Finding joy in stillness: Our long weekend in Sorrento, Maine

Why do we go on vacation? What drives us all to save up significant sums of money, spend weeks on planning, wade through traffic and security lines, and monitor weather forecasts for days to determine exactly what to pack?

The common narrative is that there are two kinds of people: Those who vacation to explore, and those who vacation to unplug.

When I was in my 20s, I placed myself firmly in the first category. I traveled to experience other cultures, peoples and environments, and every day on the road was jam-packed with activity, a wonderful sensory overload. I looked down on those who had no desire to fill their vacations with museum visits and walking tours; I judged those who chose convenient private shuttles over colorful public transit; and I privately side-eyed families who preferred to lounge on a beach rather than go for a paddle or take a hike.

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I now realize that I once judged people who wanted a mindless escape because I was privileged. My everyday life was so carefree, I didn’t need an escape. I lived in places with mild climates. I worked in a fun, low-stress field. My colleagues were my friends, and the leadership encouraged a healthy work-life balance. I commuted by bike or bus in less than 30 minutes. I lived steps away from beautiful parks, airy cafes and world-class restaurants and breweries.

Today, my life is still marked by immense privilege and is relatively carefree, but it looks a bit different than it did before. My commute is long. I work harder. My state’s winters are cold and barren, keeping me mostly indoors for half of the year. Single-origin coffees and artisanal cocktails are 30 miles away. And so I’ve started to come around to the idea of a vacation premised on relaxation.

Which brings me to August 2019, when my husband and I headed to the town of Sorrento — not the overcrowded one on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, but the rural one on a tiny peninsula in a state that proudly proclaims itself “Vacationland.”

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Ian’s and my four days in Sorrento marked the first leg of a three-stop vacation; we were next headed to Quebec City, then to Montreal. I thought it would be a pleasant few days whose memories would ultimately be overshadowed by the culture and scenery of French Canada. But for me it turned out to be the highlight of the vacation — and, hell, the highlight of my 2019.

Both of us had been itching to get to Maine for years, long before we moved to New England. Like Vermont, it was a state we both knew we would love, if only for its rugged coastal scenery, which reminded us both of our West Coast homes. So when we found out that Ian’s coworker Celia owned a summer house in Sorrento, and that she was happy to let us stay for free in exchange for a bit of manual labor, we pretty much packed our bags on the spot.

After a slog through Boston traffic, a quick dinner at the legendary Great Lost Bear in Portland and a quick grocery run, we arrived at our destination in the dark and fell straight to sleep. Little did we know that in the morning, heaven awaited us.

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We spent a lazy morning lingering over coffee and wandering through the rooms of the worn, lived-in house. This wasn’t like the pristine, anonymous, nautical-themed vacation homes you can find in spades on Airbnb. It had been built more than a century ago and hadn’t been remodeled in at least two generations. Some kitchen appliances were more than a few decades old, and we puzzled over their unfamiliar switches and knobs. There was no upstairs hallway connecting the four bedrooms — which meant that most guests would find themselves traveling through other guests’ bedrooms to access the single bathroom. And there was no internet service whatsoever.

In short, it was perfect.

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That morning, over coffee, I holed up in the library/music room and read up on Sorrento’s history. Long home to the Penobscot and Maliseet Native American tribes, the small peninsula first became a summer colony for wealthy white East Coasters in the 1880s with the construction of a gigantic resort and several individual family homes. After the resort burned down just a couple of decades later, many moved on to new vacation hotspots, and Sorrento’s seasonal population decreased considerably. Today, the population of Sorrento hovers around 275, and the town has no grocery stores or restaurants.

We walked in a loop around Bean Point, the most densely settled part of Sorrento, to get our bearings. It was easy to picture the lively summer scene it must have been at the turn of the century. The small village green, where couples and friends used to gossip and people-watch in their long dresses and linen suits, is still there. So is the dock, where a ferry once stopped on the way to Bar Harbor and Hancock. The harbor is still packed with boats owned by part-time residents. And the elegant Victorian homes still line Ocean Avenue.

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It’s also easy to see why the place captured vacationers’ imaginations all those years ago. I could have spent hours gazing out at the Mount Desert Narrows, watching the dramatic receding tide and observing the shifting shadows on Acadia’s peaks.

