• Nicole Griggs

Sugar High in the Green Mountain State

Updated: May 24

Vermont really didn't have to go that hard with sugar, but they did. We ate it our way through it all so you didn't have to make your dentist mad.

Vintage ice cream themed VW bus
Now this would be living van life in style!

After spending approximately 2.8 seconds in #Niagara State Park, which you can read about here, we decided to book it back across New York state and head back toward New England. Fairly hurdling down the dark highway, we only made it until midnight when we had to sleep over at a truck stop just west of Troy, New York. Alex took the late shift and I, suffering bravely for the cause, awoke at 7 AM to finish the drive.

Why were we moving so quickly, you ask? Well, we had been invited by the first #buslifers we ever met to go for a hike at 11 AM that next morning. But why did we have to pull a #MadMaxFuryRoad? Because we were so enthralled by the newness of #vanlife, we wanted to cram in as many experiences as we possibly could.

It was such an arduous journey to move from building the van to living in it full-time that we immediately wanted to take full advantage of all the hard work we had completed. We wanted to revel in it. Which brings us to our first mistake:

Doing too much just because you can.

That's right, we didn't want to miss anything because everything was so cool, but we were moving way too fast. So, exhausted but optimistic, we arrived in Vermont the next morning and collected ourselves at the bottom of the #StrattonMountain trail head, grilling up some breakfast sausages while we waited for our friends to arrive.

Lindsey and Leo, along with their visiting friends Rachel and Hunter, pulled in a little after us and we did a COVID circle meet, standing at various distances and giving everyone those awkward nods and body wiggles in greeting in lieu of clasping hands. After slathering on sun lotion, we tackled the mountain.

Here is where I wish to tell you that despite one time being a nationally ranked swimmer, I am out of shape. I don't mind it so much because I'm not normally confronted by a 7.5 mile hike in New England humidity without enough water in our #Yeti bottles. Alex and I have vowed to begin our #fitness journey slowly and at lower altitudes. Yet, in keeping with the theme of the rest of our trip so far, we decided that of course we could dive head first into the deep end.

I won't elaborate on how sweaty and red-faced we became over the duration of the trip. Nor will I linger upon the details of a baby asthma attack that I kept secret until now. I won't even illuminate everyone reading this (is there anyone reading this?) on how we were unable to walk for the next week and I got acne on my butt because my leggings were too thick and my sweat just pooled against my body for 3 hours. Note to my stubborn, punk self with too many black and heavy goth clothes: invest in shorts.

Despite the challenge, we made it through the trek, a passing mountain rainstorm, and back down the trail to our van without dying. We did almost die, however, on the road to Lindsey and Leo's campground. It was extremely bumpy and made us super grateful that we had installed our #SumoSprings in the van the weekend before. Tucked safely against the edge of a cliff, we checked off one of the main squares in van life bingo: living in a van down by the river. Here comes the Chris Farley GIF:

We took a "bath" in the river and though it was ice cold and numbed our bodies completely, the humidity took back its control as soon as we dried off from the dip. Despite the heat and the spooky abandoned house at the far edge of the property, we slept like little sweaty babies. We didn't even notice the midnight downpour with raindrops drumming steadily against our solar panels.


After such an intense workout, Alex and I were craving sugar the next day. Saying goodbye to the LL Gang, we drove up to the Ben & Jerry's factory in Burlington and achieved our goal in a very real way. Just a bit further down the road we stumbled across a #HarvestHost location at Cold Hollow Cider Mill which was more than a little exciting because we were able to see cider doughnuts being born.

Lucy, of course, was a big hit with the Cold Hollow staff and distributed many kisses. We took our time wandering through the shop enjoying the silly trinkets and the air conditioning that smelled of apple cider. As we mused over all the sweet treats for sale, we wondered where we should head next. The day was growing long and we still had no place to sleep. Maybe it was the soporific effects of the ice cream but we weren't too concerned.

The past few days of intense driving, rushed experiences, and quick social visits had caught up with us and was hitting us over the head hard with an important lesson. Sure, we have a van and the ability to do anything we want but it doesn't mean we have to have all our adventures at once. They'll still be there after a walk with the dog and some ice cream.

Thanks for reading and see you out on the road!

Special thanks to Lindsey and Leo (@a_bus_named_sue) for hauling our butts up a mountain and allowing us tour what is very clearly a haunted house. If you're interested in learning more about Harvest Hosts, you can visit their website here and receive 15% off when you sign up.

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