Vermont Weekend: Lunenburg baby

The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, 
like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, 
like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, 
most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood 
and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago 
and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify to this feeling.
//Jack Kerouac

My Dad and Step-Mom purchased a beautiful post and beam log cabin in Upstate Vermont almost a year ago now. Over the past year I have been able to go up and visit three times, the most recent being the last full weekend in October. It is almost a four hour drive, and is located in a very remote and seemingly uninhabited region of the State- the White Mountains. With a view of Mt. Washington straight off their back deck, it really is a secluded and beautiful place to go to relax and unwind. With nothing but the woods and nature and mountains surrounding you, you can't help but breathe in the fresh air and feel calm and rejuvenated. I am an ocean girl at heart, but there definitely is still something about the woods and the wild that does something good for the soul. We decided to make a 'couples weekend' out of it, bringing along my Brother and his girlfriend Lindsay, along with my brothers best friend Kevin and his girlfriend Alisa who have also become like family to us over the last almost decade. We all get along so well as a group, and really all have the same sense of humor which has led to an ever growing repertoire of inside jokes and stories. It's constant fun and laughter when we are together, really what more could you ask for? Being my usual planner self, and upon the request of the others, I made up another little "itinerary" for the weekend with some ideas of what we could do. My intent is never to STICK to the itinerary, or be a cruise director, but to just have ideas laid out and ready depending on how we feel or what we feel like doing. I printed it out on nice card stock paper so that we could bring it with us and hang it on the bulletin board in the main entryway of the cabin. That way, we could leave it there and other people who stay can get ideas from it as well.

Friday after work I headed up to Mass to pick up Nick for the long and uneventful drive up to the North Woods. The drive is basically a straight line up 91 and if you are driving at night, there really isn't much to see! It is a very pretty drive during the day, but if you are driving at night it can be pretty boring and hard to stay awake and attentive. 
We made it though! And it was all pretty standard until we were just about to turn onto my Dad and Step Mom's street. We saw something in the road that appeared to be eating something else, and to our surprise, it was a HUGE white owl! I hadn't seen an owl in the wild in so long, not since being in Maine as a child, so it was really cool and a rather exciting way to end a long drive. It was hard to get a good picture but you can kind of see him (I am presuming it's a boy) in the photos below before he took off into the night.
 Nick and I got there about an hour ahead of the others as they had to wait for my Brother to get off of work. We got settled in and cracked a few beers in the kitchen and just talked to my Dad and Leann to catch up on life lately. Once everyone else got there and got situated it was already pretty late but that didn't stop us from starting the party! After all of us worked a long week, it was time to unwind and let loose. Caramel apple martinis were made- and a big cheers to the weekend ahead was necessary!
We headed downstairs to my Dads "man-cave", complete with a big beautiful wooden bar for some more cocktails and country pandora station blasting over the tv. It was great to just all be in each others company laughing and telling stories and sipping our drinks. We don't get to see my Dad too often so it was nice to be there with him as he manned the bar, he was in his glory!
Father and son chatting about the complexities of scotch.

After a couple hours we were all tired, so it was time to call it a night and head to bed to be rested up for a big day on Saturday. Dad and Leann have dubbed the house the "Lunenburg Baby"- check out those beams and all of the gorgeous woodwork! Goodnight house.
We slept in the loft and although waking up is very BRIGHT, as the sun is shining right in your face over the horizon, it is so cozy and beautiful that you really don't mind being awoken at the crack of dawn. You are looking directly out a large window to the beautiful morning view of the foggy mountains.

Everyone awoke slowly, as the effects of the previous night had hit some harder than others, but sooner or later we were all up and at em for a day of fun and adventure. Coffees were made and we each took turns showering and getting ready.
One step outside and you instantly feel awake as you breathe in the fresh air and take in the stunning views of the mountain's in the distance, the tallest peak being Mt. Washington, the highest mountain on the East Coast with an elevation of over 6k feet. The front deck has 180 degrees of unobstructed views of the woods and nature, it's beautiful!

