Monday, October 29, 2007

Mazin' -n- Dazin' While Vibin'

I love Vermont Vibin'! And it's starting to pick up steam. Instead of people now asking me what I'm doing for the weekend, they say, "You vibin' this weekend?" How cool is that! You can see I have a new blog pic up - that would be me and the Vibe. This is a picture from my latest Vermont Vibes expedition (since I don't have a digital of the one they took when I leased from Shearer in South Burlington.)

The latest adventure consisted of the rock-n-roll team of myself - Public Relations Mama, Mitch - The Luvah Drumah, and Caitlin - Higher Ground Mamacita. And off we went...

We jetted down I-89 and charged through the glorious foliage weather like musicians on their way to a gig (managing to get some shots through the Vibe windows)! Route 2 beckoned us through the outskirts of the Groton State Forest to which I will surely be visiting once skiing is over. On our way to apple pie galore in Cabot, we got happily sidetracked by a sign that read something like, "Don't Be Silly, Stop." Silly wasn't the actual word, but it made us laugh and we pulled a U-ey and vibed on in. The place was called Riverside Treasures and it was a terrific antique place with actual deals and a fun and chatty owner we liked right off the bat. We each bought some stuff and headed on our way, absolutely starving for pie by this point (except The Drumah Luvah who somehow doesn't like apple pie).

Then off for pie at the Cabot Apple Pie Festival. Caitlin and I are both from smaller Massachusetts towns in the Western parts of the state, so small town events are part of our history - rows of tables showcasing fun local crafts in the town elementary school gym/cafeteria/auditorium and the concession stand featuring mom and pop ham and cheese sandwiches, soupy corn chowder, and the specialty of this wonderful small town event - apple pie - hmmmm. There were so many pies competing in the day's signature event - the pie contest - I mean anyone who's anyone in the Cabot, Marshfield, and East Calais vicinity must have made a pie! And only one actually looked like the kind I make (yes, from scratch and no recipe sharing with this family secret). Caitlin and I ebbed through the crafts to the pie while Mitch did some mystery shopping (as a Bostonian, I think his lack of small town America at an early age tainted the taste of yummy small town apple pie, for which I plan to cure him at Thanksgiving - insert evil laugh here).

So, filled with apple pie and Mitch with pretzels from the homemade dip tables I think, we cruised over to Danville for, you got it - The Great Vermont Corn Maze. We took so many pictures, I think I will simply post them and you can fill in the words to the friend-filled end to another Vermont Vibes adventure...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Vermont's Energy Future

Positive energy is spread throughout Vermont and from my Vermont Vibing experiences (which have been going on much longer than I have been blogging about them), I have learned that energy vibrations certainly vary from place to place and from one group of people to the next. This really isn't about - like hippie vibes man - it's about science. When people are in an environment where they can be themselves and naturally soak up the sunshine, gentle breeze, smell of grass/leaves/snow/flowers, or whatever bit of nature that causes them to relax and think larger picture and for once put out-of-mind the daunting tasks of the everyday grind, then they are experiencing positive energy (what I often refer to as Vermont Vibes). And when one person is feeling this connection to nature and the natural force of things (energy), there are usually other people feeling the same thing. It's like when I'm vibing at a Vermont watering hole, I usually have more energy, better connections and conversations with other people, and a more genuine smile than if I'm (Gawd forbid, this is extreme) shopping at Walmart which I am anti, but wanted to give an extreme example.

Unfortunately, this same energy cannot fuel the massive amounts of it we need to supply the high quantities of energy we humans currently use (and no, I am not here to bash the human race, just deal with facts and science). Last night I Vibed over to Tuttle Middle School in South Burlington for the combined state agency, non-profit, and Vermont utility company public forums that are going on throughout the state to get feedback on Vermont's Energy Future and how to move forward. This indeed was the name of the event and also of the website which I am urging people to go to once finished with my blog - (gotta be amused by the dot info folks).

