Of Baseball, Bicycles and B-Towns

Two things have encompassed about 90% of my energy over the last two months – the house search and baseball.

After Doreen landed a job in town Montpelier, we decided to try to buy or build a house in Montpelier.  We would wait until Spring and then find something in time for our lease expiration in August.  Easy peasy!  Only not so easy – one of our top priorities is energy efficiency, whether achieved through a newly-built Passive House or an existing house that we can retrofit.  And we are finding that land is hard to come by (and expensive), and the houses are big and old (and expensive).  We’re having a hard time finding something that fits our needs.  It’s frustrating.  And the rest of the story is suited for it’s own post, sometime after we have had some success.

Outside of the house search, there is baseball.  I’ve taken up with a senior men’s baseball team, the Montpelier Monties of the Vermont Senior Baseball League.  Since the start of the season in May, I frame pretty much everything in terms of baseball. “I banged my knee!  I hope it doesn’t affect my game on Sunday!”  We only started winning games a couple of weeks ago, but it’s been a blast.  And this also deserves a post of it’s own. Continue reading

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So what”s been going on?

It’s been pretty quiet on 2072802 recently, and my fan might be wondering just what the heck has been going on. It’s been busy times, actually:

  • At the end of March we made what turned out to be our final skiing trip of the year, to Jay Peak way up near the Canadian border. It was a great day and we loved the mountain. I have a half-baked recap in the oven that I will post once it’s complete.
  • I joined a senior baseball team, the Montpelier Monties, and played my first real baseball game in 40 years last weekend. We got crushed, and it was a blast. I’ll have more on that throughout the season.
  • We are looking for a house of our own. We’ve looked at a lot of houses already, none of which are quite right for us. I’ll have a full post and updates on that coming up, too.
  • In the “around town” category, just in time for the arrival of some seriously summery weather, I attended Montbeerlier last weekend, celebrating the birthday of the Three Penny Taproom. It was a regular block party, as Langdon Street was closed off, a bandstand was erected, and copious amounts of hard-to-find beers were served. I only attended for a couple of hours, but it was a fantastic kickoff to what I hope is a great summer of fun in Vermont.
  • I think I’m going to ditch the “EPISODE” naming protocol for the posts on this blog, starting today.

EPISODE 25: GREEN MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL (PART 1)

I am familiar with March in Vermont.  Every year from 2006 – 2013 I spent a week in Montpelier to work on the Vermont chapter annual budget.  March weather varies greatly year to year.  Sometimes spring makes an early appearance, other years winter maintains its icy grip.  One year downtown Montpelier was on a flood watch.  Every year there seems to be gray skies and dingy gray snow.  And some years I was lucky enough to be in town during the Green Mountain Film Festival.

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EPISODE 24: TRAPP FAMILY LODGE NORDIC SKIING AND LAGER

One of the more famous inns in this part of Vermont is the Trapp Family Lodge. Founded by the von Trapp family of Sound of Music Fame and located high on a hilltop overlooking the ritzy town of Stowe, the lodge is a four-season resort that draws as many curious tourists who are fans of the movie as it does guests who are there to enjoy the five-star accommodations.

Among the many outdoor activities available is an excellent cross-country ski trail network.  Very early on we learned that Trapp has a reputation as the best nordic facility around.  The premium trail pass fee ($25) certainly suggests this place is one of the best – even with a captive audience of inn guests, there is too much competition nearby to not deliver good skiing.
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EPISODE 23: AN ADAMANT EVENING

Working late on Friday afternoon, my co-workers Jennifer and Rose popped into my office. “Hey, we’re going to a concert tomorrow night in Adamant. Do you and Doreen wanna come?” Of course we want to see a concert in Adamant! You may remember Adamant (pronounce ADemANT) from the Art Tour in Episode 10. It’s a funky little village on the border of Calais and East Montpelier, and is certainly worthy of it’s own Episode. Perhaps we’ll pop over in a couple of months for the Black Fly Festival.

After an afternoon of clothes shopping in the greater Montpelier-Berlin-Barre metroplex, we were off to meet Rose and Jennifer and their partners George and Paul at the Whammy Bar in Calais. Continue reading

EPISODE 22: SKIING IN CRAFTSBURY

Since we arrived in Vermont we’ve been hearing about the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury. The Center is a four-season athletic training ground that specializes in running, skulling and cycling in the summer, and nordic skiing, including biathlon, in the winter. The COC offers very good value With nearly 100 kilometers of groomed ski trails and a very reasonable day pass of $10, though we skied for free thanks again to the Ski Vermont reciprocal program.

Last weekend we hopped in the car and headed north. Continue reading

EPISODE 21 – TOWN MEETING DAY

Town Meetings are a longtime tradition in New England, though a seemingly dying one in recent years. At its core, Town Meeting is democracy in its purest form – people gather to decide the direction their town will take in the coming year. Most votes wins. However 18th-century democracy has been met with increasing apathy in the 21st century. Furthermore, many towns have adopted a council-style government and dispatched with town meetings altogether. It’s a different story in Vermont, however. Continue reading

EPISODE 20: DOWNHILL SKIING AT PICO

When we first decided to move to Vermont, I had visions of hitting all of the state’s downhill skiing mountains during the first winter. After that initial exuberance, we realized that the budget (and probably our energy levels) wouldn’t support that much alpine skiing, so we modified the goal. One downhill skiing trip per month.

Then the arctic cold set in and brought another cold reality – we’ll have to play it by ear. In January, it didn’t work out. February wasn’t looking so hot, either. But we caught a break this weekend, with Sunday temps forecast for the low 30’s and not accompanied by a huge snowstorm. Continue reading