We are all born where we're born. We have no say in the matter, our birth just happens where it happens, something completely beyond our realm of control. If you're like me, you were born, raised and still living in the same state. Not necessarily my chosen state, but it's the place I call home. Many others have moved from one state to the next, whether it be to attend college, moved around their entire lives, or just as an adult wandering aimlessly in search of that one place they just can't find. Regardless, we all have that special place we call home. Maybe this place has beloved family members, treasured friends, or maybe it's just that a piece of your heart was left there long ago, and will always remain right where it belongs; at home. For me, this place is Vermont. I'm the true definition of a native Vermonter, I suppose. For those of you who aren't from the area, no, I'm not a redneck, I'm not a dairy farmer, I'm just a girl who was raised with some good, old-fashioned Vermont-born compassion and kindness. Sure, the winters are far too long and summers much too short. But, aside from my periodic and petty complaints I secretly love this tiny green (or sometimes white) state that is most often lost and forgotten in the crevices of New York and New Hampshire or Maine! Here are the top 5 reasons I love my home state.
The smell of fresh cut grass and crisp lake water awakens childhood memories of summer camp and smores by the campfire. Once spring is finally here, and Vermont is over her confusion of what's supposed to come next, every single person you encounter is elated to finally be outside! Make no mistake, spring can be one of the most unpredictable seasons we have around here. Monday could bring 75-degree temperatures and the sunshine, only to wake up on Tuesday morning to a Nor'Easter that's about to pound our region with feet (yes feet, not inches) of snow! It's strange, as we all just seem to know when the season is finally changed and balanced enough to break out our mowers and fishing poles and do away with our shovels and snow boots. Even simply taking a scenic drive with the windows down, seeing so many families outside beginning their spring clean-up rituals. It's uplifting and refreshing, a simple nod as you pass by your neighbors is an unspoken acknowledgment that the best is yet to come.
We may not have oceans or seafood, but our recreation is still top notch. From boating, fishing or tubing on the lake, scenic ATV trails, hiking and swimming holes. To skiing down a freshly coated mountain, ice fishing or snowshoeing you name it, we have plenty to do all year round. Some activities are even unique to each season. Whether you spend your day at home gardening and laughing by the pool with your closest friends and family, exploring muddy and mountainous trails or soothing your sunburned cheeks after a day battling the fresh powder on the mountain (maybe more wind burned than sunburned at times). Despite our small size, there's still plenty to do winter, spring, summer, and fall.
We aren't afraid of winter driving! As a matter of fact, we find it amusing when we see the southern states shut down entirely over barely a ground cover of snow! Don't get me wrong, we do understand that it's unusual for the south to get snow. Yet, it's still enamoring to watch each news report showing miles upon miles of fender benders on highways when mother nature spits a wee bit of snow onto the roads in the southern states that least expect it. By all means, it's certainly not funny, yet it is amusing to us. Especially after getting home from driving in a storm that just wouldn't stop. A normal fifteen-minute drive can take hours sometimes. Patience is a virtue when driving in the conditions we get to drive in around our parts. If your patience gets the best of you, and you find you couldn't stop quick enough, very few of us will just drive right by. Most will stop, even if there are already three others stopped and actively helping you already. We have an unwritten understanding and are always there to help one another.
The beauty that surrounds us is second to none! From the mountaintops littering the skyline as the sunset illuminates it's picturesque background with various shades of the rainbow, to the very same scene, yet covered with blankets of snow or the rapidly changing fall leaves. The sights to behold are truly breathtaking when you take the time to stop and look. Even being a native Vermonter who sees the same scenes time and time again, still, there are moments I can't help but stop and say “wow! Isn't that amazing!” Our fall foliage season is the most popular time for those near and far to drive through our tiny state, simply to see the beauty that surrounds us every single day. Yes, we call you ‘leaf peepers' and I'll apologize for all of us if we get frustrated at times with the awkward places you choose to stop, or your unintentionally slowing traffic when you're trying to take in the breathtaking surroundings that we can all too often take advantage of. Forgive our impatience, we do understand your being enthralled by the beauty that surrounds us in our home state. We see it too.
If you've ever met a “true” Vermonter, you'll know we are the first to shovel out an elderly person's driveway, one we don't even know, after the wrath of our most recent massive storm has left them buried inside their home. We are the first to stop and help you if you're stuck in a ditch, out of gas or having car troubles. And we'll always answer you when you say “excuse me, how do I get to I89?”, the one and only major interstate that runs through our tiny state. We are always the first to help our neighbors, friends or even tourists because when you live in the tumultuous Northeast, we understand the true meaning of “The Beatles” classic tune, “I get by with a little help from my friends”.
Although I will often complain about her impulsive and unpredictable nature, Vermont will always be the place that I call HOME.