In short, for those who have not been paying attention, besides the fact that everyone has decided the world is ending, the two major contracts which supply 80% of Vermont's energy (do the names Hydro Quebec and Vermont Yankee ring a bell?), are ending, expiring, stopping in 2015. So, um, yeah, decisions need to be made and the State of Vermont was smart enough to start public discussions now (wise PR move guys and gals).

The evening was comprised of almost 200 Chittenden County area residents and all sorts of official folks. It started with a rather healthy light dinner (kudos off the bat which were then overshadowed by the fact that there was no recycling in place for the plastic bottles) and moved into dozens of well-organized, group moderated discussions. My group had four women, five men, and a male group moderator with the group ranging in ages from about 21 to about 60. Three of us even happened to be in our 20s and 30s which was not the norm and always ticks me off at events of such direct impact and importance. Where are all the Gen Xers? Let me guess, sitting on their butts, bitching about the world and not doing a damn thing about it. (yes, I am a Gen Xer and YES, this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine on my generation!)

Ok, back on track here...after some insightful, well facilitated, and heated at times discussions, groups voted on one question per group to ask a panel of experts - another gripe - no women on the panel. But, the panel still did a good job offering pretty honest answers considering that most people in attendance were aware of the underlying political push for extending the Vermont Yankee contract which polls and reactions throughout the evening showed gigantic objections to. Once again for those who do not know, Vermont Yankee is nuclear energy - yes it is clean and the cheapest, but it is what makes bombs, and one mistake wipes out a lot more than AquaNet does to the ozone - hey, isn't that crap banned from hair nowadays anyway? And to clarify, the reason for such public forums as this is for the state to hopefully incorporate public feedback into the decisions the politicians make, no decisions have been made yet.

There were some overall brief presentations and public comments at the end, but one of the neatest things about the evening was the real time polling provided by hand held wireless devices every attendee got to use to vote on a wide variety of issues and opinions, giving some of the best focus group feedback I've ever been involved in as part of public opinion measurement. Ad execs should use these instead of spending hours of valuable time squabbling over logo colors. And the devices were from a Vermont company - KUDOS - especially considering the amount of pro-Vermont employment people and groups use outside-the-state agencies and resources. But that is a post from my PR blog for another time. The wireless device keypads are made by or from The Orton Family Foundation in Manchester Village and are on the web at - check it out!!!

This post has gotten quite long and while it strays from my usual quirky treks around the Green Mountain State, energy is energy and I've got stake in this here state and urge you to pay attention - because whether the world is ending or not, the next few years are going to bring about unprecedented changes - may they cause younger generations to step it up and may they lead us to not fail Mother Earth.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Vibe Takes a Route 7 Toll

I am not sure if it was the mixed bag of feelings one gets after a weekend of their own "Meet the Parents" or the added energy of felines in the Vibe, but returning home from The Berkshires this weekend, the Vibe took a hit! No, not physically, but by the law - the Vibe got pulled over!!!

Ok, back track...Mitch and I headed to my home in the deep woods of the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts to hang out with my parents. Not so much a meet the parents (Mitch has of course met them before), but as a help-the-soon-to-retire-parents-clean-out-the-stuff-that-they-are-nice-enough-to-still-be-storing-for you weekend. For me this meant Barbies, lots and lots of Barbie stuff that I haphazardly stored years ago in a mouse induced portion of the attic. So naturally this also meant lots of mouse poo cleaning - not really the first thing I would choose to help create positive vibes. While we were accompanied by my rather well-fed and spoiled cats, Fee and Tela, they were not so interested in mouse poo and even ignored the dead mouse we came across. They much preferred trying to make nests themselves in the mouse nests. Go figure.

Besides "chores," we enjoyed some great hiking near my house, stone wall and foundation exploration along the original carriage road that connected Boston to the Adirondacks, and catching up with some old high school friends and new spouses. Mitch even got a free golf lesson from my dad who rapidly anticipates his new life in The Villages - Florida's Friendliest Home Town - seriously - you've got to check this place out.

