Bittersweet: Leaving Your Hometown

This post was inspired by Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, a novel that exposes the gothic underbelly of an American dynasty, and an outsider’s hunger to belong. Join From Left to Write on May 20 we discuss Bittersweet. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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It’s no secret that I don’t spend a lot of time talking about going home to the house I grew up in, my hometown, or life pre-college. It’s not a place that holds a lot of happy memories for me. I don’t feel comfortable or at ease when I am there, so for me it is not a happy place. The problem is I love lots of what Vermont has to offer, I love the idyllic imagery any picture of Vermont gives, I just don’t love what else it reminds me of.

While reading Bittersweet I related to Mabel’s character, the average looking girl from a meager background, with the beautiful wealthy friends. Never feeling accepted, working hard to earn everything she had.  Then Mabel and Ev go to Ev’s family estate, in Vermont of course. They even mention my hometown in the book, the town I went to my first year of college in, and a few places that do hold great memories for me, like Al’s French Frys.

I had to leave Vermont, it just couldn’t give me what I needed out of life. Even though many of the people who used to be in my life suggest that I think I am better than they are because I left, it couldn’t be further from the truth. I just needed a better life, and Vermont wasn’t going to give that to me. At the age of 18, I packed up and went to college. I spent my first 2 summers going home and working the three jobs I had when I was in high school. After my junior year, I had off campus housing and I never went back home.

Leaving has never been easy, there is the guilt that others put on me. At the end of the day, I have to do what is best for me and my family. The life we have now is wonderful. Close to the city, but we still have a backyard. Plenty of friends and family members that live nearby or visit, friends and family that are encouraging and supportive.

But there are many things that I miss about Vermont. The local food, REAL maple syrup, fall foliage, seeing the stars at night, Ben & Jerry’s factory visits, Burlington, Long Trail, Magic Hat, the lack of fast food joints, Cabot cheese, and Dana’s breakfast in Quechee.

I will never forget Vermont, but Boston is my home now.

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WIAW: Three Meals Out

Thanks to Jenn for hosting another wonderful What I Ate Wednesday. I am going to share three wonderful meals that I have eaten out recently.


The first was dinner, girls night out style, with Cait at Agave Grill in Hartford.

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We started with drinks, which was a bit confusing, either our waitress didn’t know the menu that well or the menu was outdated. Regardless, we ordered the “skinny” margarita. Which was just tequila, lime juice, and agave nectar, I call that a regular margarita…

Agave is also famous for their table side guacamole, but Cait isn’t a huge fan so the waitress offered to just bring me a small order which I enjoyed with the chips. For not table side guar, the spice was just right.

I had looked at the dinner menu prior to our visit and the Agave Street Taco’s kept jumping out at me. Cait told me they were pretty famous for them, and they were at the Taste of the Nation, but apparently I missed them. I am glad I was able to have them, as they were just what I wanted. The double taco was really filling so towards the end I ditched them and just ate the filling.

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However, the real star of the night was the Cornbread Pudding. Ever since our honeymoon, where I had my first corn cakes, I have been obsessed with trying any corn foods when I find them on a menu. This dish paired with the Mango Sauce from Cait’s tuna was perfect.

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The second was brunch with Nick at Peels in New York City.

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I love when restaurants give you your own water and you don’t have to wait for anyone to refill your tiny glass.

We started with coffee and split the Cinnamon Sugar Donut. The donut was a bit dry for my liking, but I just dunked it in my coffee. For my meal I had the SPA Eggs which was an egg white omelette with goat cheese and herbs and a side green salad. The omelet was wonderful, the cheese was throughout the entire thing, which is a rare find.

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The third meal I am sharing was a surprise dinner for my Dad’s birthday. Nick, B man, and I made the trek to VT to surprise my dad and my step brother for both of their birthdays, we met them at the Fair Haven Inn.

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We, along with my sister and her boyfriend, headed to the restaurant early so we got started with a drink – brut prosecco for me.

Once the guests arrived we ordered, Nick and I started with Saganaki (Imported Kasseri Cheese, dipped in eggs, sautéed in butter, & served Flambe table side) and with the appetizers the wait staff brought fresh loaves of bread, chickpeas and beets.

For dinner, I went with the Grecian Baked Scrod (a filet sprinkled with crumbs, feta, and butter then baked). I had mine served with roasted potatoes and a garden salad. The appetizer and salad were great, and my entrée was wonderful. My only two issues were that the kids pasta was huge noodle and the bowl was too gigantic for even an adult, and frankly I wish the waitress would have told me. The second was that my sister took one bite of her salmon and got a mouthful of bones. They gave her a new entrée, but for the price of the meal there should have been zero bones.

Where Fair Haven Inn went above and beyond was that my sister and I made cakes for my dad and step brother and for a small charge they allowed us to bring them in and cut the cake and handled all the candles etc… for us.

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Woah that is a lot of food. Have you had a great meal lately?

SURPRISE!

This weekend we made the trip for MA to my home state of Vermont. We got in kinda late, dropped B at the hotel with my mom and Nick and I took some time to grab some time for ourselves and some dinner.

Where I grew up in VT is just across the river from NH,so I spend a good chunk of my time at restaurants in NH. This weekend was no exception. On Friday Nick and I headed to an old favorite, Lui Lui’s.