The perfect spot for sipping your morning coffee and gazing out at the mountains.

Once everyone was ready, we headed out the door and over the border into New Hampshire to the "bustling" town of Littleton. It's a really quaint and cute town that doesn't have an abundance to offer, but what it does have is really good and just enough! Our first stop was breakfast as we were all starving after not really having eaten dinner the night before. The Littleton Diner is such a classic diner that I had been to both times prior and wanted to take the rest of the group who hadn't been. In mine and Lindsay's opinions, they have the best buttermilk pancakes we have ever eaten, complete with the real Vermont maple syrup. Their hash is also to die for!

My standard "Nick holding mug at diner" photo!

I think we practically ordered everything off the menu, most of us getting far more than we could ever eat. Michael especially had a "rough time" finishing his food as he was really feeling the effects of his decisions from the previous night. I think he cut that piece of Canadian bacon into more pieces than originally thought humanly possible.

We definitely recommend Little Diner if you are ever in the area! A traditional diner gem for sure.
Next up we just decided to explore the downtown area of Littleton and do some window and antique shopping down Main Street. They have tons of consignment and antique stores, you can find lots of good scores and old/vintage pieces. The old masonic temple is now a huge antique store loaded with tons of furniture and housewares. There is so much to look at it feels like you are in a maze.

Old B&B's and inns also line the street. Tons of character and charm everywhere you look.

We stopped in at a bookstore and a rousing game of checkers erupted between Nick and Alisa. I forget who won.... I'll say Alisa! ;-)
Linds watching on with angst. White knuckled, gripping her seat at the suspense.
Kevin, the moderator, could practically cut the tension with a knife!
I ended up buying a sweet 1000 piece skiing puzzle and can't wait to do it this winter when there's nothing to do but sit inside and be depressed about winter.
A flyer for the Harvest festival that would be going on later that day! We heard about it and knew we had to come back later to check it out.
Mike was sooo happy and excited about all the shopping, especially with how amazing he was feeling!
A peak down the street to the Schilling Brewery and grist mill where we would be heading to later on! Such a pretty area.
We couldn't end our walk down Main street without a stop at Chutters candy store, with a bold claim of the "Longest Candy counter in the WORLD"... you heard me folks, the world!!
I was in candy heaven.

This is probably 1/10th of the length of the candy counter! Everything you could ever imagine. A candy lovers dream.... my heaven!

Bless his soul but I am sorry, I have probably never laughed so hard until I saw what was inside Nick's candy bag. I saw him in the store, carefully picking out and deciding on candies, but didn't really know what he chose because I was so involved in filling up my own bag. When I asked to see his bounty outside, I lost it. Here I am, halfway to diabetes and dentures, and my boyfriend shows me his bag with two candy corns and a cashew. I can't. One of the good things about him is we always have different choices when it comes to food, so I don't think thats something we will ever fight over!
I am literally embarrassed at my $10, break the scale bag of candy. Full of sours, gummies, frogs, worms... all the classics in my opinion. A complete contrast to Nicks! It was too funny.

Best buds! Mike and Kevin have been great friends from high school, through college and into adulthood. They are "lifers" for sure.
After our sugar overdose we kept on our mission down Main Street and ventured into a few more cool antique stores and did some more window shopping. The town is really cute and even has an old style movie theater complete with a traditional marquee. 

We also popped into a little cigar shop as Mike and Kev wanted to each get a cigar to bring home.

After a couple hours of wandering and shopping, it was time for a snack and a beer! We headed down to the river to the Schilling brewery which we had found on our previous trip in May. It is a small micro brewery in a renovated mill building right on the river. They did an amazing job in the restoration and the building looks beautiful. Even better, they serve and make their own great beer!

Love the pops of yellow against the dark red.

When you ask your boyfriend to take roughly one million photos all the time, this is what you get.

I love their logo! I took some coasters home from my last visit and have them in my room.

