Saturday, October 27, 2012

Eat, Drink & Be Scary, Part 3

These girls are fun. We like any excuse to party, and Halloween delivers! Sweets, costumes, booze, sweets...

We're all Pinterest crazy (see, it's not just me!). Linda's "earwax" laden "Q-tips" were a riot, as well as Bobbi Jo's mummy weenies!  

 Nicole did her Harry Potter thing with Reesey-cup broomsticks : ) But we actually had real food, too. You know...chicken wings, meatballs, spinach dip...real food! ; )
 This was fun: a "Poison Apple" (guess where I found the recipe?)
1 oz cabernet
1 oz Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
1/2 oz triple sec
1 oz cranberry juice
dash of allspice
1/2 tsp brown sugar
Shake 'em all up over ice and strain. Garnish with apple peel. Enjoy!
Ready for this year's costume-ers?!

 Laura is the Morton Salt girl! How dang cute is that?!

 Linda is the Tooth Fairy, with a bucket full o' chocolate and teeth. Too funny!

 Nicole is St. Joan of Arc (and it's not even all Saint's Day yet!)

 Becky lovesss her evil villains, but she doesn't scare us! (anymore) Those shoes were straight from the Wizard of Oz, no kidding!
 Carolyn apparently likes to stick with the boozey category (and you thought I was bad!) Last year she was a bunch of grapes, and this year a Red Solo Cup!
Bobbi Jo is the cutest Beanie Baby ever! Clever!

Debbie is the world's best 'Nora Desmond' (thank you, Carol Burnett!), she cracked us up with her "close-up" shot! (and the boobs)

Marcy & Tina were rolling (hardy har) as fuzzy dice! They were even attached with a string! So creative!

I rounded out the bunch with my Carol Burnett fave, 'Starlett O'hara' from "Went With the Wind"! (Deb and I planned these costumes last year)
Anyway...I saw it in the window, and I just couldn't resist! ; )
See ya next year for party #4!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Leaf People!

Full day #3 started with a Republican breakfast in Castleton, which was fine with us. We're Republicans. We like breakfast. Peg is driving (again). And it's another fabulous day. So we visited and ate (alot, including cheese blintzes), and listened to the man who would be senator. Fingers crossed, Mr. MacGovern! (and crossed really tight, because the state is primarily Democratic; there are only 600,000 people in the whole state!)

Anywho, Vermont has some very cool laws:
1) You can carry a concealed weapon without a permit (NRA rocks!) 
2) In 2010, the state enacted a law requiring that a DNA sample be taken from everyone arraigned on a felony (Take THAT, felons!)
3) Public nudity is legal (Ok, that one's an ewwww); disrobing in public is not!
4) Vermont was the last state to get a WALMART! (You go, Vermont!)
5) Billboards are banned! (So the roads are noticably more beautiful!) 
6) Double yellow lines are "advisory" only (Errr, this one's a little dangerous...)
Moving on...

Lake Bomoseen, in Castleton, famous for ice fishing. It was a picture-postcard day!
After breakfast, Peg had a memorial service to attend for a bit, so Laura and I made a quick run (not really a run, we drove) a few miles north to Brandon, famous for their Leaf People! (we call 'em scarecrows here, how boring is that?!)

 I obsess. I can't help it. It's just who I am. (a/k/a weirdo) I took a ridiculous amount of pictures, but they were all so charming!
 The guy on the left was in front of the Chinese restaurant, of course!
 These ladies all looked fabulous in their fall attire!
 And these guys were a class act! The bride and groom were outside the Inn!

That's snow on Big K! (Mount Killington) Yet another beautiful sight on our drive. That snow was made just for the season pass holders, since last year was disappointing due to Hurricane Irene.
Then we drove through Woodstock (lovely!) on our way to...

Quechee Gorge! The mile-long gorge is 165 feet deep, cut through the hills at the end of the last ice age. This photo does NO justice to the swiftly travelling water so far below! Again, I took a bajillion pictures, and couldn't find one I liked!

Peg then drove us to New Hampshire, so we could add another state to our list of "been there"s! This is on the campus of Dartmouth University, in Hanover! ☺ (wasn't she a fantastic guide?!)

Last stop for the day was at Simon Pearce, famous for handblown glass, in Quechee. What an
artfully-amazing-day nature provided!
Back to hot coffee in pj's in Peg's tv room! Man, I'm gonna miss it here! Only one more day...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Feel Like Ethan Allen...

Our second full day started with a visit and homemade apple strudel muffins from our new friend, Rebecca. The day before, we stopped by Rebecca's house while she was making stovetop spiced fruit, and Laura and I swooned over the intoxicating smell of it. We ooohhhed and aaahhhed so much, she gave us each a spoon for a taste. (clearly, our ploy worked ; ) Homemade goodies appear to be plentiful here, and we were taking full advantage!