It was a surprise to me that it was NH restaurant week.
IMG 3006 It is the first ever NH restaurant week so it was nice to participate. Especially since the prices were MUCH different from Boston restaurant week.

For $15 we got an app, entree and dessert. At first you get a basket of rolls and their famous dipping oil. I was pretty disappointed because I LOVE their rolls but they were cold. FOr our meals, I started with the chicken and rice soup and Nick had a garden salad. Since I am such an awesome food blogger I forgot to take pictures.

For our entrees I originally wanted the risotto, but they were out, so I had the penne all a vodka and Nick had the wood fired Margherita pizza.

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For dessert we both had the cannolis, we each received 3 mini ones, but I was barely able to eat one. I was surprised with how good they were.

After dinner we went back to the hotel to sleep, but instead someone wanted to play until 11:30 pm. Eventually we got to sleep and spent Saturday morning hanging out, at lunch we met up with my mom and sister for another one of our favorite restaurants. I didn’t take pictures because I was trying to eat while wrangling B, but the black bean burger at Molly’s was phenomenal. If you ever find yourself in Hanover, NH go there and try it.

The reason we made the trek to VT was for my moms 60th birthday. My sister Caty and I had planned a surprise dinner for my mom at her favorite restaurant, The Canoe Club, in Hanover. I don’t go home that often so I had never been to The Canoe Club, but it is totally my type of place. They are all about using local and regional food for your meal.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Caty and I split the tuna tartare, it was all right, it had a dill sauce that I wasn’t expecting and it didn’t meld together for me. Nick had the soup of the day which was white bean and bacon, the soup was phenomenal.

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Nick & Caty

For my entree had the beef strip with asparagus and potatoes. It was amazing, I could not stop raving about it. Nick had the veal bolognese, which was a white cream sauce, and that was surprising, but it was also very good. (I still think mine was the best).

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For dessert Nick and I split the creme brûlée, it wasn’t my favorite, but Caty also made a favor for everyone that attended. Carrot cake and chocolate cake pops in a little vase.

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After dinner we grabbed some coffee and started our drive back to MA. I had my first Team in Training run on Sunday morning and I didn’t want to miss it. So after a short amount of sleep, I was up at 645, getting ready to tackle my first 3 miles, it was HOT but I made it and I made a new friend. All in all a successful and busy wonderful weekend.

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The 802

This weekend Nick was at a conference so I took B for the first time to my home state of Vermont. I don’t really travel home a ton, I don’t have a room at either of my parents, or a ton of friends that still live there, so it is usually easier for my parents and siblings to visit me. But I decided to be adventurous and take a trip by myself.

I made a few observations while on this trip.

Massachusetts drivers really are idiots. Not all of them, but a good majority, once I got about 45 minutes out of the city it turns into a 2 lane road, when someone passes you they get back in the right lane. Also no one rides your tail in the right lane. Well, one person did, but shocker they had MA plates.

There is nothing to do. Literally nothing, I wanted to go buy some local to VT goodies for my foodie penpals but everything was closed after 6 on Saturday and all day on Sunday. Whoops.

Except you can buy beer and wine in the gas station.
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Vermont really is beautiful.

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Don’t worry I wasn’t driving

I will never move back. As beautiful as it is, there are a multitude of reasons that I could never go back there, visiting is enough for me.

First, these driveways

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Dear Sister – please find a house with a normal driveway, thanks!

Second, I am not really nostalgic for the past. High School, with a few exceptions, wasn’t one of the best times of my life. Frankly, I would like to forget a large chunk of it.

Third, the closest mall is an hour away, and it’s not even great.

Fourth, after living in the city, I realize that’s just much more my speed. I like having lots of culture around me.

There are many more personal reasons, these are just touching the surface.

Do you live in your hometown? Would you want to?

Overrated?

Living just outside Boston, MA, I was well aware of Hurricane Irene that was headed up the East coast this past weekend. The husband and I brought in patio furniture, found all our flashlights and stocked up on baby formula. Then came the wait. Friday night, nothing. Saturday, we had some rain and wind, but nothing we haven’t dealt with before. Sunday, we were ready. Ready to lose power, ready to be without power for awhile, and ready for flooding of our garage.

But the storm came and went without much fanfare, it never seemed like it was raining that bad and the wind was greater than usual but nothing went down near us. I know other towns outside Boston lost power and had many trees down, but we seemed to escape pretty easily. Early in the evening I talked to my sister in Philly, who is without power. And my parents, who are in different parts of Vermont, who said it was rainy but nothing bad.

Hours later my phone was getting inundated with texts from my family. The rain was getting more intense and there was flooding, and it just kept getting worse and worse.

My words can do no justice. I will share with you some images and videos that were shared with me.

Before you go and say that this hurricane was overhyped and overrated, think about VT, and all the people who have lost their homes and belongings.

Woodstock, VT. Those white things floating are propane tanks.
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Wooden Covered Bridge in Quechee, VT, 8/28.
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Same bridge, 8/29.
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Simon Pearce in Quechee, VT.IMG 1579

Plaza in West Lebanon, NH.
Check out the water line on the bricks.
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RT 4, just outside Rutland, VT. If you’re familiar with the area, just past Sugar and Spice.
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These are just the areas near my family and friends, many parts are worse. Please keep VT in your prayers. I hope all your families and friends are safe as well.