In our early traveling years we didn’t make a point of visiting every state capital or capitol building along our route because, well, we hadn’t really considered collecting them like trading stamps or Beanie Babies. In later years we’ve regretted bypassing a few that were within reach (e.g., Richmond, Frankfort, Jackson) and/or those capitals we did visit but skipped their capitols (Little Rock, Topeka). In more recent times we’ve upgraded their priority level and included them where so inclined and doable. Montpelier, VT, is America’s smallest state capital, but it was easy to reach from our planned path, and an engaging addition at that.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Since 1999 Anne and I have taken one road trip each year to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home. We’re geeks more accustomed to vicarious life through the windows of pop culture than through in-person adventures. After years of contenting ourselves with everyday life in Indianapolis and any surrounding areas that also had comics and toy shops, we chucked some of our self-imposed limitations and resolved as a team to leave the comforts of home for annual chances to see creative, exciting, breathtaking, outlandish, and/or bewildering new sights in states beyond our own, from the horizons of nature to the limits of imagination, from history’s greatest hits to humanity’s deepest regrets and the sometimes quotidian, sometimes quirky stopovers in between. We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.
For 2022 we wanted the opposite of Yellowstone. Last year’s vacation was an unforgettable experience, but those nine days and 3500 miles were daunting and grueling. Vermont was closer, smaller, greener, cozier, and slightly cooler. Thus we set aside eight days to venture through the four states that separate us from the Green Mountain State, dawdle there for a bit, and backtrack home…
The morning leg of our driving day had taken us from our Waterbury hotel in northern Vermont to Quechee Gorge State Park in the southern end. After our walk in the park we doubled back 50 miles north up I-89 to Montpelier. Most streets were lined with metered parking spaces on both sides, though were guarded by signs admonishing visitors of the two-hour time limit and their rule forbidding anyone from pumping more coins in to extend beyond the two-hour mark. I fail to understand their reasons behind irking paying customers who’d brought along plenty of spare change for exactly such situations, but…their city, their rules.
We found a spot in front of the post office, which wasn’t far away from our first planned stop. As we got out and fed the meter, an elderly gentleman noticed our Texas plates and chatted about how he used to live in Beaumont. I explained the SUV was a rental, but storytime would not be stopped.
From there we walked on to the Vermont State House, home of local government and government accessories. By this time the rain clouds that had sprinkled us along the Quechee Gorge trails had receded, leaving an opening for locals and us intruders to come out, frolic, and/or do tourism.
No one came or went through the foreboding front doors, which looked locked and unmanned. We walked around to a side entrance and entered without trouble or suspicious glances. The side hallway led to the main atrium, where a guard or two were posted. Unlike some other capitols we’ve visited, frisking and metal detector walk-throughs weren’t required because no one in Vermont holds a grudge against their government or would do something stupid there, we’re guessing. Other, larger states must be so jealous.
Security continued not hassling us as we wandered the halls, which were lined with numerous paintings honoring renowned Vermont residents, some of whose faces had acquired fame beyond its borders and were familiar to us.
The State House also had a cafeteria upstairs, but we declined their services. We had lunch plans elsewhere in town. We returned to the car and found a tiny, congenial protest had broken out in front of the post office in support of Ukraine — not quite a dozen folks, nor was it the sort of protest to attract law enforcement attention. We exchanged smiles and waves as we got in and moved the car a few blocks farther down before any meter-monitors could roll up on us and enforce their harsh two-hour limit.
To be continued!
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Wow! Yet another beautiful entry of MCC!. It’s one I almost missed since unlike the past one hundred and eighty four entries it did NOT appear in my electronic mail inbox! Mechanical oversight? Deliberate choice? Conspiracy on behalf of the WordPress bigwigs against the good people of Vermont? Wait, have I been softblocked? Is this what softblocking is? Are my comments unwelcome? Is THIS comment unwelcome? Feel free to delete if that’s the case! No hard feelings!
In any case, my thanks for your writing of this entry and sharing it w/the world remain undiminished. I’d have let this little incident go unremarked upon — just blame it on one of Gmail’s many foibles and go on with my life; wait and see if the next entry of MCC! arrives or not — but my eye spotted what may (or may not!?) be a minor elision in your caption of Jordan Scott’s 1874 painting.
You’ve written the sentence : “This reenactment of that day in the Shenandoah Valley jam-packed with personalities and Easter eggs recognizable to local historians.” I assume there should be an “is” or an “is a” somewhere in there? Up to you, I suppose!
I threw an “is” in there, just for you now! Thank you for making a difference!
I promise I didn’t touch the email software and have no idea why your notification was withheld. It’s been years since the last time I had to do anything remotely resembling “moderation” here. I blame Gmail because they are large, and large entities are easy and cathartic to blame.