Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tips on How To Be a Vermonter

I have been working on this one for a while - definitely longer than I have been blogging. Before I continue (and yes, this is long, but it's really good - especially if you are new to the state or traveling and want to be like a Vermonter.) And please add suggestions or correct me if you want!

My Background: I grew up in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, yes, a Masshole, but at least the Berkshires, well, that's for a Berkshire blog. After high school I went to college in Poughkeepsie, New York and got to experience the "New York thing." Then I moved to Nashville, Tennessee and got to really experience the "Southern thang." (shudder) Now, throughout all this time, I spent many summers in Greensboro, Vermont on Caspian Lake.
And while my parents were not born in Vermont, the Carter families who built the cottages on Caspian Lake were - for instance, my grandmother on my father's side was born and raised in Montpelier and my grandfather's father or grandfather was the minister of the Burlington Congregational Church. And my grandfather on my mother's side spent his 20's working for the Civil Conservation Corps, who made most of the Vermont State Parks - maybe where I get so much love for the parks! Anyway, after two years in Tennessee, I made my way to Burlington to try to make a living in the state where my heart was always lightest and smile biggest when visiting all those years throughout my growing up.

I moved to Burlington, Vermont June of 2000 and have been creating this blog post since then...

Tips on How To Be a Vermonter

1.) Keep an overnight bag in your car (extra clothes, toothbrush/toothpaste, flashlight - which should be in your car anyway, water bottle, blanket, sweater). You never now who you're going to meet, what fun place you're going to run into, or where you might get lost!
2.) Always let someone know where you're going when you're heading off to adventure. Do not rely on your cell phone - that is soooooooo anti-Vermont, you'll wipe out all your other efforts right there and then! Cell phones don't work out in the woods anyway, and if you're lost hiking or skiing and use one - they'll charge you for being a dumbass! No, I'm not kidding.
3.) Always have socks with close-toed shoes and a tread of some sort. Sell your heels and buy a good pair of hiking boots. I've even seen others at public relations client meetings having to exchange their styly shoes for something practical to explore a worksite, attraction, etc.
4.) Vermont Road Atlas - get one and keep it in your car at all times.
5.) Utilize the Vermont Tourism and Vermont State Parks websites on a regular basis - and Secret Tip - the best town dinners can be found by searching through the VermontVacation site. Yum.
6.) Don't bawk at rednecks - they know more about Vermont than you ever will.
7.) Get Vermont plates stat. If visiting, rent a car with Vermont plates. Or plaster your car with ILOVERMONT and VT stickers (although that WON'T make you a Vermonter).
8.) Buy and use the following books:
Day Hiker's Guide to Vermont, Green Mountain Club
Make a Splash - Swimming Holes and Waterfalls of the Green Mountains, Jason Minor
Vermont Nature Guide, Sheri Amsel
9.) Don't wait until your gas tank is close to empty to fill, fill when there is a gas station. To be even more Vermonty - convert your car to run on veggie oil.
10.) DON'T LITTER ANYWHERE!!!!!!!! Reduce, reuse, recycle - at all times. Leave no trace, etc. This relates to the "Don't Jersey Vermont" stickers you see everywhere. Sorry Jerz - I didn't make it up!
11.) Embrace the winter and LOVE IT or it will eat you alive and then spit you out.
12.) Learn some terms - here are a few to help you!
Bushwhacking: Walking or driving through the woods so trees make contact with car or skin; to travel through the woods
Redneck: Working class country person, unsophisticated but extremely knowledgeable about all things Vermont; sometimes referred to as a woodchuck or roddy
Hippie: Someone who rejects many conventional standards of society (whether by action or belief) and who advocates liberal lifestyles and/or politics
Maple Sap: A liquid tapped from maple trees in the early spring; the sap runs when it is freezing at night but is sunny and warm by day
Maple Syrup: The syrup made from boiling maple sap, Vermont has four grades of maple syrup
Maple Sugar: The sugar made from boiling maple sap past the stages of maple syrup - further evaporation - check out the Vermont Maple Foundation for all your maple info!
Localvore: A person dedicated to eating locally grown and produced food and drink -
Organic: Organic foods are produced according to certain production standards. For crops, it means they were grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste, or sewage sludge, and that they were processed without ionizing radiation or food additives. For animals, it means they were reared without the routine use of antibiotics and without the use of growth hormones.
Grass Fed: The new term for animals eating only mother's milk, fresh grass, and grass-type hay. There is not an approved standard or definition yet, more info at
Cage Free: Chickens not living in a cage.
Free Range: Chickens having access to the outdoors (chicken lifestyle definitions and standards are also not approved yet).
Take Back Vermont: Started as an anti-gay message but tourists unknowingly turned it into a slogan meaning "take Vermont products home," which has helped with Vermont's Buy Local campaign (see localvore).
Bring Vermont Forward: In retribution to previous, this was a slogan adopted to keep moving Vermont forward in it's progress towards same sex marriage and civil unions.
Got Fred, Get Fred, etc.: A whole Fred Society has been developed to honor Fred Tuttle, Vermont farmer, actor, and politician. It's best to see for yourself -
Fair Trade: Fair trade is an alternative approach to conventional international trade. It is a trading partnership which aims at sustainable development for excluded and disadvantaged producers. It seeks to do this by providing better trading conditions, by awareness raising and by campaigning. More info at
Uber: Above everything else; most commonly used in Vermont when referring to hardcore and extreme outdoor athletes.
Chi Chi (sometimes Shi Shi): Obnoxiously posh, deliberately chic; in Hawaii it means to go pee, and it has over 50 meanings in Japanese. You cannot be chi chi and a Vermonter at the same time.
Flatlander: A person not born in Vermont
Biodiesel: Clean burning, alternative fuel produced from domestic remewable resources such as soybeans, sunflowers, canola, waste cooking oil, or animal fats. See,
Champ: The Lake Champlain sea monster (Lake Champlain was the Champlain Sea back in the day when they think Champ was spawned); the Mascot for the Vermont Lake Monsters minor league baseball team.
Frost Heaves: A section of ruptured pavement caused by the expansion of freezing water immediately under the road. Frost heaves cause many accidents in the winter and are the reason for so much road construction in the summer. Also the name of the Vermont Frost Heaves, Vermont's minor league basketball team.
Ice Storm: A severe weather condition characterized by falling freezing participation; the Vermont Ice Storm is also the name of Vermont's minor league football team.

