Tag Archives: Travel

Exploring Vermont with our grandchildren was such fun. Recently we were blessed to have our two daughters and three grandchildren visit us for ten days. Having three children ages, 5, 3 and two months under our roof was exhausting, but I wouldn’t have traded the time for anything. It gave us the opportunity to do some exploring with our grandchildren and show them the things we love about Vermont. It was also peak foliage so it was the perfect time for them to visit.exploring Vermont, grandchildren


Our grandchildren live in the Pacific Northwest and they are not used to having backyards with no fences. Running around our large yard was a pure delight. The first outing was to climb Mt Tom in Woodstock, Vermont.exploring Vermont, grandchildren, Mt Tom My husband drew a scavenger hunt of items to look for. In addition to finding the maple leaves and salamanders we also found beautiful spider webs and exquisite fall foliage.exploring Vermont

I also introduced our older two grandchildren to picking and shelling dried beans.

exploring Vermont My granddaughter was lucky enough to find one last remaining carrot in the garden. I think it is so important to introduce children to gardening and where our food comes from.exploring Vermont

We also took a ride in the gondola to the top of Killington Mountain. The day was spectacular and you could see forever.

exploring Vermont

I think the highlight of the visit was picking out pumpkins at our local farmers market. I had knit pumpkin hats for everyone including my husband!

exploring Vermont It was wasn’t easy but we managed to get a great shot of them all wearing pumpkin hats while at the same time entertaining everyone with our photo shoot!exploring Vermont

One of the last full days we had we drove down the road to a neighbors farm. The farm itself is absolutely breathtaking but the grandchildren had more fun just running around.exploring Vermont

They also enjoyed feeding the sheep and the alpacas! Not a normal sight in the city of Portland!exploring Vermont

Our house is much quieter now; I miss the sweet scenes between the cousins.

exploring Vermont I also miss the lively conversations at the breakfast table.exploring VermontI am so thankful for this time we had with our daughter’s and our grandchildren. Exploring Vermont with our grandchildren was amazing. Such fun to see everything through their eyes. Our desire is to sell our home and relocate to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to our children. Eventually it will happen and we look forward to creating another home front on the west coast!

Several weeks ago I mentioned that I went back to my hometown to attend my husband’s reunion and the Guilford Fair. While we were in town we had the opportunity to visit an original cider mill.Sperry Cider Mill We have a friend whose family home has been in the family since the 1700’s! On the property is an old cider mill that was in operation from the 1700’s until the early 1900’s!Cider Mill


Everything that was once used in the cider making process is still intact in the old cider mill barn.Cider Mill

People used to bring their wagonloads of apples to this mill to be crushed. The apple juice was then made into vinegar and hard cider. It was amazing to see the large gears that had been used to crush the apples.Cider Mill Apples were unloaded into the top of the barn and then poured into the chute where the apples would be ground up.Cider Mill A team of oxen was hitched up to the yoke and then they would walk in a circle and the apples would be crushed by the large gear. Kind of like a very large meat grinder!


The apple mash would then be transferred to a pressing station and the large press would be screwed down to extract the juice out. There were groves in the wood where the juice would pour out.


If you picture a small apple press the process is very much the same but on a much large scale.Cider Mill


This antique cider mill is in the process of slowly being restored. It was so interesting to see the ancient tools once used in the cider making process. It would have been amazing to go back in time and see the process in action. It’s wonderful that this gem has been saved and is slowly being restored. It gives people a glimpse into the past and how hard cider was once made.Sperry Cider Mill


I am so thankful for the opportunity to have viewed this cider mill. I look forward to visiting again someday when the whole barn has been restored.

I grew up in the small shoreline town of Guilford, Connecticut. Every year we looked forward to the Guilford Fair. It used to be held on the Guilford Green and the town schools were closed the Friday of fair weekend. It was started as an agricultural fair and people would come from all over to exhibit their fresh fruits & vegetables and exhibit their prized animals.Guilford Fair


The Guilford Fair has since been moved to a dedicated fair ground and has expanded to include numerous rides, food booths and entertainment! The fair may have changed location but it is still a fun old time town fair.Guilford Fair


Two weeks ago we had the opportunity to be in town for my husbands 40th high school reunion. The reunion coincided with the Guilford Fair. Both my husband and I grew up in the same town and we looked forward to returning to Guilford, both for the reunion and the fair.Guilford Fair


When we were in high school each class was responsible for a class float, which would be in the parade. All summer the classes would work on their float hoping to be the best. The reunion committee decided the class should have a float this year. Since the class of 1976 was a bicentennial year the float was decorated with red, white and blue. Judging from the smiles on the float everyone had a blast.Guilford Fair


After the parade we spent time exploring the fair. I love watching the horse pulls and the oxen pulls. Amazing how well these teams of horses work together.old time town fair


The tents of fruits and vegetables are another favorite.Guilford Fair This year there didn’t seem to be as many vegetables on display.Guilford Fair However the displays were just beautiful.Guilford Fair It was nice to see the exhibit of canning.Guilford Fair If I still lived in town I think I would have to enter some of my preserves!


It was so much fun to be back in our hometown and enjoying the fair with our friends. I enjoyed it as much this year as I had as a kid.

