Thursday, October 14, 2021

In a Big Country

Awoke to a dark morning around 7. I hoped to sleep longer, but I guess I'm still too nervous about the trip. Read in bed and wrote in my journal, then watched another episode of Match Game '73 on my phone. Gene's wearing another wild suit, this time in a gray check with a pink shirt and magenta bow tie. Pat Harrington asks him where he's selling the used cars; Brett cracks that he looks like half of a vaudeville team. Pat's mouth also comes up again when he jokes to Richard about something being "more than Diana (Dors, his ex-wife) ever did." Far from being upset, Richard looked rather rueful and agreed. 

Finally ate my Honey Nut Cheerios around quarter after 9; Lauren came up shortly after. She hit the garage to slide two coolers in the back of her van for food purchases before we finally headed out.

I love our drives into Vermont. It's so lovely to get out and enjoy the country. The scenery is magnificent.; rolling hills, mountains carpeted in green and gold, weathered old rust-red bards, and dried corn stalks. The trees further up in the mountains were even losing most of their leaves. It's the only place right now that feels like fall. And even up here, it was unusually warm for the time of year, probably in the 70's. We listened to a podcast discussing episodes of Perfect Strangers during the entire trip.

The Vermont Country Store is actually a series of old clapboard storefronts in Weston. They were pretty busy, with a nearly-full parking lot, though Lauren said she'd seen it worse. She did find a space to park further back on the gravel lot before we headed over to the main building.

Whether it was due to the current virus problem or just the needs of their customers, the Vermont Country Store's done some remodeling since my last visit there in 2019. All registers are now up front, crowding the women's clothing section, rather than scattered around the store. The penny candy is in bags and can no longer be handled by customers; the fudge and chocolates are on two sides of the store. They still have the same 70's era shampoos and conditioners, vintage toys, books, and cleaning supplies, Vermont-made linens and blankets, bottles of maple syrup, cheese, baked goods, and hard-to-find tools and cooking utensils as ever.

I made my first finds upstairs, where smaller racks and shelves of clearance items are sold. Picked up a mint-green t-shirt for $15, a bit pricey but not compared to what clothing usually costs at the Vermont Country Store. They also had my favorite fruit slices this time. I went with the mini versions in a plastic container; they were cheaper and came with more. 

Sometime in the past two years, their sit-down restaurant next door The Bryant House was heavily remodeled into indoor seating for their outdoor burger booth, Mildred's Grill. I had a tasty turkey sandwich with fresh Vermont cheddar and cranberry mayo. Lauren went with a ham and cheese melt and a cup of soup. She had a maple lemonade. I went with a plain old lemonade that was very tart and not sweet at all. We ate at a booth in a little building next to Mildred's that had once been where more sale items were held. 

There are other stores in Weston besides the Country Store. The Christmas shop across the street features every holiday ornament known to man, along with a small section for Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations. The Weston Country Store is a more touristy version of their neighbor across the street. They sell toys, novelty gags, Vermont-branded clothing, food, and small maple syrup bottles, mostly at lower prices than across the street. We still didn't see anything we wanted at either place and ultimately headed back.

Lauren wanted to buy her parents fudge and chocolate for herself. I picked up a few more smaller items. They had this nifty, colorful scrub mini-towel I thought could replace the scrubbing pads I usually use on my pots and pans. Found cream intended for sore and cracked feet; took the smaller bottle. (The big one cost $15!) Discovered the Cookie Buttons I normally like were full of salt; bought some maple cream sandwich cookies made with real maple syrup instead.

We took the longer way home, going through New York and into Lauren's hometown North Adams. Jack's Hot Dogs is a tiny sliver of a hash house nestled in a row of fading old office buildings, but they have tasty burgers and hot dogs sold for the cheapest prices anywhere. Lauren bought hot dogs for her and her parents, fries to share, and a burger with peppers and onions for me. I got M&Ms from a quarter vending machine and watched two boys skateboard outside while listening to music on a Bluetooth boom box. 

I had my burger right away when we got in. I didn't have that extra soup with lunch. Lauren waited an hour or so. In between, we played Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Lauren came in first on the two-player Shell Cup with Moo Moo Farms and Toad's Turnpike, among other twisting courses. We did far less well when playing online against other gamers from across the globe. Lauren's best showing was sixth; my best was 8th. 

After we got fed up with the online games, we switched to a video game version of Othello. We each won one game. I got the first one; Lauren really beat me in the second.

Finished the night online after a shower with Charlie's Angels. "Haunted Angels" was their season 3 Halloween show. When Charlie and Bosley are concerned about a friend of Bosley's being defrauded by a psychic institute who claims they can let her see her deceased nephew, Charlie gets the women on the case. Sabrina enters the clinic as a psychic, Kris as the secretary to the head man, and Kelly as a private detective looking into the death of one of their possible psychic cases. 

No comments: