The weekend would be cut short because of the selfish meanderings of an aging employee that feels entitled way beyond his contributions. Years of service may garner respect and tolerance but it does not allow for a complete divergence from basic workplace standards and the rules of conduct must still be followed. Yet even in his disciplinary sanction, he found a way to make the workplace uncomfortable for everyone around him. And thus my extended weekend that had been planned for some months would have to be abbreviated in order to cover another's suspension.
Undaunted by the situation we began our journey on a Sunday and quickly left the stress and drama somewhere on the highway behind us. Fort Ticonderoga in upstate NY was our original destination. The hours of operation would not coincide with our new schedule but we could still catch a glimpse of the historic structure and scout other waypoints along the road for a future sojourn to this area. Besides the road to the fort would lead us to a wonderful little ferry crossing of Lake Champlain, a shortcut into Vermont and the Green Mountains, just a few short miles from Middlebury. The ferry ride was worth the miles, was worth a note as a road attraction, was the perfect landmark to leave work behind and embrace the peace of the landscape.
We came to Middlebury because it held a hotel, several restaurants, and easy ferry access to Fort Ticonderoga while also allowing easy access to Route 7 and a way south toward home at the end of our weekend. What we found was a quaint town with a beautiful college campus, the home of Woodchuck Cider, celebrating 25 years of turning apples into some of the most inventive, tasty adult beverages, and unexpected dining experiences. Two Brothers Tavern seemed like any other neighborhood tavern from the outside, but inside, the food appeared to be the role models for culinary magazines. The candied bacon served by the bucket on Sundays should be either outlawed or given its own holiday, and is way too addictive to merely try just one. The beer list was wonderfully local and allowed for sampling all the greatness Vermont has become known for in the craft beer scene. It also helps that there are several cideries and breweries within a stone's throw. DropIn Brewing was one of those tiny local breweries and it was conveniently situated right across the road from our hotel. It was the epitome of a microbrewery, just beer and only a few on tap to travel, and it offered a "grumbler" never before seen, a full gallon of fresh beverage to go, and home it would go, full of fresh IPA.
Route 7 would lead us south toward home but not before winding its way past a few roadside stands holding maple everything and other tastes of Vermont life. It would cross over into Massachusetts and lead us to Mount Greylock. We could not pass up an opportunity to bag the highest peak in the state. The best part of a road trip is finding the off beat, the interesting, the peculiar, along the way. A side trip is always just a slight turn away and Mount Greylock was worth that turn. The view from the peak may not be the same as some of the neighboring peaks but it was the perfect view to return perspective to a jaded eye. Just a few short hours, barely two days, can reset the mind, revive the body, and return sanity to work life. Time spent in a car on the road with family should never be short changed, especially when it is rewarded with great food, quality libations, and the wonder and beauty of nature.