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In the afternoon, we took the household canoe for a spin. The very second my oar hit the water, it was as if I had left the material world behind and entered some sort of weightless, timeless eden. The burden of every mundane preoccupation melted off my shoulders. All that mattered were the boats, the gentle waves, the trees and the breeze.

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Following the recommendation of Celia and her husband, Tom, we tied the canoe to a huge tree root on one side of Preble Island, then we took a five-minute hike across the heavily forested land to a rocky beach on the other side.

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We happily whiled away several hours there, looking at shells and floating jellyfish, following the flight path of a family of bald eagles, reading, peeling oranges and getting lost in thought. I never thought I could find so much enjoyment in lazing on a beach with no sand and water too cold to swim in. That afternoon felt, to me, like the very essence of a New England summer.

We finished the day by completing some simple chores we had been assigned by the homeowners. Ian found supplies for repainting the bathroom, and I chatted up some neighbors while pulling weeds in the front yard.

A painting-related errand took us to nearby Ellsworth, the main gateway to Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. The trip down State Route 1 gave us an opportunity to take in the beautiful coastal scenery we had missed the night before — and a chance to stake out the best local markets, produce stands and lobster shacks.

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We made an impromptu decision to stop at one and order two live lobsters on ice. Thirty minutes of Googling later, we made our first attempt at boiling, dismantling and eating them at home, and what a joy it was. The simultaneous adventure and luxury of eating shellfish will never get old to me.

The next morning, we set off early for a day of biking Acadia’s carriage trails — a story for another post.

For our final full day in Maine, our only objective was to duplicate the lazy joy we’d felt on our first day. As Ian finished up painting the bathroom, I delved further into town history, reading about some of the families who had once owned some of the sprawling waterfront compounds and discovering that Sorrento’s old library, church and post office all still stand today.

We took the canoe further afield this time, circumnavigating Preble Island and gazing at some privately owned islands from afar. (I had read that nearby Calf Island has its own private chapel.) But soon we were back on our beloved rocky beach, reading and napping as before.

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In the late afternoon, I coaxed Ian out for a walk to find the landmarks I’d read about. We peered into the charming church and library and, to our surprise, stumbled across a perfectly manicured croquet court open to town residents.

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We took the long way home, lazily stumbling through the streets of Bean Point and fantasizing about buying one of the vacation homes for sale there and spending weeks on end in this magical place.

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On our final morning in Maine, I woke up early and sat with a cup of coffee and my thoughts. What was it about Sorrento that had captured my imagination and made me so deliriously happy? Maybe it was the weather — the cool breezes, temperate sunny afternoons and minimal humidity reminded me so much of home. Or maybe it was the peaceful joy I derived from gazing at the rugged coastal scenery from the bow of a canoe.

It was then that I tried to recall the last time I had gone offline for three unbroken days. Then it came to me: About a decade ago, when I was back home in California for the summer doing two newspaper internships, I spent a long weekend with my family at Echo Lake. The high-altitude lake in the Sierras exists a world away from 9-to-5 life. There are no roads around the lake, and many hike to their accommodations via the Pacific Crest Trail. The lakeside cabins aren’t connected to power lines, so you’ll see very few lights on after dark. I recall spending our days here fishing off the deck, sunbathing on the rocks, engaging in lively political debates, reading old history and nature books that previous guests had left behind, and hiking in desolation wilderness.

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I remember that long weekend at Echo Lake more vividly than I remember some vacations I took last year — possibly because, thanks to a lack of Wi-fi and poor cell service, I was fully present and engaged. And as I sat at the dining table that morning in Sorrento and drew a connection between the two internet-less experiences, I realized I needed to disconnect more often, for my own health and happiness.

It’s too dramatic to say our trip to Maine changed me, or that it transformed my relationship to the internet. But it did seize me by the shoulders, shake me a little, and deliver some much-needed real talk. I, like many millennials today, am addicted to the web and to social media. Without it, I feel a little helpless and strange, hobbled by the inability to look up nearby restaurants for dinner and worried that my meaningful experiences have less meaning if I don’t share them with friends. But the reality is, the days I spend disconnected from the internet are days I enjoy more thoroughly, without fail.

