We made it home last night from Vermont after having a glorious time. I have always said that, if I ever left Virginia, I would go to Vermont. No state has worked so hard to protect the environment and preserve the natural beauty of the land. Vermont legislators basically work for free (with a small stipend for travel) and every citizen seems connected to the local and state political system.
All of the kids have their favorite moments, though the kids particularly would go back and live at the Auberge San Antoine. From the first to the last day, the staff made us all feel like royalty or, even better, family. I loved Morgan’s Pub at the Three Stallion Inn. We spent every night at the pub and the last night was a local trio playing a collection of songs old and new. Jack loved the fondue and has decided to become a fondue mogul after “discovering” the dish in Canada. Benjamin loved the Biosphere, particularly the sea otters. For Madie, the Ben and Jerrys trip was a trip to Nirvana. I loved Vermont Law School and seeing how the school instills such public interest passion in its students and such a deep love for the environment.
Other highlights included the kids praying at the cemetery of discontinued flavors and his work as a coin collector in Quebec. (While walking around the city, a coin collector asked Aidan if he would like to empty the parking meters for him. Aidan proved a natural). One picture shows Aidan overwhelmed after finding the remains of Cool Britannia. Madie was overcome after spotting Bovinity Divinity.
We took a wonderful hike to the top of a Vermont mountain and sat on a cliff with a view that was breathtaking. It was something out of a masterpiece painting with a panoramic view of the Vermont mountains and valleys. Even the kids were overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of it.
I was able to get my military historical fix on the last day. We were staying in Randolph, a town that still preserves its New England charm. (The only exception was a tragic and rather ugly modern building housing the engineering firm of Dubois and King. I am not sure why a town with such an eye to historical preservation let that building pass muster but it appeared to be an example of 1980s yuk architecture). Randolph is the location of the infamous Royalton Raid in 1780 where Lieutenant Houghton of the British Army’s 53rd Regiment of Foot and a single Grenadier, led 300 Mohawk warriors from the Kahnawake Reserve in the British province of Quebec in a deadly raid. This was an effort to prevent the town from being used by the famous Green Mountain Boys. Houghton, however, lead a disgraceful attack in which four persons were killed and twenty six people taken captive. Local militia men caught up to the raiders in Randolph, but Houghton then turned to using the women and children as human shields — threatening to kill them all if the fighting continued. The militia withdrew and the captives were reportedly taken to Canada and sold for slaves at $8 a head — at least according to the historical marker. One positive story is memorialized in the The Hannah Handy monument, on the South Royalton town green — a granite arch honoring a young mother who pursued the raiders across the river after they took her young son. She successfully begged for the return of several children.
The raid was particularly interesting because it was part of the infamous attacks led by Major Christopher Carleton of the 29th Regiment of Foot along the shores of Lake Champlain — Charleton had spent time with the Mohawks in his youth.
We loved our time in Vermont. Thanks to everyone at the law school, particularly Professor Hanna, and in Randolph. We know something about Southern hospitality, but Vermont shows that hospitality really has no regional limits. We cannot wait to return . . . after all, we are still looking for a moose. (Frankly, the moose would have had to be deaf not to hear the Turley clan careening through the woods).