Sterling Pond (Smuggler’s Notch State Park)
Greetings from Vermont! We’ve been hanging in Stowe now for a few days and love it! Our camping spot is on a nearby mountain, replete with a shelter that our tent fits perfectly into. That is great because it rained all last night and into the morning. Our site is also a short hike to get to, which makes for many trips to the car. This morning we enjoyed coffee and fresh farm eggs scrambled under our shelter. The area has great hiking that entails climbing over big rock scrambles as you ascend. Today we laid low doing laundry, reading at the local library, and sitting in the coffee shop. We feel like locals, and even Henna said today that it would be nice to live here. Tomorrow we head off for the White Mountains of New Hampshire for Henna’s first back packing trip up to a hut. Should be fun. Until then, happy trails. Corey
Henna with Addie and Jupiter (2 new friends)
If you want to learn a lot about a town try hanging out at a bar or the library. Henna is a light weight so we tend to spend out time in the latter. It is actually amazing how similar/nice every librarian really is (except for our Library Fave Kate, she is the coolest Librarian ever!). The Stowe Library is actually housed in a former high school with the top floor dedicated to the arts. For both days we hung out it was a cool mix of families, visitors, and the usual assortment of writer types one stumbles into everywhere in Vermont. Stowe also has a friendly, slightly expensive Laundromat so our completely rained out day was more than a little fun. Heading out today we mostly took Route 15 through a Vermont landscape littered with bookstores, syrup farms, and talking moose. Favorite moment was eavesdropping on a coffee shop conversations (picture three professor types huddled over their drinks and whispering over and over again “he can never be one of us” and “he did the college Vermont thing, sure, but there is no way he will ever make it through the year.” Talk about a tough crowd. One more thing: Cabot, VT (home of Cabot cheese) is not the glamorous place you might think it is. Until the next time. Noel
It all came full circle last night. For Hennacornoeliday (our most awesome family holiday and namesake of this blog) Corey got me a bunch of travel oriented books that included David Mamet’s South of the Northeast Kingdom. A collection of thoughts strung together like essays then put into chapters, the book perfectly captures the magic of Mamet’s Vermont. Corey also bought herself Tenth of December by George Saunders (a clever but maybe over rated collection that seems to repeat the same short story over and over). Last Sunday the front page of the Arts and Entertainment section of the Tribune featured a fawning article on George Saunders and a piece by Chris Jones discussing David Mamet’s recent embrace of nutty NRA politics.
I do not think I have ever felt cooler than I did in that moment. The Chris Jones article concerning David Mamet aluded to how surprised some of his fans are by his almost Rush Limbaugh stand on handguns. There could not have been to much of a surprise for anyone who had read his Vermont book as he frequently talks about his love of hunting and collecting guns. In that same book he slams the Bush administration for its escalating war in Iraq and Afghanistan and subtly but firmly defends same sex marriage (a hot topic in early 2000 Vermont). Above all else, however, is his fawning over hand crafted goods. Mamet is definitely a man who appreciates a sweater woven by hand and worn by generations (where the stain of human urine, used in the processing of the wool, is present for years after receiving the gift). Our own quick impressions of the state confer with Mamet. Not only are Vermont’s byways populated with an abundance of hand made goods, but the population consumes (often literally as it would be hard to find any Vermont native who admits to using Aunt Jemima over the good stuff) those same goods.
Maple Syrup works; time consuming and done with pride
This brings me to the circle complete. Yesterday night on NPR I heard that Makers Mark (a favorite drink of mine) is going to dilute their product by 3% http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-02-11/news/chi-makers-mark-water-20130211_1_maker-s-mark-jim-beam-bourbon-drinkers due to an increase in demand. So, instead of allowing the market to inflate the cost of their product, a good honest one that has brought joy to many a Hennacornoeli Day celebration, they are going to cheapen it in order to make more money. They have every right to do so. But I know David Mamet would not approve and neither do I. Noel Schecter
Jim Beam, producers of Makers Mark
Update: After a lot of angry customers weighed in, Makers Mark changed their mind and decided not to water down their product. I like to think it was this post that sealed the deal.