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Off the Grid

Rustic recreation at Quimby Country resort 12

A Moveable Feast How to host an outdoor Adventure Dinner

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Seeking Silver Linings

S EPT EM B ER 2020

In a typical year, summer is the busiest season for Vermont’s tourism industry — and fall foliage attracts visitors to our Green Mountains from across the globe. But as we bridge these two seasons in 2020, nothing is normal. Due to the pandemic, interstate as well as international travel has slowed, and Vermont vacations look a lot different. As we reported stories for this issue of Staytripper, Seven Days’ monthly road map to rediscovering Vermont, we heard a familiar refrain from tour and lodging operators: While they’ve lost a great deal of out-of-state tourism — and money — they’re welcoming more and more Vermonters who are seeking safe getaways and playing tourist in their own state. Many are discovering its hidden gems for the first time. If there’s a silver lining to the pandemic, perhaps it’s a newfound appreciation for the natural beauty right under our noses. This issue will guide you to it, from impressive mountain biking vistas to outdoor dinner parties to remote pond-side cottages where you have no option but to unplug. Whether you choose to follow a serene kayak route on Lake Champlain or wade into a river on a fly-fishing adventure, we encourage you to embrace this state — and state of mind — and splash right in.

PADDLING INTO AUTUMN....... 6 Advice from the authors of a Lake Champlain kayaking guide BY CANDACE PAGE

LAST RESORT ............................. 10

— CARO LY N FOX , E D I TOR

Find family fun and rustic R&R at Quimby Country

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BY DAN BOLLES

A TASTE FOR ADVENTURE ....... 12

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VERMONTING ............................ 14 Three close-to-home travel itineraries BY SALLY POLLAK & PAMELA POLSTON

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Paddling Into Autumn

Advice from the authors of a Lake Champlain kayaking guide BY CANDACE PAGE

Catherine Frank (left) and Margaret Holden paddling on Lake Champlain

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atherine Frank and Margaret Holden set out on a lark to kayak around the Champlain Islands in 2003. One paddle stroke led to another until that first trip ultimately became a 650-mile circumnavigation of Lake Champlain. The women’s expeditions over nearly six years informed their 2009 book, A Kayaker’s Guide to Lake Champlain, which was reissued this summer in a new edition. The useful volume interweaves tales of their travels with advice for paddlers,

detailed route descriptions for short and long explorations, and thorough information about the human and natural history of the lake. Frank, 77, and Holden, 82, describe themselves as “somewhat fit, somewhat cautious” paddlers who stay relatively close to shore, not just for safety’s sake but because that’s the best way to enjoy constantly changing views of the lake’s shoreline. The arrival of autumn is no reason to stop exploring, the two women say. During an in-person interview and

in email exchanges, they recommended some of their favorite routes, ready to be explored as the leaves change. Many of us think of autumn as a time for hiking or hunting, not paddling the lake. Have we got it wrong?

CATHERINE FRANK: We’ve had some of our most beautiful paddles in September. There can be lovely calm days, and there’s not as much powerboat traffic. You do have to be prepared because you might get wet, but the water is still warm.


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JAMES BUCK

MARGARET HOLDEN: It’s a wonderful

way to see foliage. Just be smart and look at the weather report. On a windy day, the rivers flowing to the lake are more protected and can give you such a variety of views and wildlife. For example, you can put in at the mouth of the Winooski River… CF: There’s a new launch site, Derway Cove, in River’s End park in Burlington, recently conserved by the Lake Champlain Land Trust. That makes it so much easier for Burlingtonians to reach the river.

MH: From there you could go upriver

to Ethan Allen Homestead…

CF: Or paddle all the way up to the

dam in Winooski.

MH: It’s so peaceful, with woody

stretches and farmland. There are picturesque places to stop for lunch, lots of history and, right at the mouth of the river, you can get off on the beach on Derway Island, which is a wonderful birding area. PADDLING INTO AUTUMN

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JAMES BUCK

Paddling Into Autumn « P.7

How about farther afield? Many Vermonters are less familiar with the southern part of Lake Champlain. CF: One of my favorites starts at the Larrabees Point Fish & Wildlife

access area in Shoreham. There are so many reasons why this is one of the best routes on all of Lake Champlain. There is an abundance of wildlife — eagles, osprey, ducks, jumping fish. This trip also takes you to one of the most historic locations on Lake Champlain, particularly during the American Revolution — the triangle of Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Defiance [in New York State] and Mount Independence in Vermont. Paddling south, you pass the mouth of East Creek and come to the northern tip of Mount Independence on the Vermont side, where the Americans were prepared to defend against an assault by the British from the north. You can see and feel the exposure to an enemy fleet sailing down the lake, and you’re aware of how narrow — three-tenths of a mile — the passage between the two sides of the lake is at this point. Guns on both sides of the lake were trained on that passage. You are exposed to both the north and south wind, but waves don’t build the way they do on the broad lake. If you stay close to shore, you’ll encounter invasive plants — Eurasian milfoil and water chestnut — but don’t let that discourage you. They help keep the waves down, and you can always paddle farther from shore. MH: Otter Creek is another rich area. You can put in at the Fort Cassin Fish & Wildlife area in Ferrisburgh and paddle about seven miles up to the dam in Vergennes, or you could drive to Vergennes and put in on the south side of Otter Creek and explore downstream for your choice of distance. The basin below the falls in Vergennes is historic. Centuries-old buildings on the north side overlook where shipbuilding took place for the Battle of Plattsburgh in the War of 1812. At one point, shipbuilders and farmers from all over Vermont volunteered and put together a small navy that saved us from speaking with a British accent!

