Manchester, Vermont

Aunt Mary Beth is the queen of New England travel. I’d highly recommend booking her as your next tour guide of the East Coast. So far, she’s introduced us to Cape Cod, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and of course many excursions through Boston.

This month, she invited us for a weekend in a beautiful home in Manchester, Vermont.  It had all the essentials: a large dining room table for family dinners, unobstructed views of the Green Mountains, and an amazing wood-burning fireplace with a circle of leather couches and chairs.

I think Anna’s goat selfie (above) represents this trip well: happy, cozy, quirky and a tad unexpected. IMG_1524IMG_1523The home had just the right amount of ’70s flair with its orange fuzzy pillows and rugs and some psychiatry undertones. One of the owners is a Greek psychiatrist and kindly left his self-published textbooks on “conflict theory” on the coffee table. IMG_1530From the upstairs bedrooms you could peek down over the living room and eavesdrop on the fireplace conversations. IMG_1532Or analyze people’s body language. IMG_1533Your guess is as good as mine. I do know that Dad enjoys his coffee though. IMG_1534IMG_1556Although it was too cold to hang out on the back porch we could still enjoy the views from our usual perch by the fireplace. IMG_1527We were fortunate enough to be in Vermont over Maureen’s birthday, so every night we were able to celebrate with cake, a pie, or cookies. IMG_1535Our house was set on a large estate ready to be explored. As we trekked through our backyard and looked up at the bare mountains we felt rather sorry for the ski industry. We originally had plans to go dog sledding in the snow with a happy group of Vermont huskies, but sadly Mother Nature had other plans. IMG_1536We consoled ourselves by looking at puppies on Craigslist. IMG_1537I was actually quite content with the lack of snow and warmer weather. IMG_1539I thought Mom’s red-hooded figure looked quite cute as she emerged among the white birch trees. IMG_1540Haven’t convinced Dad into getting a red coat yet. IMG_1543Our house was part of a larger estate with a few individual houses and one main grand historic inn where they host parties, weddings and reunions. IMG_1545Even with many of its trees bare, the mountains were still pretty amazing. Hard to imagine that this is them at their worst. IMG_1546Mom started to question living on the flat plains of the Midwest, as there really is something special about being among mountains. IMG_1550IMG_1551IMG_1552For our little dose of history, we paid a visit to the home of Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert. From 1905-1975 it was the home of Robert and other Lincoln descendants. Apparently historical bathrooms leave a big impression on me. As do old-fashioned linen rooms. Forget stately dining rooms, and tea rooms and an organ built into the stair case. IMG_1554IMG_1555Dad waiting for the night’s fire to burn out before going to bed. IMG_1557Mary Beth and Maureen had both brought socks for the family. Not just any ol’socks. These are special made in Vermont socks. And the “Darn Socks” have a lifetime guarantee!  IMG_1560Of course, we couldn’t simply pass out the socks, we had to make it a competition. Instead of our standard trivia contest we had a haiku contest. Mom won with “lunatic baby surrender.” Let’s not even begin to psychoanalyze that one. IMG_1561While we were quite content to sit by the fire reading, we did make an excursion to the Vermont Country Store to sample their candy and maple syrup. Who knew maple syrup came in so many flavors?!IMG_1562IMG_1565IMG_1566On our way home, we stopped by the charming Taylor Farm where the animals roam freely. IMG_1569A little girl immediately ran up to us and offered us a farm tour. She didn’t know the names of any animals except for a large turkey named … Ginger! Judging from Mom’s reaction she was hoping to have a different animal as her namesake. IMG_1571The farmhouse had a bucket of kibbles and carrots where you could pay a dollar and go feed their animals. They must think we city folks are real chumps paying to feed their animals. But of course we put in our dollar and it was great fun feeding the donkey and goats. IMG_1572IMG_1573Doesn’t this donkey have the sweetest face? The farm girl kept jumping on his back and he was completely unfazed. IMG_1576IMG_1580His legs seem to defy evolution but he was actually very steady … Even when Mom slipped him a few sips of beer he didn’t stumble! IMG_1582Ok, it may just be apple cider but donkeys don’t know the difference. IMG_1584IMG_1589On Saturday night we dined at The Dorset Inn, which has been open since 1796 (!). We had a table near the fire and as usual were the loudest family in the place. Sometimes you need to compensate for tables that aren’t talking. I understand that comfortable silence is a valuable thing, but it has no place at the dinner table! IMG_1591

While we took pictures with the local bear, Mary Beth was inside the cutest little grocery store buying us the best chocolate chip cookies ever.

IMG_1588On our last evening in Vermont, we continued the vacation book club tradition. This time we discussed “When Breath Becomes Air.” It took a bit of coaxing for some people to read as it’s written by a neurosurgeon who’s dying of lung cancer. Not exactly a light beach read, but ultimately everyone read it which is an accomplishment in itself. IMG_1596IMG_1597These last two photos sum up the whole trip. Green mountains, a roaring fire, and a cozy chair for four blissful days.

This entry was published on March 19, 2016 at 11:13 am. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Manchester, Vermont

  1. Looks like the most perfect kind of winter getaway. The Williams family sure knows how to do cozy well!

  2. A little synchronicity -I too read “when Breathe Becomes Air ” that week as well. I bawled!

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