Donna's Writings


Welcome to a Year in Vermont

Happy  New Year! It’s 9 am on January first and I can only now write 1-1-16 because I fell asleep before midnight last night. I’ve never gone out to a New Year’s Eve party in my entire life. When I was a teenager, I baby sat and when I was older, I preferred to stay in and watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and see the ball drop in Times Square to bring in the new year. From 1989 to 2012, I lived out west and could continue this tradition and still be in bed by 10. Now that I’m in Vermont and in my 50s, I have no plans to continue watching the ball drop in New York and I probably couldn’t stay up past midnight if I tried. I am happy to be an old fart, and Vermont seems like the perfect place to settle in and do just that.

For the past 3 years, my husband Dominic and I have been living in a 150-year old farmhouse in the North East Kingdom (NEK) of Vermont. It’s in the corner of Vermont, unsurprisingly, in the north-east, closest to New Hampshire and Canada. So close to the border, in fact, that my cell phone chirps “welcome abroad” whenever I drive to the grocery store. This area is also sometimes called “old Vermont,” and for good reason. It reminds me of the Vermont I remember from my childhood. It is the Vermont I fell in love with in the 1970s. Little shops are in spare rooms in old houses, open by chance. When a flag is flying, it’s OK to stop by and see what’s for sale. Before we go out to dinner, we phone to make sure our favorite restaurant is open, because a family emergency, a holiday, or just the fact that it’s a Tuesday in winter, may mean the closed sign is out today. It’s a twenty minute drive to the nearest latte and 2 hours to the nearest Starbucks. And that’s all A-OK with me.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Things I don’t miss:

  • Ubiquitous cell service
  • Walmart
  • Sushi
  • Pizza delivery
  • Sidewalks
  • Starbucks
  • High-tech jobs
  • Shopping malls
  • Paid firemen
  • Fast food
  • The ocean
  • A visible police presence
  • Urban hairdressers
  • Curbs
  • Clothing stores
  • Apple stores
  • Traffic lights
  • Traffic
  • Oil and gas pipes
  • Home-owners associations
  • Snobby neighbors

Moving here after living in California and Colorado for 25 years was like traveling back in time. Everything in the west is shiny and new. Everything in the NEK is shabby and chipped. People still write checks here. The attitudes, ideas, and personalities of the people I grew up around are still prevalent here, 40 years later.

This year I plan to blog and write about Vermont, my life here, memories of my early visits to the state, and stories of the farms and fiber artists all around the region. I also plan to make sketches of Vermont life all year. I hope you’ll follow along and journey with me around my favorite state.

Knitting, Writing
  1. Welcome back to Vermont — Glad to hear you’re living here! The NE Kingdom is simply gorgeous — I drove thru it several times, but now I’m pretty much a stay-at-home Burlington girl (of course, that means I HAVE that whole list of things you do not miss. . . lol! But it’s where I grew up and I love it, I’ve always thought Burlington was the perfect sized city — a little bigger than Vergennes, but not too big (i.e. NYC etc. — which while a nice a place to visit (they have sooooooo many museums) but I wouldn’t want to live there!). Perhaps I’ll run into you at a knitting group sometime!


  2. A happy and blessed New Year to you! It will be fun to come along on your journey this year and compare the differences between life in the NEK with my own in “sort of ” rural Montana. I’m still close enough to town to have most of the services you don’t miss – I just avoid them.

    • Thanks, Ann. Just back from filming at Craftsy. It gave me a really good transition between 2015 and 2016 and now I am so happy to be home for the rest of the winter!

  3. yes!

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  5. Good plan!
    Looking forward to impressions of Vermont.
    Happy New Year,

  6. Thank you Donna. I look forward to reading more.

  7. Lovely, Donna. It sounds like you found your perfect locale. I’ll be back for more. Fondly, Debra.

  8. Enjoyable post!

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