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Margaret Holden (left) and Catherine Frank on the shore of Lake Champlain in South Hero

It’s definitely the way to see wildlife — we’ve spotted osprey, eagles, shorebirds, muskrat, beaver, turtles. MARGARET HOLDEN

INFO

And there are delicious places to eat in Vergennes. With a chain and a padlock, you can secure your kayak and walk up the hill into town with your paddle. How about on the northern end of the lake?

MH: My favorite would be Missisquoi Bay, which offers — from one launching place — a real variety of paddles. Most of those trips we did in the fall. You’ve got some beautiful foliage, and you can see a lot of migrating birds because it is right on the Atlantic Flyway. If you go to Louie’s Landing, clearly marked on Route 78, you can head downriver to circle the islands at the mouth of the Missisquoi River, or out picturesque Dead Creek, an arm of the Missisquoi, into aptly named Goose Bay, or upstream into the center of Swanton. It’s definitely the way to see wildlife — we’ve spotted osprey, eagles, shorebirds, muskrat, beaver, turtles. Try to picture the original Abenaki who began living along here 10,000 years ago.

For charts, maps, directions to launch areas and trip descriptions, refer to A Kayaker’s Guide to Lake Champlain, Second Edition (Black Dome Press, 2020), available at local bookstores and online. Frank and Holden are also authors of A Paddler’s Guide to the Champlain Valley (Black Dome Press, 2015), which describes trips up the many rivers in the Champlain drainage.

Any last words of advice for fall season paddlers? CF: Be aware you are sharing the lake with duck

hunters. And no matter what season, always wear a life jacket. MH: After checking the weather, grab your life preserver, get out on the water and enjoy! See you there. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

SEVEN DAYS STAYTRIPPER SEPTEMBER 2020

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF QUIMBY COUNTRY

Last Resort Find family fun and rustic R&R at Quimby Country BY DAN B OLLES

Quimby Country from above

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ven in the Northeast Kingdom, you can’t get much more northeast than Quimby Country. The rustic resort in the tiny unincorporated township of Averill (population 25) is sandwiched between Forest Lake and Big Averill Lake. It’s also minutes from Vermont’s borders with both Canada and New Hampshire. In other words, it’s smack in the middle of nowhere. Those who’ve called the camp’s 19 lakefront cottages a home away from home since it opened more than a century ago — including some families who have come every summer for generations — wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s remote and secluded and private, which is what we love about it and what our guests love about it,” said Gene Devlin, who has co-owned Quimby Country with his wife, Lilly Devlin, since 2018. “We’re kind of a hidden jewel up here in the Northeast Kingdom.” Devlin was speaking to Staytripper on a landline. Cell service is nonexistent in Averill, where your cellphone might think it’s in Canada and issue alerts about incurring 10

Quimby Country cabins on Big Averill Lake

hefty international roaming charges. Fortunately, visitors to the resort have little need for cellphones — nor the Wi-Fi offered in the main lodge, one of the camp’s few concessions to modernity. “I think people are addicted to their devices,” said Devlin, noting that the camp will have cell service next year because of a new cell tower being constructed nearby. But that doesn’t mean you should scroll away your hours at Quimby. “If you want to sit in your cottage

SEVEN DAYS STAYTRIPPER SEPTEMBER 2020

surfing the web when you’re here, that’s up to you,” Devlin said. “We’ll be out there having fun.” Indeed, Quimby Country suffers no shortage of outdoorsy activities, organized and otherwise, including swimming, hiking, biking, archery, canoeing, kayaking and sailing. Tennis is a popular pastime, as well; the camp hosts a weekly tournament dubbed “Quimbledon.” Social activities include a “Family Olympics” competition, movie nights and a weekly cocktail hour. “We’re really trying to create

transformational experiences for families,” Devlin said. Alternatively, you could opt to while away a day doing nothing at all. The camp’s 1,000-plus acres are dotted with Adirondack chairs, benches and swings in vantages both scenic and secluded, inviting naps or time with a good book. “That’s part of the fun, too,” said Devlin. What’s now known as Quimby Country first opened in 1893 as the Cold Spring House and was later known as Cold Spring Camp. A local hardware store owner named Charles Quimby ran the place as a fishing camp. Quimby died in 1919 and passed the camp on to his daughter, Hortense Quimby. She maintained the camp’s sporting roots but also began to revamp it as a family-style resort, catering to society types from Boston, Providence and New York City. “Families would come from up and down the Eastern Seaboard to be here, and most of them would stay for the whole summer,” Devlin said. While Quimby Country retains vestiges of its sporting camp past — it hosts a Cast and Blast Weekend in October for anglers and hunters, for example — the family


atmosphere fostered by “Miss Quimby,” as Hortense was known, remains intact. When she died in the mid-1960s, a collection of longtime guests bought the camp, intent on preserving it. Aside from a few name tweaks, some 300 shareholders — all of whom had other professions — successfully ran it for more than 50 years much as Quimby had. “Who knows what would have happened to Quimby’s if they hadn’t?” Devlin said. That its guests banded together to keep Quimby Country running for so long is a testament to its uniqueness. But interest in the camp flagged in recent years, which Devlin attributes to the incursion of technology and increasingly demanding professional lives.

and “get away from it all,” are increasingly uncommon. However, Quimby does have an approximate analog relatively close by: Timberlock, one of the oldest family camps in the Adirondacks, run by Vermont couple Bruce and Holly Catlin. The Catlins and Cornwall-based Devlins are friends who get together in the off-season to compare notes on running rustic resorts. Devlin noted that Quimby Country isn’t quite as primitive as Timberlock. Unlike the latter, Quimby’s cabins have electricity. “They’re really like little houses,” he said. Quimby is also dog friendly, while Timberlock is not. Devlin said the pandemic has hurt business this season, which was shortened by several weeks on the

