Monday, August 10, 2009

Looking for the (possible) new home in Vermont

Journalists, or at least former ones, are naturally curious. We ask lots of questions. We take mental notes. Depending on who you ask, we're bad dates and tend to think up ways to punch holes in your story. Go ahead and tell me you dropped out of college or have been married three times before. In my head, I'm ready to ask how much drugs you took trying to emulate Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue.

Around February, the time I stopped playing Playstation and started getting real, I figured I needed to find a new home. New England always appealed to me and there's something romantic about a Colonial town with a nautical feel. Of course, most towns are better than those that surround Rome unless you're trying to start a casting call for Raging Bull 2 or Road House 3 (yes, there was a 2).

My girlfriend and I settled on New Hampshire because it was connected to the ocean, boasted the city of Portsmouth and looked cool on the Internet. On our way, we passed through Vermont and fell in love. And that's where we spend the last weekend, amid the green fields, throngs of blokes from Massachusetts trained to kill us, and of course, those cute little towns with white church steeples.

In a 52-hour span, we toured 11 towns, consumed about 600 calories an hour for 42 straight hours, and loomed ominously close to the border of passing out from all the altitude changes. We had a blast! And like a big boy, I drove the entire way and earned a free breakfast along the way. Some may tell you that's my only real motivation. But I maintain it's not.

On our way to Burlington - which we never did reach - we found the town of Brandon. In said town, we went to the Cafe Provence. Founded by a French chef who's also the former head of the New England Culinary Institute, the place served me the best breakfast I've ever had: a croissant with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, brie, ham and onions. When I was done, the waitress could have told me the machines were taking over and I wouldn't have cared.

We basically ate our way through charming Colonial-inspired towns like Middlebury, Woodstock and White River Junction. The latter reminded me a little of Silent Hill, but I'm attributing the post-Apacalyptic feel to it just being the pre-dinner hour because it is one of Budget Travel's "10 Coolest Small Towns." And who am I to argue with them? They have jobs.

Vermont is the greenest place I have ever seen and the people are nothing short of sweet. When I was laid-off, I punched my ticket to Anytown New York and got ready to fight the guy at the DMV with the glass eye and brown sweater. Now, I'm not so sure. The more I see of Vermont, I love it. I'm already starting to look at a new Subaru.

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