My theme this year is Places in my Heart, all about the places I've been and loved and that have mattered to me in a lasting sense.
For my regular readers, you'll see more than the usual once-a-week posts from me this month. I'm having a great time writing them, so I hope you enjoy reading them, too.
V is for Vermont
Ah, Vermont. That liberal little pocket of up East that the rest of the United States envisions as full of Robert Frost worthy scenery, curmudgeons, hippies, and well-educated lesbians.
Having spent a few summers there, I have to say there's some truth in that.
I earned my Master's Degree from the Bread Loaf School of English arm of Middlebury College. That meant I got to spend four summers on Bread Loaf's campuses (I spent three in Vermont, and one at Oxford). Vermont in summer really is idyllic. The weather is lovely. The land is lush. It's the home of farmer's markets full of artisan craftspeople and organic foods, restaurants that pioneered the whole "buy local" mentality, and more bookstores than you can shake a stick at.
If you have liberal leaning sensibilities politically, and want to limit development and growth to protect the green spaces around you, Vermont might be for you. Almost every place I went in the state (and since it's small, geographically speaking, I saw a lot of the state in three summers' studies) is just really really nice. Well kept, cared for, with a feeling that it will endure for generations.
In fact, I often felt clumsy and a little dirty, like a Greaser at a Soc party. I worried I might knock over a cup.
That's not to say the people weren't welcoming. They really were. I'd love to get back and spend a summer afternoon in the shade in a small city square, trying a new flavor of Ben and Jerry's.