Peg steered us toward southwestern Vermont this time, hoping to catch more vibrant leaves there, but we were ecstatic with every leaf we saw. It was funny to us that folks apologized for the leaves not being particularly colorful this year; we didn't know any different! Our tour took us through Rutland, Brandon, Dorset and Manchester (where we truly enjoyed a warm coffee on a cold day!); we pit-stopped by Elfin Lake at Wallington Lodge, passed Emerald Lake (the deepest in VT), and drove close to Mount Equinox, the only Carthusian monastery in the United States. We would have never known any of these things if we had set out on our own; we were sooo thankful for our knowledgable guide! (who pulled over soo many times and stayed extremely patient while we snapped thousands of pictures!)  Here's our second full day:

 We toured Robert Frost's modest home in Shaftsbury, which is of particular interest to me, as "Stopping By Woods" is the only poem I know by heart. (thanks to my high school shop teacher, Mr. Frick, I still know most of Jabberwocky ☺) He was a fascinating fellow!

Next stop: The Bennington Monument, dedicated to a Revolutionary war battle that took place in 1777. The obelisk is 306' tall, and an elevator took us about 2/3 of the way up for some fantastic views!
The windows actually open for clear photos, and each view is marked with the direction in which you are facing; this is facing west, looking at New York. Breathtaking! 

 North - Green Mountains.
Facing Massachusetts and Mount Greylock, which should be south! Loved this!

East - Vermont and the Green Mountains. (errr, I hope these are right...if you've been here and they're not, keep it to yourself! ; ) was windy and cold here! Brrrr! We high-tailed it back to a heated car!
 Southern Vermont College...look at THAT view! (but I'd hate to have to get there in the middle of winter...)
An empty grotto at the college, which was at one time a private estate. It had a very Harry Potter-like feel!
Time to visit Bennington town, and the Old First Church!
The cemetery was lovely and very peaceful. "I had a lover's quarrel with the world" ♥

Inside the Old First Church, the first Protestant church in Vermont; started in 1762 and built in 1805, services are still held there! I would like "Box #13" please!
Looking out into the cemetery.
Before the drive back home to Pittsford, we ate a very welcome late lunch in Bennington. We also learned that some towns have their own painted "mascot":
 Bennington has Moose (meese?!)...
And Rutland has Hearts! What fun community spirit! They're all over the place in each of the towns; these are just a few.We stopped in Rutland before heading home to a movie; there IS a Walmart there, but it was built right downtown so as not to take business away from the local folks, and it works! 

Our final stop was at one of Pittsford's four covered bridges. (of course we were super excited and Peg let us out of the car. Again.) It's very Vermonty!!!

Stay tuned for the Leaf People of Brandon!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What Happens in Vermont, Stays in Vermont (but nothing ever really happens here)

I almost don't know where to begin, but first, I'm going to vent...WHERE'S THE COOL WEATHER?! WHERE ARE THE BEAUTIFUL LEAVES?! WHERE'S MY CHAUFFER?! WHERE'S MY HOT COFFEE & CIDER DONUT?! Sigh. I miss these things already. And just to prepare you, you'll probably hear "Vermonty" alot in the next few blogs, along with many references to "Green Mountains", the "Green Mountain State" and "Leaf Peeping", as well as an absurb overuse of the words "beautiful", "fabulous", "amazing", "lovely" and "maple syrup". So whether you stay tuned or tune me out, you've been warned!

This is may be an odd photo to start with, but just in case you didn't already know this, I HATE flying. The takeoff and landing are ok, it's the suspension in between that makes me come unglued. This is in La Guardia, and the plane waiting for us was a 70-seater. WHAT?! 70 SEATS?! THAT'S WAYYYY TOO SMALL!!! Breathe, breathe, breathe....praise God it was a 38 minute (yes, I timed it) flight.  I was extremely thankful to have my bff Laura with me (we love roadtrips, but they all involve that darned 'flying' part first!)

It was rainy coming in, but isn't this a fabulous first impression?! I can't wait! See the Green Mountains?! (note the use of 'fabulous' and 'Green Mountains'...)

 Our friend Peg had dinner ready and waiting at her home upon arrival: baked chicken, roasted winter vegetables, and baked acorn squash (my first ever, and delish!). I'm gonna like it here! Her home was warm, comfortable and inviting, and we felt like family straight away☺Off to bed (with lots of blankets), tomorrow is a busy day!

