Ray and I are not big gift givers to each other, so this year for my birthday/our anniversary, I asked for One Perfect Day. And, I got it! I wanted a day with good food, good weather, a beautiful hike and to do all of that with my best friend in the whole world. What more could I ask for?
We started the morning with breakfast at Toast and Eggs in Waitsfield. We love eating breakfast out, but haven’t been to Toast and Eggs since pre-covid. I had the Breakfast Bowl that is quinoa, cheddar cheese, salsa and poached eggs on a bed of kale – super yummy!
Then we headed to the Stowe Auto Toll Road. We had to stop on the way up Route 108 for a bear that was out for a leisurely stroll across the road! I had heard about the toll road over the years, but thought it was some mythical ancient trail up to Mount Mansfield until I hiked up it this past spring. In fact, it is really a “toll road” that you can drive your car on up to the Mount Mansfield Visitors Center just north of the “nose” of Mount Mansfield. The cost was $25 for the car and driver and $9 for each additional passenger. It was priceless for us because Ray was not going to want to hike all the way up there as I have done a few times this year from the Stowe and Underhill sides of the mountain.
From that point, it is about a 1.3 mile hike over to the “chin” which is the highest peak in Vermont. Mount Mansfield roughly resembles a person’s head when lying down with the forehead at the southern end of the range and the chin and Adam’s apple (so I guess it is a male visage) at the northern end.
While the toll road gets you most of the way up the mountain, the hike to the summit isn’t a walk in the park. Many people head up there thinking they will easily get to the top of Vermont only to turn around after seeing the challenging rock trail that is not flip flop or broken foot boot friendly! Still, there are LOTS of people who do make it to the summit including several moms with their babies in baby backpacks and one mom who was carrying her infant in her arms…definitely not recommended!
With all of the rain over these past few weeks, I am grateful that somehow July 28 was a beautiful, rain-free day. While there was some haze and clouds, visibility was pretty good. At the top of the mountain we were able to see north to Montreal, west to Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, east to the White Mountains of New Hampshire and south to Camel’s Hump and the Mad River Valley where we live.
I was not in any rush for our hike to end because I was not looking forward to driving back down the toll road. We had only passed one car coming the other direction when we were on our way up, but I knew we would pass a lot more cars going down the road that is a ski run in the winter – and a pretty narrow one at that! But, it wasn’t all that bad and 4.5 miles later we were back on Route 108 heading to our next stop at Artisan Tea and Coffee for a perfect cappuccino.
We picked up our CSA share on our way home. This is the first week we got corn – impressively early for Vermont, but typical for our amazing Muddy Boots CSA!
There was just enough time when we got home to catch up on some work emails and get ready for dinner. I had made reservations at Hen of the Wood in May for this special day. We still are not comfortable (and getting less comfortable every day!) eating inside, so I reserved a table outside so the meal was weather dependent. But of course, it was One Perfect Day, and dinner was on! Dressed appropriately we were comfortable even with a little chill in the air.
Before we even ordered, the wait person came to our table with beautiful cocktails – French 75’s – from Nancy and Dave wishing us a Happy Anniversary. How thoughtful and what a great way to start off a celebratory meal.
We hadn’t eaten out since…this morning…but honestly, we haven’t had dinner out since pre-covid so we didn’t hold back with ordering. two apps, two entrees and a side veggie. We shared everything and it was all delicious. The wine was just ok at first, but really improved after it opened up. This is what I get for picking a wine who’s price matched my birth year, ’58. The HOTW team brought us a celebratory ice cream scoop when we declined dessert. We couldn’t figure out if it was salted caramel or strawberry; maybe it was a combo. They do say the tastebuds start to fade with age!
Back home we had a small 6″ cake that I had made the day before waiting for us. Chocolate on chocolate with homemade raspberry jam in the layers. I opened cards and a gift from my mom – the final glasses for our Simon Pearce cocktail glass collection – Ascutney Martini glasses. We enjoyed a small taste of Whistle Pig Rye with our cake – great pairing.
So, there you have it. One Perfect Day! I think it will become an annual tradition.