Anyway, in the sense of the Vermont Vibe adventures, we wanted to get out early on Sunday to enjoy a drive up Route 7 in the beautiful Vermont foliage, but the mouse poo held us back a bit. By the time we left, we only got to see the very southern portion of Route 7 in daylight (most of it being the funny transition from Massachusetts to Vermont - marble lion gates at the entrance of a trailer park?). We decided to skip the historic drive up 7A through Manchester and go directly on Route 7, which is precisely where I got pulled over for speeding. The pesky thing is I was going slow and was getting passed and decided I should step it up and not be an annoying leaf pepper! I am not one to play games with the law, and was polite and up front, and while the cop was nice, he still gave me a ticket and two points! I guess it didn't help that Fee hissed at him.

I seem depleted from my vibes as I write this solemn entry, but fear not my faithful Vibe fanatics - tomorrow brings a new weekend and have I got a great adventure planned out! Oh, I did want to add that we stopped in RutVegas for a quick bite at Ramuntos Sicilian Pizza - and the food is to die for - if you're down that way - have some real Italian food - yum!!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Foliage Friends

This past weekend I ventured away from my photographing boyfriend and snatched up my next best partner in crime, very good friend Caitlin, and brought her to a moe. concert in Wallingford, Connecticut. I know this is about Vermont Vibes, and this does fit! Caitlin and I rolled in there, managed to get front row center tickets, and had the head of the venue personally escort us in so we weren't hassled by security for bringing in our plastic guitars - we play guitar at moe. and air guitar just doesn't cut it for us. This is all Vermont Vibes worthy because we spread out Vermont Vibes with air love throughout the show and afterwards got to after party with some cats I vaguely know from Phantasy Tour and slept in their driveway in the VIBE!!!!

Phew - it was awesome. As the sun rose the next morning and woke us from our guitar playing dreams, we headed out on the true essence of a Vermont Vibes adventure! We sped up 91 to get out of Connecticut and Massachusetts as quickly as possible (but made sure we offered Wallingford some cash flow with a local diner breakfast). Once in Vermont we jetted off 91 onto Route 9 otherwise known as the Molly Stark Trail where we stopped for a good photo op. We cruised along with the sunroof down listening to Caitlin's eclectic and fun DJing skills. Our goal was to take winding and scenic Route 100 through the Green (turning to red, orange, and yellow) Mountains. But, as I love the Green Mountain National Forest, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take Caitlin a bit past Wilmington, up Searsburg Road and through the heart of the matter. Searsburg Road (near those awesome Searsburg Windmills) winds directly through the forest on fantastic backroads. We stopped and took a walk along a swinging bridge and admired the best roadside rock sculpture I have yet to see in Vermont. We followed the winding road (with the help of the exceptional Vermont Road Atlas - see my Tips on How To Be a Vermonter post in the archives!) to West Jamaica Road with the best collection of riverside cottages I have ever seen. (Mitch and I are destined to live in Jamaica - so watch out Southern Vermonters!)

From there we poked back onto Route 100 and headed north! We had taken quite a bit of time enjoying the forest so we had less time for stopping along Route 100 than originally planned, but that's what Vermont Vibing is all about! We did stop in Weston for visits at both the Vermont Country Store and Weston Village Store (which I liked better). We cruised into Killington zone where I day dreamed of skiing until we hit a fantastic looking never-ending garage sale somewhere between Pittsfield and Stockbridge. Here we actually found cheap antiques and both managed to make some roadside Vermont purchases.

By this point we were hungry and I led us straight to another favorite village - this one being Rochester, Vermont where The Village Porch awaited. Right in the center of town, this bar and bistro is worth waiting for, driving to, and especially finding while Vermont Vibing! For anyone cruising along Route 100 - make your way to this fabulous town of positive vibrations (Progressive Congresswoman Sandy Haas lives and owns and B&B there) between Sugarbush ad Killington. They assured me they will soon have a website, but in the meantime visit The Village Porch owners' other website for their catering company - - and go try out these delicious and beautifully presented menu items at a cozy and living room style country bistro - yum!!!

Once dinner was over it was dark and the Vibing needed to come to a close. We boogied back to Burlington, fully energized from the positive vibrations of the weekend! Hooray!