Editorial: Adventures in Vermont

I don’t know about any of you, but I absolutely love Vermont, which is probably one of the many reasons why I decided to live in Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills as it is very much like Vermont. Who among us couldn’t resist the natural splendor of Vermont with its aroma of wood burning fireplaces, picturesque mountain views, smell of fresh pine, and last but not least, it’s over abundance of snow. It’s all very hard to resist! I have spent many years in good ol’ Vermont, and you would think I would be used to the conditions in the winter time. Wrong!

Knock on wood, I have never had a single problem driving in the winter with my trustworthy 2003 front-wheel drive Ford Focus with nearly 250,000 miles on it. Yes, it is still kicking, somehow. I’m not quite sure how much more life I could get out of it, but as soon as this harsh New England winter is over, I will be looking for a new set of wheels. I think I got the hint from my old trustworthy partner the other day that the time to for a new set of wheels was soon as I headed for Vermont’s Green Mountain National Park, located in the southwest corner of the state.

I should tell you, that I travel a lot with this car. Not only making a 144 mile round trip commute to work, but also many random road trips. Traveling, by far, is the best medicine for anyone. It gets you up and out of the house and out to enjoy the picturesque scenery of our great region. I make plenty of accidental discoveries that I never plan on heading to. In Vermont, I made one accidental discovery that ended up with my trustworthy car telling me it wanted to go home.

Making the trip up scenic, yet mountainous, Route 9 in Vermont, I knew exactly where I was heading for. I was heading to the Newfane area from Route 7 and used Route 9 as a short-cut. As I started the steep up hill climb, the conditions were becoming less than favorable as a snow storm began to take place, as they usually do in the higher elevations of Vermont. I knew I was capable of making the trip. I’ve made this same trip countless of times, sometimes in much more severe conditions. What can I say, I’m a New Englander at heart. I know how to drive in all conditions.

Once I reached the peak of Route 9, conditions were getting much worse as a total white out was taking place. I knew I couldn’t travel through that, not with my Ford Focus anyways. I decided to pull into Prospect Mountain Ski Area, located right at the peak of Route 9 by Bennington. As I did, I began to slide due to the thickly snow-covered parking lot. I knew how to manage my car from that point. I’ve done this before I kept saying to myself. Well, what I hadn’t done before was end up in a unplowed section of a parking lot, which is exactly what happened as I soon discovered thanks to my car no longer going forward.

As a New Englander, I often carry a shovel in my car for this very reason. Nope. Not this time. I had accidentally left it at home thanks to the nearly 2 feet of snow I had to shovel from the recent storm! This was starting to sound like a recipe for disaster. Cell phone service was unheard of up here. Then I remembered just how friendly Vermonters usually are. I decided to head on over to the ski area and ask them for a shovel so I can dig myself out. As I expected, they were more than happy to lend me a shovel as I happily dug myself out, which took nearly an hour or so to do.

While running back to return the shovel, I couldn’t help but notice what a beautiful place I ended up at. The scenes were just incredible. It was so picturesque. So woodsy. So Vermont! I instantly took my mind off the fact that I had just dug myself out for nearly an hour. An hour. An hour in the well below freezing, snow filled weather, and after all that I somehow managed to see the positives of ending up here as I took in the amazing scenery.  Many people would be aggravated at this point. Not me. I was ready to discover more, though I knew I couldn’t. I had to take care of the car to make sure that it would be ready for another adventure of like kind in the future.

There is a moral to this story. Don’t be like  me. Don’t be that stubborn New Englander thinking you could do anything and everything. I think I learned my lesson. Though I must admit, it is time for a set of wheels that likes to adventure as much as I do.