Maggie, our hostess, is an old friend of my parents and welcomes us waiving from the terrace of her lovely summer house, a few miles north of Greensboro, a quiet little village with white wooden houses on the Caspian lake.
It has been over twenty years since I came here for the first time, just having graduated from high school in Germany. Back then, Greensboro had marked the beginning of a two and a half months tour across the United States. I remember spending a few days in the tranquility of the Green Mountains, sleeping off my jet lag and swimming in the pond on the property together with the local frogs.
And this is the first thing we do here, too, only that we see no frogs, but countless tadpoles which the children try to catch. We go to Willey’s Store in Greensboro the next day to buy two little spoon nets, to make it a little easier. Willey’s is one of those country stores where you get everything from a loaf of bred to an automatic weapon and funny glasses. Looking compact from the outside, it reveals several large surfaces inside with two upper floors and just offers everything one could possibly need out here.
Our three and a half days here are easy and bright. Maggie spoils us with wonderful homecooked meals preceded by sundowners on the terrace with a sunset view. The children very much enjoy the tranquility of the place and just go about their own thing together, playing, drawing, looking at books, picking blueberries and raspberries that grow in abundance around the house.
We hike, swim and bike and meet some of Maggie’s friends who spend their summers here, too. It reminds us a little of the Bainbridge community we had the chance to meet with the exception that the people we meet here do not live here all year long. They are artists, professors, interpreters, lawyers and judges, working in many different places, with a very international mindset. Most of them know each other from the time they were children, their children have experienced the same. With some of them, we have the chance to talk longer and learn and hear the stories of their lives. If I were a film maker, I would come here and leave with the script for a movie.
We leave our dear friend Maggie full of gratitude for the heart-warming time we shared and with many pictures of the calm and comforting environment of the Green Mountains, where nature is prodigal with the many riches it has to offer.
As we head to our next destination, we stop in Burlington on Lake Champlain, Vermont’s capital and largest city with a little over 40,000 inhabitants. What strikes us here is a discovery which will be of growing importance as we travel to Québec for the net few days. Vermont was discovered in 1609 by a French nobleman called Samuel de Champlain, meaning eleven years prior to the landing of the Mayflower in Massachusetts. We more and more come to realize that the French were an important force here, too, once. However, at least in our perception, it does not play nearly as much of a role here as the British – or call it White Anglo Saxon Protestant – heritage. We will find out why. In Montreal and Québec City…