Of Food and Friends
Trip Start Aug 03, 2010
50Trip End Nov 02, 2010
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Where I stayed
Eve's House (Mick's sort-of aunt/cousin)
NEXT DESTINATION: Minneapolis, MN
Before we fell asleep we agreed to get up before sunrise and drive to Acadia National Park's tallest point: Cadillac Mountain - "the tallest mountain on the eastern seaboard north of Brazil." More superlatives! We couldn't make it out of bed in time to see the sun rise, but we did get up to the top in the early morning with bagels in hand. We didn't stay at the peak for too long - when you're used to the Sierra Nevadas, Cadillac Mountain seems more like a tall hill. No offense Cadillac! We did take some great pics and videos though, and the excitement from the loads of cruise ship tourists was infectious.
When we got back to the car, we noticed our Rocketbox was getting some attention
The drive was beautiful. We decided to take the advice of a few friends and drive the slightly longer route through the White Mountain National Forest. We were in awe of the fall colors - dark reds and oranges and bright yellows blanketed the mountains surrounding us. . . and all those pretty New England Churches, we were living in a post card.
We arrived at Mickey's mom's cousin's (Eve) house just before it got dark. Eve lives near the capital of Vermont, Montpelier, in area called the Mad River Valley, "Mad" because their river flows from South to North. Eve showed us around her amazing home, complete with barn and tree house, and then we headed out for dinner at one of the Mad River Valley's favorite hangouts. "American Flatbread" makes pizza on it's own farm, in it's own big red barn. We got to sit right next to the wood oven and watch the pizza makers at work
This pizza was the closet thing we've found so far to our favorite Bay Area pizza, Cheeseboard. They both have seasonal and local ingredients, delicious cheese, and a perfectly chewy thin crust (Brit still favors Cheeseboard’s sourdough crust, however). Cheeseboard is always vegetarian though, and we were pretty excited about American Flatbread’s local, organic sausage.
When we finally returned home to Eve’s place, we were so tired we didn’t even turn on the TV we’d been so excited to see on our arrival, and instead crashed immediately on our comfy pullout bed.
Our second day in Fayston began with adventure. After a pancake breakfast with actual Vermont maple syrup, we headed out into Eve’s driveway to saddle up for a ride in her horse carriage. Yes, you heard that right. Not a horse, but a horse carriage – a little two-person bench mounted on some mountain bike wheels, with the whole thing somehow strapped to Scooby, Eve’s cute, though feisty, horse.
Eve prefaced the whole thing by saying that she might have to jump out of the carriage at some point if Scooby started heading for danger, and that we might be required to take the reigns in the meantime
Next, we hopped in Eve’s car for a tour around town, which consisted mostly of stopping at these amazing farms to pick up produce for that night’s dinner. These farms were unlike any produce vendors we’d ever been to. Most were just wooden stands at the end of each farm’s driveway. You grab as much corn, tomatoes, squash, or any other veggie you want, and just leave the your payment in a jar sitting right there.
One farm in particular was a real treat. It’s called Gaylord Farms, and we highly recommend it to anyone passing through the Mad River Valley. Here, we not only got to grab some amazing produce and meat, we also got to meet the farmer who runs the place along with many of his animals including a massive bull (“Freckles”), some enormous pigs, and probably the cutest thing we’ve ever seen in our entire lives: baby piglets whose frolicking was the most convincing argument against bacon that we’ve come across
We finished our tour at a deli across the river, where we got some sandwiches to eat overlooking the water. Then it was back to Eve’s house to get ready for the barbeque she’d planned for that evening. Lucky for us, Eve had invited some of her very cool friends, including the Faillaces, a great family with some amazing stories. Most noteworthy is their ongoing battle against the USDA, who wrongfully confiscated the sheep they were raising in order to divert blame during the mad cow scare. The family has published a book on the subject, called “Mad Sheep,” which we’re excited to read and recommend to all of you as well.
Dinner was scrumptious and the conversation was very interesting. We were grateful to have met the Faillaces, and wished them the best in their ongoing efforts (they gave us a signed copy of their book too!). At Eve’s beckoning, we left the dishes for the following morning and headed to bed.
We woke up late and leisurely once again, and breakfasted on Eve’s tasty huevos rancheros. Then we headed out back to take a peek at her awesome tree house, which is a real work of art
Eve had been telling us how cool Yestermorrow is the whole time we’d been in Vermont, so we decided to visit them for our next excursion. While there we saw Yestermorrow’s very own tree house (not quite as cool as Eve’s), toured their various workshops and classrooms, and spoke with some of the instructors about the possibility of getting involved in the future. We both agree that the prospect of spending a summer in Vermont, learning about green building techniques, eating local produce, and swimming in the Mad River sounds pretty good.
After returning to Eve’s for some rest and relaxation, we headed out for one last meal at “Big Picture” a combination movie theater and restaurant not far from the house. It was becoming clear that all food in Vermont is top-notch, and this place was no exception. True to the restaurant’s claims, the burgers were out of this world, and the salads were fresh and flavorful. Mick insisted that we share a slice of chocolate cake for dessert, which was the final straw. Full beyond repair, we headed home to rest our weary stomachs.