This past weekend the S's made another trip to Vermont* as guests of our doppelganger friends.** The highlights, as they so often do, revolved around our friend's father's farm, featuring tractor rides, happy hour on a hill surrounded by the Green Mountains, and, thanks to the generosity of our friend's horse-owning sister, pony rides for the kids and a ride on a genuine thoroughbred for Laura (the sister competes in dressage).
The farm was also host to a fairly informal meeting of the Vermont branch of the General Society of Colonial Wars, open to male descendants of colonial warriors (no, not those Colonial Warriors). We weren't quite sure what to expect from that (I was thinking a cross between Civil War reenactors and those likely to barticipate in both kinds of Tea Party), but as it turned out it was a nice group of older gentlemen.
We also had plans to take a ride on the Green Mountain Railroad running out of White River Junction, about forty miles away from where we were staying. However, the intricacies of coordinating combinations of adults and children resulted in us leaving on said forty-mile trip (one-third of which required back roads before hitting the interstate) with only 45 minutes until the train's "scheduled" departure. (The significance of the quotes will be apparent shortly.) I am pleased to report (and JJV especially will be surprised to learn***) that we actually made it on time, only to find out that the trains did not begin running until the next week. We laughed and laughed. No, really. Frankly my fear was that we would pull in to the station as the train was pulling out, so at least the Set of People Not Riding a Train was much larger than it could have been, and there was no Set of People Actually Riding a Train that day.
In the end, we drove a short distance to Quechee Gorge Village, one of the nicer tourist traps I have seen, featuring a miniature train ride (Dave gets his fix and face it, the kids liked it better than a real train ride), ice cream in waffle cones (universal approval), cheese, dip and fudge sample buffets (ditto), and the Vermont Toy and Train Museum (bonus!).
Right before we hit the interstate we made the obligatory trip to the Vermont Country Store for candy, cookies, raspberry honey mustard dip (much better than it sounds, and not shown on the website - must visit to purchase!), and of course, yo-yos.
Oh, and "flatlander"? It's what someone with Virginia license plates gets called (or at least referred to loudly and pointedly) if they offend the delicate sensibilities of a Vermonter. In my case I earned opprobrium by parking my car at a gas pump near which a pair of Vermonters had parked inappropriately, requiring me to stop the car right near theirs. Hmph.
*Known in certain circles as The Great Facebook Friend Blow-off for the large quantity of people we know along the highways between New York City and Vermont, traversed with minimal stops at reasonably customary speeds.
**We share an anniversary (day AND year), our daughters were born days apart and our sons (their first) were born hours apart. (They upped the ante with a second son but we wisely folded.)
***Until quite recently I was known in certain circles, and not without cause, as the 62 MPH Bandit.