Friday, May 31, 2002

Hartford to Vermont

We got up early and I made coffee and ordered up a light breakfast. We watched planes from the window and tried to catch a weather report on TV. Rain had been predicted for the area the day before, and all indications were that was serious this time. A large storm system was due in by 10, which was when we were due to pick up our car. So even though the plane-watching was fun, we checked out and hurried outside to catch the shuttle to the car rental. The car pickup went smoothly and soon we were on our way to Vermont.

Traveling across Massachusetts went faster than we had planned, and within an hour we were crossing the state line into Vermont. After stopping at the welcome center (no brass bands waiting for us, darn it), I begged Dan to make a detour to the Vermont Country Store, since it was only slightly off our path, and I had been buying from them via catalogue and online for years. I was very happy to find a few cool-weather items that are hard to find back home and that would be useful on chilly Vermont nights, and I also bought a few postcards and some maple hot chocolate mix.

Back on the road, we arrived at the B&B a little early, hoping we could at least drop off our bags, even though it was too early to check in. The guest door was locked, though, so we went over to Quechee instead thinking to explore more of the gorge that we first saw last year. We hadn't been there long though, when the large storm system we had run from in Connecticut caught up with us. We barely made it back to the car ahead of the worst of it, but then found that we had to wait it out in the car, unable to see enough to navigate the two-lane mountain roads. That was okay though, since I had some Vermont travel magazines with my luggage, so we spent a quiet 20 minutes reading, waiting for the worst of the storm to blow over. Once we could see again, we headed back to the Millbrook. This time we went in and hauled our luggage up the steep Aztec stairs to our suite. Then it was tea time, and we enjoyed Earl Gray tea, brownies and mini lemon charlottes in the front room, while discussing dinner options with our hostess, Kay.

By now we were surprisingly tired for having done so little, but we took a quick nap anyway. For dinner, we went to Fire Stones, where I tried to eat light with only onion soup and a salad while Dan carbo-loaded for the upcoming race with pasta.

Since there really isn't much to do in Vermont once the sun goes down, we drove around a bit, then went back to the B&B through thick mountain fog. Dan kept hoping to see a moose, but the closest we got were some foxes along an unlit two-lane road. Well, they were cute, anyway.

Back at the B&B, the skies were surprisingly clear of fog (go figure), so we took some hot tea outside and watched the stars. After awhile, a minivan came into view, and to our surprise, pulled to a stop right in front of us. A dark-skinned man rolled down the passenger side window and asked us in badly fragmented English if we could give directions. We recognized his accent immediately-- a Spanish-speaker! We went up to talk to him, switching over to Spanish, much to the man's relief. It turned out that he and the other occupants of the van were Ecuadorian Indians on their way to a weekend pow-wow the next town over. Luckily Dan just happened to have noticed the Windsor Fair Grounds earlier that day and was able to tell them how to get there. The Ecuadorians thanked us, turned around and left.

We resumed our star-watching, noting a few falling stars and wondering what were the odds that a lost group of Ecuadorian Indians should happen across a couple of Spanish-speaking Texans on a dark road in rural Vermont.

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