Thursday, September 27, 2012

The food tour

You can't go to New England without visiting Ben & Jerry's, right?  We made the trek while we were still at the lake house.  It was Sunday, so the production line was not moving, but it was interesting, nonetheless.  I'll confess that we all thought the tour guide was a little lame,  but there were lots of other interesting things to see ... such as the Flavor Graveyard.  Very clever.  One of the more unusual things we observed while we were there was a couple having a small wedding reception at the tables outside the ice cream store.  I didn't get to see inside the ice cream bus, but I came away envisioning a sheep-mobile or maybe a wool-mobile (baa-mobile?).

After we left the lake house and hit the road,  we managed to find a few other food related attractions.  King Arthur Flour is a favorite of mine and when I saw we were in their neighborhood,  we just had to check them out.  This is their brand, spanking new store and baking school in Norwich,  Vermont.   It's gorgeous inside and going there for a workshop is now on my wish list.  They have an amazing array of products and,  if not for the fact that my suitcase was already teetering on the brink of a weight penalty zone, I would have loaded up.   Now that I'm home,  I plan to order on line and have it brought to my door.

Next up was Stonewall Kitchen,  which was a happy accident.  I'd forgotten that they were a New England company,  until we drove past late one evening.  They were closed then,  but we came back during the daytime to this beautiful store in York, Maine.  The gardens outside were gorgeous and inside was a foodie's idea of heaven!  Unfortunately,  they didn't allow picture taking inside the store,  but take my word for it,  it's a place to go,   if you should find yourself in the vicinity.

They've obviously been in this location for some time because the setting and plantings were lush.  Had we not already eaten,  we could have had lunch under the wisteria draped pergola (it almost made me want to eat again,  just to experience it!).

(I love New England architecture)
(We saw dahlias everywhere.)
(I think I need a wisteria covered pergola.)

While we were still with Katie, Crimson and Taylor,   we visited a few breweries.  Taylor is becoming quite the brewmaster,  so these held a special interest for him.  I just liked the name of this one,  which was adjacent to the City Hall Park in Burlington,  where we went to the farmer's market on both Saturdays we were there. 

Burlington Farmer's Market was a very energetic place.  There was live music and even dancing, around the fountain at the center of the park.  We opted to eat lunch there both Saturdays, sampling lots of things we hadn't ever seen before.  Mike and I had several types of ethic food,  a homemade root beer and homemade ice cream float,  samples of Scotch Highland beef and some wonderful baked desserts. We also came away with beautiful dark amber maple syrup from Dragonfly Sugar Works.  They had little sampling cups to taste the different varieties of syrup they offered and it was hard not to just stand there drinking down maple syrup.

We had so much good food while we were traveling.  We ate seafood at every opportunity (when in Rome and all that) and I wish I could recall the names and places of each restaurant.  (note to self:  keep a travel journal, next time).  On the last night of our trip (which I do remember!), we ate at a charming little restaurant,  Roots,  in downtown Rutland, Vermont.  Are you hungry, yet?

Stopping in Rutland for the night was a bit of an afterthought, but we were so glad we did because it's a lovely little town.  Other favorite towns were Woodstock and Bennington, Vermont and Concord,  New Hampshire.  Really,  I don't think we stopped anywhere that we'd never want to go back to.  My advice, if you're planning a New England trip.......plan on seeing it all!

**I intended to combine yarn and food in this post,  but think it's getting a little lengthy already,  so I'll do the yarn tour next. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

At the lake house -

How did it get to be Friday, already?  This week has rolled over me, in more ways than one.  Today, I'm pretty much down for the count with what I like to refer to as "airplane crud".  Thanks to that person seated behind me on our flight home, who was coughing and sneezing their germs in my direction, I have a rotten cold.  I am usually diligent about taking Emergen-C before, during and after a trip, but failed to do so this time and I'm paying the price.