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We’re really trying to create transformational experiences for families. GENE DEVLIN

“People’s vacations are shorter,” he said. “And a lot of people need to stay connected. It’s just harder to unplug, even when you’re trying to get away.” After a particularly rough season in 2015, the camp closed in 2016 to “retool,” as Devlin put it. It reopened in 2017 to showcase itself to prospective buyers. The board had decided to sell, ideally to someone with experience in the industry. Enter the Devlins, University of Vermont grads who had previously managed a summer camp in the Adirondacks — coincidentally called Forest Lake. “We were really interested in working with families and getting them to interact with the outdoors,” Devlin explained. Quimby Country, he continued, “spoke to us in every way.” Rustic family resorts such as Quimby Country, where one can truly unplug

front end. It also necessitated changes to certain beloved camp traditions, most notably nixing communal meals in the main lodge. Guests are still well fed, but meals are delivered directly to cottages. Still, Devlin sees a bright side. As out-of-state reservations have dried up, Quimby Country has a seen a surge of interest from staycationing Vermonters, who are traditionally not a significant portion of the camp’s business. “It has been really wonderful to welcome families from all over Vermont,” he said. “Every one of them gets here and is like, ‘I had no idea places like this existed.’” m

INFO Quimby Country, 1127 Forest Lake Rd., Averill, 822-5533, quimbycountry.com.

RESTRICTIONS: Valid from August 1 – September 30, 2020. Limit one (1) coupon per customer. Offer valid in authorized Polaris dealerships and Polaris.com for Polaris branded accessories, parts, lubricants, apparel, garage and other non-wholegood products (collectively, “PG&A”). For purposes of this offer, PG&A specifically includes the following brands: Polaris, RANGER, Polaris GENERAL, RZR, Sportsman, Polaris ACE, Polaris Northstar Coolers, all Kolpin (both Polaris & Kolpin part numbers), all Pro Armor (both Polaris & Pro Armor part numbers), Trail Tech (all part numbers), Polaris Snowmobiles, Polaris Timbersled and Polaris Power. Offer may not be combined with any other coupons, discounts, offers or promotions outside of the 2020 Upgrade Your Ride promotion. This offer is not transferrable or redeemable for cash or gift card, nor is it valid towards prior purchases. Coupon with valid code must be presented at time of purchase for discount to apply. Polaris, its dealers and their respective employees are not eligible for the discount. Not valid on non-Polaris products or qualified purchases before August 1 or after September 30, 2020. Offer subject to availability while supplies last. This offer may be discontinued or modified at any time by Polaris. Offer available only in the U.S. and Canada. Void where prohibited or otherwise restricted. Returns of any qualifying purchase will require equal forfeiture of coupon value. Applicable tax, shipping and handling do not qualify for discount. Polaris recommends that all riders take a safety training course. Do not attempt maneuvers beyond your capability. Always wear a helmet and other safety apparel. Read, understand and follow your owner’s manual. Never drink and ride. Polaris is a registered trademark of Polaris Inc. ©2020 Polaris Inc.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHADWICK ESTEY

Dinner party professional Sas Stewart shares creative entertaining tips BY ME L ISSA PA SANE N

G

uests at Sas Stewart’s Adventure Dinners don’t know where they’re going until 24 hours ahead of time, when she texts everyone the secret location. Over the last several years, they have found themselves at a marina boarding a boat for a firecooked feast on a private island, navigating their way through a 1,000-hemlock maze to an elegant Japanese-inspired meal and wandering through pastoral fields to raise a glass in the company of adorable goats. The “speakeasy cocktail dinners” were originally an offshoot of the now-defunct craft distillery Stonecutter Spirits, which Stewart cofounded in Middlebury in 2015. Back then, it was unusual to pair a coursed dinner with cocktails, Stewart said. The dinners have always involved close collaboration with local chefs, farms, florists and other producers to bring Stewart’s kaleidoscopically creative gatherings to life. “We wanted to create a beautiful experience for people,” she continued, “bringing them to unexpected locations in Vermont and sharing a richer tapestry of makers and producers than they might expect.” Stewart’s sixth season of dinner events has gone a little differently than she planned. (Hello, 2020!) In June at Philo Ridge Farm in Charlotte, the farm’s chefs created a Swedish-style midsommar solstice dinner paired with Stewart’s cocktails featuring fresh flowers, local fruit and housemade aquavit. Flower crowns were grown and woven by the Vermont Flower Collective. The to-go dinner’s components were stylishly displayed for pickup in front of an aquamarine Land Cruiser. Guests also received a link to a professionally compiled playlist. The pandemic has pushed Stewart to experiment and innovate approaches to hosting and providing social connection in a safe way. At right, the expert dinner party host shares some tips for how you can do the same. This year’s Adventure Dinner themes have included “things we didn’t get to do” as a society due to the pandemic, Stewart explained with a laugh. That has meant meals inspired by the Tokyo Olympics, lemonade stands (and Beyoncé’s album of the same name) and, forthcoming, state fairs. The dinners have always been held outdoors, but this year they have involved a mix of much smaller, socially distanced in-person events and to-go feasts with staggered pickup times, written dinner guides, customized playlists and optional virtual socializing. Although few of us are looking for more Zoom meetings in our lives at this point, Stewart has found that most guests do dial in. “Connection is what people are looking for,” she said. 12

SEVEN DAYS STAYTRIPPER SEPTEMBER 2020

A Taste for Adventure


How to Host Your Own Adventure Dinner SAFETY FIRST

Adventure Dinners are always outdoors, which public health professionals consider the safest setting for COVID-19-era gatherings. For her in-person dinners this year, Stewart has kept groups small and seating areas well spaced. She also sends a health questionnaire beforehand and does temperature checks when guests arrive. When hosting a private dinner, it’s a good idea to keep your invite list small, plan for an outdoor event and make sure everyone is on the same page regarding safety. As Stewart said, “Mask up until butts down, and always social distance.”

