Vermont Adventure or The One with Pickles, Pukes, Sap, and Annie

Vermont Adventure or The One with Pickles, Pukes, Sap, and Annie

I’m trying to decide which parts of our Vermont Adventure I want to remember for all time. Monkey getting sick at the first rest stop in New Jersey? Her strong heart and amazing spirit are shown by that example, but it isn’t exactly a fun memory.

How ’bout remembering that I lost Kel and Paula within 3 minutes of leaving their house as we began the drive north? They had gotten a new vehicle, and I didn’t memorize the butt of it quickly enough. I have it memorized now, though.

I definitely want to remember that the cd of choice in their van was the “Annie” soundtrack. In our car, Monkey and Taryn sang their hearts out to a cd that Taryn’s family sent us years ago. That’s a great memory.

Learning that Kelly adores pickles, as do I, and we’re trying to share that with our children.

The beauty of Mount Abe. The generous spirit of Chris’ family, the giggles and laughter from the children and the adults all week long. Watching our children share their sense of maple syrup history with their friends. Seeing our kids suiting up to play on the big rock, on which Gem kids have played for decades, hours spent sledding, falling in the snow, rolling down the hill, making up stories, playing Kirby, paint-by-numbers, great meals, more stories, Ben and Jerry’s, seeing Chris’ best friend from high school at the grocery store, drinking lots of wine, more great food.

I want to remember it all. Luckily, Paula took over 600 pictures, so there is much to be used as a memory-jog.

IMG_20150404_091855180_HDRSnuggles before we begin our long drive home.

Paula and I did some wood splitting for fun.

Enjoying mud season.

Playing a game in the sunny kitchen.

Games at Uncle Scott’s new store: Tinker and Smithy.

That gorgeous, gorgeous view.

Kel getting in touch with her fire-starter side.

Painting in the kitchen.

Contemplating the sugar maple.

Smiley selfie.

Preparing the trees.

Look at those pink cheeks!

Games with Grandma by the fire…Heaven!

I love the “James Bond” music in the video. Not sure how to make it not be sideways, but enjoy anyway!

Tastes better than soda.

Laughter in the sunny cold. (This may have been the time Monkey’s leg was trapped and we had to dig her out.)


Ben and Jerry’s Graveyard of Flavors.

Ben and Jerry’s Fun.

IMG_20150330_182537362 Our Monday night dinner together.

IMG_20150330_170159735_HDR Snowy Fun

IMG_20150330_131344080_HDROur first stop at the Vermont Country Store on the way north.

IMG_20150330_130736671_HDRMonkey, Paula, and I LOVE this place. The rest of the team was willing to go with us.

IMG_20150330_084529989Snuggled at our hotel in Albany on Sunday night.

IMG_20150330_084115504_HDRThe room was wonderfully huge!

IMG_20150331_192603679 This is so Star Trekky! Taryn is showing her whole family the snow in real time while I take a picture of them to appear on my blog for them to read later. Infinity!

IMG_0483Some snowy fun.

IMG_0482She’s fallen!

IMG_0490Sledding buddies.



IMG_0675Visiting by the fire.

IMG_0607Love the people, love the view!

IMG_0665Stoking the fire is my very favorite job.

IMG_0497Strawberry cheesecake ice cream sample at B&J’s.

IMG_0533Preparing to go tap trees.

IMG_0596Happy, happy sap tappers.

IMG_0540Kelly with a drill. Look out trees.

IMG_0610One of the kind souls who opened her home for a week to strangers who quickly became friends and even gave up her bed for the week!

IMG_0660She survived the sled ride!

IMG_0576Tapping in the tap. Tap, tap.

IMG_0598We’re all just so darn cute in the snow, all bundled up.

IMG_0556Listening to Nonni knowledge.

IMG_0643Bucket hanging glamour shot.

IMG_0565We look like an Outward Bound class.

IMG_0639Working for our supper.

IMG_0683Snuggled with a book by the fire. Such a great life!

IMG_0700Watched sap does boil!

IMG_0714The early fruits of our labors. Little Mother was so kind in making sure each of us had syrup to take home with us from the sap we helped gather. That meant a lot.

IMG_0831At the game store on Little Papa’s birthday.

IMG_0790Preparing to give a wood chopping lesson.

IMG_0826This picture summarizes so many things: Kate dancing along to the song in her head. Bets guiding Yessa along, which Yessa loves, and Buster and me trailing along behind, me listening to a story he has to share. Love this one.

IMG_0740On top of the beloved rock.

IMG_1069On our last night, the moon was nearly full and the water rushing in the river was thunderously loud. We all made time to stand on the deck to enjoy it and be awed.

IMG_1064Enjoying sugar on snow. So many parts of this trip felt like walking through a Little House On The Prairie book, this activity included.

IMG_1010My fourth child was a wonderful addition to the family.

IMG_1043Happy Sugar On Snow faces.

IMG_0870Rolling down the hill.


IMG_0993Sunny and snowy and smiley.

IMG_0999Happy to be together.

IMG_1061Everyone enjoys it!

IMG_1059Delicious snow.

IMG_1003Trying for a family shot.

IMG_0885Fun in the sun on the side deck.

IMG_1004Hauling more buckets. Notice the t-shirt sleeves. It got warm!

IMG_1029Out to eat to celebrate our week on our last night together.

IMG_1034Walking to the car from dinner on the last night. We’ve added another kid to the mix!

IMG_0998Wine, sun, snow, and smiles.

IMG_0874I just love this picture.

We take up a whole sidewalk.
We take up a whole sidewalk.
We take up a whole sidewalk.

20150402_152042 Our generous, gracious, kind, loving hosts.

20150402_150400The one child to complete her very intricate paint-by-number by the end of the week.

20150402_145148True Vermonters

IMG_0888L.M. by the evaporator.

20150402_144117The glorious lion sunning its mane on the family rock.

20150401_191242The pink mountain

20150401_161031Signs of a successful day.


IMG_0864Dumping the buckets.


IMG_1020L.M.’s round wood pile. We were all impressed!

IMG_0857More of the rock appearing as the snow melts.


IMG_0960It was definitely Mud Season for part of our time there.

20150330_104820There were some famous basketball player sightings during our time in Albany.

IMG_20150405_095926014_HDRPuppy pile in our last hotel all together.

No matter where you go and what you do, take a friend along for the adventure.

This photo by Louisa.
This photo by Louisa.

You can read Taryn’s post about our week here. She does a great job explaining the sap gathering process.

It was a magical week. I’m so glad we finally made it happen.