By David DeWitt
It was the end of Erin’s teaching semester and she wanted to get away for a few days to mark the close of her school year.
She found a Groupon deal for two nights in a little hotel in Vermont that wasn’t too far away but enough of a change in scenery so it felt like a vacation. We’ve taken trips before where we intended to be spontaneous only to end up wandering around for hours on end and eventually settling on uninspiring restaurants or activities that none of us were really into. So this trip we had a list of planned things to do.
We got an early start so we were in Vermont by breakfast. We went to a restaurant on our list.
It had looked much better on the internet. The atmosphere left much to be desired. But the food was ok and it was cheap.
Afterwards we found a beautiful hike, not on the list.
Then we went to a small glass factory, on the list, where we could see glass being blown. It was great but didn’t take up that much time since the glass blowers were making a very specific small glass, over and over, for a large order they were trying to fill.
We weren’t far from a town where I had performed almost 10 years ago so we decided to drive there and stroll around. By chance we ran into the woman who directed that show I was in and she was as surprised to see me as I was her. We had a great conversation. As we said goodbye she suggested we take Finn to a science center and sanctuary for injured birds a few miles away. We did and we all loved it.
The next day we planned a hike. The first 10 minutes were good. The next 20 minutes were torture as our youngest hiker decided it was too steep. We hiked back down, me with the fifty pound nonconformist on my shoulders.
We drove across a red covered bridge and discovered a maple syrup and cheese farm where we spent about an hour tasting samples.
Afterwards, we found a brewery where you could dine right next to a stream, with water so shallow you didn’t have to worry about your little one wading in. So of course in no time Finn had his shoes off and was playing in the mud.
There are fewer things that facilitate contemplation more than a brambling brook. Unless, of course you add a young child making mud pies on the bank of that brook.
And if he happens to be making them in a quiet methodical manner and placing them in a row, well it can be very relaxing.
This was what vacation should feel like. A little planned and little spontaneous. As short as the trip was, it was relaxing and restorative.
Three days seemed like five and a great prelude for summer.
A time to relax, pay attention and get our mud pies in a row.