Adventure Dinner host Sas Stewart (left)

PICK A THEME

Aside from this year’s “things we didn’t get to do” themes, Adventure Dinners often draw inspiration from seasonal markers such as solstice or Halloween. Sometimes the location drives the theme, Stewart said: “Think an alpine meal for the mountains, or a fish fry for a lake setting.” Weave the theme throughout the entire event, beyond food and drink. A recent beach-themed dinner, for example, used colorful standup paddleboards as tables.

KEEP THE SURPRISE ALIVE

Part of the fun of Adventure Dinner is the surprise of not knowing the location until 24 hours in advance. The menu is also kept under wraps until the event. Stewart suggests keeping that surprise in the mix by divvying up event elements among party guests. After a theme is set, perhaps one guest or couple secures the location while others take on a menu course plus paired beverage, or pull together table settings, flowers and music. Each can keep their contributions secret until the great unveiling.

CHALLENGE YOURSELF

Experiment with new ingredients, cocktails and ways of cooking, urges Stewart. While traditional wisdom may be to stick with what you know when entertaining guests, she says, “Ditch the old standbys and do something you’ve never done before. It’s an adventure, after all!” One of the most interesting challenges, Stewart says, is coming up with nonalcoholic versions of the paired cocktails (which she always offers) that complement the same flavors.

LOCALIZE IT

Scenes from recent Adventure Dinners with Tokyo Olympics and solstice themes. Seated at the table are the party planners, within their quarantine pod.

Adventure Dinners keep everything as local as possible by collaborating with Vermont farmers, beverage makers and other entrepreneurs. Stewart always has her antennae up for new and interesting businesses as she travels around the state. This year, especially, many farms have set up new farmstands, and flower growers have lost event customers and could use support. Ask friends for recommendations, or just stop by that roadside farmstand and see what it offers.

INFO Learn more at adventuredinner.com. SEVEN DAYS STAYTRIPPER SEPTEMBER 2020

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Three close-to-home travel itineraries BY SA L LY POL L A K & PA M E L A POLSTON

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very week through mid-October, Seven Days presents “Vermonting,” a column of curated excursions in all corners of our great (but not so large) state. Indeed, Vermont’s diminutive size makes a multitude of short trips accessible, whether for a few hours, an overnight or a longer getaway. Find three sample itineraries below, and read more detailed travelogues at sevendaysvt.com. Before you hit the road for any of these destinations, read up on their current COVID-19 policies. And visit sevendaysvt.com/vermonting-maps to download a map of these locations straight to your mobile device!

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From top: “Zeus” by Paul Aschenbach at the Bundy Modern; creemee sundae at Canteen Creemee; tubing on the Mad River

Above: Museum of Everyday Life; a dish at Nepali Kitchen; Tamra Higgins of Two Sisters Mill & Mercantile


L PAME A PO LSTO N

Shop Your Way

Through the U

pper Valley The Upper Valley is unique for multip le reasons, and one easily straddles Ve is that it so rmont and New Ha mpshire. Perhaps no the Green Mountain where else in State do so many re sidents identify mor geographical niche e with their than with the insu lar identity of “Ver Upper Valley to-do monter.” An list should include a visit to the dramat deep Quechee Gorg ic, 165-foote. Below are some retail stops along th e way. JUMP ON THE SO URDOUGH BAND WAGON

Celebrate the ‘Everyday’ in Glover

AT KING ARTHUR in Norwich. The fl BAKING our company’s head to the Holy Grail fo quarters are akin r home bakers. Stop in for a golden croi a cup of coffee and ssant, the attached retail store.

This excursion from Burlington to Glover calls to mind an old bumper sticker: “The best thing about Burlington is it’s close to Vermont.” Glover seems to reflect the ineffable countercultural aesthetic of its resident Bread and Puppet Theater. This trip’s quirky centerpiece, however, is the Museum of Everyday Life, described by curator Clare Dolan as “an ongoing revolutionary museum experiment.” Each year’s exhibition focuses on a single “everyday” object. Past themes have included the pencil, the safety pin, the toothbrush, scissors, the mirror and, most improbably, dust.

VISIT THE POP-UP

SHOP AT NORW ICH BOOKSTOR Now in its 26th ye E. ar, Liza Bernard an d Penny McConne offers book pickup l’s indie shop s in brown paper ba gs on the porch, wh displays a selection ere it also of cards, puzzles an d games. DIG INTO TURKISH -M

BEGIN WITH A HIMALAYAN LUNCH FROM NEPALI KITCHEN

EDITERRANEAN FARE AT TUCKER in White River Junc BOX tion. The restauran t serves both outdoo with enough room rs and in, to socially distance the diners. Try a mezze platte r, and don’t forget baklava for the road .

in Essex Junction. Order a meal of, say, chicken curry, saag paneer and paratha, then picnic at a table outside the restaurant. “SIGHTSEE” AT THE BRYAN MEMORIAL GALLERY in Jeffersonville. Founded in 1984 by artist Alden Bryan, the gallery displays sumptuous landscapes in oil by dozens of New England painters. Strolling these rooms is like sightseeing in a hundred places.