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I’ve since made an effort to carve out more time for internet-less days and weekends — Saturday bike rides in a neighboring county or state, outings to the Cape or a coastal Connecticut town, or simple days spent reading and lazing at the local beach. And I’ve begun dreaming of Wifi-free trips to the Adirondacks in New York, the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Prince Edward Island.

Of course, I’ll also be returning to America’s Vacationland for an unplugged summer vacation just as soon as I’m able.

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Sun, sand and sweat: Exploring Martha’s Vineyard by bike

I thought I was so clever.

I’d devised what I thought was the perfect affordable Fourth of July weekend with my husband on Martha’s Vineyard, the summer enclave that numerous presidents and celebrities call home. I had chosen to book a modest room in an out-of-the-way area to save money on lodging. I picked activities that were mostly free or cheap — beaches, parades, coffee shop lunches, happy hours. I had planned for us to park four miles away from the ferry terminal so we didn’t have to pay an exorbitant daily parking rate. And I chose a budget-friendly method of on-island transportation: cycling on our own bikes.

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On the morning of July 4, I was in smug self-congratulation mode as we pulled into our $0 parking spot, hopped on our bikes, strapped on our backpacks and pedaled toward the Martha’s Vineyard Fast Ferry in Quonset, Rhode Island.

And then I heard a loud POP! and a slow hisssssss.

We were, I kid you not, just feet away from the Fast Ferry’s ticket office when a giant rusty nail punctured my front tire. I let out a few choice expletives as my mind immediately navigated to worst-case scenarios. Was my bike totally out of commission for the weekend? Would I have to cough up untold sums of money for a replacement rental? It was a holiday weekend — would there be any rentals left? If not, how would we get around, and would bus tickets and cab fares end up emptying our wallets? Did one stupid nail just ruin our entire trip?!

Then, Ian brought me back down to Earth. There would be numerous bike rental companies near the Oak Bluffs ferry terminal, he assured me, and they’d have no trouble patching up the tire quickly. Everything would be fine.

He was right, of course. Once we’d docked, it took us all of 30 seconds to find Anderson’s Bike Rentals, where a very nice employee replaced my tube for just $20. Less than a half hour later, we were on the road toward our Airbnb in the town of Vineyard Haven.

The temperature was high and the sun was blazing. As we biked down East Chop Drive with several pounds of belongings on our backs, we began dripping sweat. Yet there was nowhere else I’d rather be. The sweeping ocean views, charming shingled houses and nautical decor around every corner reminded me why I’d fallen in love with the Vineyard on my first visit a year earlier, when I signed up to join a yoga and photography retreat hosted by my favorite travel blogger, Alex in Wanderland. The island has a way of easing troubles, slowing time and illuminating the truly important stuff in life — for example, the sine qua non that is tracking down the cutest lighthouse and snapping a million photos.

Our Airbnb was a modest but relaxing room in Vineyard Haven, one of the island’s six towns. Vineyard Haven, the main village within the town of Tisbury, doesn’t get much ink in travel guides. That’s partly because it’s less eye-catching than the other major population centers of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, and partly because it’s a semi-dry community: There are no bars here, and the restaurants require you to order food with your beer or wine. But even if you like a tipple, I think there’s a case to be made for staying in Vineyard Haven. It’s more affordable, it has some of the best restaurants on the island, it’s just a short jaunt away from the nightlife in Oak Bluffs, and it boasts an artsy, bohemian community of year-round residents.

That said, we didn’t stay long in Vineyard Haven on this particular day. Once we’d dropped off our stuff, freshened up and met our lovely host Betsy, we were on the road again.

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First, we doubled back to the bustling, colorful, delightfully kitschy town of Oak Bluffs, where we dismounted our bikes and wandered around the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association. The name probably conjures images of tents and cinderblock bathrooms, but in reality, the MVCMA is a neighborhood of ridiculously Instagrammable gingerbread houses originally built in the 19th century. Once part of a summer religious colony, the houses are now privately owned — I stayed in one of them during Alex’s retreat! — and today they are unaffiliated with any organized religion. But the historic Tabernacle at the center of the neighborhood remains and still hosts regular religious services, concerts and talks throughout the summer.

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Mid-afternoon was upon us, and the temperature was approaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit; needless to say, we were more than ready for a dip in the ocean. We grabbed our bikes and set off on the dedicated trail connecting Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, with plans to stop at a stretch of sand somewhere along the way.

