Day 2 - Manchester NH to Killington VT

Trip Start Sep 27, 2008
Trip End Oct 05, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Vermont
Sunday, September 28, 2008

Just a quick correction, it turns out the locals term of abuse from the citizens of Vermont for the thousands that descend on their state during this fortnight is 'leaf peekers' not as previous reported.

Next a warning to the more sensitive reader who will soon find themselves subject to phrases such as 'patchwork quilt of scarlets, crimsons, burnt oranges' or 'magnificent vista as far a the eye can see' with reference to dazzling yellows + lime greens. You may wish to go straight to the photos (or just look at something more interesting on the web).

So I woke up at 6 (or 2am as the locals refer to it), tried to sleep and finally got up at 10 (or 6 local time). Moving like a ghost thro the room, I showered, shaved + dressed barely disturbing the surprisingly wakeful Mrs. M and went out into the light drizzle that was the remainder of a tropic storm which had decided to move north to New England.

Thinking 'it could be worse', I set out to try and see how to take down the roof of the car. Sadly the storm decided no more Mr Nice Guy and made a determined effort to match its Asian cousins and turn into a monsoon. Frustratingly the car sensibly decided it did not want to show me how its roof came down in this weather and kept telling me I had rear stowage problems (which I failed to resolve).

Wet and bedraggle I skipped back to the room and found that Mrs M had decided to rise (muttering something about people keeping her awake all night; must have been the neighbours, although I'd heard nothing) and we set off down to the main hotel for a continental breakfast.

Americans seem to define continental in the same way you and I define carbohydrate; cakes, pastries, muffins, sweet breakfast cereals, donuts, bread, bagels, honey, jam, waffles with maple syrup plus the healthy option; melon.

I acquired a taste for waffles this time last year on a visit to California and found that after only 4 or 5 days of failing to produce anything other than an uncooked mass of waffle mixture from the iron; I became the Wafflemeister. Like riding a bike, all the old skills flooded back and ignoring the ever growing, increasingly unpleasant queue behind me after hardly any false starts made a great waffle. I ate it quickly (this was made easier as I had inadvertently used the chilled melon plate to take it back to the table).

Back to the room, packed, Mrs.M spent 30 seconds reading the handbook and solved the rear stowage problem, got the roof working although she decided it was not coming down at that time and off we set off for Brattleboro and route through the Green Mountains along the Molly Stark Way.

Within 5 minutes of leaving the hotel and heading west along the interstate we began to oh and ah at the foliage, scarlet, crimson, etc., etc., it was absolutely stunning. We also began to notice trees that seem covered in spiders webs, made beautiful by the dew / drizzle and so decided to stop and photograph one; which lead to 'the Accident'.

I pulled onto the hard shoulder, jump out of the car and jogged towards the tree in question beside the highway, but somehow my feet were snared and despite my natural sense of balance I found myself tumbling forward onto the concrete. My athleticism almost righted me, but that snare pulled me down and I badly scrapped my right arm (and subsequently discover, my right leg too). Had Wayne Sleep been watching I truly believe he would have been inspired by my balletic movements to create a new dance, but sadly for Mr Sleep and dance lovers everywhere he was not present.

Being a bloke I hardly made any fuss about the deep gashes and grazing, but I did give Mrs M the chance to dress my wounds as it made her happy. Photos taken we carried on with our westward journey and despite the bl*****y sat nav deciding to ignore the information beamed from the heavens managed to carry on in the correct direction until we rounded a bend and saw the Lake.

I hope I have already given a sense of the beauty of nature in this area, but now with the trees reflected in the still water of a lake it was effectively doubled. Mrs M and I agreed that if we saw no more on this holiday this one view had made it all worth while. There was more to come, much more. Every few minutes as the road twisted and turned we gasped at new beauties, the colours unlike anything seen in Britain, We saw our first covered bridge at Battleboro.

Around 1:30pm we had travelled along the Molly Stark way, saw 2 minutes of sun, dropped the top, stopped off at a view point that allowed us to forever redefine our definition of stunning foliage + views and finally reached Bennington. This beautiful town had a novel line in municipal art with quite lifelike sculptures, a woman shopping, children playing, a man reading a newspaper and many more dotted around the town. We parked outside the Madison Brewery + Restaurant and after one or two photos with the sculptures I was dragged in for a beer. I got talking to the bartender, who would have made a creditable Tom Cruise (Cocktail) stand in with his flamboyant serving style.

As soon as he realised we were from England he relieved that their new sous chef was from the UK (what are the chances), but sadly even though we came from the same country it turned out we did not know one another (which confused our host).

Mrs M + I decided to have a snack and one one us had a selection of beers and a hoagie and chips, while the other had a coke + a bowl of fries. To make a hoagie I understand you roast a cow, slice it thinly while still hot, mix with braised onions + peppers then put approx. a quarter of the cow into a single, enormous bread roll and then serve to your astonished diner.

After lunch we carried on, up route 7 north turning off onto Kelly Stand Road, more beautiful trees, this time beside a beautiful river on a dirt road. Then across to Dorset and up to Tinmouth; again stunning foliage overhanging the road + the best bit; a huge grass clearing with mountains covered in scarlet etc. trees all around. As it turned to dusk we made our way to Rutland and onto the Mountain Inn in the ski resort of Killington.

My advice now would be; never stay in a ski resort out of season! Loads of lovely places to eat and drink, but all closed. Except one, which had the feel of the Slaughtered Lamb, we walked in, the locals stopped talking and looked at us. Mrs M went for the chicken fingers; four bread-crumbed breasts from something the size of an ostrich + I had a burger, plus a selection of beer. We ate about half our meal, paid, ran out and back to the hotel, then so to bed.
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