Holiday Mountain Magic | Samantha Lynch December 2019
December 02, 2019
As we pulled onto the drive at Hill Farm Inn, we were instantly greeted by their vintage tractor covered in twinkling Christmas lights. Christmas may have been over, but the holiday magic still lingered. I spotted the Inn’s owner from afar, as he made his way out of the warmth from inside to quickly grab a few logs from the porch wood stack.While we unloaded our bags, the New England winter air nipped at our cheeks and the amber lights that beamed from inside called us in.
Upon entering the guesthouse, we knocked the snow from our boots and were warmly welcomed with local provisions. The snow began to fall heavier, covering the earth and sidewalks, but that did not stop us from donning our outerwear once again and bracing the cold to the main-house. Most of the house was closed down for the evening, leaving the focus on the stone hearth with its crackling fire still ablaze. We nestled into our arm chairs, sipped our glasses, and listened as other families shared their plans for the weekend ahead. Most were escaping their everyday routine for some time on the slopes and the predicted forecast proved to be in their favor.
The snow from the night before left a breathtaking blanket of white for miles; the perfect backdrop for adventure. Unlike the other guests, a day spent at the slopes was not on our agenda. With our minds set on getting lost some where along Route 100, we sipped our last drops of coffee, bundled up once more, and headed out with recommendations tightly in hand. The grey sky continued to hang heavy and low, filled with wishes of children for another snow day.
As we ascended and descended the snowy Green Mountains, driving “no faster than a walk” over covered bridges, the signs of winter were infinite: tiny dots skiing back and forth on the mountains, a neighbor plowing out a general store parking lot, Christmas tree lights peeking from frosted windows, the smoky smell of wood stoves warming frozen fingers and toes, icicles hanging from bright red barns. These scenes were often repeated, town after town, like little snippets of a whimsical Nancy Thayer Christmas novel.
Frequent stops at quaint general stores was our norm, each one offered something unique for us to take home. Stepping into a general store was reminiscent of stepping back to a past era with their penny candy filled counters and vintage toys stuffed into every crevice.Maple flavored cheese, pine scented soaps, and the liquid gold of maple syrup filled our bags in the trunk as we made our way back to the Inn.
As we pulled into the snowy drive of Hill Farm Inn once again, I couldn’t help but smile at how perfectly cozy the Inn stood amidst the fresh falling snow. The Inn Keeper, Kate, said her goodbyes as she bundled up and headed home for the evening. The air was breath taxingly still, as we took a brief moment on the porch and enjoyed the views. It was at that very moment that I thought to myself: There is something so beautifully captivating about the mountains of Vermont.
To begin, I gathered an assortment of branches. The primary branch I used was cuttings from our balsam fir Christmas tree, but I also implemented a few other types as well, including red cedar and dogwood branches.
While many of our Thanksgiving day recipes are kept under tight wraps (grandma still won’t share her famous butter noodle recipe with anyone outside the family!), I thought I would share one of my own creations that has become a holiday favorite.