My Route

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Day 7: Sunday, 8th July. Destination: Sweet Onion Inn, Hancock, Vermont

Our host at the White Goose continued to impress with a lovely home-made breakfast of excellent pancakes. We chatted with another guest, a friendly chap called Philip Potter – of whom more later (see post for 21st July) - as we stood on the porch fashioning cycle-helmet rain-covers out of cling film. The Connecticut River valley was peaceful and lovely, low mist clinging to the valley sides, surrounding us in a veil of rain-laden greyness which reminded me of Japanese paintings.

We crossed the river into Vermont by another steel bridge in East Thetford, and stopped for photos. Our route left the Connecticut and headed back into the hills, via a picturesque covered timber bridge (closed for repair, but we sneaked through). The rolling countryside, farmland and woodland continued to the College town of South Royalton, formed around a grandly-scaled yet welcoming grassy square lined on one side by two-storey stone-built shops and cafes, one of which had a deli selling a fabulous selection of veggie meals and snacks. We had Indian-style chickpeas and rice, which maybe doesn’t sound so special, but after a week of deep-fried food was simple the best thing ever. Served by cute College girls, too, which is always a bonus. Onwards passed the much anticipated Gaysville which regretfully failed to live up to its name in any way you choose to interpret it. Stockbridge, 4 miles later on, was a similar disappointment, bearing no likeness at all to its Edinburgh namesake. Not even a roadsign for a commemorative photo.

And so, a bit weary and with damp clothes, we arrived at the Sweet Onion Inn, Hancock, nestled in the White River valley. We got there early, but a note stuck to the door directed us to our rooms and bid that we make ourselves at home. We went through the by-now automatic daily ritual of showering and hand washing our cycle clothes before lounging on the living room sofas to await supper. Which turned out to be entirely vegetarian, in a pleasant if slightly earnest fashion – nachos with beans, home-made salsa and a variety of hot sauces from mild to crazy. Two veggie meals in a day: a coincidence, or is this how they roll in Vermont?