When we awoke Sunday morning it was to a clear blue sky and a crisp breeze coming off the lake, that didn’t last long. By the time we’d gotten ourselves together in order to fetch breakfast it had clouded up and was threatening to rain. Having had our previous attempts to skate thwarted by weather or ridiculous skatepark mandates(full pads at my age that I have to pay to rent? Don’t think so.) we made quick work of a mountain of food at The Skinny Pancake and headed to Burton HQ. For those of you who don’t know, Burton has long had skate facilities for their employees and they’re nice enough to let just about anybody skate so long as your respectful(should go without saying). I used to be fortunate enough to skate the bowl everyday when I lived in Burlington and I jumped back into it with the notion that all the lines would come back to me within a few runs.
We quickly realized that Saturday night’s activities were clearly detrimental to our plans of having a good long session. After about an hour we’d exercised about all our bowl options, so we switched to the mini for a bit before deciding it was best to hit the road to Southern Vermont. The drive from Burlington down to Pawlet is one of my all time favorites. The views driving down 22A are amazing in any season and the further south we got, the more the sun managed to break through the clouds.
The closer we got to my home the better the weather was and our spirits were high. We’d been on the east coast five days already and hadn’t seen too much of the sun. We discussed plans for the next two days in SoVT, assuming the weather would hold up, you know what they say about assumptions.
Though the clouds rolled in it didn’t matter, it was just good to be home. One of the best parts about being from where I am from is sharing it with people. Pawlet is a very small town but what it lacks in amenities, it makes up for in character. It’s sort of a hidden gem between much better known towns and I’m fine with that. No cell service(the occasional txt can be sent from high ground), no stop lights(couple yield signs), one restaurant(the other is sorely missed), two general stores(Mach’s & Sheldon’s, rivalry for the ages) and more cows than people. That’s Vermont for ya.
As I mentioned in Part Two of this story, I hadn’t seen much of the damage Irene did until I got down south. “Pretty much ripped the state a new asshole”, that’s what my dad said when I brought up the hurricane. As I’ve said before, the real scale of the damage done won’t be clear for some time, as no one is sure what the economic toll will be. With winter coming up fast, I again urge you to donate what you can to VTRedCross or VTFoodBank.
Having finally gotten a good night’s sleep on Sunday we woke up early Monday morning and got to it. With the sun shining bright we spent most of the day roaming the woods around Manchester. It was exactly the kind of day we’d been hoping for and we savored every minute of it. Sadly those minutes didn’t end up being longer, clouds blew in within an hour of taking this photo and down came the rain.
With a steady cold drizzle coming down it was time to enjoy Manchester’s other thing to do, window shop.
Ptarmigan Outfitters is run by Lars Jacobs, master outdoorsman, native Vermonter, all around interesting guy. Basically, Bear Grylls don’t got shit on him. Though Lars is a friend of the family I hadn’t had the chance to go check out his store until this trip. Recently expanded, Ptarmigan is quite honestly one of the most impressive shops I’ve ever been in. Filson, Beretta(yeah that Beretta) and Peter Millar clothing alongside some of the most incredible guns I’ve ever seen. They do custom fit hunting jackets using the finest Scottish wool, hand tailored in Tennessee and man are those impressive. Though I’m a long way off from their demographic, I can still appreciate what they’re doing. As Dave said, “who wouldn’t like to hold a $100,000 plus gun?”
After a good long drooling over this and that session at Ptarmigin we moved onto one of Manchester’s main attractions, the Orvis Flagship store.
The rain ceased almost as quick as it had begun so we made out Orvis visit a quick one. Though I’ve been there many times over the years the place never ceases to amaze me. Sure it’s not on the same scale as L.L. Bean but the store is still a really neat place to browse around.
After Orvis we’d had about all the browsing we could handle. Hungry for a change of pace we headed to The Northshire Bookstore and got lost for a bit. I can’t even to begin to explain the significance of the bookstore to me or the town. All I’ll say is few places spark my curiosity like that place does. Once the sun had set we decided it was time to grab dinner with some old friends and make it an early night. The grabbing of the dinner happened(at a new spot, Seasons which was damn good) the making it an early night not so much. After all, nights have a tendency to get extended when you’re catching up with people. We finally made our way back to the ol homestead to get some rest. We’d be needing it, the following day we were to head down to New York City for the remainder of our trip.