfield. X’s and O’s for Valentine’s day.❤️
Across from where Joe was walking is this wonderful store, All Things Bright and Beautiful, on Bridge Street. Filled with stuffed animals, and glass and wooden ornaments. Gaelic, the woman who’s owned the shop for 52 years, was there, making her homemade wooden ornaments.
And there were these . . .
And these . . .
And this . . .
And on Gaelic’s art table, was a box, with a cat in it! A word of advice: resist temptation! Do not put your hand in the box with the cat. #wordtothewise
He is waiting for you to try it. He had me so riveted on him, I forgot to take a picture of Gaelic making her wooden ornaments . . . but Lowely took this picture of a wall display . . .
So now we know how she does it . . . Nothing is what you think it is. The work that goes into all the lovely things there are in this world is phenomenal. This just proves it.
Next to Gaelic’s store is this bridge, 2nd oldest in Vermont, hence “Bridge Street.”
We walked through it and around it, and on the far side, we looked across the snow meadow and there was this huge bonfire.
I know what my girlfriend Diana would say, she would say, “What would you do if you saw that?” Seemed like a pretty safe time to burn though, I could feel the heat from where I was standing. Had to video it!
See the snow coming down? All wonderful.
And more meandering, more town, getting hungry . . .
Lunch started with a toast and four Bloody Mary’s!
Couldn’t drive past this sign . . .
Because what’s Vermont without cider and syrup, and these . . .
Cider donuts! Yum!
All kinds of goodies here . . .
Beautiful bottles ~ think I’ll get . . .
This! One Bourbon Barrel Aged Pure Vermont Maple Syrup for me, and, one for you!! Yes! A GiveAway! Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post (if you ever get there), and you’re IN!
Out, munching do-nuts, drinking cups of steaming hot cider, we slip into gallery, then back in the car . . .
for more red barns . . .
And green ones, and floaty snow flakes . . .
And picture-taking from open car windows . . .
It’s a big ski area up there . . . you may have heard of Sugar Bush and Mad River Glen . . .
And apparently golf is popular too! Though we did not see a lot of it going on!
The slopes were packed with brightly colored people!
The mountains are criss-crossed with ski runs and chair lifts . . .
And gondolas . . . to which, I say, thank you, but no thank you. My adventurous spirit, which brings me right to the edge, has its limits . . . I’m best in the lodge. With the cocoa. And the book. I can go, but drop me at the lodge and bring on the whipped cream.
Luckily, Map Man is right there with me . . . a lodge guy.
So, speaking of immigrants, we then arrived at the chalet of the famous singing Von Trapp Family (Yes, from The Sound of Music) who, with their ten children, left Austria just before WWII, and brought their American Dream to this gorgeous mountain top with the long views of Vermont and made it all come true.💞
They built this amazing ski lodge . . .
Always wanted to see this place and here we were. If you are a skier, I would say this would be a wonderful place to come stay. As you can see, it wasn’t all snow and blizzard while we were there, it was sunshine too!
Now a quick word about stars. Something about birch stars that the locals adore, because they are lit up and on everything. You may have noticed them on the Warren Store. Here are a few more photos to prove my point.
Upstairs and downstairs . . . I think they know that twinkles in the snow make magic! That’s why they do it!
And they are really everywhere . . . hanging from trees . . .
On barns . . .
All sizes . . . we think they make them from scratch from the trees in the woods . . .
Some more into it than others . . .
They don’t look store-bought, or uniform in size . . .
Little ones too. . . next to the cute blue door . . .
And even, or especially, in front of the wonderful New England churches . . . quite pretty. I could go on with stars, and restaurants and food and everything, but I think NOW is the time for the Main Event, our sleigh ride in the snow which I have been dreaming of doing for years . . . and now we finally did!!!!!! It was everything I hoped it would be for us four Valentines.❤️ And so nice to be able to take you Valentine’s along with us too!
“Gentle Giants” in Stowe, Vermont . . . that’s the name of the sleigh people, and there’s their phone number . . . just in cases.❤️
We brought champagne with us, for before we got out of the car, for a pre-sleigh-ride warm-up and toast to Valentine’s and our wonderful friendship. (BTW, want to taste the MOST delicious champagne, that does not give me a headache like all the others do, costs about 7 dollars a bottle and is from Trader Joe’s? It’s called Amour de Paris (good name), is peach flavored, and I tell you, it’s good cheap stuff. Very celebratory! Perfect for brunch! Yum! Write it down! You’ll love it!)
Now we are happy! 💖
Joe goes in to talk about what we do next!
I go toward the horse. Horse sees me!
He’s coming! I’m happy.
Much friendlier than the kitty in the box! Note feet (mine) in snow. But totally warm. Uggs boots. Oh yeah, only way to go!