GAWK AT JEWEL RY IN

SCAV

ENGER GALLERY , a short stroll from Inspired by the na tural world, owner Tuckerbox. and designer Stacy rings, bangles, neck Hopkins makes laces and more fro m various metals in beetles, raptor talon the shapes of s, tiny critter skele tons and botanical elements.

GET WILD AND WOOLLY AT TWO SISTERS MILL & MERCANTILE,

just down the street from the gallery. Besides dozens of skeins of colorful yarn and an impressive stack of sheep pelts, the store offers the textile handiwork of some 60 creative consignors.

GO TREASURE HU NTING AT THE VE RMONT ANTIQUE in Quechee. MALL

Just a hop down Ro ute 4 from the gorg this capacious venu e, e offers 17,000 squa re feet of vintage sh opping. REST YOUR HEAD AT

STOCK UP ON STRAWBERRY-JALAPEÑO JAM AT RED SKY TRADING

THE

NORWICH INN. Located in the hear small town, this 18 t of the 90 Victorian struc ture is today a “gre committed to local en hotel” fare and solar ener gy. Patio and pub di available at the on-si ning are te Jasper Murdock ’s Alehouse.

in Glover. Find an assortment of baked goods, jams, pickles and salsas — accompanied by funny homemade signs — in front of a small barn. Red Sky operates on the honor system, so come prepared with cash or check.

EXTEND YOUR STAY AT SMUGGLERS’ NOTCH RESORT

in Jeffersonville. Here you can spend an overnight and take advantage of outdoor amenities such as mountain biking, disc golf and the mountainside reservoir.

Find more information on Vermont day trips and adventures from the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing at vermontvacation.com/staytripper.

TON PHOTOS: PAMELA POLS

HONOR THE ORDINARY AT THE MUSEUM OF EVERYDAY LIFE.

The museum-in-a-barn presents the exhibition “Frayed Knot: the human art of tying and untying.” Though planned well before the coronavirus arrived, the theme perfectly suits a year in which we seem tied to calamity.

From top: Mezze platter at Tuckerbox; porch pickup at Norwich Bookstore SEVEN DAYS STAYTRIPPER SEPTEMBER 2020

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Take the road less traveled Enjoy nonsexual family nudity in the great outdoors with plenty of room for COVID-19 distancing.

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The Sandbar Wildlife Mangement Area was established in 1920. One hundred years later, we’ve conserved Vermont’s 100th WMA in Shrewsbury. ADVENTUROUS FOOTWEAR & APPAREL FOR MEN & WOMEN

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8 Langdon Street Montpelier, VT (802) 613-3902 roamvt.com

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Take Me to the River Angling for insight on a guided fly-fishing tour

PHOTOS: OLIVER PARINI

BY MOLLY ZAPP

From top: Stephanie Olsen leading a fly-fishing tour in Stowe; Fly Rod Shop owner Bob Shannon picking out flies for a client

A

t a time when much of life takes place in the digital space, Stephanie Olsen, a fishing guide at Stowe’s Fly Rod Shop, offers exclusively lived experiences in nature. “My office is the river,” she said. “Isn’t that awesome?” In August, I took a tour of her “office” on a fly-fishing excursion. Opened in 1971, the Fly Rod sells conventional and fly-fishing gear in its spacious retail store and offers classes and a variety of fishing tours. Olsen and the other guides lead about six trips per day in the summer and continue tours into foliage season. According to Bob Shannon, who owns the shop, “There’s been a huge push of new anglers to the sport” since the pandemic began. Whereas out-of-staters made up the bulk of their tours in seasons past, Shannon is seeing Vermonters with increased time and desire to be in nature take up the sport. Women in particular are a growing population of anglers and fishing guides, said Olsen. I’ve fished with my father, but this was my first experience with fly-fishing. I wanted to play in the river and catch fish I could grill.

Fly-fishing looks natural when mastered but is too full of intricacies to wisely venture into alone. “If you don’t have a mentor or an experienced fly fisherman [with you], it’s a huge learning curve,” Shannon said. After we outfitted up, Olsen gave me a brief casting lesson at the shop’s on-site pond, and then we began our journey through a field to the Little River, which feeds into the Waterbury Reservoir. Under the Public Trust Doctrine, all Vermont waterways, including those on private property,

are open to the public for fishing unless a posted sign forbids it. With conventional fishing, you can sit on a bank sipping a beer and watching a bobber. This is not possible with fly-fishing, which takes place in moving water — the fly fisher must move around within the river. It’s more physically involved and requires constant observation and communion with the water. And it’s simply more majestic. Fly fishers decide which type of fly to use based on the water level and temperature, as well as which fish and insects are in the water. After dropping a thermometer in the river, Olsen picked a rock out of the stream to show the mayflies and caddis flies attached to it. They were what the fish were eating at the moment and, therefore, what the fly should resemble. Whereas the worm of conventional fishing alerts a fish’s senses of smell, sight, taste and touch, a fly only entices their vision. To make up for the limited lure appeal, TAKE ME TO THE RIVER » P.18 SEVEN DAYS STAYTRIPPER SEPTEMBER 2020

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Personalized, Experienced Cycling Instruction Using your bike for transportation? • Never learned to ride? Need a refresher? • Looking to gain confidence on your bicycle? • Want to change a flat and adjust your brakes & gears? We specialize in accessible bike training for all ages and abilities, following State and CDC covid guidelines. BILL REGAN is a League of American Bicyclists-certified instructor, a bike mechanic and a volunteer with bike advocacy groups. For info and appointments,visit: reganleadership.com 8H-BillRegan081920.indd 1

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Guide Stephanie Olsen giving fly-fishing instruction in Stowe

Take Me to the River « p.17

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Plenty of outdoor seating (socially distanced) and plenty of parking!

