May was an awesome trip to New York to spend some time with my S3 group. We started out at the Unconference (at Stony Point Conference Center), which was a fantastic event. It takes all the best part of conferences (the late-night conversations in the lobby) and turns them into a whole conference. When that ended, we headed back to NYC to take in the sights (yes, that's the back of the statue of liberty--there were too many people near the window for me to get a picture of the front, and we were on our way to Ellis Island, not stopping here...) and to see a Broadway show (that's right, we saw the Book of Mormon--and it was FANTASTIC--it really is God's favorite musical, I swear. And mine.)--we did lots of fun things, enjoyed some sabbath, and talked about our project. It was a great week. I was sad to come home (and I had to come home earlier than the rest of the group, due to some work commitments).
Then in June I hopped off to Vermont for a few days with my fantastic friend Elsa. We got some amazing deals thanks to Travelzoo, so we wandered about in Vermont, visiting wineries and cheeseries and oohing and aahing over covered bridges, quaint little towns, babbling mountain brooks, and such. We also spent a day at the spa in our inn, which was pretty much the best day ever. And we ate a lot. And laughed and talked, and just generally had a good time. I like Vermont.
On our way from Boston to Burlington, we randomly found ourselves here: listening to the Book of Mormon soundtrack and singing along loudly to "All American Prophet" as we looked at the "polished granite shaft" memorializing this man who started the all-american religion. It was quite the find. We spent several hilarious minutes there. Unfortunately, there were no signs explaining the thing about the planets.
In Burlington we stayed in a B&B, we walked along the water and admired the mountains, we contemplated renting bikes (but decided against it in favor of winery tours), we visited a very random and very strange museum that's spread over a big farm and 39 buildings and has things you just do NOT expect to find in a replica of a victorian building next door to one of only 12 remaining round barns in Vermont. (a collection of impressionist art! seriously!) We ate cheese--the best smoked cheddar we've ever had (seriously, best ever). We tasted some of the worst wine I've ever had--I was literally dancing around the tasting room attempting to wipe the taste off my tongue. Then, on our way out of town, some much much better wine (I just got a notice that the bottles I bought have shipped, actually, and will be here next week!) and some incredible cheese (I'm a sucker for the triple cream, and for the super nice people who run this creamery!). We drove around via wine and cheese and covered bridge for a day and ended up in Woodstock, which is called The Prettiest Small Town In America for a reason--because it is.
While in Woodstock we hiked, we wandered, we spent time at the spa, and of course we tasted wine and cheese. We visited the Sugarbush Farm, where we tried much delicious cheese (sage cheddar! 8 year old cheddar! omg.) and maple syrup (both of which came home with me...mmm...cheese), and I also got to pet a baby cow called Oscar. I don't have this photo (Elsa?), but Oscar loved me. He kept licking my arm. He's a baby Angus whose mother rejected him, making his life doubly sad because he's parentless and because one day he'll be hamburger. But for now he was adorable. However, he also led to me doing some serious hand/arm washing, followed by arm sanitizing (haven't done that before, LOL!).
At the end of our trip we visited Simon Pearce, where we got to see a hydroelectric dam in action, watch pottery being made, and watch glass being blown! Apparently this is the only place still selling a full range of hand-blown glass materials. We started out by drooling over everything in the store, and contemplating setting up a registry even though neither of us is getting married. After watching the glass blowers for a while, we ate lunch in the restaurant and enjoyed some of the best food ever, while eating and drinking from the very products we had just seen being made. it was cool.
I didn't really want to come home from here either. Though I probably would go insane if I lived in a town like this, I love love loved vacationing here! I would definitely go back.