In the morning before we began our drive to Lake Champlain, we had breakfast in a cute little cafe in town. We parked the car, dashed through the rain, and stood admiring the paintings on the wall while we waited for our food. Surrounding our table were oil portraits of women, young and old, knitting. I felt right at home.
Staying on 7, we headed through rolling countryside, quaint towns, and farming districts until we reached Grand Isle. David was attending a committee leadership retreat for the United States Breastfeeding Committee. Son and I came with him to enjoy the exquisite retreat center and its lakefront grounds. The estate, a lovely old inn now used for weddings and civil union celebrations as well as small organizational meetings, was a perfect place to relax. We studied the Renaissance while sitting on the wrap-around porch, practiced math, did some knitting, played croquet and bocce, learned to skip stones on the lake, and read and read and read. And we ate incredible food. The chef at the Lake House put together lovely meals with everything from organic produce from a neighboring farm to ice cream made on the island.
David, Son, and I were not the only people knitting at the retreat. One woman was knitting a Christmas stocking for her new grandbaby. Another was knitting a baby blanket. David worked on both his socks and his sweater for Son. During the meeting when the members found errors in their work, they brought them out to me to try to fix. I was officially christened their Knitting Doula. What a perfect title! I think we have to pass it on to the Yarn Harlot.
After the meeting ended and we left the island, we took a few days to explore Vermont. First we stopped at Ben and Jerry's to tour their facilities. (We tried not to roll our eyes too much when they talked about being bought out by Unilever.) After seeing the room where they package two flavors a day, we tried the one they were making that morning: Apple Pie. Delicious.
In addition to the other big Vermont companies like Cabot, Basketville, King Arthur Flour, and the Vermont Country Store (I am obsessed with their merino long underwear), the state is full of small family businesses that produce cheese, maple syrup, cider, wine, honey, apple products, etc. More about that soon.
Vermont is also a state of many fine colleges. We drove by Bennington, Middlebury, the University of Vermont, and the almost-in-Vermont Dartmouth, among others.
When we reached Brattleboro, we went to a show of breastfeeding art in a downtown cafe. There are some incredible photographs displayed there--some clearly intended to be art and some intended to document family life. What a pleasure. If you are near Brattleboro, check it out!