Once a year we have the pleasure of visiting a dear friend who lives in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.Northeast Kingdom It’s always fun when you can visit a place that is in your own home state but is so different from where you live! It was not even an hour and a half from our house but it felt like we’d traveled to another time and place.Northeast Kingdom

This old house that was once a part of a large dairy farm sits on the top of a hill with rolling fields in every direction. It is so beautiful. The white farmhouse and the green hills is classic Vermont.Northeast Kingdom

While there we drove to the nearby town of Danville where there is a wonderful walking and bicycling trail that used to be the old railroad and is very well maintained. Danville, VTThe views along the path were just amazing.Danville, VT

After a three-mile walk we stopped for lunch at the Peacham Café.Peacham Cafe Lunch was delicious and made good use of local food. Even the flowers on the table were freshly picked.Peacham Cafe

After our lunch we stopped at a local farm stand, WillowBrook Farm.WillowBrook Farm The owners were picking flowers which they dry and sell. It was fun to see the variety of tomatoes they had for sale!WillowBrook Farm

By the time we got back to the farmhouse there was just enough time for a swim. Nothing like a spring fed pond to cool you off!Northeast Kingdom

It was a wonderful, relaxing two days away and always hard to leave this beautiful spot. Time to head home on our own private highway.Northeast KingdomWe are looking forward to the day our home finally sells and we can move west, but I will miss visiting this very special spot.  There is nothing like enjoying a change of scenery so close to home!

The best trips are spiced with unexpected adventures and surprises: the local stranger that you struck up a conversation with, a detour that caused you to stumble on the most beautiful gardens, or the spectacular ceviche that you tried on a dare. However, there are certain problems that really can put the kabosh on your entire vacation. Even if you’re a free-spirited nomad, it’s hard to find the bright side to spending an entire tropical honeymoon in the hospital.

Here are a few ways to prevent and plan for unexpected disasters while you travel abroad:Young traveler wearing a hat with backpack and tripod - at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Health & Safety

  • Obey signs and rules, as well as local road laws and instructions from people around you. Those rules are there for a reason. Don’t think that you know better than others.
  • Know your food allergies, and how to ask about the ingredients in the language of whatever country you’re going to. Bring emergency medication with you just in case.
  • If you have other health issues, check in with your physician before you leave and let them know about your travels. A checkup before you leave can prevent emergencies.
  • Got to the dentist to make sure all dental work is secure. You don’t want a cracked crown in Fiji.
  • Look up information about public water before you go to a country. Most countries outside of the US don’t have the same tap water quality, even in Europe and other first world areas. They usually depend on bottled water for drinking.
  • Trust your instincts. If someone seems sketchy, or something just feels off, look for alternatives.
  • Update your vaccines before you leave, and check if there are specific ones advised or required for the place where you’re going.
  • Be careful of the food you eat. We’re not saying to avoid exotic foods, but do make sure that things are cleaned properly, and cooked thoroughly before you eat them.
  • Follow the same safety basics you would at home: use the buddy system if you’re walking at night, be careful of your drinking, don’t trust strangers.Happy women friends eating ice cream in Florence

Theft and Security

  • Don’t let yourself get distracted by beggars and children. Be on your guard if they approach you, and don’t put out your hands for anything that strangers hand to you.
  • While traveling on public transit, put your bag or purse on the ground between your feet, on your lap, or turn it around so it’s in front of you.
  • Secure your valuables in lockers provided in your hotel or hostel. Don’t think that your stuff is secure just because it’s in a locked hotel room.
  • Have a TSA-approved padlock on your luggage.
  • Blend in. Try your best to dress and act like a local. Avoid glaring marks that scream “I’m a rich American tourist! Take advantage of me!” Being a tourist makes you an automatic victim.
  • If you’re in a situation that makes you feel at risk, put on a game face. Don’t smile at strangers, and act like you have a purpose.
  • Just don’t bring your most valuable things, like your fancy laptop. Assume that everything you travel with could be stolen or lost.
  • Mail home souvenirs along the way so that you’re not carrying a lot of bulk and valuables.

Red Tape and Passports

  • Check with the US State Department to see if there are any warnings or advisories in effect in the country that you’re traveling to. For example, if you’re traveling to Russia, do your research first about their political climate and economy. You can also register with the state department to make it easier for them to reach you and help you in case of an emergency.
  • Print out your travel itinerary, photocopies of your passports, and copies of travel documents. Give them to someone you trust to hold on to in case your luggage is lost or stolen.
  • Let your bank know about your travels ahead of time so that your cards don’t get frozen. Check in on your transaction history now and then to make sure there aren’t suspicious charges.
  • Look up the number and location of the US consulate in each country you go to.

Odds and Ends

  • Join AAA, or utilize the benefits on a travel credit card. They often offer things like roadside assistance, reimbursement for changed plans due to emergency, or car insurance coverage.
  • Get travel insurance! This will help you if you get sick or have an accident and have to pay hospital bills, and change your travel plans. Some travel insurance will also have resources for if you get lost, or lose your luggage.
  • Understand language basics in each country you go to. You should know how to ask for help, ask how much things cost, and ask for the way back to your hotel wherever you are.
  • Use secure internet connections to guard you against hacking and identity theft.Young traveler

Guest post by Christine Hill

This week I am in Florida enjoying the wonderful hospitality of my girlfriend. She was heading to Florida to visit her father and invited me along. I am never one to turn down sun, beach and salt water!Beach time

Yesterday we spent the day exploring Vizcaya located in Miami Florida.Vizcaya Vizcaya was built as the winter estate of Chicago businessman James Deering. The house and property originally included 180 acres today 50 of those acres still remain.Vizcaya

Not only was the mansion incredibly beautiful sitting right on Biscayne Bay, but the gardens were incredible. It was a perfect day with a light breeze and sunny. We walked through the orchid garden with orchids in bloom everywhere you looked.Orchids

There were gardens everywhere you went, a maze garden, a fountain garden and a large center island, just to name a few.Vizcaya

It was the perfect way to spend the day.Vizcaya

We then walked around Coconut Grove and looked at all the fancy shops.Coconut Grove, Florida Such fun to explore a new area, especially one so completely different from my life in Vermont!Vizcaya

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