Have you had the pleasure of visiting Vermont? My family and I took our first ski trip up north to the great mountains of Vermont late this winter. I am a sucker for anything architecture related and seek to explore it in all places I go, but Vermont, wow, did it take my breath away in a way I did not expect.
We drove north from Loudoun County, Virginia, through Pennsylvania, past the Catskills, alongside the Adirondack Mountains and up into quiet Vermont. Our 10+ hour drive felt shorter than a work commute as the peaks, valleys and rock formations climbing the paths we drove stole our attention.
We passed through many small towns, some with quaint new England architecture, some with garish ornamentation that looked as though Queen Anne and Victoria had a battle of exuberance, some with bright red barns punctuating the barren snow covered land, some with disheveled, weather beaten homes made cozy with warm smoke wafting from the chimneys, but most of all, what struck me was the beauty and depth of the landscape, the feeling of being so small in such a vast world.
I felt a sense of serenity and carefreeness in the shelters we passed, the beauty of stillness and calm in all the snow covered valleys. I found myself not being held by the architecture I was seeing, as I so often am, but rather the landscape garnered all my attention.
We stayed and skied several majestic days in Bolton Valley, Vermont. Our children fell in love with the mountain and declared they would never again play video games if only we moved to Vermont (they saw buses of children arrive at the slopes after school—what a way to spend your afternoons!). My parents, no longer eager to downhill skiing, found pleasure and serenity in snowshoeing and cross country skiing. And for my brothers and I, who have not been on the slopes together in years, zooming down the mountain together, each with our own personality, were brought back again to being those three Plank kids that could not get enough of the outdoors.
Walking along frozen Lake Champlain in the heart of Burlington, I found the colors of crisp white, nautical blue, warm amber sunset, and the grayish green of the mountains across into New York, the perfect inspiration and color palette for a future project to read just as I felt on our trip, SERENE.
Vermont left an impression on my family like no other. Don’t get me wrong, I love living in the newness, formality and landscaped lawns in the Washington, D.C. area but I can’t help daydream about living in the pure, natural, unabashed beauty of Vermont. The landscape empowers and overshadows everything else.