Peg told us initially that she was "an hour and a half from everything", and she wasn't kiddin'. The little towns lie far and away from each other, but we soon realized that was part of the Vermont charm. So with Peg as our driver (which was wonderful!) we set out for Montpelier, the smallest (but oldest working) capital in the US! This is the State House, where Peg serves as State Senator 24, so we got an insider's tour! We also met Lt. Governor Scott (super cute!) and Pro Tempore Campbell; man, did we feel special!

Next stop: Ben & Jerry's in Waterbury. I may not agree with their politics, but they make darned good ice cream! This is a "must do" for everyone visiting here, and their "Flavor Graveyard" is very tongue-in-cheeky cute. My favorite retired flavor was 'Vermonty Python'!

The cider mill down the road was enchanting with its locally made treats and gifts. We ate warm cider donuts while we watched them make fresh cider. Those donuts are just as good the next day, trust me!

This view is 'round back of the cider mill. Green Mountains everywhere, I tell ya!

The hills are alive...♫ at the Trapp Family Lodge!

Leading up to the side of the lodge. We clearly didn't belong there, but boy was it fun to run around and act like we did! It's expansive and charming, and I'm sure, expensive. Laura convinced herself that this was the cozy Columbia Inn in Pine Tree, VT, from White Christmas ('Brrrr! Vermont!' our favorite line from the movie), and we really hoped to catch a glimpse of General Waverly! Shucks, no such luck. Did you know Dean Jagger (Gen. Waverly) was the same age as Bing Crosby (51) when they made the movie?! And Rosemary Clooney was only 26! 

Looking out from the covered bridge in Stowe, a ski resort town, where we started a brisk (chilly!) walk around downtown. We're official Leaf Peepers!

Pumpkin carving contestants on the town hall steps!

We headed for home via Smuggler's Notch, a narrow mountain pass used by (go figure!) smugglers to transport illegal and embargoed goods (and booze!) over many years. There are no places to stop for pictures, so this is through the windshield, which can't even begin to show the beauty that we gasped and gaped at around every curve!
Disclaimer: Please know that all of this blogging-ness is for my own memory-deficient purposes to document my trips, and you will in no way be held accountable for feeling bored as you read them. Keep in mind this is only day one (I blew through a 2 GB SD card in one day)! Uh oh!
PS. The title of this entry references t-shirts we saw in every shop we stopped in. It's very Vermonty! ; )

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

I reallllly love Halloween. I guess because it's the first big fall holiday, and I love me some fall! Jack makes his annual pilgrimage to the mezzanine in the garage by climbing into the boat, precariously balancing himself on various boaty objects, and begins handing down smartly-marked "Halloween" boxes. Then I leave them sit for a week or two ; ) So yesterday I cleaned and dusted in "preparation for the decoration"!
This is the cute sign. They get a bit more macabre after this.
I love talented bloggers who make and share clever art like this. I'm not one of them, but I love them! I make a new print for every holiday, using the same frame. My momma taught me to be thrifty!
White roses in black spider eggs. Ewww!

Spiders and severed appendages are my "thing" ; ) That finger is a hoot, it looks real, and freaks people out.

The pic on the left is from the Dollar Tree (it changes when you look at it from a different angle). I made the one on the right, courtesy of Martha Stewart, who loves Halloween as well.

This was a Martha idea, too. I tea-stained the gauze and strips of paper towel. Can you tell my mummy is a girl?! I could only find a female head-form at the beauty supply!

Nothing says "fall" like a severed foot and a raven perched on a skull!

These candlabras are my favorite. Debbie found them at a thrift shop two years ago, and kindly gave them to me. A few coats of black spray paint later, and there ya go! (I put them up with Scotch velcro fasteners, they're the bomb)
The gals and I decided on another Halloween party this year, so I'll add lots more nifty $ store stuff as it gets closer.
And since I spend practically the same amount of waking hours at work as I do at home, I like to decorate there, too (on my lunch hour of course). There's a little competition going on, so here's some of what we've come up with...
Laura bought this little $15 cardboard fireplace years ago, and it has served us so well! (there are rats on the floor, just so you know)

This mural spans about 15 feet! It's 5 Dollar Tree graveyard panels, that lined up pretty darn well! Deb hid scary faces in there...can you find them? (she likes realllly scary stuff)

 Our balloon spider lurks in the corner! (thanks to Pinterest for the idea, and Carly for putting it up for us arthritic old ladies! ; )
Ok, enough of the boring decorations.
I've made some really good recipes from you-know-where in the last few weeks, and plan to make some pumpkin (anything!) soon. (this afternoon I read one of my entries from last year, and made myself a pumpkin spice latte a bit ago ☺)
VERMONT in 3 days! Get ready for LOTS of pictures of leaves. And bridges. And trees. And maple syrup. And cheese. Just sayin'.

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