Cute couples!

It turned out a be an unseasonably warm 62 degree fall day, so we opted to sit outside on the side deck. The view of the river is amazing! You really feel like you are hanging right over it, and the sounds of the rushing water are really relaxing.

Handsome man picking out his beer flight!

A rare sighting of Nick with his mouth open! He never opens his mouth when he smiles... I'll catch him one of these days.
The whole gang! Ready to taste some beers.
They use these really cute and hand made flight boards to deliver their beers. And those little mini goblets are too cute for words. Linds and I are dying to find some somewhere. It's also nice that they allow you to pick different beers to taste to figure of what you like! I am not much of a beer connoisseur, as you can see by my all-light options.

Let the taste testing begin! Mike was finally starting to feel a little better at this point, but was still holding on to his water for dear life.
 Couple #1
 and 2!
 and 3!

We ventured inside for a bit to check out the bar area. Such nice woodwork all around.
They have a huge brick oven and serve some really yummy flatbread pizzas. It smelled so good, we knew we had to order something to snack on.
As soon as our waitress read the special pizza of the day, we were sold! A white pizza with bacon, green apples, chicken, spinach, maple syrup and honey. It was DELISH! A great combination of flavors.

Right out back from schilling is a long and beautiful wooden covered bridge than spans across the entire river. Its a great walking and biking path for anyone staying in town, and leads down to a trail that snakes along the river. It is a great spot for pictures so we had to go and check it out.

Looking out the bridge down the river- so pretty!

And then looking back up river towards Schilling (in red), where you can see the old mill parts still attached to the building. They did such a nice job on the restoration.

 My Stud Martin!

We did a bunch of different combinations of the couples and groups, they came out really nice! It's such a cool spot with great light and architecture.

And we met the cutest 8 week old Labradoodle named Kobe- so fluffy and excited! Nothing beats a puppy.
 Great shot of the boys!
 And then it was nick's turn to use my camera to take a picture of the girls.
If you could see my whole camera roll, you would see why we have these expressions- he started shooting rapid fire! There are about 100 photos from this 20 second span.

That boy I tell ya... so wise! But he makes me laugh, everyday.

We crossed over the bridge and were on the other side looking back towards the brewery, which gave us an entirely different view. Pumpkin carvings were lining the river gearing up for the harvest festival later on that day. There was also a large rock on the river that you could get down onto. Kind of slippery and dangerous, but we decided to live on the edge and go for it!

Kev was the first daring soul to try it. Not without his foot fully submerging uner the water though.
 Kev... just stop... SO GOURMET. EWWWW.

Mike was next to join...

And then we all followed! Thanks to Alisa for staying on shore to get these sweet pics! She is obviously the smart one of the bunch.

And then, just before leaving- more puppies. Three to be exact. ADORABLE.

Back over the bridge to start our journey back to the cabin.

"Welcome to Littleton"!!
On the drive into town earlier that day, we had passed a horse farm that looked pretty and I really wanted to stop and take pictures but we were so hungry for breakfast we just drove past it. On the way home though, we made sure to stop so I could get some pictures of the pretty ponies!

They were so pretty and friendly, with super shiny coats. They all looked really happy and well taken care of.

We made another couple photo op stops as well, at the factory and dam by the river, and a pretty open field more towards the cabin. There really is gorgeous scenes pretty much everywhere you look up there. 

Back at the cabin, we just relaxed and hung out for a bit and decided to take a little walk around the property and nearby path to do a little more exploring in the woods. 
Looking from the yard back up towards the house.
Can't get over this view!

Everyone was SO excited for the nature walk, I could hardly hold them back.

Full view of the house. The previous owners were a young couple who were gifted the land by their grandparents. They built the house themselves after they got married and all the wood was cut and milled from Lunenburg. Talk about staying local! Such a neat fact, and a really well-built home. They sadly outgrew the house once they started having kids, but it is the perfect size for my Dad and Step Mom.