Anyway,  the pictures above are from our wonderful time on Lake Champlain.  I love the crazy sign post that points the way to the place we rented for our time in Vergennes Vermont.  The house was in a little cluster of cottages on a cove.  Each house was surrounded by trees in a way that made it feel very private.  I'm sure in the summer there is much more activity, but because we were there the weekend after Labor day, it was so quiet and peaceful.  It was lovely to have a home base to come back to after the wedding festivities and we spent a few days afterwards with Katie, Crimson and Taylor exploring the area.   We also managed a fair amount of time sitting around the kitchen table or out on the deck, talking and staring at the water.  The MacDonald clan is known to possess a pretty strong competitive streak and there were also some cut-throat games of Parcheesi and cards.

(We were told the lake was about 5 feet lower than usual and advised not to jump of the dock!)

The last evening we were at the lake presented us with this incredibly dramatic sunset.  Mike took these last three pictures with his iPhone and I'm amazed at how well it captured the scene.  (My old iPhone is not capable of taking pictures that look anywhere near this good.  My new iPhone 5 is on order though and I plan to join in the fun of being able to post from my phone ..... as soon as I can figure out how to do it, which could take awhile!) 

I have a little more to share about places to go and things to see in New England, but honestly, my head feels as though it might explode and I'm afraid I'll end up accidentally deleting something before I can get it posted.  So, give me a few more days and I'll give a run-down of great yarn shops and some places where foodies must go.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Home again, home again ........

(Taken in front of the Shelburne Farms Museum by Mike MacDonald)
Where to begin?  We are back from a wonderful week in New England and trying to play catch up with farm and house chores.  Yesterday was an all day marathon of laundry and mowing,  so today I can leave a quick note to tell you part of what we've been up to.

We were in Vermont for a family wedding and had the opportunity to rent a house on Lake Champlain and share it with Mike's son, his son's wife and Mike's daughter.  It was so beautiful there, I wish we had made arrangements to stay in that one spot longer.  The lake was clear and cold (no swimming for me - just dipped my toes in) and quiet.  Probably because it was after the Labor day holiday,  there weren't many people around and that made it even more relaxing.  The wedding was lovely and the reception was all good food, fun people and a great band.  We danced more than we ever have in public!  ( We're more of the "dance around the kitchen" kind of people. )  We left the lake house on Monday and hit the road for "Mike's Marathon Tour" of as many New England states as you can see in a few short days!  ( We are the same people who,  fourteen years ago,  after flying all the way across the country,  drove something like 3000 miles around Washington state and Oregon on our honeymoon.  The man likes to keep moving! )  We saw a little bit of everything from the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory to the Annie Leibovitz exhibit at the Concord Museum to the Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House.  We even got a sunset view of Walden Pond.  In between all the places on Mike's agenda, I got to stop at many different yarn shops.  I bought a skein of local yarn at nearly each place,  because I saw many that I liked and because I wanted to support other fiber people,  who, like me, are growing their own.  We visited Bennington Pottery,  Stonewall Kitchen,  King Arthur Flour,  two different Shaker communities and had lunch and bought maple syrup at the Burlington Farmer's Market on two different Saturdays.  And much, much more .........

I have tried for more than an hour to upload some pictures, but am having no success,  other than the one above.  ( Windstream strikes again. )  I have lots more to share,  but suppose I will be making the trek to Starbuck's before I can continue.

Besides all my recommendations for yarn shopping in New England,  there was a near tragedy averted at the farm while we were away,  I'm thinking about which ewes I'm going to introduce to the ram soon and plans are underway for the Yarn at the Farm day,  plus more pictures than you'll probably want to see from up East.  I'll be back soon!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Not Kentucky

I've come to the conclusion that there was a tragic error made when I was born.  I was meant to be a New Englander and somehow I was mistakenly given to some people who lived in the south.  How did that happen?

We are in Vermont for a family wedding and I just may not get on the plane to come back to Kentucky.  Above is the view off the porch of the house we've rented on the shores of Lake Champlain.  Why would anyone ever leave?  Some of my pleasure in being here is due in large part to the cooler temperatures.  (I did see that it is 56 degrees at home on the farm this morning - just my luck to leave home when the heat finally breaks ..... oh well.)