Babies, Breweries and Books

Not a title I'd ever thought I'd publish but come to find out babies make really great companions when you're venturing into the rural Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for the world's best brewery.  We found ourselves in Greensboro, Vermont on a random Wednesday in February for the release of Hill Farmstead's Flora Plum which quite literally tastes like mimosa in a bottle with a hint of plum.  I am by no means a beer connoisseur nor do I really know anything about craft beers but I did catch word of this wondrous place not far from our home in Vermont.  A drive through bucolic farmland and serene forest was a welcome agenda item for the two of us on an otherwise uneventful weekday.   

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Not long from now, our scenery will be filled with double decker busses, chiming clock towers and beautiful English gardens for a stint in London so we're soaking up as much of this country life as we can while dreaming of the adventures that await.  

And as we go about our days, you can rest assured we're doing ever important research on the lovely children's clothiers that abound in this marvelous city.  Above, Mila for one is wearing a favorite smocked winter dress from Sarah Louise, a timeless English brand.    

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She's still finding her balance but is happiest when she's figuring it out on her own.  Thankfully for these velveteen booties, our winter so far hasn't seen much snow.

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Vermont's Northeast Kingdom is filled with scenes like these.  It is an inviting place filled with a bit of mystery and seduction, and leaves you with a yearning to go back and discover more.  

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Among the things Vermonters do best are coffee shops, craft beer and independent bookstores.  These cozy Vermont towns are home to some of our favorites including Bridgeside Books in Waterbury, Vermont.  You can make yourself at home here and browse their wonderful selection of children's literature.  They also offer a lively, music and craft filled story time every Friday morning which Mila loved.  We came home with a new classic, "Shh! Bears Sleeping," by David Martin and illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Francher.  It was recently on the the New York Times Book Review and wouldn't you know, the author makes his home in the picturesque Northeast Kingdom of Vermont!    

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Up up and away

Yes it is September and yes we should be looking forward to the excitement of fall but its also a time to reflect on the wonderful adventures we had this summer.  On one hot balmy day in July we attended one of our favorite events in Vermont, the Stoweflake Balloon festival.  This was Elise's second year in attendance and she was just as upset as she was last year when the balloons eventually took flight.  She doesn't like it much when she sees a stray balloon in the air as she empathises with the little hand that may have lost it.  We watched take off after take off of these majestic aircrafts and down below there was a little girl shouting "no balloon, don't go, stay! come back balloon!" I couldn't help but smile.  

Elise's Wren and James dress has been a favorite of ours this summer as mentioned in a previous post.  The cotton is crisp, the colors are bright, the style is classic.  The perfect outing dress for any number of occasions.  


In case you're wondering, she did eventually get over her initial angst as we repeatedly told her that the balloons would land and come back home.  See we're a little weird about keeping track of our "stuff" with the growing number of toys and hair bows, there is a continuous inventory being taken at our house so frankly I'm not surprised that she was afraid the balloons would be lost.   


New England summers typically linger a bit longer than we anticipate so I'm hoping that means we'll be able to get more wear out of this dress and these sandals before the chill settles in.


An approach to Minimalism

A favorite blog of mine, A Merry Mishap, recently drew my attention to an interesting article called 'The New Minimalism' from The Spaces.  It discusses minimalism in the digital age and how this influences what we choose to acquire.  The idea that we use "the absence of things to enhance the meaning of what we choose to retain" speaks to me on a personal level and can be translated in a number of ways.  The piece also discusses how we choose those things we hold dear and the growing desire to bring handcrafted, personalized items into our lives that maintain their quality over time.  

I feel very connected to this practice of consumer behavior and perhaps it has a little something to do with how I was raised.  My Mother shopped for our family with this same mindset and wouldn't you know, decades later, we now have lovely clothes and toys that my own children can enjoy.  These dresses stood the test of time and look like they were purchased yesterday.  They epitomize the definition of heirloom.


With Elise in one of my favorite childhood dresses, it felt fitting that we visit a special place that I've been going to since I was her age.  The towns of Warren and Waitsfield Vermont haven't changed much over the years.  Institutions like the Warren Store and All Things Bright and Beautiful help maintain a small town charm that is hard to top.  


All Things Bright and Beautiful (pictured to the right below) is every child's fantasy.  It was a tradition in our family to visit this unique store year after year and on occasion to come home with a special bear friend.  The owners are a delight.  If you wander in with some extra time to spare, they'll tell you wonderful stories of the bears that live here.


Elise is wearing another favorite dress of mine which has a classic floral appliqué on a simple silhouette.  If you're on the lookout for vintage, please check out Mary Beth Hale's shop.  She has a discerning eye for timeless pieces that have little to no signs of wear.