Although the foliage was a few weeks past it's prime- I was still able to find some pops of color and life here and there! And I was only majorly mildly scared of being attacked by a bear the entire time.

We did have my Dad's two Shih-tzu's with us though, who would surely scare off any bears in our way.... They were good boys and stayed right on the trail with us the whole time. My dogs would have been half way to Canada at this point.

A walk in the woods....
 Little Chewbacca being cute.

And Batman looking stately.

 Such good boys keeping right on the trail with us!

Finding color in the bland!

No bears... time to head back to the cabin as it was starting to get darker by the minute. That fall light really falls fast!

A cool beam of sunlight was peeking through the clouds and hitting Mt. Washington just right.

Nature is beautiful!

The back side of the house. They are planning to someday convert the space above the garage to a bunk room to be able to sleep more people. Right now it sleeps about 8 comfortably, with two enclosed bedrooms, an open loft, and a futon in the man cave.

We all were tired so we rested up for a bit and Leann made a nice lasagna and salad for dinner while we simultaneously, to my upmost opposition, watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I absolutely hate that movie in that I think it is the scariest of them all. Hey, it could happen!! After dinner we decided to head back into Littleton to check out the Harvest festival! There was activities for kids, and hundreds of jack-o-lantersn lining the bridge and along the river. How they got them out there and kept them lit, I have no idea! It was really cool though to see them scattered all along the river. Sadly we were too late for the headless horseman carriage rides, we forgot that the town pretty much shuts down by 8pm.
Lots of really cool and intricate carvings!

 SO cool!

There were hundreds and hundreds! It was really neat to see and we had a fun time walking through the path despite the rain trying to put a damper on us.

And before heading home we stopped back into schilling for one last round and a few games of "Heads Up!" on our iPhones. Everyone was looking at us and probably really jealous of how much fun were were having. If you don't have this game on your phone- download it now. There's so many times where it comes in handy as something fun to do/play!
We headed back to the cabin shortly after, and after watching SNL it was time to say goodnight as we were all wiped. 
Sunday morning Nick and I hit the grocery early, and helped my Dad make a nice big home made breakfast for everyone. Dad made the eggs and bacon, and Nick and I made sweet potato medallions, toast, and of course Mimosas for all! It was really yummy and a great way to start the day. Nothing like waking up to the smell of bacon cooking on the griddle.

Having fun with little Chewy- he is so cute! I even gave him a nice part right down the middle of his back.

We had originally planned on driving up the Mt. Washington Auto Road that day as it was expected to still be open through that weekend. I checked the website that morning and unfortunately, they decided to close it on Friday due to weather conditions at the peak. We missed it by TWO days! Oh well, it will give us something to do next year! Instead we just hung around the house and took our time packing up and cleaning.

Leann is an artisan jeweler, Lala Bliss, and all weekend she was hammering away making these star ornament for the holidays!
We couldn't leave without a few more cheesy FANTASTIC group photos! Prom pose anyone?
Such a fun weekend with this group- we definitely did NOT want to leave and head back to the real world. We always say that a day in between Saturday and Sunday would be amazing... we could call it Funday!

My Dad with my brother and I. Dad sporting a new beard.
And with my Step-Mom Leann!
Goodbye Chewy and Batty!

As we said our goodbye's and started the journey home- we saw this house that had by far the most scary and realistic halloween decorations I have seen in awhile! They really went all out.

We ended up breaking up the trip home with a stop at Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, VT. They have some great fall beers out right now and a bunch of us tried some flights and got a bite to eat before going home for Sunday dinner.

A couple of us got the "Staff Pick" sampler- really good!

We ended the day back at our house for Sunday night dinner with the family- brisket in our new smoker! It was really good. We also carved pumpkins but that will be part of my next post on halloween! We had a GREAT weekend and can't wait to get back! It was so tough going back to work on Monday after such a relaxing and nice time in the mountains. Thanks to Dad and leann for hosting us all, we had a blast!