Friday, March 13, 2009

Vermont Getaway - XC Skiing/ Snowshoeing

Every year, we try to get away for a few days to southern Vermont for some XC skiing. For many years now we've been staying at the Landgrove Inn, an old Vermont inn in the literal middle of nowhere. It has lots of charm, the meals are wonderful, and there are ski trails practically out the front door.

We drove to Vermont yesterday, and first stopped at the Viking Nordic Center in Londonderry. We've been skiing there on these getaways for about 15 years now, and it's one of our favorite places to ski. Unfortunately, this year, we caught the tail end of the snow season, and had just missed some heavy rain and high winds by a day or two. The snow was like concrete, and there was lots of debris still being removed from the trails. It didn't sound good, so we skipped it this year. Instead, we stopped for lunch at the Garden Cafe's health food deli in town and had a hearty lunch of soup and sandwiches.

We decided to ski on the Inn's trails (free to guests) and see just how bad things really were. The snow was hard and fast, and the chilly wind was howling across the open fields. Fortunately some limited grooming had been done earlier in the day, and all trails were skiable, if barely. After about an hour or so of this, having skied the entire network, we drove to Hapgood Pond Recreation Area in nearby Peru and snowshoed around the pond there. The snow was much better for snowshoeing than for the skiing we did earlier. After a delicious dinner at the Inn, we read for awhile until our eyes were closing, and then it was early to sleep.

Today, we headed over to Wild Wings XC Center, also near Peru. This place reminds me a lot of ski touring centers back in the 1970s when I started, and, in fact, has been family-owned and operated ever since that time, over 30 years ago. It's definitely a no-frills non-glitzy kind of place, and only classic skiing is allowed. No getting run over by lycra-clad skaters here! The grooming was very good, given the type of snow they had to work with, and we skied all of the easier greens and a couple of the blues. The snow was faster than usual, so that was as tough as we wanted to try. It was a good workout before heading home.

No trip to that area would be complete without a trip to the Vermont Country Store in Weston. As much as I hate to shop, we always stop here and browse for an hour or so. Their merchandise includes lots of hard-to-find items, and it's actually fun to look around. After a quick lunch at the Bryant House Restaurant on the premises, we headed home to recuperate from all the exercise of the past two days.

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