Fall Break 2014

By LilianaR106

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So my Vermont Trip for Fall Break began in Fairfax, Virginia, where I met with three of my friends from California who recently moved to the East Coast and agreed to go on this adventure with me. Since they had offered to drive on this trip, I decided to go to them first rather than have them come pick me up on their way North. This way I'd get a little more out of my Fall Break because I'd get to escape from NYC for a little while longer.

Anyway, it was an early morning for us. We woke up at 4:30 am to beat the Washington, D.C. traffic. We quickly chowed down on some bagels that I had brought from NYC, made ourselves some coffee, and hit the road. We were honestly all so tired that we were pretty much silent until we made it to a rest stop in New Jersey for more coffee. After that, we became more lively. We made our first stop at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. We had lunch at Qdoba in Hartford, and then continued driving en route to White River Junction, Vermont. We made it as far as Holyoke, Massachusetts before we spotted a Target, and decided to stop there, because every good road trip involves a Target run! There, we made the executive decision to purchase Pumpkin Spice Oreos and Caramel Apple Milky Way bars (how basic can we get right?!?) :D

Once we got back on the road, the rest of the trip to White River Junction went by quickly. It was such a beautiful drive, too! I may have shed a tear or two because of how amazingly beautiful the Fall colors were. I was so excited to finally experience Vermont in the Fall for the first time! It had been the top priority on my bucket list since I was a little girl. Since I'm originally from California, and I don't usually get to see such vibrant Fall colors, this trip was really important to me to take before I graduate college because I don't know whether I'm staying on the East Coast or returning to California. After getting my first little glimpse of the Fall colors, I was beyond excited to start my Vermont adventure.

We made it to our hotel in White River Junction, Vermont just after the sun had set. We were all pretty tired after having woken up at 4:30 am, so we stayed in the hotel that evening to rest. I ended up being a loser and trying to go to sleep early, but I remained awake enough to overhear my friends freaking out about "THE BEST CHICKEN TENDERS OF THEIR LIVES" that were delivered to our hotel room by this large Italian man with a mullet and a bomber jacket. To this day, they still laugh about how great the night was when the Italian man with the mullet and bomber jacket brought them the life-changing chicken tenders that will forever go down in history.

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We started out our first full day in Vermont with the free continental breakfast at our hotel. Then, we gassed up the car, put air in the tires, and were on our way to the Ben & Jerry's Factory in Waterbury, Vermont. Again, the drive was breath-taking. I tried to take so many pictures during the drive, but iPhones aren't very good at capturing pictures of things in motion. :( Oh well.

When we arrived at the Ben & Jerry's Factory, we bought our tickets for the 1:00 pm tour, and shopped at the gift shop to pass the time until our tour started. I had just enough time to buy & fill out a post card of Vermont for my parents, and then it was time for our tour.

The tour was probably 30 minutes in length, and it concluded with a free sample of their Milk & Cookies Ice Cream. It was so good! However, my friends and I were not going to leave the Ben & Jerry's Factory in Vermont without getting the famous Vermonster (a sundae consisting of 20 scoops of ice cream, 4 bananas, 3 chocolate chip cookies, 1 brownie, 2 ladles each of hot fudge and caramel, 10 scoops of walnuts, Oreos, mini M&Ms, Reese's Pieces, whipped cream, and sprinkles.) Crazy, we know! But since it was my 21st birthday a few days earlier, we had to celebrate, so we got it.

When the Vermonster arrived, it was a feast for the eyes, for sure! We had all sorts of people coming and taking pictures of us with it. A few random people even told us that they were posting our picture on their Facebook back in Colorado. We were able to finish almost half of it on our own before the fullness set in. At that point, we recruited some passerbys to grab their own spoons and cups and come help us finish the Vermonster. We even made friends with one older gentleman, Chuck, and his wife, Linda. They sat with us and helped us finish as much of the Vermonster as we all possibly could as we made conversation and found out that we were all from California, and they used to live relatively near where my friends and I are from. We ended up taking some pictures together before we all said goodbye and went our separate ways. My friends and I visited the Flavor Graveyard, took a few pictures, and were on our way once again.

Our next stop of the day was in Vermont's capitol, Montpelier. My friends were hungry for salty food, so they went to eat. I was still too full from the Vermonster, so I walked around Montpelier while they ate. I'm so glad I went on this walk because I captured some of my best photographs during this time. The leaves were gorgeous in Montpelier, and the city was so quaint. After my friends were done eating, we grabbed some coffee at this local coffee shop, which sold THE BEST APPLE CIDER I'VE EVER TASTED IN MY LIFE! (Cold Hollow Cider Mill- FYI,) and then we ended up having a mini photo shoot with the leaves of Montpelier before heading back to our hotel.

That night, we ended up having dinner at a Friendly's in Lebanon, New Hampshire because my friends had never been to a Friendly's before, and I had to introduce them to the adorable little chain that we lack in California. After the day's festivities, we retired to our hotel to get some rest before the next day's drive. As we were walking back to our room, guess who we see?!?! The same Italian man with the mullet and bomber jacket delivering food to the room next to ours! We got a good laugh out of that one as my friends became nostalgic about the "best chicken tenders of their lives." :) The rest of the evening was quite. I was able to sneak in a workout at the hotel's gym, and by the time I got back to our room, everyone else had fallen asleep, so I quickly got ready for bed so that I wouldn't be dead tired the next day when everyone else woke up refreshed and ready for the day.

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Amazing Maple Soft Serve from a little cafe connected to a market in Woodstock, Vermont. Look at the rays of light shining down on all of its glory.

Note: At this same little cafe, my friend ordered the Pumpkin Spice Pancakes so that she could have one last taste of Vermont Maple Syrup before hitting the road, and those pancakes were amazing!!!

After leaving Vermont, we stayed the night at a (sketchy) Howard Johnson in Holyoke, Massachusetts so that we would have an easy drive back to Fairfax, Virginia on Monday Morning. Since our hotel was a little on the interesting side, the highlight of that evening was eating dinner at the Olive Garden. :P However, I was finally carded for the first time since turning 21 a few days earlier, so that was nice!

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We spent Monday the 13th driving back to Fairfax, Virginia. Rather than having them drop me off in NYC, I went with them to Fairfax so that I could take the train back to NYC the next morning. I wasn't ready for my Fall Break to be over just yet. The highlight of the day was going to a donut shop called Donut Dip in Springfield, Massachusetts because they had these giant donuts! We all stuck to regular-sized donuts that morning, but the giant ones sure were cool to look at!

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Just as every great road trip involves a Target run, it's never complete without a trip to Costco to stock up on groceries after being away all weekend. Once back in Fairfax, I spent the evening grocery shopping and helping my friends unpack. I was sad to have to return back to NYC the following morning, but I was happy to have had such an amazing Fall Break with some of my favorite people. Vermont in the Fall was one of the greatest things I have ever experienced, and I would highly recommend the trip to anyone! I can't wait to return someday soon!

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