“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” ~ John F. Kennedy
Three years ago, on my old blog, I wrote in depth about Vermont and what it meant to me. But also how difficult it was to go back there. I was rereading that post (in the link) and it struck me that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
If you read the post, (don’t worry I won’t make you, heck I didn’t even post pictures back then…the horror!) or even any of my posts about home, you know that growing up I didn’t have a lot of love for the country. Oh, how we mature, as we grow old.
Since that first train ride three years ago, where it was unbelievably devastatingly emotional, each subsequent trip has gotten easier. I still get misty eyed driving through Shelburne or nostalgic taking a stroll through Church Street. And don’t even get me started on Lake Champlain Chocolate. I am pretty sure my sister is up their grinning her derriere off as i fight the impulse to buy out the whole store (their Magic Five Bars? Oh. Em. Gee!)
Yet, the tears, have given way to happier newer memories shared with friends whom I bonded with during a time of tragedy. Laughs, jokes, weddings, and of course the annual Christmas party.
This is a party that I refuse to miss. Every second week in December has been blocked off indefinitely, as I make the annual trip to Vermont. While weddings, none baby, baby showers, and even visits to New York, have sprinkled the months in between, this is the one event that is a guaranteed reunion. It is a weekend of fun, fulfilling my Skinny Pancake addiction, and of course catching up with some friends who are more like family and who hold a special in my heart. In fact I always joke, that the only stamp of approval my boyfriend needs, is from this fantastically crazy group. If he gets it, put a ring on it!
In the past I have taken an eight hour train ride from Penn to Essex. While it can be long, it is the perfect place to write and study non-stop. I also can do a little pre-emptive sleeping since it is usually a weekend big on the fun, but lacking some snoozes.
For the last two years, I have met my Gemini Twin in Albany and we have driven the three hours together, spending the time catching up and talking about anything and everything including giving me the third degree about my man. It is literally a non-stop gab fest and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Once we met my friend at her house and I gave my spooning partner lots hugs and scratches, we made our way to Church Street. Church Street is unbelievably magical this time of year. While it was freezing and their wasn’t any snow, the lights and decorations more then made up for it.
We ate lunch at this divine coffee shop called New Moon Cafe that reminds me of a hybrid of Cafe Jax and Frontside, with its capacious seating area, yet farm to table food, and gourmet coffee. They offer gluten free sandwiches and I ordered one that had butternut squash puree, avocado, mozzarella cheese and caramelized onions on it. It was amazing!
Once we had sustenance, my friends and I braved the cold to shop the adorable boutiques on Church Street. A must being the Sweet Lady Jane. My sister introduced me to this shop, in her final years at Saint Mike’s and I can not go to Burlington without paying a visit to this fashionista haven. Carrying well known high end brands to newer designers, I can;t help but covet everything in the shop. This time I had self control, and didn’t buy anything, but it didn’t stop me from trying on some clothes and modeling for my friends.
We ended our Church Street expedition with a stop at the cutest cupcake and wine cafe. It carries mini cupcakes and you guessed it some of them are GF and Vegan!
I haven’t had a cupcake I don’t like there and I definitely had no shame eating two. They were mini after all. The salted caramel was worth every moment on my lips! After a delicious pre-dinner desert. My friends and I took a detour to David’s Bridal to try on bridesmaids dresses for my friend’s wedding. And oh what fun it was. We were laughing as my Gemini twin and I tried on dresses and she needed more fabric and I needed…Well at least a foot taken off.
After gown shopping, we went to my must go to at least twice and hopefully three times isn’t to greedy favorite restaurant in Burlington: The Skinny Pancake. It is so flipping good. So good in fact, that I will be dedicating a whole post to it.
The next day, after starting off at, you guessed it Skinny Pancake we began preparations for a Very Marik Christmas. Every year my friends do a fabulous job of putting on a fun-filled party. Beginning with hors d’oeuvres, followed by a sit down dinner, and then a grab bag exchange. This years theme was wine and beer. It was followed by delicious desert, games and in between everything, lively conversation flowed and so much laughter my cheeks hurt for days.
I seriously can not stress enough how much I love these peeps.
That night we ended up at ArtsRiot for the annual Jingle Belles. It was amazing! I laughed so hard. Everything from the numbers, to the outfits, to the make-up to the company was incredible. So much talent. And did I mention the make-up? I need lessons!
The next day, after round three of Skinny Pancake it was time to say good-bye. Thankfully I will be seeing these fierce peeps soon, so it wasn’t as bittersweet as it could have been.
It was another epic weekend in the books. One that made my heart so full of happiness and love. Despite all the craziness and the rollercoaster of emotion I have been going through lately, seeing them puts everything in perspective. Sometimes you need that. To surround yourself with your family. With people who get you, and understand you, whom you can literally discuss anything with. The ones that are their for you always. Who know, without words when you need a hug. Or a laugh. I am so incredibly blessed to have these people in my life.
I have had friends come and go. The proverbial distance wall being built up between us for whatever reason limiting conversation until it is non-existent or maybe just an occasional like on Instagram.
Yet, as I have written before, these friends have never been like that. I am stuck with them and they are stuck with me. Like a real family. And no Goo-Be-Gone is ever going to change that.