One of the continuing features of the Travel section of The New York Times is the “36 Hours” in ... series. This past Sunday’s travelogue was on Burlington, VT, home of its former mayor-current U.S. senator-presidential candidate (and former Brooklynite) Bernie Sanders.
Gilda and I visited Burlington, on the eastern rim of Lake Champlain near the border with Canada, 40 years ago. We journeyed from New Haven, CT, not to partake of the splendors of the Green Mountain state’s largest city, but rather to reconnect with close friends who had migrated to Milton, 24 miles further north of Burlington.
Vermont was known back then and even unto today to have three seasons—summer, winter and mud. Our friends Elaine and William had arrived in the spring, the season of mud. They rented a trailer anchored on a level lot, alongside Route 7, as I remember. Wanting to be somewhat self-sufficient, they thought they would cultivate the land in front of their trailer. They called a local farmer to plow the front yard.
He was young, like them, so Elaine screwed up the courage to ask if he and his wife would like to come over for dinner one night. To which he replied, in a distinctly New England drawl, “The wife and I don’t socialize.”
The chill Elaine felt that morning was downright warm compared to the reality of a Vermont winter. She woke one frigid morning with her hair frozen to the wall of the trailer.
William had grown up in cold Michigan. His home lacked indoor plumbing. Elaine, on the other hand, was raised in genteel Connecticut. They lasted a little more than a year in Vermont before returning to Connecticut.
I can’t recall ever going back to Vermont. Nothing personal. Just haven’t seen the need, not being a skier and, more importantly, the ubiquity of finding Ben & Jerry’s ice cream throughout our fair land.