Craig organized a couples weekend for us to spend time with our friends Wayne and Kerry in Waterbury VT. Craig and I have gone on date nights before, and we have both spent time away from Benton for work related reasons, but we have never been away from Benton at the same time, together, alone, with no childcare responsibilities. Granddad and Chema came up to spend quality time with Benton while we went up to Vermont to have a weekend to ourselves. Benton has spent a ton of quality time with all his grandparents and loves them dearly. He is generally the most easy going little dude and has never had a problem hanging out with our friends when they help us out by babysitting. Even tough I know all this rationally and I know that my dad is a wonderful caretaker and loves Benton so deeply, it is still so hard to walk out the door knowing that I wouldn’t see my babe for 48 hours.
I have spent a fair amount of time in Vermont but we almost exclusively hang out around Craig’s family home in Middlebury. It is harder to be a tourist in your own hometown than in a new place. Sometimes the beauty of home gets lost in the catching up with family and nostalgia of home, instead of seeing our surrounding with fresh eyes.
We stayed at the Ayres Guest House located right it the heart of Waterbury directly behind Prohibition Pig. This bright renovated 2 bedroom Airbnb with reclaimed barn wood was the perfect place to relax for the weekend.
I spent almost all of Saturday on the couch in my pajamas under the most comfortable blanket doing NOTHING. It was glorious. Honestly it was uncomfortable at first, sitting around feeling like I should be doing something, be productive in some way, using my child-free time to the fullest. I usually run around with a “do all the things” mantra in my head. I had grand plans of going snowshoeing but the “feels like 4 degree” forecast turned me off. I haven’t spent a day doing nothing since before Benton was born almost two years ago. A “nothing” day with a very active toddler still involves building block towers, racetracks and magical kingdoms, reading the same 4 books 18 times each, eating snacks on snacks on snacks, and at least some whining and time outs. I am slowly starting to come around to the very real need for a self-care or alone time routine in order to be a better partner, mother, and boss.
Saturday night we had one of the best dinners ever at Hen of the Wood. We lucked into a table by calling to get on the waitlist 3 minutes after someone cancelled their reservation. It felt like fate to have an intimate two and a half hour multi-course meal to celebrate our friend’s birthday where Craig and I could eat the food at the temperature it was supposed to be served, with both hands, at the same time, with out a squirming toddler in our laps reaching for the water glasses. Don’t get me wrong, Benton can hold it down with food beyond the typical toddler chicken finger/mac and cheese pallet. He can usually behave for the first 30 minutes of any restaurant visit, but the tag team chasing-a-toddler-around-the-restaurant-trying-to-keep-him-from-tripping-the-wait-staff game can get a bit tiresome.
The service was wonderful, they even laughed at Craig’s bad dad jokes. I will be dreaming about this meal for years to come. If you have the opportunity to eat at Hen of the Wood, do not pass it up!
On Sunday morning I drove up to Burlington to meet a friend for breakfast at Monarch & the Milkweed. This bright and intimate coffee shop with full brunch was the perfect spot to catch up with a friend who I hadn’t seen in over 6 months. Even though it was freezing, we took a walk along Lake Champlain until the lake winds picked up and we could no longer feel our faces.
Sunday afternoon, Kerry and I ate lunch at Prohibition Pig then toured the Ben & Jerry’s and Cabot Farmers’ stores, all located with in 2 miles of our Airbnb. Prohibition Pig has a ton of great local beers on tap, but as a non-drinker I could really care less about that. However, any restaurant or pub that carries craft soda on tap is A+ in my book. Rookies Root Beer is seriously the best root beer I have ever had, It tastes like what every other rot beer should taste like, flavorful and distinct not just syrupy sweet. I also had a sandwich that made it onto my list of top 10 sandwiches of all time! The GLT – guanciale, arugula and fried green tomatoes – was just perfect, balanced between fresh and fatty, salty guaciale and sweet tomatoes, with a crispy pickle. I am ready to drive back for this sandwich alone.
Waterbury is such a great place for an adults only weekend getaway, and I’m sure it would be a great place to bring your kids too. With multiple ski mountains with in 30 minutes, breweries creating spectacular craft beers and an intense food culture, Waterbury felt like such special place to reconnect, relax, and experience a new-to-me part of Vermont.
After getting over the initial stress about leaving Benton, I had such a wonderful time doing as little as possible. I am totally on board for regular adult time with out the kid, and will definitely make sure this happens again, even if it is only once every two years. Parents, what do you do to make child free time with your partner and ensure you are recharged?