Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vermont Adventure

Middlebury Vermont . . . the quintessential New England village. Snow white, pointy-steepled Congregational Church, tree-sy village green, 19th century mills, gushing waterfalls that once powered those mills, 200+ year-old university, prehistoric two-story Ben Franklin five-and-dime store. Church bells ringing on Sunday, traffic moving 20 mph, John Deere lived here, tight country roads with one-way bridges, Robert Frost's farm just down the road, and a writer's group called Bread Loaf.

I spent a delightful two weeks here in 2008 with Bridget's family. They were living in student housing for the summer while Jeremy taught Arabic at Middlebury College. Bridget was expecting child #2 at any moment, and I came to help out. Every day and usually twice a day I took Meme via stroller on humid, drippy walks downtown to the library or the Ben Franklin, or to watch the surging, muddy falls. Meme loved churches and occasionally we'd stop to explore inside one of them.

 looking north on Main Street

Because Bridget's family was living in student housing there was no room for me there. The price of hotels/motels was quite high here so I decided to camp out at a family-owned campground a few miles down the road, for $20 per night. I brought along my Fred Meyer $13 tiny tent, a homemade fleece sleep sack, bought a pillow in Middlebury, and was all set for a 2-week camping adventure. 

But I didn't plan on the rainiest summer that living Vermonters had ever seen. Who could have guessed? And it wasn't just a deluge; these daily/nightly storms were full-blown t-storms, the clamor of a violent bowling match played in the heavens while Zeus hurled lightening bolts at the Titans. Some nights it was so thunderously deafening (and frightening) that I had to take ambien to sleep. The water flowed in sheets through my campsite. The falls in Middlebury attracted crowds who had never seen them surging so strong. 

Middlebury Falls

And despite the torrents I managed to stay dry inside my faithful tiny tent. After a couple of nights tiny tent wasn't leaking, but I feared it soon could be. With a pile of hefty bags and a roll of duct tape, I fashioned a waterproof cover for it.  Not even a drop of water would dare get in this tent. And not one ever did.

I still use my sturdy tiny tent for backpacking trips. And I enjoy the satisfaction of having done a bold and crazy thing, and living to tell about it. And saving a ton of money in the process.

 Bridget and baby at Porter Hospital in Middlebury


  1. Yes, and I'm sorry Middlebury cannot be in your future living plans.

  2. You didn't mention the convenient cafeteria food.
    I would love to go camping at Middlebury, but sans thunderstorms!

  3. Yeah, not having to cook meals was a once-in-a-lifetime major bonus!

  4. It still COULD be in our future living plans.

    That food was so fabulous. Jeremy and I still talk about Ross Cafeteria.

  5. How pretty! I remember when Bridget lived there. That might have been when I started reading her blog "live."

    You are amazing living in that tent. I had to smile at your waterproofing success! Great post!

  6. I left out the part about chiggers, but never mind. Thanks Susanne, these are great memories.