One of the perks of being a Catholic school student and having parents who taught in public school was that they always pulled us out of school for the Jewish holidays and took us on a mini vacation to Vermont.
Mom was a sucker for fall foliage and would plan awesome trips to Vermont which seemed really extravagant, but actually weren't thanks to the Entertainment Book. The Entertainment Book, for those of you who have never seen one, is this huge book filled with great coupons. People sometimes sell them as fundraisers. Back in the '80s the Entertainment Book had amazing deals for resorts. Now it's like "$1 off a $20 deluxe car wash" "Buy one Big Mac get one FREE."
Seriously? Who buys just a Big Mac? Isn't it all about the Value Meal? When was the last time you waited on that endless drive-thru line behind six moms driving minivans and simply ordered, One Big Mac? Actually maybe people do and I'm in the dark...
We always stayed at this awesome resort complete with a crystal clear indoor swimming pool, hot tub, bike baths and tennis courts (not that I played tennis). The inn's quaint dining room served the most delicious gourmet meals and every day at 3PM there was an afternoon tea service in the lounge area. I especially loved the veggies and dill dip! I'd hang out by the lobby fireplace, catching up on the latest Ralph Macchio scoops from Tiger Beat and learn the proper way to apply lipstick from YM magazine. I felt so grown up sipping herbal tea and people watching while blasting the Beach Boys on Dad's old silver Sony Walkman with the spongy orange headphones.
The fun began from the moment we pulled out of the driveway. I actually liked the long "road trip" style drive from Long Island to New England. We'd set up the backseat with our pillows and magazines - there wasn't Nintendo DS or portable DVD players back then. The highlight of the ride would be stopping at rest stops and loading up on Combos and Twix bars.
We'd spend one day at the outlets and fill the trunk with Dexter shoes and polo shirts. The next day involved the outdoors and start out with a few hours on the Alpine Slide, which I enjoyed most of all. It's pretty ironic to me now that I've become this really fearful adult who steers clear of roller coasters, rides and horror movies.
But at age 11, Pico Mountain was no match for me! I hopped right on and sped down that Killington mountain, wind whipping through my hair and not a care in the world. Well, maybe one care - I recall thinking that if the kid ahead of me suddenly stops, then what do I do? Today, I would never even dream of planting my fat ass on one of those things.
Looking back now, I think there was something really cool about taking a vacation with my family while the other kids were stuck in school. I don't think this was something most of my other classmates did. We only took this particular time off because of the Jewish holiday. It was the only time we didn't have off from school at the same time as my parents. In fact, I think we had more holidays off than they did - my personal favorite was All Saints Day! I mean, what kid doesn't want off the day after Halloween? That was like the best Halloween treat ever!
PS When I first met my husband, I told him about the inn and it turned out he too went there as a child. We took our very first Thanksgiving together there and even took a photo together by the fireplace. I thought about having our wedding there, but sadly the resort has since closed.