Love Vermont and she will love you!!!! Positive vibrations my friends - can you feel it???

Friday, July 20, 2007

What Comes Around Goes Around?

I am working on a really good post - really, but it's not ready...not yet. So, while I am compiling my thoughts and research, I want to throw a question out and really would like to know what people think...

Does what comes around really go around???

Anyone willing to share?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Vermont Campfire Toast

Due to popular demand, I am going to post some campfire meals - the first being a yummy breakfast:


~ a campfire with lots of hot coals
~ Tin Foil (lots)
~ Thick cut bread (homemade from a local farmers market is preferred)
~ Egg Beaters (so much easier camping than dealing with eggs and milk, but the localvore way is to get local eggs and milk)
~ Cream Cheese
~ Local berries (whatever is in season, the seasonal progression moves like this - strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries)
~ Vermont Maple Syrup
~ Cooking spray (always a good thing to carry in your "camp box")


~ Mold 6-8 sheets of tin foil into a pan of sorts to fit no more than two pieces of bread side by side
~ Cooking spray the tin foil
~ Batter the bread with Egg Beaters and lay down bread side by side (or just one per tin foil pan)
~ Spread a layer of cream cheese
~ Pour Vermont Maple Syrup over it
~ Lay out your selection of berries (may want to cut the strawberries)
~ Plop down a little more cream cheese if you'd like
~ Lay down the other battered piece of bread on top
~ Cover the whole thing with more Vermont maple Syrup
~ Fold the edges of the tin foil pan and make a cover with more tin foil that will seal in all the edges and then wrap the entire bundle with a few more pieces of tin foil
~ Toss is on the hot coals (some fire is ok) and cook about 20 minutes - flipping over as you wish

It will be messy and you'll need a spoon or fork, but it is yum!!!!! Enjoy and tell me how you make out!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4 Days Camping on the Connecticut River

I love the Vermont State Parks. LOVE THEM!!!!! I think some of it has to do with the fact that when I worked at a marketing agency, the Vermont State Parks were one of my favorite public relations clients and I wrote the majority of the press kit. But mostly, it has to do with the fact that they are gorgeous, well-kept, convenient, historically fascinating, and just downright filled with magic and Vermont energy - one of my most favorite things in life!
One day I will go to all of them, and this past weekend helped me cross two more off the list. Mitch and I camped at Wilgus State Park in Weathersfield (just south of Windsor, Vermont - the state's birthplace!) at a beautiful lean-to site on the Connecticut River. Wilgus is a small park with only about two dozen campsites (and two rental cabins!), but they are most known for the canoeing and kayaking and we got to camp right next to the launch and people watch all sorts of fun river rat types. Did we canoe? No, it was too choppy for our leisurely canoe style, plus we had other things on our agenda.
One was some yummy camp cooking. From my days as a Girl Scout, I sure love to whip up some creative camp meals - using as many local and seasonal ingredients as I can of course! Perhaps I'll do a post soon of some camp meals!
We did some driving around the area - always one of my favorite Vermont activities - it's almost time to replace the Vermont Road Atlas - it's so worn out! We thoroughly enjoyed lounging at our campsite and catching up on some good Relix articles. I even brought my lawn chair! We went through five bundles of wood and had some roaring campfires. We trekked over to Ascutney State Park and hiked Mt. Ascutney - what a fantastic hike. It started off pretty easy and we thought we were in for a frolic while we bounced through the woods and marveled at stone structures and woodland streams - soaking up several areas that were major energy vortexes. But, then things got steep and long and we certainly got an exhilarating workout with gorgeous full panoramic views on the look-out tower and fun interactions with some other couples exploring the vast trail intersections atop the mountain. Another day we got to enjoy the convenience of hot showers and got all classy heading off to Ascutney Mountain Resort for picnicking and an outdoor performance by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. Wine, cheese, candles, tablecloths, sweetness and music exploration and discussion with Mitch...
Terrific weekend. Stay tuned for a tip sheet on how to be a real Vermonter - it should be fun and helpful. Media friends feel free to use this stuff for article content - it's my new form of free publicity!