Why I’ll be sitting on a pillow this week

Day two in Burlington was rainy. Kirk was at his conference, and I was left to my own devices. I was ready for an adventure, but all I have to show for the day is some inadequate pictures of the islands up north and the (world’s?) tallest filing cabinet:

Luckily, Saturday was beautiful. Finally felt like summer (though I’m not a fan of the heat, so mixed feelings on that). Kirk agreed to do the one thing I had my heart set on: bike the Island Line Trail. We rented bikes from Local Motion, right at mile 2 on the path downtown and set out to do the 14-mile trek along Burlington’s waterfront, out into Champlain, and up to South Hero Island.

It was an incredible experience (though I won’t lie–there are LOTS of people on the path). The views of the lake and the Adirondacks are fantastic. There are plenty of stopping points along the way to rest, enjoy the view, and collect yourself. In Colchester, we stopped at a smoothie stand next to a little league baseball game tied at 11-11.

But the crème de la crème of the path is the Colchester Causeway. The old rail trail heads right out into Lake Champlain. For three or so miles, water surrounds both sides of the path. The Adirondacks loom high on one side, and Mt Mansfield and Camel’s Hump on the other.


Yeah, yeah, don’t mind the weird fractional people in the pano. I wanted to make the point of how awesome the path is. And here is an aerial shot from the Colchester town website:


At the very end of the trail is a ferry to take you the last 200′ to the beginning of the islands. We sat at the edge of the gap, talked to other riders, and enjoyed the view, but decided we had gone far enough. Because I don’t know who designed modern bike seats, but they absolutely did not have my ass in mind. And after 22 miles, my ass will be hurting for days to come.


You’re all grounded


Seriously, why didn’t anyone tell me about Shelburne Museum?

So I’m in Vermont, which is one of my happy places. I’m here with this guy:


This is Kirk. He is in jail for being cranky. He’s speaking at a UX conference in Burlington, and that kind of stress is not his forte. I’m sure that after said conference he’ll be the loving, sweet guy I know he can be. But for now–bars.

So Shelburne Museum is exactly the kind of weird adventure I need in my life. It’s 45 acres of peculiarities. There’s a sizable boat in a field.


There’s a building FULL of dolls–creepy shit. Like, every time I went to take a picture, I expected to see an eye flutter from some doll in a corner.


Then there are just old-timey places. Like pioneer-style housing, old carriages, and a blacksmith. So it’s kind of like a living history museum crashed into some eclectic collection of stuff and someone built a fence around it all and started charging admission. And I’m okay with that.

There were children’s tea sets and a LOT of doll house stuff. I appreciate the amount of detail that went into the kitchens of these doll houses.

There was a full-size exhibit of hat boxes. And… cross stitch. My heart was aflutter. I like that these 18th century pieces are noted as silk on linen. That’s the “new” thing in cross stitch circles over the past few years. So, like skinny jeans, everything comes back into style.


And then, at the very end, there was a U-shaped building full of circus…stuff. There were posters, and there were LOTS of wooden carvings. For example, this is a panorama of a hand-carved wooden circus. A WHOLE circus. Whaaaa?!


The rest of the building, in the curve of the wall, contains a ridiculously long (525 linear feet) set of hand-carved circus parade acts. All were carved by Roy Arnold, along with five helpers, over 25 years. It’s incredibly detailed and INSANE. And pretty awesome.


Who has the time to create something like this?! Good on Roy Arnold.

After the museum, Kirk and I met up with other speakers for the conference. They all had cool glasses. My glasses are for reading, and decidedly not cool, so I was already at a disadvantage. Setting me further behind was all the tech talk. They talked computer voodoo at me, and I smiled and nodded. My only shining moment was around an argument about whether “the college experience” was necessary. “I went to college!” I offered brightly. “It was brilliant!” Everyone turned to look at me. “I was good at it! Those are important years of stupidity…” Everyone had gone back to tech talk. I looked down at my plate and couldn’t understand why I hadn’t drawn them all in.

After dinner, Kirk went back to the hotel to finish up his speech for tomorrow. I walked down to the water. Oh, I’ve missed you, Lake Champlain. That view of the Adirondacks… And the jazz festival is on this weekend, so people were everywhere, and music could be heard on every corner. In a park by the water, there was a big tent. From a distance, the music was solid and the crowds thin. We were all just sitting on rocks watching the sun go down over the Adirondacks. It just feels good to be in Vermont.