It was time to escape August humidity in the Valley and head North up 91, crossing the state border to Vermont. A summer road trip through the Green Mountains was something Jake and I had been planning since early spring, swimming holes and cool, green forest trails on our minds.
Our first stop on a journey through downpours up 91 was Quechee, to visit the famous Simon Pearce store. The 19th-century mill it operates out of is perched on a cascading waterfall, nestled into the quiet village. Watching the artisans blow glass was a mesmerizing process, especially in the cavernous, molten heat of the glowing ovens on such a dreary morning. It made me sleepy.
Next, we made a quick stop in Woodstock, which was a busy and charming town with lots of shops and cafes. We had lunch at Mon Vert Cafe, stacked summer sandwiches on golden baguettes.
Two highly anticipated waterfall destinations befell us along Route 100. The first was Moss Brook Falls, which offered both fanned and plunged falls right off the road.
The second was Warren Falls, a local favorite. We were stunned as we emerged from the pines and came upon this woodland oasis, ogling at daredevils jumping from high cliffs, flipping into the deep aqua pools fed by tiered cascades. Jake immediately ran back to the car to change into his bathing suit, but I was content to take photos being the mediocre swimmer that I am.
The coolest part of this natural waterpark was probably this rock slip-n-slide. Perfectly sculpted for butts by water and time, it chutes you straight into one of the swimming holes.
The next morning was my favorite breakfast stop of the trip at Down Home Kitchen. This place brings authentic Southern cooking way up North, in a community-minded setting with big, family style tables. My breakfast sandwich was served up on *the best biscuit I have ever had* - it was buttery and soft and crumbly in all the right places. And it’s a good thing I had a hearty breakfast because Sunday presented my biggest challenge - hiking Camel’s Hump.
Vermont’s third-highest peak loomed in the distance as we drove up 89, the only crest touching the clouds. We parked at the base of the Monroe Trail, laced up our hiking shoes, and began the ascent. It was challenging but a breathtaking path through thick foliage, mountain streams, and geological wonders. My legs ached a few hours in and I felt the temperature dropping, but Jake kept me laughing the whole time.
I won’t lie - the top was a little scary. The sudden exposure to whipping winds and vertical slate shocked me a bit, and the open views were dizzying. It took some encouragement but I made it up and over the hump, taking in the sublimity of it all through clenched teeth.
Jake had a Snickers bar stashed away for me when we made it back down, five hours later. Chocolate never tasted so good and I felt pretty accomplished.
A highly anticipated post-hike evening in Burlington was next, and began with the most gorgeous pizzas at Pizzeria Verita. The zucchini, ricotta, and flower pie was almost too pretty to eat, but ended up being just as delicious. We finished up with some well-earned Ben & Jerry’s.
We spent the night at Hotel Vermont, one of the coolest hotels I’ve ever stayed in. It’s rustic and classy and hip, with personal touches like handmade Vermont soaps and a Tivoli radio by the bed. Breakfast in bed the next morning was the highlight - blueberry pancakes.
Heading South down Route 7, we paused along the river for perhaps my favorite meal of the trip: peanut butter sandwiches.
Seeing this sign along Route 125, we hung a quick left. We couldn’t pass up a place with a name like Texas Falls.
And thank goodness we didn’t! This place looked like it was straight out of Middle Earth, with emerald waters and winding pathways, smooth white rocks and mossy trees. It was a perfect last taste of paradise.
Who needs skis? Vermont in the summer is a wooded haven. I only wish we could have stayed a few more days.