It’s dark. Really dark. There are no streetlights. The high beams of The Beast are leading the way. The roads are unpaved. According to the GPS we should be there in 10 minutes. “I’m nervous.” I chuckle. “I think I am, too.” Billy admits nonchalantly. We keep driving over the rocky, crater filled roads, listening to the music of Bike Rattle.
“OK, two minutes till where there according to the good ole GPS.” I lean forward in the passenger seat as I begin to seek out an actual building. As we slowly make our way around a slight bend, there’s a sign, Blueberry Hill Inn. Collectively, Billy and I both sigh in relief that we have reached our destination.
There we are, in the dark, In the Middle of Nowhere, Vermont and we wonder where to go. We make our way to the front door where a few lights have been left on. “Do we go in?” Billy turns to me. His whisper breaks the mountain silence. “Uh, I guess.” Slowly, we enter the blue house and Billy offers a quiet “Hello” to whoever may have waited up for us. No response. A welcome letter is taped to the banister. Not only have we made it, we are welcome.
My eyes are taken down the dimly lit hall to an old, antique kitchen with a large black stove that seems to beckon us. As I make my way in, I look down and notice the lopsided, wide plank pine floors. They must be original. I marvel at the charm, character and warmth they hold. Like snails, we follow the directions on our welcome letter. The brick hall, loaded with plants leads us to our room. “I can’t wait to see this place in the day light.” I am smitten with awe and wonder.
After a fabulous night’s sleep in the quiet of the mountains, Billy and I make our way to the kitchen for coffee. “Good Morning!” Ahh, this must be Shari. Billy and I introduce ourselves to Shari who is in the middle of rolling out biscuits.
“Coffee is ready, please help yourself.” I stand in this small nook which, also known as the “tap room”. There is a shelf loaded with a collection of salt and pepper shakers – watermelons, peas in a pod, corn husks, cows – the most eclectic collection that fascinates and elevates my wonderings. Billy hands me my coffee, the three of us, Shari, Billy and I are hanging out. Billy and I in the “tap room”, Shari in the kitchen. The opening in the wall brings us together more than separates.
“It’s just the two of you this morning.” “Oh jeez, can I come back and help?” I ask. Shari laughs this soulful, honest laugh and says “Oh no. You’re too funny.” I am not used to being in someone’s kitchen and not helping – it’s my nature to offer to help. “This is just great!” I blurt out. “I’m glad you think so!” Shari responds.
While Billy chats with Shari, I am noticing the old. The old stained measuring cup used for coffee grounds. The old metal bowl, dented and lopsided. The beams on the ceiling. The massive fireplace. The worn, but welcoming napkins. Everything I see holds story.
Billy chats with Shari. He begins to hear her story. Clearly we could head into the dining room and sit. Shari has told us there is a table for two set for us. Clearly, we could head into the dining room and sit, but we feel drawn to stay right in the “tap room” nook.
“You aren’t going to believe this, but owning an inn or a bed and breakfast or a Christmas tree farm is my dream.” Billy shares in between coffee sips and refills. Without skipping a beat, Shari says “You wanna buy it?” Billy laughs, Shari quips back as she places a biscuit on a tray “Spiders included.” We all laugh. “It’s a lifestyle.” Shari says, “It’s not a business, it’s your life. I’ve been hear for 30 years, Tony, my ex husband has been here 50.” No sooner does Shari say his name, does he appear. “Good Morning!” I turn and see a tall, white haired man has made an appearance in the “tap room” nook. Now there are four. “We are the only divorced inn keepers in Vermont.” he jumps right into our story.
Billy and I spent almost two days at the Blueberry Hill Inn. We hiked for seven miles on Hogback Mountain. We sat by the pond, picked apples from the trees and ate them. We grabbed blueberries from the bushes as we walked the grounds. We checked out the stunning gardens and the view across the way. The old Ski Center was open and we were free to check it out and continue to collect the awe, wonder, and history that the Blueberry Hill Inn exudes.
We ate the meals prepared right there at the inn by Shari. Her blueberry muffins, warmed your soul. No butter necessary. Her cheddar and chive biscuits were light and flaky. The bacon was perfectly crispy. The rosemary lamb was melt in your mouth delicious. The cookie jar, always full of not too crispy, not too soft cookies that were the perfect any time snack. At each meal, we were joined by other families. Two were French teachers at Middlebuy College in VT for the summer while Jerry, Katie and Jodie were in VT to celebrate Uncle Buzz’s 80th birthday. Stories were shared and people connected, if only for a meal.
Coming together in kitchens, over cooking, around the table is soothing it can make you forget what is wrong and feel what is right.
The Blueberry Hill Inn, Shari and Tony are what is right in this world. Their lifestyle is one of giving and caring and spreading seeds of goodness from their “hill”. I am beyond thankful that for two days, I experienced their lifestyle and love.