After a week in Vermont that was full of blissful relaxation and naps whenever I wanted, I was thrown back into a satisfying yet unrelenting flurry of activity and busy-ness. Bye-bye #vermontvibes.
It’s my own fault, really. I’m scheduled to travel for at least the next five weekends and I’ve already been back to the beach twice since Vermont. But here I am, finally able to take a quick breath and tell you all about my week in heaven before I dive back into things like party planning, creative wrangling, and packing/unpacking/packing again.
Every year the week seems to go more and more quickly. The hazards of age, I guess. And the naps. I didn’t always take so many naps, and though I love them, I guess they kinda stop you from doing other things, like eating cheese or hiking.
We lucked out with a beautiful week.
We had a lot of brilliant, dazzling sun. We had a bit of clean, soothing rain.
The sky is one of my favorite parts of Vermont. The clouds there are like nowhere else, and the contrast of the ultra blue sky and verdant green mountains are breathtaking.
Add in some red barns and you have yourself what I will now coin as a “Vermont Rainbow.”
When we weren’t dozing on the dock, we were happy houring. This post’s hand model is my Aunt Lynne. Hey Aunt Lynne. Good job! You’ll be seeing a recipe for that there marinated goat cheese she has in her hand realllllll soon.
^ Holidays as in vacation, of course. Just ignore the holly…
Though we may be up and walking by 6:15 almost every morning in Vermont, by 6:15 pm we’re sitting on a screened in porch diving into popcorn, cheese, and in my dad’s case, Rock Art beer.
Rock Art Brewery is a great little Vermont brewery. I’ve been twice, in two different seasons. Their brews are always varied (though of course they produce some of them constantly) so there’s always something new to discover. My dad loves their Russian Imperial Stout. I, on the other hand, prefer something lighter like this IPA that I got in the world’s cutest lil’ growler.
Though most of our week does revolve around sleeping, swimming, and eating, we do manage to get our exercise in. Like I said, we walk most mornings (it’s necessary if we want to eat the way we do), and some days we may even hike.
In case you can’t tell, I blend into the Vermont scenery so well. I’m on the lower right hand corner of this photo. You almost missed me, right?!
On this particular trip, we skipped walking one morning in favor of sleeping in until breakfast (I got to sleep until 7:45 that day!) and taking a hike in the afternoon. We hiked to a little camping cabin called Taylor’s Lodge on the Long Trail. I go just about every year and it never gets old. This year I made us go an extra mile or so because, I mean, we had already gone so far. Deep down I think everyone (and their glutes) really appreciated it. Cocktails were very welcome that night.
So there ya have it. Once you add puttering around town, you have our full week in Stowe.
However, that is not the end of the trip. We still have the ride home. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that we always stop at the Waitsfield Farmer’s Market, which is my absolute favorite.
The market is always teeming with people, and in a lot of cases, their dogs. If I had really thought about things people like to see, I would have taken photos of some of those pups, but unfortunately I was too distracted by the mouthwatering breakfast sandwich I was eating.
We’re talking homemade bread, thick cut and crispy bacon, Vermont cheddar cheese, and a farm fresh egg. Heaven.
Eventually, we had to drag ourselves away (slash we ran out of cash so we had no choice) and we continued on our merry way home. I have to say, I had a very successful bounty this year.
I got another wooden bowl plus a wooden pestle from the very talented man who made the bowl I got for Christmas last year, this time made out of sugar maple.
I picked out two soaps from Green Village Soap Co, a favorite of mine at Waitsfield.
I got 4 pounds of cheese, from both Cabot and the market, and half a pound of creamy, salty cultured butter. I totally balanced it out with all the produce I got, though, don’t worry.
I got maple syrup, of course, and this year I even got maple sugar! I’m very excited to use this once I finally stop traveling here, there, and everywhere. Let’s just hope half a pound is enough to tide me over until next year!
And that, everyone, is where #vermontvibes2015 ends…
…or is it?! You can’t come back to work after a week empty handed. You have to bring a treat from wherever you’ve been. So instead of sacrificing even an ounce of my precious cheese, I made Maple Pecan Bars, adapted from The Vermont Farmtable Cookbook.
I made these bars last year, too, and they are decadent and very popular.
They are also wildly simple to make.
You make a simple crust…
Followed by an easy syrup…
*Note: When I first made these, I thought I added the eggs when the syrup was too warm, but it’s really just flour that clumps up a little bit – which is fine!
Followed by some nuts!
It’s a perfect, maple-y bite. I’ll be making another batch this week to serve at my 2nd Annual Vermont Party, because what else would I do with my Wednesday night?
And that, my friends, will truly be the end of summer vacation in Vermont for this year. Already counting down until next year.
Maple Pecan Bars
Adapted from The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook
Yields: About 16 squares
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup pure Vermont maple syrup
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup pecans, chopped
Maldon sea salt, about 3 teaspoons or to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
- To make the crust: Put the flour and the sugar in a medium bowl. Using either a pastry cutter or your fingers, blend in the butter until the mixture forms pea-sized pieces. Press the mixture into a 9-inch square baking pan. Bake for 5 minutes.
- To make the maple filling: While the crust is baking, stir the syrup and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool. Once cool, whisk in the eggs, flour, and vanilla.
- To assemble: Pour the filling over the crust and sprinkle the pecans and Maldon sea salt evenly over the top.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before cutting.