OPEN! Tuesday-Saturday 5pm-10pm Sunday Brunch 10am-3pm (Closed Mondays) Call for reservations: 802-253-9333 2160 Mountain Road, Stowe overthewallvt.com To protect our patrons and our staff, please wear a mask as you enter. Thank you!

LOCATED AT 2160 MOUNTAIN ROAD STOWE OUTSIDE OF OVER THE WALL Tuesday-Saturday 11am-4pm

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the fly fisher must constantly adjust. As water pleasantly seeped through our fishing boots, we began false casting. That’s when the angler casts the weighted line back and forth in the air a few times before landing it in the water. Besides looking cool, this dries out the fly so it floats. After the fly hits the water, the angler must adjust the line

It references, patiently guided me through dozens of casts, which in no way resembled the graceful ones of Brad Pitt in the film. I was quickly reminded how infrequently most adults, myself included, deign to try activities they’re not already good at. After a couple of hours with few bites and nary a caught fish, Olsen left me to cast on my own while she scouted more spots downstream. The landscape of one’s mind when success

Casting alone amid the incredible vista of a winding stream and verdant mountains allowed space for reflection. to the river’s current, a process called mending. Then comes the pause: Watch the fly float down the river and see whether anything bites. When nothing nibbles, take a few steps deeper into the water, then cast, mend and pause again. In his contemplative 17th-century treatise on fishing, The Compleat Angler, Izaak Walton writes that one who “hopes to be a good Angler must not only bring an inquiring, searching, observing wit, but he must bring a large measure of hope and patience, and a love and propensity to the art itself.” Olsen, 30, who attested that she does not tire of A River Runs Through

remains elusive is probably a gateway to insight, but initially I found resistance. Everything is hard right now, I thought. I just wanna catch a goddamn fish and feel like I’m not a failure. Walton cautioned anglers against swearing, “lest they be heard and catch no fish.” He writes that “when none bite, I praise the wise” — the wise being the fish too smart to go for his hook. Casting alone amid the incredible vista of a winding stream and verdant mountains allowed space for reflection. The experience of fly-fishing reminded me of dating, or pursuing any deep aspiration over which we ultimately have no control. Assess your environs before you throw it all out there. Cut the line if it can’t be untangled, then retie


OLIVER PARINI

HELLO

NE IG H B OR

with something else. A bite often does not lead to dinner. Keep casting anyway. My guide and I waded to a shaded cove where we could see fish bubbles. I roll casted to avoid the trees but got my line caught anyway. Masks and sunglasses protected us from wayward hooks. Olsen, who helps teach natural resources during the school year, continued to offer encouragement. At the end, we switched to a conventional reel with live bait, which felt like going from a unicycle to a threespeed with training wheels. When I felt the bite, I hooked it quickly and reeled in a rock bass. Olsen gently unhooked it, and I placed a thumb in its mouth. The fish was a little bigger than my hand, a wiggly, shiny yellow. Soon after, I caught a smallmouth bass and a pumpkinseed. I released the fish, too small to eat, back into the river and felt happy to have communed with them. The art of angling requires continuous movement and reconfiguring. It teaches you to try something different when nothing is working. And when you’ve navigated the slippery rocks, when your arm is tired from casting a hundred times, when there is nothing tangible to show for all your efforts, notice your body in the current, the shadows of the trees on the water, and let the river be enough. m

It’s always good to see you. If you feel like grabbing a bite, or doing some shopping, or just hanging out, give us a holler. See what’s going on at helloburlingtonvt.com

INFO

@helloburlington

The Fly Rod Shop, 2703 Waterbury Rd., Stowe, 253-7346, flyrodshop.com.

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Champlain OPEN FOR BUSINESS! ISLANDS champlainislands.com

The businesses throughout the Champlain Islands are committed to providing you with the service you deserve and the products you need in a safe and healthy environment. We want you to feel welcome and safe during your visit!

anchoragesouthhero.com

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treehouseyogavt.com

259 US Rte. 2, Grand Isle

grandisleartworks.com happybird poultryfarm.com

newdye.com • 796.4694

3643 U.S Route 2, North Hero, VT NorthHeroHouse.com 802-372-4732 snowfarm.com champlainislandscandylab.com

Handmade Chocolates, Confections, Italian Coffees/Sodas, & More...

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mckeespubsvt.com/Island completesepticvt.com

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“The Paddle” and “The Bay” bluepaddlebistro.com

HERO’S WELCOME wallysplacevt.com

General Store & Marina Bakery & Café

“Theheroswelcome.com finest general store on the planet” Yankee Magazine

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North Hero Village 372-4161

The Champlain Islands…enjoy what summer has to offer! Design: SilverCloud Designs

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Live. Work. Play. 8/23/20 8:24 8/24/20 4:13 AM PM


Destination

The Quincy Hotel OF ENOSBURG FALLS

WATERBURY’S FAVORITE CAFE! Open for online ordering and takeout

coffee, espresso drinks, breakfast, brunch, lunch, salads and smoothies See our menu and updated hours:

