An Opportunity to Share our Vermont Way of Life

As we approach the fall foliage season, 
I know that everyone who lives in Vermont is thinking the same thing:

E Trail up Killington Peak
We are awaiting the blue haired drivers who go so slowly that you know you're going to be late to work yet again.  We get frustrated at the dozens of people at the peak yelling to each other when all we wanted was some peace and quiet to gaze at the rolling mountains of Vermont.  Our faces are stretched from smiling at tourist after tourist as we explain for the 100th time today how the gondola can take you all the way to the top for a beautiful lunch.  Or how we have to, yet again, defend our beautiful state and remind the tourists that there is actually plenty of things to do if you would just open your mind, get out of your car and wander through the woods, or pick up a paddle and explore our many lakes ...

Lilipads on Lake Ninevah
But then there are the moments when you have your own visitor, where you can watch the expression on their face turn from one of exhaustion and frustration at having to have hiked all the way to the summit to one of absolute awe when they realize that the mountain spread out, seemingly untouched, for so many miles.  The look when they gaze into the water to realize how clean it is, how they can see almost to the bottom if they wanted to.  The change in their reaction as, at first, they are horrified to be walking through the muddy trail and then, a few miles later, they laugh and stomp their feet through the puddles as if they were 12 years old again.

Vermont can change people.  

Trail E up Killington Peak

Sherburne Trail up Pico Mountai
This past week, my sister came up from Brooklyn to celebrate my dad's 70th birthday and the 5th anniversary of his death.  The goal was to do all kinds of things that he loved to do when he was here, to explore Vermont as he had loved it.  Hiking, paddling, eating, adventuring - my dad loved to do all of those things and so we were going to do them.  Except biking, my dad sucked at biking.  In fact, he broke his wrist in the skills park way back when I was working at the Killington Bike Park over a decade ago.
A Sunny Paddle on Chittenden Reservoir paddling toward Pico

For my sister, Killington in the summer was weird at first.  But then, she got the hang of it.  Hikes through muddy pathways up Deer Leap and Pico Mountain were not expected at first, but the thick canopy protected us from the sun and keep us cool.  She'd never paddled through lily pads so thick as were on Lake Ninevah, but she saw the beauty in the lily pad flowers.  The sun beat down on us on our way up Killington, but the views and the final ascent made everything worth it.  She didn't believe she could get a sunburn in Vermont, but a few hours paddling Chittenden Reservoir while distracted by views of Pico Mountain on a hot day will leave tan lines for the rest of the summer.

Belly Laughs on Lake Amherst
There are so many reasons to enjoy Vermont life - but I would have to argue that our appreciation of nature and our ability to laugh at just about everything - is what makes living here all worth while.  Those of us who choose to live here have made a point to slow down and look at the small stuff in life, to appreciate all the little things that make life worth living and not get so stressed out so much about the bigger picture.  When you ask a Vermont resident what they do for a living, they will answer: I am a skier or I am a biker.  Rarely, if ever, will they discuss their job with you.  That is how we make money, not who we are.

When tourists come here, they will slowly see that.  They will begin to notice what we notice, to see what we see, and to enjoy the life that we enjoy.  I welcome the tourists, I cannot wait for them to see my home and to find the spirit of the mountains that I can feel, every day, because I have the privilege to live in this great state.  To be surrounded by greenery, foliage, snow and the most amazing people.  I cannot wait to have they open their minds, if only for a few days, to something outside of the rat race of the rest of the world.

And maybe they will take just a little bit of that Vermont life home with them to wherever they may have come from.  Something called them here, to our little state.  Let us show them how wonderful life could be.

Let us share the beauty of the Vermont Life.

Thanks for coming to Vermont 
... and may you find the spirit of the Green Mountains in your soul,


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