This trail is unquestionably the flattest, shortest and most easily accessible one on Martha’s Vineyard, so we expected we’d be sharing the road with mobs of other cyclists on this holiday. To our surprise, the two-wheel traffic was pretty light, and we were flying by cars sitting in gridlock. It was just a few minutes before we found the perfect spot on Joseph Sylvia Beach.

After a heavenly hour or so in the water, where nary a shark was to be found, we were back on our bikes and headed toward Edgartown, home of the island’s annual Fourth of July parade. We were a little early for the parade, so we killed time by checking off another classic Martha’s Vineyard summer activity: a lobster roll picnic lunch at the local church. We paid $20 each for a gigantic lobster roll, a bag of chips, a bottle of water and the best people watching of my life, which for this island is a screaming deal.

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We weren’t feeling the parade vibes, so we skipped the beginning of the procession to check out the town’s elegant and remarkably uniform shingled houses and shops. My first visit to Edgartown had been in late September, well after the end of the typical island season, and most of the million-dollar waterfront mansions had stood largely empty. This time, it was different: Every house on Water Street was filled to the brim with celebrating families and decked out in patriotic streamers. Even the beach at Edgartown Harbor Light, one of my favorite lighthouses of all time, felt festive that evening.

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Still not ready for the noise and crowds of the parade, we opted instead for frozen cocktails on the patio of the Quarterdeck Restaurant. In the spirit of the Fourth, they were handing out free bottomless chips and salsa. With nearly everyone in town lining the parade route at that moment, the bar was blissfully quiet. A light ocean breeze cooled us off. My entire body relaxed. It was official: We were on island time.

After catching the tail end of the parade, we made the short bike ride over to Bad Martha Farmers Brewery and grabbed a sample flight. Just like the bike trail, Bad Martha was surprisingly quiet when I expected it to be choked with crowds. We spent a leisurely hour chatting and watching butterflies flit around the brewery garden as late afternoon gave way to dusk.

We hightailed it back to Vineyard Haven, then we grabbed our bike lights and pedaled toward West Chop in search of a good sunset overlook. The neighborhood was fairly rural and nearly pitch black; for about a mile, our bike lights illuminated a heavy concentration of mosquitoes and little else. Then we came across a country club where people milled around in pristine all-white ensembles. Though we felt out of place in our T-shirts and lycra shorts, we followed the crowd to an overlook, just in time for a breathtaking sunset. When we could stand the mosquito bites no longer, we headed back to our Airbnb and slept soundly.

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The next morning, we woke early to nab a seat at Vineyard Haven’s Art Cliff Diner, an island favorite. I was extremely tired and sore from the 25 not-entirely-flat miles we’d covered the day before, but pleasant thoughts of hot, strong coffee lured me onto my bike saddle and spurred me to start pedaling. We arrived just a few minutes after the cafe opened, and I was surprised to see very few people queued ahead of us. (I’m still getting used to the fact that New Englanders just don’t seem to be as gung-ho as West Coasters about early-morning breakfasts — a comparable cafe in Santa Cruz or Seattle would have been packed by 7 with a 45-minute wait list by 8, even in the dead of winter.)

An hour later, fully sated and caffeinated, we were off to a day trip on Nantucket — a post for another day! We returned at dusk and completed our tour of Martha’s Vineyard breweries with a casual dinner at Offshore Ale Co. After sunset, we dragged our sweaty, sunburned selves to Alex’s darling yellow gingerbread house to catch up over rosé. Somehow, I forgot to grab a selfie with her — but I did remember to document this unfortunate sunburn. Fail.

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The following morning, our last on the island, we both woke up with screaming muscles and foggy heads. Though we used to bike to work every day under the often-intense Colorado sun, we hadn’t spent this much time on two wheels in at least a year and a half, and I think we had both overestimated our physical limits. Though we weren’t quite ready to call it quits, we vowed to take it easier today, stopping when we needed and taking cover in the shade when possible.

This time we set our sights inland, following arterial roads and smoothly paved trails to the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market. We hopped from one outdoor stand to another, sipping coffee, munching on pastries, admiring island artists’ work and sampling locally-grown food. We loved bearing witness to the commingling of people from vastly different backgrounds here: We spotted preppy young families, bearded fishermen, gray-haired couples clad in tie dye, and of course former Secretary of State John Kerry.