We had a bag of apples and we forgot them! Don’t let this happen to you!
Boys… while we’re waiting . . . (Hay truck, make a wish!)
So you can see. This is the basic lay of the land. That little red house in the middle, the smallest one, was where Joe was talking to Rochelle our sleigh driver . . . and there’s the horse Lowely was petting off on the left. Isn’t it pure heaven there?
Lots of lovely horses here . . .
So here’s “Jack” (another Jack, they are everywhere these days), our horse, being hooked to his sleigh. See how smart he is, when Rochelle asks him to move he does it in just the right tiny increment she was asking from him. I was thrilled when Rochelle put on the bells. I was so hoping there would be bells.
John is bringing his blanket. It belonged to his grandfather, we’ve had it in the back seat for the whole trip, and it’s definitely coming on the sleigh ride! Right, Lowely? Right!
Here we go! Under the covered bridge . . . !
Look at Rochelle. Isn’t she the perfect sleigh driver? Her hair color is wonderful!!!! This is one of my favorite photos of our whole trip! I could paint her!
So into the pristine white woods we go, cold and crisp . . . see all those branches? That’s what you make those stars from!
As we walked along, we noticed there were lanterns hanging from the trees . . .
While watching little blobs of snow fall out of the trees and turn to powder in the breeze, I said to Rochelle, “How fun, do you go out in a sleigh at night?”
(See the lantern?) She laughed, and said, “No, we just put them there so you’ll think we do!” I’m confused. Is she messing with me? I’m a perfect stranger. There were candles in there! I still don’t get it! 😜
We were out there for about a half hour ~ we saw these cross-country skiers go by . . .
And one other sleigh . . . which was fun, because then we could see how cute we looked!
Delightful. You should do this if you can. Must be sleigh rides all over snow country no matter where you are. Imagine, if you are Louisa May Alcott, this is how you travel in the snow, not because you’re a dreamer per se, but because it’s your only choice after walking. And this is how you go to Boston too. And take your book, Little Women to the Publisher to see if they want to print it! Which of course they do! ❤️ It wasn’t so long ago that everyone traveled like this, so all of Beacon Street would be sleighs and horses in the snow. This is one moment I’d like to slip back in time and take my camera with me.
They understand the value of RED in the snow. ❤️
But way too soon we were heading back for the covered bridge . . . Yes, we were singing Winter Wonderland to go with our sleigh bells ~ even Rochelle was singing with us. She must have heard people do that a thousand times, because you just can’t help but break into song. Never was there a more appropriate time to sing that song!
Time to go! ❤️
And good bye to Rochelle. One of the many things I liked about her, is how good she is with her horses. She takes wonderful care of them.💞
Back in the car once again, with back-row seat view to everything.
More wonderful scenery, colors in the snow…
Stars and frozen roads . . .
and luv-lee graveyards . . .
Another truly delicious dinner, this time at the Common Man, just FANTASTIC. I have the menu, I took pictures of the food, I could show it all to you and go on (I was going to say “all day” but it’s already been all day!) and I’m afraid you may want to reclaim your life now!
So here’s our last glimpse of the winter sun . . .
Before we hit the road, because the blizzard started right up for our ride home. And the four friends were on the road again.🤞Fingers crossed for safety!
We stopped here at King Arthur Flour on the way home, a place Lowely and I had always wanted to see. Really interesting, they have classes there ~ would love to do that sometime, and lots of good stuff in the gift shop! But, blizzardsville, USA.
This was our boat ride home. The snow had stopped. It had been raining. We looked outside to this really strange sky. Finally went outside after remembering, “No, the windows on this boat aren’t tinted.” It was that under the total cloud cover, somewhere up there, must have been a gorgeous sunset, that made it’s way to earth in a giant, and I don’t get to say this often, Purple Haze!
HOME SWEET HOME, with Jackie cozying up to the heart dishtowel I bought at King Arthur Flour. What a wonderful time we had. Got a lot done in a very short time! We left on Sunday, drove all day, had Monday and Tuesday to Play, and came home on Wednesday.❤️ Perfect! Only 2 pounds heavier! Could be worse!
Hope you enjoyed our trip! Don’t forget to leave a comment if you’re interested in some Vermont Maple Syrup! Be sure to heat it up before you pour it over your waffles or pancakes or French toast! Hot syrup melts butter, yum, rivulets! And, come again soon . . . next week we leave on the train for a cross-country trip out to California to be with my mom on her Birthday! Very excited. Will “Twitter from the Twain” along the way! Lots to tell you about still, but enough is enough is what I say! Love you! Byeeee! P.S. Here are some interesting facts about Vermont I’m sure you would love to know!❤️