Growing up in Vermont, I wasn’t that impressed by it. I mean, sure, I loved the sweet smells that came with each season, overcast but brilliant fall days and, in my teen years, the fact that rural living provided an element of privacy. I mean, heck, at my high school we didn’t need to wait for someone’s parents to go away to have a party when we could just go have one in someone’s parent’s cabin far off in the woods or on a hilltop or in a meadow right under the stars.
Sure that was good. But I didn’t realize just how good it was. Nor did I notice how many little things I truly loved about Vermont and country life. I just thought Vermont was cold and quiet and I was convinced it was sooo boring. It wasn’t until after college when I moved to a major city that I realized how unique and paradisaical Vermont is, or most rural areas in the US for that matter. I grew to the love the city but it was never home for me. When my husband and I decided to buy a home, we picked a more rural area to house shop. I was thrilled. But it wasn’t until I moved here that I realized how much I need to be in a quiet, natural environment. Driving down windy, tree-lined roads just makes sense to me. Everything about life in the country just feels right and like home to me. Even though I spend three hours/day commuting to my job in the city, I don’t regret my decision to move. Where I live now makes my heart happy in a way the city never could.
When I was twenty-two and found myself surrounded by concrete and buildings, I tried to make the most of it but I longed for all things Vermont. Here are some of the things I missed most and that I love to this day-
A more carefree lifestyle. This relaxed way of being is not unique to Vermont and I’d imagine can be found in most small towns. But I love that I can grocery shop and not have to dodge approx a million people in the aisles. I love that traffic is rarely an issue. I love that you can go for a hike and come across hardly anyone else. I love how easy it is to feel at peace in such a setting.
Fresh air, fresh food, fresh water. In my 20’s, I became significantly less fond of summer. My husband and I bought our home in a small town last May. Come June, I’d go outside and inhale the scent of dewy flowers. It was unbelievably incredible. After so many summers spent in the city, I’d forgotten that nature and the world can smell so good. I didn’t need perfume or air fresheners to make my house smell good. All I needed to do was a crack a window on a nice summer day and let the sweet, honey-scented breeze drift in. And the air isn’t the only thing that’s fresh. There are brilliant, crystal clear lakes and ponds all around. In the town next to ours, you can actually farm-hop and go from one apple orchard to farm stand to country store and collect all manner of delicious, unique and fresh foods.
Nature. I love trees and grass and wildflowers. I love that my Vermont roots make me a pseudo forest expert. I can walk through a meadow or the woods and point out wild strawberries and wild blueberries. I know the following when I see them; lady slippers, honey suckle, pignut hickory trees and which one of those aforementioned is edible.
Okay so all this up til now is not unique to Vermont. Though it’s all certainly applicable to Vermont! So to make the title of this post relevant to the actual post, let me say the following… I love Vermont for its abundance of covered bridges. I love Vermont for the fact it feels like you’re driving through the Irish countryside and just around the corner of a windy country road, you may come across a pottery studio, a glassblowing studio, a pub with its own brewery of craft beers or a yarn shop. I love the liberal, quirky people who invest their time in making things like a Vermontasaurus. I love Ben and Jerry’s, Cabot Cheese, Koffee Kup baked goods, Cold Hollow Cider, Red Kite caramels and toffees and King Arthur Flour – to name just a few! I love that we have Champ, our own 802 version of the Lochness Monster who lives in Lake Champlain (and that this Champ link directs you to a VT gov website!) I love that Vermont tried to get Lake Champlain status of a Great Lake. I love that Vermont has the highest ratio of cows to people and that its sky scrapers are green mountains, that the only skylines that occur are a field full of fireflies and that its a never-ending park of sprawling hillsides and open meadows.
Oh Vermont, how do I love thee? I could count the ways BUT that would take too long. So I’ll end this love note to Vermont with this photo of a perfect, VT summer day…