WWW.STOWESTREETCAFE.COM 29 Stowe St. Waterbury Village 882-8229

You need a post-quarantine change of scene. Walk or bike along the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail, relax in our clean & comfortable rooms, airy balcony, porch and lounge or take a kayak on the river. MAKE YOUR RESERVATION TODAY! quincyhotelvermont.com

it’s time for a change

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of brewery

JOHN JAMES

DISC GOLF Center Chains Disc Golf Course, 116 Maple St., Waterbury Center Smugglers’ Notch Disc Golf and Outdoor Center, 1239 Edwards Rd., Jeffersonville, smuggs.com Quarries Disc Golf Course, 44 Brook St., Websterville

There was a time when disc golf — aka Frisbee golf or hippie golf — was belittled as an excuse for hipsters to take meandering walks in the woods in search of places to get high. Today, Vermont disc golf enthusiasts play in weekly leagues, compete in bimonthly tournaments and even teach it in high school physical education classes. And amid a pandemic, social distancing is a breeze when you’re chucking discs through fields and wooded mountainsides. Vermont has about 50 disc golf courses to choose from, according to Chris Young, owner of Disc Golf Vermont. They range from small, nine-hole public courses, such as those at Charlotte Beach and Pearl Street Park in Essex Also try: Junction, to Brewster Ridge at Smugglers’ Notch Resort. • BLACK FALLS DGC, 2356 Black Falls Rd., The latter is one of the top-10 Montgomery Center pro tour disc courses in the U.S. and hosts the annual • NORTH CALAIS DGC, North Calais • BOLTON VALLEY RESORT, 4302 Bolton Discraft Green Mountain National Championship each Valley Access Rd., Bolton Valley September. Among Vermont’s oldest and most popular courses is Center Chains in Waterbury Center, a free, 18-hole public course encompassing 18 acres of woods and open meadows, with elevated tees and nice mountain views. It hosts a robust doubles league on Monday evenings. Looking for a more unusual place to play? Young suggests Quarries Disc Golf Course in Websterville, where players must tee off across an open rock quarry on the fourth hole. Having played hundreds of courses nationwide, Young called it “super unique.” Check course websites, when available, for tee times, fees, and rules about pets and alcohol, as some don’t allow either. And whatever you do, don’t call the sport “Frolf.”

Whetstone Station Restaurant & Brewery

day and stay itineraries at

lovebrattleboro.com Untitled-18 1

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WE'RE HERE FOR YOU Books • Puzzles • Gifts • Sh o p in - store : open 7 d ay s a we e k

• S ho p onl ine 24/7 : www .phoenixbook s.b iz

• Fr e e sh ipp ing for or ders over $ 20 ( al l ot hers sh ip for $4 ) • Curb si de p ick-up avail able

• C al l u s t o or d e r b y p h on e or fo r re commen dati ons

2 Carmichael Street, Essex Jct. 802.872.7111 191 Bank Street, downtown Burlington 802.448.3350 2 Center Street, downtown Rutland 802.855.8078

KEN PICARD Untitled-5 1

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It’s Summer Time! Take a break with Us Your personal staycation may be no further than your own backyard. If you’re planning on a local adventure, NEFCU has options! Ask us about our loans for:

Swimming pools (in-ground & above), ATVs, Recreational Vehicles (RVs), Motorcycles, Boats, Campers, and Jet Skis.

Call us at 866.80.LOANS or visit nefcu.com

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Support Your Community:

7/2/20 11:17 AM

Get It To-Go! The restrictions placed on restaurants are evolving, but many Vermont businesses are still making delicious food and drinks. Check GoodToGoVermont.com to see which businesses are serving up takeout, delivery, curbside pickup or on-site dining.

INTRODUCES

SPONSORED BY

G O O D T O G O V E R M O N T . C O M 22

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nt with o m r e V g in Provid nt with o m r e V g in Provid

e c i v d a t r e p friendly, ex advice . t r e nture p e v x d e a , y r y l e v d e frieannd gear for nture. e v d a y r e v e or and gear f

Destination YOGA BY THE LAKE

COURTESY OF ALI KAUKAS

Sangha Studio, outdoor classes at Battery Park and Waterfront Park in Burlington, sanghastudio.org

When the pandemic began and Burlington’s Sangha Studio took its yoga classes online, instructors started seeing attendance rise. Sometimes as many as 80 people would livestream a virtual session, seeking grounding meditation and soothing breath work during uncertain times, said Caitlin Pascucci, founder and executive director of the nonprofit, donation-based center. Over the past five rocky months, “The purpose behind teaching has really changed,” said Pascucci. “It is so much more about: Let’s have a routine. Let’s come back to our breath, using our yoga practice to calm what is really anxiety and unknowing.” When the weather warmed, Sangha added 20-person outdoor yoga classes at Burlington’s Battery and Waterfront parks. It plans to continue them for as long as weather and state guidelines Also try: permit. The physically dis• EVOLUTION PHYSICAL THERAPY tanced sessions provide beauti+ YOGA, outdoor classes at ful scenery for your practice the Community Sailing Center, — Lake Champlain’s soft blue waves and gently dancing leaves Oakledge Park and Smalley Park in in the wind. And “there’s an Burlington, evolutionvt.com • LAUGHING RIVER YOGA, outdoor energy that comes with being with people,” said Pascucci. classes at the Burlington Surf Club, laughingriveryoga.com “There are people that are really wanting human connection.” • HOT YOGA BURLINGTON VT, Focused on safety and accesoutdoor classes at Waterfront Park sibility, Sangha outlines class and Gardener’s Supply/Burlington protocol in detail on its website. Intervale, hotyogaburlingtonvt.com Preregistration is required, along with mask wearing until you’re on your mat. Mat spaces are measured out and marked with blue flags in advance, and folks who need mats can request to borrow one ahead of time. That’s just one of the barriers to yoga practice that Sangha is trying to eliminate. Additionally, the studio recommends a few “tips and tricks for a successful outdoor yoga class” — including bringing water, slathering up with sunscreen and peeing before class. Because, no matter how stunning the setting, you can’t flow when you have to go! CAROLYN FOX

