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Autumn in Vermont

9 October, 2013

Helen clearly enjoyed our first day in beautiful Vermont!


“After Monday night’s torrential rain, we were all pleased to wake up to clear skies yesterday morning and a beautiful crisp autumn day. Perfect weather for a walk in the woods! After a wander round St Johnsbury, most of which seemed to be closed for the morning, seven and a half of us set out to climb Devil’s Hill. After a few wrong turns, including a death-defying 53-point turn between some vicious looking rocks and the edge of a mountain (not easy in the massive beasts we’re driving!) we had reached the bottom of the hill.


“A scramble up to the top rewarded us with fantastic views of the Vermont countryside. Even though the previous night’s storm had stripped quite a few of the trees, making it look a little more barren than usual, the colours were spectacular.

View from Devil's Hill

View from Devil’s Hill

“On the drive back to town, we decided to complete the Vermont experience by stopping off for some of its most famous export. The eagle-eyed amongst us had spotted a sign for maple syrup a few miles up the road outside someone’s house. It was a beautiful old clapboard house built in the 1800s, compete with an enormous old stove from 1919. The owner was very welcoming and explained how the maple syrup is made. It sounds like a time-consuming and arduous process, but having tasted the produce we all agreed it was worth it! We returned to the car laden with glass bottles of the stuff. Now we just have to cross our fingers that the lovely baggage handlers of Boston airport are extra gentle with our suitcases on the flight home!

photo  Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 07.37.46

“By this point we were all feeling peckish so we headed off for lunch. Becky’s hosts had recommended the Hilltopper Restaurant, which turned out to be a total winner. It’s part of the local catering college, and today was the first opening day of the new school year – not that you’d have known that from the food, which was delicious! The woman in charge explained that the students start off preparing lunch, and get gradually work on more complex dishes throughout the year until they end up producing lavish evening gourmet tasting menus by the summer, presumably involving deconstructed foams and all the latest trends!  On yesterday’s showing I’d suggest booking your table for June now!

Our concert venue

North Congregational Church

“Our concert venue was North Congregational Church in St Johnsbury, and we really enjoyed singing in lively acoustics to one of the friendliest audiences we’ve encountered.  No fewer than six people delivered the in-concert chat – a Stile record!  Afterwards we found ourselves in a establishment down the road, perched at the bar, watching the barman knock up the quickest cocktails I’ve ever seen. 

“A successful day all round. We’re back on the road to Marlboro today, hopefully avoiding the ferry this time!”