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After we’d tired of squealing about the John Kerry sighting (me) and sipping the Single Greatest Lemonade Of All Time (Ian), we walked our bikes down the road for a little town sightseeing. West Tisbury is much smaller and more rural than the three easternmost towns on the island, yet its three-block-long main road is still bursting with art, food and entertainment. We first stopped at the Field Gallery & Sculpture Garden, where some colorful abstract paintings caught our eye. Then we pored over endless entertaining piles of bric-a-brac at Alley’s General Store, an island mainstay for many decades.

And just like that, it was time to pack up our stuff and go home. Before catching the ferry, we dragged our heavy backpacks into Mad Martha’s for a parting scoop of ice cream, then we briefly parked ourselves on a prime dog-spotting bench at Ocean Park to reminisce on the last few days.

We agreed that we had crammed too much activity, and too much bike mileage, into each day of this mini-vacation. Summertime in New England, in all its glorious brevity, tends to bring out the over-planner in me: I spend so many consecutive months in hibernation that, once the weather warms and the region explodes with events, activities and seasonal sights, I’m eager to do and see it all, to stock up on sunny memories that will propel me through the next hibernation period. But as I reflected on the long weekend, I realized that what endured in my memory weren’t the many pre-planned activities or the bike rides. They were the slow, spontaneous moments: our quiet happy hour in Edgartown, our afternoon swimming at the beach.

Was our long weekend celebratory and scenic? Yes, definitely. Was it relaxing and rejuvenating? No, not especially! Don’t get me wrong, I love being active while on vacation — but not so active that I wind up in a 24-hour stupor afterward. If we were to do it all over again — and I hope we do! — I would advocate for a week-long trip focused mostly on beachgoing, barbecuing, evening walks and one or two excursions to other towns. After all, in beautiful, seasonal, slow-moving places like Martha’s Vineyard, where the best moments involve sand, seafood and sunsets, the magic is in the dolce far niente — the sweetness of doing nothing.

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Celebrating love in verdant Vermont

In July 2018, on the eve of our second wedding anniversary, Ian told me he was whisking me away for a weekend. The destination, he said, was a surprise.

I was thrilled — I love a well planned surprise, especially when it involves exploring beautiful New England in my favorite season with my favorite person.

(That said — have you ever tried packing for a trip to an undisclosed location? I’m here to tell you it ain’t easy.)

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When we hit the road on Friday evening, I started narrowing down possible destinations in my head. I thought we might be headed to the Berkshires, which in the summer boasts not only natural beauty but also world-class culture: think classical music at Tanglewood and contemporary art at Mass MoCA. I also considered the possibility that we were on our way to the Hudson Valley, home of magnificent wineries, charming sleepy towns and an NYC-caliber restaurant scene.

But I was most convinced we were bound for Vermont, a state we both couldn’t wait to visit. On paper, Vermont seemed like exactly our kind of place: it had crunchy hippie roots, beautiful mountain scenery, a plethora of outdoor activity possibilities, and most importantly a lot of maple syrup and cheese.

As we crossed into the southeastern corner of Vermont — suspicion confirmed! — I was excited to see if the state would measure up to my Mt. Mansfield-high expectations.

Folks, it was love at first sight — literally. Within the first half hour, we hit this magnificent viewpoint:

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All at once, I realized why winter in Rhode Island felt so lackluster and why I missed Boulder so dang much: Because Rhode Island is as flat as a pancake! This was the first time I’d seen a mountain vista in six months. It was glorious.

As dusk descended, we pulled into the adorable town of Wilmington, where we’d be based for the next two days. “Town” is perhaps a generous descriptor of pint-sized Wilmington — it’s really not much more than a half-mile stretch of highway with a handful of restaurants, shops and adventure outfitters. Yet it has everything a discerning weekender could possibly want, including great food, an impressive roster of concerts and shows, and an amazing variety of handmade gifts to take home. Most importantly, it’s got that New England je-ne-sais-quoi about it — that woodsy, cozy quaintness I wasn’t sure existed beyond the pages of Yankee Magazine.

