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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Vermont Birthday Getaway/Anniversary Celebration

Josh turned 35 on October 2, so I wanted to do something special for him, especially since he works tirelessly on this house to make it our home. I had so many ideas running through my head, and really, the only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to surprise him. I thought about camping in the Adirondacks with lots of hiking, a B&B stay somewhere where the whole point is to do nothing, and even considered a weekend stay in the Hudson Valley, in the town where our first apartment was. I had actually almost booked a canvas tent getaway (even had my credit card ready to go in my hand!), but at the last minute before I hit "reserve," I had an idea.

We honeymooned 8 years ago at an inn in Southern Vermont, and we've always said we wanted to go back. We loved our stay, but it rained the entire week we were there (I'm not even dramatizing. It literally rained every single day we were there, and we never got to use the little private porch outside our room that we were so excited about). The inn was lovely, and we spent our days as newlyweds just walking around, buying maple syrup, staring at trees, eating at some of the most amazing restaurants, and just being totally relaxed. That's just what Josh needed for this weekend, so I booked the same room we stayed at 8 years ago, and somehow managed to keep it a secret for months. Months. This was so hard because I tell Josh everything about every second of my life, and I almost slipped up a few times.

The night before leaving, I gave him a card that explained what we were doing, and I told him I got the same room we stayed in during our honeymoon. We packed our suitcases a few moments later, and the next day, on a Friday, we took half days at work, and then drove off to start our weekend.

On our way, we stopped at one of the neighboring towns to our inn, and grabbed lunch and walked around. One of my gifts to Josh was a coupon to buy a book (because we love wandering local bookstores and buying books to commemorate our trips). We each picked out our book, wandered through a country store and some other boutiques and we were on our way to the inn.





It was such a great feeling being able to bring Josh back here. On our honeymoon, we rented a car because we flew in from Chicago, where we lived at the time. And when Josh went to pick up the rental car, they gave him a huge Grand Marquis, even though we reserved a compact car to cruise around the country roads of Vermont. They were out of compact cars, and I remember when Josh pulled up in front of the hotel where we got married with this thing, I laughed hysterically at this boat he was driving. It had a bench seat in the front, it made us feel like senior citizens, and it didn't exactly zip around the curvy Vermont country roads. It was a running joke we had the whole week, and the memories came flooding back when we pulled in. I wish I had taken a picture of us with this car because it was so not our style.




Ownership at the inn had changed since we last stayed, and I was nervous it wouldn't quite live up to our expectations because we remembered this place to be truly amazing. We both couldn't believe when we walked in that absolutely nothing had changed at all. And when we got to our room, it was exactly the same, except for one chair they replaced. Even the clock radio hadn't been updated, and they still had the same stack of CD's next to it. It was rather amazing, and we both looked at each other and said, "We've stepped back in time!"

The little mudroom area of the inn gave me the best feeling.
We've been talking about doing brick pavers in our mudroom, and this kind of sealed the deal for me. 

The main common area downstairs. The wood beam was gorgeous. 

Our room. See picture below from our honeymoon 8 years ago.
I wish I had taken better picture on our honeymoon. I can't even find the original files on my hard drive,
so these are terrible quality. But Josh snapped this on our honeymoon while we sat in our room.




They had bottled water and homemade cookies waiting for us in our room. The card was Josh's birthday card from me. That did not come with the room ;)



The view from the front porch of our inn.

I had a moment with the apple trees.

Once we were settled, we drove off to a scenic overlook we stumbled upon on our honeymoon. It's called the 100-mile lookout, and I'm not sure if you can actually see 100-miles into the distance or not, but it was a perfectly clear day, and we had great views. They say you can see Massachusetts and New Hampshire in the distance.

Selfie from the overlook. I don't know why the picture came out so terribly. I mean, I took it with a phone and everything.


The overlook on our honeymoon.
From there, we drove to Brattleboro for dinner, and ate outside at Whetstone Station, which I hand-picked for Josh because of their huge beer selection. We sat outside overlooking the river on a perfectly chilled-but-not-too-cold fall evening.

View from our table for dinner.

We kind of loved the menus on a tablet.


I had the sweet potato and black bean burger, which was amazing.

One of the highlights of this particular inn is the country breakfast, which is included in your room rate. We waddled downstairs the next morning and sat in one of the two dining rooms overlooking the mountains and had amazing breakfasts of apple cinnamon pancakes, eggs, scones, juices, toasts and anything else we wanted. We even had a visitor from the innkeeper's dog, so my life was pretty complete.



Sophie welcomed us to breakfast.

For lunch, we wandered into a neighboring town to stop and get nachos at this place we found on our honeymoon. Josh loved this little tavern, and left that day saying they were some of the best nachos he'd ever had, so we had to go back, of course. Sadly, the tavern has gone downhill since our last visit, so it wasn't quite the same, but we had some beers and made the best of it.

