These Green Mountains - My Family Travels

I have to admit, the train was very comfortable. Nevertheless, a one-way fourteen hour trip without stops is quite exhausting, even for an adventurous and energetic teen like me, who throughout the long journey, managed to keep up a constant refrain of “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” much to the chagrin of my poor mother.

Anyway, we arrived in Vermont around 8 p.m. and drove to our friends’ house in the small town of Stowe, where we unpacked and prepared ourselves for the next day.

I cannot find words powerful enough to describe how different everything was from Virginia. It was like stepping into another country. The roads were clear, almost deserted, and all you could see for miles and miles and miles was GREEN. It was absolutely gorgeous. The whole atmosphere felt clean and fresh, with the sunny sky and mountains in the distance adding to the perfect, picturesque effect.

The town itself was also charming. We visited a few of the local stores and farmers’ markets, even stopping at “Laughing Moon Chocolates” because I confessed to having a sweet tooth. We were fortunate for doing so because the chocolates were delicious, ranging from handmade milk chocolate turtles (which I bought a box of!) to dark chocolate salted caramels.

Next, we visited “Applecheek Farm,” an adorable, organic, and family-friendly farm located fifteen minutes away from Stowe. Honestly, I had thought myself a city girl at heart – until I saw the animals! Not only did I get to observe actual llamas for the first time in my life, but the goats, emus, horses, turkeys, chickens, and ducks made me wish I owned pets. The bigger animals were very gentle, acquiescing to be petted and stroked from behind their fences, while the fowl engaged themselves in a humorous battle against a stray flock of pigeons that kept attempting to steal their food.

We drove back home in the afternoon, where we relaxed by the lake and amongst the apple trees at our friends’ house, casually tossing fish food to the salmon living in the water and sometimes catching glimpses of them as they jumped like little acrobats for their meal. Towards the evening, we toured a sugar maple tree site and learned about the traditional method of producing maple syrup. Vermont is the leading producer of maple syrup in the U.S., so learning about the process and the amount of labor that went into it was fascinating.

The next day was equally action-packed. We started out by taking a gondola ride across the massive mountains of Vermont. The view was breathtaking! We all seemed to be levitating by magic in a tiny cable car thousands of feet in the air. After taking several pictures at the top of the mountain, we rode back down to head to our next destination: Smugglers’ Notch.

At Smugglers’ Cave in “Smugglers’ Notch,” it’s safe to say I went wild. I love rock-climbing, so when I saw colossal boulders towering everywhere around me, I instinctively jumped onto one and started clambering across to see where it would take me. It was nearly an hour before I made it to the other side, with my clothes dirtied up and a splinter in my left hand because I was not “properly equipped.”

It was such an amazing experience, but of course I knew it had to end. Late at night on our last day in Vermont, I sat watching the stars through a telescope, and found myself fervently wishing, silently willing, that I could stay in these green mountains forever.

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