FALL. Vermont. New Hampshire. happy.


Groucho Marx said “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

White Mountain National Forest - New Hampshire, USA

It’s not very often that I write about a travel destination with a heavy heart; but, when you consider the devastating weather that is currently battering portions of the United States… well, it’s hard not to. I’m not going to write about the wild fires in Central Texas, because I live here. Just too painful. While we can’t get a drop of water – others have waaaaaay too much torrential rain. There has to be a balance. But… there’s not. For now, with a heavy heart… I will reverse time to September 2010 (exactly a year ago) and blog about one of my favorite places. favorite times. FALL. Vermont. New Hampshire. happy.

The Kancamagus Highway - Hwy 10 to 25 to Route 112 - New Hampshire, USA

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times… TRAVEL is the catalyst for my non-scholastic “Theory of a Better Life”. To put it simply – TRAVEL makes me happy. So, how do you improve on something that makes you happy? You share it with someone. Typically, my wife Anna and I sit down (usually on the plane ride home from the trip we just finished) and contemplate “where are we going next?”. After spending a week in gorgeous Alberta, Canada (May 2009), Anna said she’d like to see the fall foliage of the North East United States. I think my response may have been something like “…huh?”

Swift River Valley - White Mountain National Forest, NH

September 13th – 17th, 2010. We found ourselves in Vermont (VT) and New Hampshire (NH). Together. Smiling. Relaxing. Enjoying. Celebrating Anna’s birthday (Sept 15th). Living. Laughing. Loving every minute of our time in the North East United States. We rented a car in Manchester, New Hampshire, and drove West to discover this magnificent region. Our destination – Woodstock, Vermont – Chartered 1761. Settled 1768. Perhaps we were a little bit early in the season to capture the fall foliage (early October is best); but… we were happy.

LIVE. LAUGH. LOVE. - Woodstock, Vermont, USA

Reflecting on our 5-day Getaway, it is difficult to narrate our emotional experience; however, I truly hope that my amateur photography captured throughout this region will translate our story and provide a glimpse of our fall journey.

Route 112 - White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Was it the charmfully preserved character of our home away from home at The Woodstock Inn & Resort (Woodstock, VT USA) or the beautiful scenic drives through Vermont’s Green Mountains and winding back country roads that enchanted our destination?Or was it the scenic drive along New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Highway from 10 to 25 to Route 112 and into White Mountain National Forest?

"Misty Morning" - Route 112 - New Hampshire USA

Perhaps it was the non-commercial “small town America” innocence, beauty, and support for the local businesses and farmers?

The Farmer's Diner - Queechee, Vermont
Emerson Motor Works - Rochester, VT
"The Ol' Barn" - Scenic Route 100 - Vermont
Longhorn? - spotted along US Route 4 - Bridgewater, VT

What about the peaceful rivers, calming lakes, waterfalls, covered wooden bridges, whimsical barns and farmhouses, inspiring hikes, and the breathtaking vistas of New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest?

The Otter Rocks - New Hampshire
Swift River Valley - White Mountain National Forest, NH

If I were a betting man… I would say watching hand blown glass and handmade pottery at Simon Pearce is one of the most underrated experiences I have ever had in my life. I was blown away (pun intended) at the sheer skill and precision these artists demonstrated. And to add to that… the food at their restaurant is absolutely superb! Served on Simon Pearce pottery with hand blown glass stemware. Impressive. VERY impressive.

Simon Pearce - Handblown Glass & Handmade Pottery - Queechee, VT USA
Simon Pearce - The Mill @ Queechee, VT
Simon Pearce - http://www.simonpearce.com

Remembering back… it quite possibly could have been the unfathomable quarts of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream that captivated me most about our trip. It’s definitely not a secret, so if you find yourself within the vicinity of Waterbury, Vermont, I highly recommend the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour.

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream - Vermont's Finest - Waterbury, VT
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream - Waterbury, VT

For now, I reserve the right to say ALL OF THE ABOVE. Vermont and New Hampshire are special jewels to be cherished. FALL. Vermont. New Hampshire. happy.

"I LOVE Vermont" - Killington Hay Festival 2010 - Killington, VT

As I sat in my kitchen this morning – worried about the wild fires within the vicinity of our home in Austin, Texas – I sipped a glorious cup of Green Mountain CoffeeVermont Country Blend – while reading an email from Werner Graef – President & General Manager at Woodstock Inn & Resort.

Green Mountains - Scenic Route 100 - Vermont, USA
No description necessary - Green Mountains - Vermont, USA

According to Mr Graef’s email… Mother Nature dealt Vermont a tough hand with Hurricane Irene this past week. All employees and guests weathered the situation safely; however, the property did not completely escape without incident. The lower floors of the inn experienced some flooding, causing damage to several meeting rooms, 13 of the inn’s 142 guest rooms, and some of its kitchen facilities.

Middle Bridge - Woodstock, VT USA
The Prince & The Pauper - Anna's Birthday Dinner - 9.15.10 - Woodstock, VT

A 100-person clean-up crew was on hand to make swift progress of the situation. All the upper floors of the main inn building – including 129 guest rooms and suites, the signature Red Rooster restaurant, Richardson’s Tavern, The Spa at Woodstock, and all public spaces – were undamaged and required minimal cosmetic attention.

rainy afternoon @ Dewey Mill Pond - Woodstock, Vermont USA

He also mentioned they will be sharing daily updates on their website: www.woodstockinn.com. Still… the news saddened us, because every place mentioned, we knew.

Queechee Covered Bridge - The Mill @ Queechee, VT
The Road Home - Hwy 12 - Vermont

I think what was most disheartening was knowing that this was just one of many incident reports across the states of Vermont and New Hampshire. Buildings damaged. Rivers overflowing. Farms and local produce destroyed. All in all, you can take away buildings and possessions; but, you can never take away people’s spirit and love for a community. That’s what I remember the most about Vermont and New Hampshire.

Stacked Wood - Woodstock, VT USA
Wood Stack in Woodstock, VT
Historic American Flag - Woodstock, Vermont USA

I will keep the people of Vermont and New Hampshire in my thoughts and prayers (and ask that you do the same) and I will continue to dream of another day, another year, another time, when we can get back East to experience the Fall Foliage. And yes… Vermont was #6 on National Geographic Traveler’s 133 Destinations Rated.

Anna & Jason - "The Orchard" - 9.17.10 - Queechee, VT

Until we blog again… TRAVEL | EXPLORE | DREAM | DISCOVER

"The End of the Road" - Woodstock to Quechee, VT USA
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