A few months ago, my grandmother mentioned wanting to see Vermont again. Years ago, she and my grandfather went on vacations to New England, taking trains to see the fall color. She wanted to go again, and to see Tyler and my land in person. So, my mom and I mobilized to make it happen. Dates were picked, a home was rented, and plans were made to spend a week in Vermont with Tyler and me, my brother and his girlfriend, my parents and my grandma.
It would be my brother's first visit to Vermont, and the first time my parents had set foot in the state for several decades. When we arrived and cleared our drive, it had been a full year since we had last been to our land. Suffice it to say, the visit was long overdue, and we were all looking forward to it!
Having arrived a day before everyone else, Tyler and I were the first to drive down the picturesque dirt road to our rural rental property. We couldn't have been more excited when we saw what lay at the end: nestled in 350 rolling acres of crimson and orange splendor, overlooking mountains and ponds, fields and trees, was our home for the week. It was truly stunning.
As we'd arranged with the property manager, we let ourselves in and went exploring, excited to see the huge fireplace and spacious kitchen. We claimed one of the beautiful bedrooms, dumped our belongings in it, and then left to go grocery shopping. When we got back, we cooked a big supper in preparation for everyone's arrival. It was so exciting to greet them with enormous hugs, first my parents and my grandma, and then Lian and Steph the next day.
Our Vermont family vacation has been exactly what I dreamed it would be. Each day was spent in a perfect blend of family and alone time, sight-seeing and resting, cooking, and hiking around the rental property's 360 acres of land. For daily excursions, we would all pile into a rental van—our own personal Alan Family Tour Bus—heading out into the fall weather for an adventure.
We visited museums and craft shops, historic churches, and art galleries. We went to farmer's markets and roadside stands, bought postcards and maple syrup, and hunted for Grandma's Ideal Souvenir Sweatshirt. Every day was joyful and fulfilling.
Eventually, when we were tired of sight-seeing for the day, we'd all pile back into the van and come home to our restful, beautiful house in the countryside. After some quiet alone time, we'd filter back into the living room and kitchen. Some of us would begin cooking supper, while others of us read or "puzzled" by the crackling fire.
Suppers were large and lingering affairs, with delicious contributions from all of the cooking and baking lovers in this family. There are a lot of us. After dinner, we would play board games or read, or sit and look at photos, getting caught up on the past few months of each other's lives.
It was truly a blessing to have so much quality time with my family. It was a joy to see my vivacious grandmother engaged in each and every activity, and I was grateful to be making memories with her. It was wonderful to spend time with my parents and brother, especially in this beautiful, inspiring spot.
I was also thrilled to meet my brother's partner, Steph, and to feel utterly at home with her right away, as a part of our family. I wished we lived closer to one other, so the four of us could hang out on a regular basis.
The other highlight of the vacation, which I'll write about in another journal entry, was having my family visit our land. It was an experience that completely obliterated the short-lived second thoughts Tyler and I had about moving here. It was the icing on the cake of the best vacation I've ever taken. I hope we can do it again next year!
I LOVE YOU GUYS!