Location: Weston, VT
Written by: DJ Doran
TAKE NOTE: This post was written while DJ & Joey were on their RV roadtrip across America. Sadly, their trip ended before it really got started. No worries, Shelly & Lucia are taking the Connextions Out n About Roadtrip to new heights, exploring one RV park at a time!
The drive to Burlington VT from Bennington started in a little town called Wilmington. We had decided to change our route because of some insight from Amy Balogh, the Manager for the Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce www.yourplaceinvermont.com who I had been briefly corresponding with about which route to Burlington would be the best scenic route to see the foliage. Amy suggested taking Route 7 through Albany NY to Bennington, but then rather than taking Route 7 north she suggested that we should go further east to Wilmington -- then north on Route 100 which skirted along the edges of Green Mountain Nat’l Forest www.fs.usda.gov/greenmountain through Weston and then Ludlow.
The drive was beautiful and we took our time -- the colors of the foliage at every turn were amazing. Priscilla chugged along as we passed through small town after small town on our way to our next stop, Weston. Amy had highly recommended a stop in Weston to visit the Vermont Country Store www.vermontcountrystore.com for fun and photos and as we pulled into Weston we could see why. Cars lined the street as we pulled through and people turned their heads to get a good look at Priscilla as we drove by. Parking was going to be a challenge for sure but we circled a couple of times before I finally found a place that was suitable and I wedged Priscilla into a space along the fence surrounding a tree lined park, their leaves aflame with bright autumn colors of reds and oranges.
After a few moments of discussion about whether or not we could or should park where we were, we buttoned up Priscilla and headed for the store. As we walked around the split rail fence that circled the park, we noticed a Gazebo and Monument near the center. Being tourists, we decided to venture into the park and check it out before fighting the throngs of blue haired tourists from NY, NJ and beyond infesting the Vermont Country Store and the surrounding shops.
The ground was covered in fallen leaves and the rustling sounds as we waded through made me recall how much I missed the changing seasons and the leaves… Memories flooded my mind of growing up in NY as a small boy and the turning leaves, cooler days, Halloween and Fall, and how much I loved this time of year. Joey and wandered over to the monument and read the inscription about the soldiers who fought against the rebels from 1861-1865 and honored those that had died for the cause of a United States. After a few solemn moments reflecting at the history and significance of the monument we wandered over to the Gazebo and we climbed into the center. I was in the middle of setting up for a photo of Joey and I when a group of tourists from Canada I think, they were speaking French, walked over and began to fill the Gazebo, completely clueless or ambivalent to our photo opportunity. I considered asking them to excuse us until we had taken our photo but decided against it because by then the moment had passed and I didn’t think they would understand me anyway so we left and began walking toward the shops a few feet away.
We entered the Vermont Country Store and immediately were transferred back to Walton’s Mountain!! As soon as you walk in there are confections of every type in oversized glass containers with scoops conveniently located nearby should we decide to take some with us. My eyes lit up as I say the chocolates but Joey’s gentle reminder of my diet brought me back to reality. As we meandered through the aisles keeping my hands firmly in my pockets we came across the first table of samples! Ok this was too much for me. I stood in front of the counter where Nancy was diligently slicing up some fudge for sampling. There were several plates on the counter, each one tempting me with a different variety of fudge, Peanut Butter, Pumpkin, Maple and a plethora of other delicious flavors. I am by no means a fan of fudge but damn this was delicious and homemade too! After a few minutes of “Tasting” and chatting with Nancy and the customers that milled around us, Joey and I began walking through the store. I immediately came upon a display of Charles Chips/Pretzels www.charleschips.com My Dad had loved these chips and pretzels and I grew up with cans in our house all the time. Memories flooded my head of my Dad and I could almost hear his voice in my head as I grabbed a sample of the chips while marveling that they tasted EXACTLY as I had remembered. Not everything has changed over the years for the worse and I took some comfort in that knowledge. We walked deeper into the labyrinth of the displays and were amazed at the largesse of the store! From the outside you could only see the storefront but the displays seemed to go on forever… There were foods, candies, clothing, toys, a small museum about scales and samples everywhere of cheeses, meats, jellies, and sauces… We sampled our way through the store and finally decided we had better leave before we spent what little life savings we had in this tourist wallet vacuum called the Vermont Country Store and push on toward Burlington while there was still daylight.
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