A week ago, I was asked to write a blog post for a website about “Local Wanderlust”- a term I showed interest in creating, even though the world “Wanderlust” itself gets under my skin. The purpose of my article was to shed light on local travel and growing curiosity for the simple places we live in or can visit nearby. It doesn’t require a lot of money, any wild plans, or the need to change your life around. The surprise? I LOVED writing it. I didn’t even realize until I finished the piece that this has always been my passion. Even when I had travel overseas, my favorite details are in the small, personal towns. It’s in the local bars without a name, the strange coffee shops owned by a man considered the mayor, and the stories that made the town what it is.
So with all the chances Ben and I have in the next several weeks to visit some little-known places, I figured, why not start now? This weekend, we go off to one of my favorite places on the east coast. So it makes sense that it would be my first attempt at a new project.
Wallingford and Tinmouth, Vermont: Home of the best bacon I’ve ever had
About a year ago, my husband and I were invited up by some friends that own farms in the area. Working a terrible temp job at the time, I was open to anything that would get me out of the city. These town ended up becoming my summer haven. After that 4th of July weekend, the thought of overlooking the Green Mountains in a bench on the edge of a cliff kept me from losing my mind in an unfulfilling data entry job in a humid, frustrating midtown. We went back up two more times that summer, each time like we had some sort of secret world that existed up past cell phone service and grocery chains.
It is where I drank my first (of many) caipirinhas, where I learned to spell caipirinhas, where I learned to love bacon, where I came up with the idea for a novel that may take me many years to write, and where I saw that there was an alternative to the NYC actor existence.
Wallingford is home is many of the actors from Weston Playhouse, a seasonal company about 20 minutes away that produces beautiful theatre in three different spaces throughout the summer. If it wasn’t for them, we never would have discovered this area.
As for the bacon part, Wallingford may not have many businesses, but they do have bacon. I’m not much of a bacon person, I never jumped on the bacon wagon when people started dipping it in chocolate or mixing it with their whiskey. I found it to be a distracting flavor. But the first time my husband came home from Wallingford, he started cooking this bacon while I was in the shower, I remember having to keep myself from walking out shampoo-in-hair to find out what in God’s good earth was happening in the kitchen. I said bacon 5 times in this paragraph, now 6.
Now driving through downtown Wallingford takes about 5 minutes, if that. But one very important place to note, before I even drive up there tomorrow, is the Wallingford Locker. Yes, it’s a butcher. And it sells the magical bacon. More on the magical bacon tomorrow.
I haven’t explored the rest of the main street yet, so I will report back while I’m there.
Also, on one of our trips last summer, Ben and I stayed at the White Rocks Inn, a bed and breakfast that sits on the entrance of town off the main road. The owner was a warm welcoming lady who encouraged us to come down to breakfast the next morning. Oh and we did. All from local farms, the fresh breakfast is something we still talk about today. We sat at the table with the only other couple staying at the Inn that night, a pair of 50 something hippies full of fabulous wisdom, with amazing life stories, that were headed off to a sustainability conference nearby. It was one of those “we are never going to have a conversation with strangers like this again” kind of conversations. Moments like this were the whole reason I hiked the Camino. It’s what traveling is about for me. Stay there, or have your wedding there. It definitely doesn’t suck.
It’s impossible to fit the way I feel about this town into a blog post. I guess I’ll just have to write about while I’m there, experiencing the cuddles of the Vermont trees and hopefully eating something covered in maple syrup.
The town’s story
Wallingford Population: 2,274
Tinmouth population: 935….yup, that’s it. Though tomorrow it will be 937…WATCH OUT.
The very beginning:
“On November 27, 1761, Governor Wentworth of New Hampshire granted to Captain Hall and 63 associates 23,040 acres in a tract roughly six miles square. Six miles square was chosen because from anywhere within that area the distance to market, to church, or to town meeting could be traveled between morning and evening chores.”
Ummm, I kind of love that the size of the town was chosen so that everyone could go about their day in the right amount of time to get everything done. Also, I don’t remember the last time I walked six miles to the store. Jeebus. But I guess that’s what people did a lot of back then- walking. Let me reiterate that this is not a flat town.
“The Batcheller and Sons Company operated out of the Old Stone Shop. This was the oldest fork company in America.”
Woohoo! Forks are the best!
Paul Harris is pretty nifty!…hear me out.
He founded Rotary International and grew up in Wallingford. Apparently while he was running his law practice in Chicago, he was inspired by the energy of his home town where business owners supported one another, personally and financially. In order to form a community of local business professionals and encourage humanitarian support, he formed the Rotary Association. The clubs spread across the country and is what is today because of him and his lessons from Wallingford. Go small businesses!
-From Rotary’s website.
And we’re off!
- Hug our wonderful friends
- Lay in many fields and take in the splendor of nature! Maybe even roll in the grass a bit.
- Buy some bacon.
- Eat the bacon.
- Visit the local stores and chat with anyone willing to chat.
- Maybe buy something with a bird on it
- Drink a lot of wine
As you can tell, this is my first attempt at travel writing, something I’ve wanted to tackle for a while. Ben and I take off at 7 tomorrow morning, something we’re not willing to do with many places. So get ready for some early morning pie adventures (spoiler, we’re bringing pie), not so pretty roads that turn into very pretty roads, and bacon on everything.