The nachos we found on our honeymoon.
This year, they were kind of sad, but the memory lives on.

The rest of the day called for rain, of course! It drizzled on and off the whole day, but we made the most of it. We stopped at some covered bridges we had visited on our honeymoon, and also went to an apple orchard that had the cutest little barn gift shop. We didn't pick any apples because the rain didn't let up, but we hung out inside, ate some cider donuts, sipped on hot cider, and bought a few things to take home with us. The barn glowed with string lights and had some really cool vintage pieces inside. It was a lovely little pit stop, actually.

We were ready to explore, even in the rain.




Me on our honeymoon.

Green Mountain Orchards.




After leaving there, we strolled through a few country stores that were on our way to our next destination, bought maple syrup and other goodies, and then landed at Grafton Cheese Factory. Since cheese is my favorite food group (next to bread), I was in heaven. They had lovely products in addition to a wonderfully curated wine shop and of course, their cheeses. We sampled pretty much every cheese they had, and settled on the apple cider cheese. It sounds kind of questionable, but it was actually amazing and we wished we had gotten more once we were home.

Give me all the cheese. All of it.




One of the great things about this weekend getaway was that I didn't plan a whole lot, so we were able to wind down and take a nap in our room for the rest of the afternoon (well actually, Josh read his new book, and I passed out for about an hour, and it was glorious).

Dinner that night was downstairs in our inn, which was a three-course gourmet meal, and it was incredible. It was nice because while the meal is fancy, the atmosphere is definitely very Vermont. Meaning, we both wore jeans and flannels to dinner, so we were so comfortable. We both started with the asparagus soup, and I had the butternut squash risotto with roasted brussels sprouts and lobster. Josh has squash tortellini with roasted vegetables. For dessert, I had the homemade apple crisp and Josh went for the creme brulee. We're super casual people and very rarely get nice meals out, so this was a treat and the meal was fantastic.

Asparagus soup with creme fraiche.

Lobster with butternut squash risotto and roasted brussels sprouts.

Apple crisp, to die for.
Inside the inn is a little tiny tavern. It seats two people, and it's right down the hall from the dining room, so Josh wanted to sit in there and have a night cap. He was born for the generations of going to old-fashioned bars and drinking manhattans, so he loved this part. Plus, we had the whole place to ourselves, since you know, the maximum capacity was two. Tavern for two! That's what they should call it.




I'm pretty sure that this was Josh's favorite part of the weekend.
Our actual room was off of a really nice common area that's kind of tucked away, and was set-up like a library. While Josh finished his scotch, we were able to cuddle on the couch and play a game of chess before heading to our room for the night. It was a really lovely, relaxing day, despite the rain.




The next morning, we had breakfast in bed. We did this on our honeymoon, so I thought it would be fun to relive the experience. We were able to sleep in, wake up to pancakes, eggs and everything else, which was delivered to our room, and eat right in bed. We took our time, enjoying the meal, and  eventually crawled out of bed to get ready to start our journey back home.

Scrambled eggs, english muffin, apple cinnamon pancakes & scones.

Homemade granola and greek yogurt, various jams for our toast.
Not pictured, the wild mushroom and chevre omelette that Josh ate before I could snap a picture.
We stopped along the way in Bennington, a town in Vermont we used to visit a lot more before we bought our house (because our old apartment was only about an hour away). So we stopped at another country store we always loved to visit and got a few more goodies to bring home. We came home with so much fall food, and I have zero regrets.






Two days flew by, and while it would have been nice to have better weather on Saturday, it actually felt good to slow down and not have so much planned. We both enjoyed it so much that there was talk of possibly doing a winter Vermont getaway in a few months. My wheels are turning so I can figure out a way to make that happen.

5 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday to Josh..yall are so cute!!! I love armchair traveling and Vermont is one of my favorite places. We visited Bennington for my 50th birthday! My brother in law and his wife lived in a beautiful historic home in North Bennington. I was in heaven. Your BandB looked so nice and as usual I love seeing the sights and the food!! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. What a small world! Bennington is beautiful, isn't it? You have to go back! I'll pass along the birthday wishes to Josh :)

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  2. Happy Anniversary and Happy Birthday, Josh! Loved this post, Sam.

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    1. Aww, thank you so much! I'll pass the birthday love to Josh :) I'm so glad you enjoyed this.

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  3. Oh my gosh you were in my neck of the woods! Its funny I go to Albany to get out of Vermont and feel like I'm more in civilization lol. I'm glad Josh had a nice relaxing weekend! Let me know the next time your in Bennington and we can meet up for coffee!

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