Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Weekend Trip Report

We spent the weekend at Hollister Hill Farm Bed & Breakfast, in Vermont.

Our weekend was the uber-relaxer. The drive to the place we stayed was a bit over 4 hours, and we didn't rush it either. Once you clear Lowell things get nicer, and once you get onto Rte 89 it's just beautiful driving. I was already feeling pretty good by the time we got up there.

I won't bore you with a play by play, but it was a nice change of pace. The innkeepers are folks who gave up their day jobs back in the 70s and moved up to Vt to try and raise their families and be self-sufficient, live off the land. Now they run what they call a "diversified farm," a farm where they know they can't live off what the farm provides, so they add to the income in little ways. The B&B is one of those, selling honey and maple syrup is another, selling their own meat is another, breeding golden retriever puppies, etc. They get by, but they live very simply.

It's interesting to meet people like that, with strong convictions, who have really put their money where their mouths are, so to speak. To stay with them for the weekend was a peek into a totally different way of life.

The location they have for themselves is amazing, by the way. I mean, you stand with your back to their house or barn and just rotate in a semicircle and see nothing but hills, fields, and trees. No planes flying over, no sounds of nearby highways, nothing. At one point we realized we could hear the cows chewing grass. Pretty wild.

We didn't do a lot; our main recreation was driving into Montpelier for some light shopping and exploring. Montpelier is the capital of Vt, but it feels more like a small town than a capital of anything. I think it's got, what, 8K people in it? No McDonalds, no Starbucks, etc. Lots of interesting people, very diverse in a Vermonty way (meaning, all kinds of white folks - heh).

We capped off the weekend with a long drive home, taking mainly 2-lane highways and avoiding most of the holiday weekend traffic. We got held up in one small town when their Memorial Day parade went through, so that was a little piece of Americana :).

In the end, we did a lot of nothing in a very quiet place, but met some characters which have enriched my internal "cast list" and gave us some pause in terms of looking at where our society is going and what people are doing who feel strongly about changing it, at least for themselves and their communities.

Two thumbs up.

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