Tag Archives: Vermont

Bite a legend

Bite a legend

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Minutes from the Gold Brook Campground is the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, where the legendary cider donuts are made fresh daily, year round.  These are old-fashioned donuts: cakey and 1950s size, delicately sweet and flavored with cinnamon and cider.   Even after they’ve cooled, they’re delicious or so Mike told me when he finally  had a chance to eat his at the end of the workday.

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You can make these babies at home.  Cold Hollow sells a mix and a cutter and has a tutorial on their website.  Or, if you simply must have the real thing, they will ship two dozen anywhere in the country.

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But there’s much more to Cold Hollow than the donuts.  This is an active mill, and you can wander into the back and see cider being pressed.  You’ll learn the difference between apple cider and apple juice.  You can also see the mill’s bees making honey that’s used in the products they sell.

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Besides that, there are all kinds of Vermont-made foods and other products available for sale.  Only in Vermont would you find a maple walnut peanut butter!  Not sure what to buy?  Don’t fret; there’re plenty of samples to try.

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Gold Brook Campground (Stowe, VT)

Gold Brook Campground (Stowe, VT)

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We were able to squeeze in the New Hampshire gig because Mike was already scheduled to work at a Harley dealership in Vermont.   There wasn’t a year-round campground in Barre, so we stayed at Gold Brook Campground in Stowe.  (Thankfully, this time, the commute was only 40 minutes, instead of an hour.)

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This was the first time we had a campground completely to ourselves.  It was eerie with no one around.  There’s something disconcerting about a quiet playground.  Then we settled in and really enjoyed the privacy.

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Another first for us was staying at a campground that has no website.  We relied on the couple of reviews we found online.  They were accurate.  The campground is,  indeed, “no frills”, and the owner is a “crusty old Vermonter” who warms up as you interact with him.   There are full hook-up sites along with tent spots.  Full hook-ups normally include electric, water, and sewer, but in mid-November, the water had been shut off.  We were able to fill our fresh tank from a spigot on the outer wall of the shower house when we arrived.  We had to improvise with two five-gallon buckets and a pump to replenish our supply after we were connected.

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My routine was to drive Mike to the dealership, head to Black Cap Coffee and get my work done, go back to the rig and take the dogs on a nice, long walk, and then do some sight-seeing before returning to pick Mike up.  There’s a lot to see in Stowe and also nearby Waterbury, like the Ben & Jerry’s factory tour, a Cabot Cheese outlet and Lake Champlain Chocolates.

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For a couple of days, the weather was warm enough around midday to make walking along the river brisk but pleasant.  The bark babies haven’t seen much water, so they were unsure what to make of it.  Meeko rushed up, put his front paws in, and jumped back like he’d been stung.  Too cold for our little man!  Sadie didn’t even bother to get close.  I think she might be smarter than I give her credit for.

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Knowing bad weather was on the way, I made sure to make the most of the sunny skies.  So when the snow came, I was ready to appreciate it from the cozy confines of the RV.

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Local flavor

Local flavor

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Being a freelancer can be isolating.  Being a mobile freelancer, who’s generally never in one place more than a week, can become a sort of solitary confinement.  Getting out in the world helps a lot, so I frequently do my work over a cup of coffee (or tea) at a place with free Wi-Fi.  Starbucks and McDonald’s are always reliable options.  The hustle and bustle is energizing, and catching snippets of conversation makes you feel a bit like you’re in on the office gossip.  But their homogeny strips a town of its uniqueness.

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Our stays are so short that I don’t have much of an opportunity to get the flavor of the communities we’re in.  So I seek out local coffee shops as much as possible.  At these small businesses, it will likely be the owner that’s taking your order and handing over your latte.  Patronizing these kinds of places means my dollars are helping that community thrive while I’m getting my work done.  The other customers and their conversation, sometimes their accents, gives me a sense of the character of the area.

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Even the coffee selections are representative, like the Maple Latte at Black Cap Coffee in Stowe, Vermont.  The steamy drink is made with real Vermont maple syrup along with espresso and milk, and it’s delicious.  So is the broccoli and cheese quiche – with the most broccoli and the least cheese I’ve had yet – and the spicy black bean soup.  Working at Black Cap was one of my favorite parts of our visit to Vermont, and I’m looking forward to finding other local treasures like it as we continue on our motorhoming escapade.

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