Cue the bucolic towns and quaint apple stands (which we of course stopped at for a peck of apples – did you ever hear of fancy vs. utility apples? Apparently the utilities are the uglies), we’re entering New England! And more specifically, we entered Vermont for the first stop on almost a month of family time, something we west coast transplants really cherished.


We spent several nights in Shelburne with Alan’s dad and Linda. (Though Sven spent the first night at the Shelburne Volvo station where the second set of Volvo service technicians were unable to figure out what was wrong with the car). We enjoyed a lot of their wonderful home cooking, which was most appreciated, especially using the great produce from Ron’s garden.

We indulged in several outdoorsy activities, including a surprisingly difficult about 5-mile hike. Ron was right – east coast hiking goes a lot slower with all the roots and loose footing. The foliage was beautiful, thought not quite peak yet, but the best part by far was having Olivia join us. She is the sweetest dog and the cutest ever to hike with. She runs ahead and then turns around and runs back down until she can see that everyone is behind her. Well that’s what I thought, until Ron went from last in line to first, and I realized Olivia was less concerned with my keeping up with the pack.

We got dinner after the hike at Shelburne Farms. It’s a beautiful 4,000-acre space with a most stunning barn and lawn overlooking the lake. It was lovely meeting our Merrill Lynch ladies in person. Alan used his newfound Oregon wine knowledge and ordered a Bethel Heights pinot from the Eola-Amity Hills AVA that pleased everyone.

We also set out on Lake Champlain for some kayaking which was beautiful and we saw some turtles, great blue herons, ducks and geese while we paddled south to the LaPlatte River.

Our last day, we all (Olivia included!) took Ron’s boat out and scooted over to Burlington for lunch and wandering around the town. Alan and I apparently bring bad luck with batteries, but fortunately we were able to jump the boat battery off the one parked next to it. I’m not sure if I’d ever spent much time in downtown Burlington before, but it’s really lovely. Next time we’ll have to do the Magic Hat brewery tour.

It was great spending time with Ron and Linda, and especially lovely to be in Vermont doing so as this was probably our last time seeing his home up there before he moves to Florida full time.

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