Come visit us in downtown Montpelier for all of your fall biking, hiking, camping, and outdoor gear needs. Come visit us in downtown Montpelier for all of your fall biking, hiking, 20 Langdon St, Montpelier • needs. 802-225-6736 • onionriver.com camping, and outdoor VT gear ST4T-OnionRiverOutdoors082620 1

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20 Langdon St, Montpelier VT • 802-225-6736 • onionriver.com

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The Gem of Slate Valley & Four Season Outdoor Recreation Mecca of Southern Vermont Sponsored by the Poultney Downtown Revitalization Committee

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Destination

See Vermont by trail. Visit our website every week for a new colleccon of suggested hikes. Untitled-17 1

Endless Brook, 975 Endless Brook Rd., Poultney (across from the Lewis Deane Nature Preserve); Fairgrounds, 131 Town Farm Rd., Poultney, slatevalleytrails.org

For mountain bikers living in northern Vermont, it’s easy to fall into a rut of pedaling the same logging roads and single tracks week after week. But riders looking to broaden their off-road horizons should consider a trip to southwestern Vermont. At Slate Valley Trails in Poultney, everyone from beginners to seasoned dirt junkies can find miles of new multiuse trails to shred. In August, Slate Valley Trails, a nonprofit chapter of the Vermont Mountain Biking Association, opened a new connector linking two popular mountain bike networks: Endless Brook and Fairgrounds. Together, the combined network offers 40 miles of off-road single- and double-track trails, all of it free and open to the public. Andy Vermilyea, president of Slate Valley Trails, said the trails “offer something for everybody.” Beginner and youth riders often do laps on a trail called Bumper Cars, which is about a mile long and includes fun wooden features such Also try: as teeter-totters, small jumps and balance beams. For intermediate • GREEN MOUNTAIN TRAILS, riders, Vermilyea sug4276 Route 100, Pittsfield; gmtrails.org gested Merry-Go-Round • PINE HILL PARK, and Cotton Candy, both of 2 Oak St. Ext., Rutland; pinehillpark.org • SAXON HILL BIKE TRAIL, which are slow trails with banked turns through the 35-55 Thompson Dr., Essex Junction woods. More experienced cyclists can ride up Big Top or Carney, which climb to impressive vistas, including one overlooking Lake St. Catherine. Both Endless Brook and Fairgrounds also offer one-way downhill runs for “people who really want something a little more gnarly.” Their advanced trails — Freefall and Hunker Down, respectively — include what Vermilyea calls a “mandatory drop”: Riders will get airborne, whether they want to or not. Akin to double-black-diamond slopes, both trails are for expert riders only. Nearly all of Slate Valley Trails are two-directional and multiuse, meaning that mountain bikers must yield to other users. Before you go, check the website for downloadable trail maps and upcoming events. KEN PICARD

COURTESY OF CHUCK HELFER/SLATE VALLEY TRAILS

SLATE VALLEY TRAILS

8/21/20 1:04 PM

Our flagship Burly Irish Ale — named for Burlington — now travels everywhere. Brewed in collaboration with The Alchemist, these cans are available for a limited time and only at VPB.

DRINK VERMONT BEER! 144 College Street in Downtown Burlington • 802-865-0500 • vermontbrewery.com DINE IN OR AL FRESCO • WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY, 11:30AM-9:00PM ST6H-VPB0920.indd 1

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Stay Safe! Wear your Mask! Spread only LOVE!

TASTING FLIGHTS WINE BY THE GLASS LOCAL CHEESE AND CHARCUTERIE OUTDOOR SEATING AND VINEYARD VIEWS

Thank you for your support 6308 Shelburne Rd, Shelburne, Vermont Iapetus Wine | Grown, Produced, and bottled by Shelburne Vineyard

For more information and to book your reservation, please visit:

shelburnevineyard.com (802) 985-8222

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Say you saw it in...

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NOW IN sevendaysvt.com

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Kids’ Activity Page

COLOR ME!

Vermont Road Trip

SCAVENGER HUNT Summer

2020 ARE YOU A GOOD CITIZEN? Mackenzie Graham is! The Tinmouth 11-year-old wrote and delivered a speech about voting rights for the Camp O'Connor Civics Challenge. Entering this national contest was one of the July activities in the Good Citizen Summer Challenge. There are lots of ways to be a Good Citizen this summer. Complete an activity and send us the evidence. We'll enter you in a prize drawing, and maybe publish your work in Kids VT or Seven Days to inspire others. With support from:

Powered by:

Find the September activities at goodcitizenvt.com Evslin Family Foundation

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HAVE YOU VISITED DOWNTOWN ST. ALBANS LATELY? There is always something new!

And, yes, we are open during Covid-19! Restaurants, cafes, shops, salons, galleries and more! In-state, out-of-state, everyone is welcome to visit Franklin County and check out Downtown St. Albans!

Please feel welcome to visit our Downtown Visit www.downtownsaintalbans.com to see what we have to offer! 1t-DowntownStAlbans070820.indd 1

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“I SPY... SOMETHING DIFFERENT.” FIND TRAVEL GUIDANCE, TRIP IDEAS TO INSPIRE, AND MUCH MORE.

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