This year I didn’t get to go.
So I’ll pretend I went through this post.
The second weekend of October, my parents and I took a trip North. And we had the experience of a lifetime.
We touched down in Burlington, Vermont and drove to straight through the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen.
We kept driving until we found what I had been dying to visit for months: the Morgan Horse Farm. The farm is home to America’s first breed of horses, the Morgan. The prestigious white barn sits back between winding streets and colorful trees. An elegant horse statue stands at attention to greet its visitors as they drive up the long, white gravel driveway.
Everything about this place will take you back in time to when Colonel Joseph Battell built it in 1870. Battell his deep desire to keep America’s first breed of horses pure and without blemish allowed for preservation of the farm and its pure breed horses. As the farm was handed over to the University of Vermont in 1951, they still breed the pure America blood line and use it as a tool of education for veterinarian students.
The Morgan horse is not as tall as most other breeds, but they are mighty, strong and can endure long runs. They prance around with their head held high and their tails held even higher, as if to say, “I am royalty.”
They are as soft and fuzzy as they look. It was hard saying goodbye to these majestic animals, but we had ice cream waiting for us.
An hour down the road is Waterbury — home of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.
Holy moly did we eat some ice cream.
We toured the main factory where Ben and Jerry’s make most of their yummy ice cream. We learned how they make it and their amazing talent of not having ice crystals on the top layer of your ice cream when you first open it. We learned of how they creatively come up with the names of their ice cream. And we were taught all the ways Ben and Jerry’s give back to the environment.
Then we started to make our way to Stowe, Vermont. We stopped for lunch (yes, we ate ice cream before lunch) at a little red building with a sign out front that said “Good Food Here.” Considering there was no other options for food, we stopped. And we ate some good food. A home made chicken salad in the back of the small town’s convenience store was just what we needed to top off the most amazing morning.
Vermont has some historical sites that have to be visited. But along with America’s first breed of horses and America’s best ice cream, this state had some of America’s best views. Stopping every so often, my parents and I would hike down a small trail to find hidden gems and waterfalls that absolutely took your breath away.
How cute is this place?
If I hadn’t been there myself, I wouldn’t believe places like this exist. This small town bakery not only had the freshest pies, but they had the freshest apple cider. In the back of this unique hole in the wall was their very own apple cider distillery. They made hot apple cider, cold apple cider and apple cider DONUTS.
Their free samples were sampled by my dad five times. They’re freshly, hot, melt-in-your-mouth apple cider donuts were consumed by three Smith’s the second we bought them. To say one could stay in this store all day is an understatement, it was a pleasant visit for sure.
As we piled our extremely over stuffed bellies into the car, we ventured further down the highway.
The next stop on our list was Franconia Notch State Park. It was an immediate winter wonderland. We boarded an aerial tram that took us up the mountain to watch the trees change from orange and red to a frost bitten white.
From the very top, we could see the color down below not yet touched by the incoming colder weather.
The trail took us through woods that blocked the wind and back to the edge to look out over the vast Vermont mountains.
As cold as it looks, I’ve never been colder than I was at the top of that mountain. It was beautiful. From the golden colors below to the fresh, new white in front of me, words could never explain the magic on that mountain.
We took the tram back down the mountain, into our car and toward the Flume Gorge. It was a two mile hike next that followed along what looked like a small stream. A mile into the hike, we found out what the attraction was to this hike. A breath taking water fall fell straight down over rocks and cut through the mountain itself.
After a full day of driving through Vermont, we finally stopped at Mount Pleasant, New Hampshire. We woke up the next morning with tickets to the Cog Railroad. The train ride took us straight up to the top of White Mountain, an hour and a half ride.
Spectacular. Unbelievable. Incredible. Indescribable.
The railway was built in 1852 by Sylvester Marsh. By the end of 1869, Marsh and his crew had a railway that reached 6,288-feet high.
I long to go back. I feel as though I left a part of me on the top of that mountain. To sit and reflect on this trip and the glory of creation takes my breath away, almost in the same way as if I was sitting on the ledge of the mountain looking out over the land again.
God’s promise, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” (Isaiah 54:10) reminds me, that as beautiful, great and powerful as these mountains and waterfalls are, my God is bigger than it all.
I serve an awesome God, who’s power is unmeasurable.
I am thankful for such an experience as the one I shared above. I hope you find yourself in the mountains one day and I hope the Lord speaks to you there.
Until next time —