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After dropping our luggage inside the adorable Airbnb, Ian and I walked “across town” (read: two blocks away) for an uncharacteristically lavish dinner at Cask & Kiln, a relatively new restaurant housed in a historic brick building that had been ravaged by river flooding caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011. This place is as much about romantic atmosphere as it is about food, all low lights and leather tufted seats and Art Deco details. I loved that everything about the restaurant, including the decor, the menu and even the outfits of the servers, managed to feel at once contemporary and nostalgic, simultaneously casual and celebratory. The least classy thing about the place? Us — we had mostly packed outdoor adventure clothes and were easily the most underdressed people there!

The next morning, I woke up early to get the lay of the land. With a cup of coffee in one hand and a blanket around my shoulders, I read up on the area’s parks, attractions and seasonal events and consulted a map of the area. Soon I was fired up for a day of scenic hiking, kayaking, farmer’s markets and covered bridge peeping (it’s a real hobby!) — and I was already plotting return trips in the fall and winter, when the area appears equally gorgeous.

We kicked off Saturday morning with a Cajun-inspired breakfast at Jezebel’s Eatery and a brief tour through some of the town shops. Sometimes I feel like the same 50 books are on display in every bookstore, so I was pleasantly surprised by the eclectic and locally-focused displays at Bartleby’s Books. I think our visit here inspired about half of my holiday gifts in 2018!

After grabbing some local honey at a farmer’s market on the outskirts of town, we pulled into Molly Stark State Park — where we were stunned to discover we were one of just a handful of visitors that morning. After consulting a ranger and a trail map, we followed signs to the Mt. Olga Fire Tower, which promised sweeping views of the Green Mountains. Promise delivered.

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One thing I love about New England is its plethora of easy and moderate hikes. Many people who live in the West, particularly those in Colorado, approach hiking with a “no pain, no gain” philosophy and believe the best views can only be found by enduring grueling climbs. This 1.7-mile jaunt proves all those hiking snobs wrong.

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After Molly Stark, we reversed course, heading west on the state’s main southern highway with no particular destination in mind. Google Maps first led us to Woodford State Park, where we found a few-mile trail circumnavigating Adams Reservoir. Some families were paddling their kayaks and canoes on the calm waters, and we dreamed of returning here in the fall to do the same.

After relaxing for a while at the reservoir’s picnic area, we continued west and grabbed lunch at a bohemian coffee shop in Bennington. Wondering where to go next, we pored over the local tourism guides for inspiration. Almost immediately, we zeroed in on Bennington College — the alma mater of several big literary names, including Donna Tartt. We’d both recently read “The Secret History,” which was based on her time there, and we were intrigued to see if the place felt as mysterious as it had been portrayed in her novel.

The campus was beautiful, austere and almost disturbingly quiet in the middle of summer. We spent a pleasant couple of hours imagining spots where Tartt’s characters might have held their bacchanal or crossed the quad for Greek lessons.

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Back in Wilmington, we hit up Red Fox Shop, a local wine, cheese and gift store, to assemble our own ploughman’s dinner. The place was so unexpectedly delightful that we stayed almost an hour chatting with the owner, browsing funky cheeses and shopping for gifts. Then, we took our finds back to the Airbnb and lounged on the riverbank until the mosquitoes chased us inside.

On Sunday morning, we weren’t quite ready to return to the real world — so we took the scenic route home. Our first stop was a charming covered bridge near Brattleboro, the first one I’d ever seen on the East Coast.

After crossing into Massachusetts, Ian suddenly remembered one of his favorite area destinations from a previous trip here. Drawing largely from memory, he navigated us to the Montague Bookmill, a former 19th-century grist mill that is now home to a sprawling complex of used books, cafes, food stalls and local artists’ pop-up shops.

We had another three hours of driving ahead of us, otherwise I might have spent the entire day here. I loved everything about this spot — the sun-soaked reading nooks, the unpretentious vibe, the vibrant art, the friendly and talkative people.

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Needless to say, this weekend confirmed my assumptions that I’d love Vermont. Despite never having visited before, the Green Mountain State felt familiar to me. Maybe it’s because Vermonters seem so much like Santa Cruzans, filled to the brim with local pride and refreshingly far removed from the career-focused hustle of the I-95 corridor. Or maybe it’s that they spend so much more of their time outside, even in the depths of winter, like in our previous home of Boulder. Whatever it was, I know one thing: I’ll be back soon.

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READ NEXT: Two years in Rhode Island