After a few good hours of sleep, I woke up to the joyous sounds of giggling in the halls and I knew my retreat experience was about to begin! I quickly got put together and made it downstairs for a bite to eat. I was super excited to have a free day before the events begin and couldn't wait to see some of the area! I was quite fortunate to meet up with Brenda (Bree) who was looking for someone to spend the day with - and offered to be my companion and chauffeur for the afternoon (thanks Bree - you rock!). We headed out not quite sure where we were going, but we knew we were in for an adventure...Marie gave us some suggestions and we were off. Our first stop was in Windsor, VT (yep, I actually made it to Vermont for the first time!) - we went to see the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge on the Connecticut River. A little history for you: Built in 1866 at a cost of $9,000, the Cornish-Windsor Bridge is the longest wooden bridge in the United States and the longest two-span covered bridge in the world - built as a toll bridge by a private corporation, the span was purchased by the state of NH in 1936 and made toll free in 1943.
After a unique experience at the Windsor Visitor's Center, we were on our way to Woodstock, VT...Marie had mentioned there were wonderful little shops there, and of course, we were up for a shopping experience! I loved the scenic and historic town of Woodstock - we parked and walked around the entire shopping village - visiting the most amazing General Store I have ever seen - there seemed to be endless aisles of every product you can think of - it was (to quote Bree) very "Little House on the Prairie". There were a lot of quaint and interesting shops and the weather was beautiful for the walk!
Our final destination was Quechee, VT. We had a little snafu on the way, as the road we planned to take was closed...so we stopped for directions and found out the road/bridge was washed out by the flood (Hurricane Irene)...but we were given alternate directions, which lead us to the Quechee Gorge on the Ottauquechee River...which was unbelievable...I wish the photos did it justice. We actually walked out on the bridge and looked down (what seemed to be hundreds of feet) over the river...it was breathtaking...
After taking in the Quechee Gorge, we traveled into town to our destination - "The Mill" - the site of the old Quechee mill, which now houses the Simon Pearce Restaurant and Glassblowing/Pottery Retail Store. We ate a late lunch in the restaurant which sits out over the river with a beautiful close-up view of another picturesque covered bridge and a waterfall - unfortunately, the bridge and many surrounding buildings were badly damaged by flooding caused by Hurricane Irene. You will see in the photo below - the windows to the left were where we ate lunch...and in the background the damaged covered bridge. Our server told us the water had risen to just below the restaurant windows - the lower two floors of the building were filled with mud and water that they are still repairing and cleaning up. Large photos throughout The Mill documented the storms destruction. Inside looked good, as seen by the photos of the Simon Pearce Glassblowing Store.
It was getting late in the day - so we made a quick shopping stop on the way back to Enfield, to pick up a few necessities...then had a little time to get cleaned up before heading to dinner with four more stitching friends (two of which were Angela and Elizabeth who I had the pleasure of meeting at the first New England Stitching Retreat). We ate a a restaurant called Ramuto's Brick Oven Pizza in Lebanon, NH...good food and good friends - the perfect ending to my perfect day!
Tomorrow - we have a full day planned...including an early morning walk, a trip to Keepsake Quilting (YIPPEE!), and a visit to ABC Stitch (another YIPPEE!)...followed by a tour of the Enfield Shaker Grounds, and a reception...and more than likely, late night stitching and giggling!