In January of 2007 Bob Laney and Debbie (then Laney, now Staley) flew to Vermont to visit Debbie’s daughter and son-in-law, Audrey and James Barnes. James is the brother of my daughter Allison’s grammar school and dance studio best friend Whitney Barnes. It was typical Vermont winter weather – temperatures below zero much of the time and several feet of snow everywhere.
Audrey and James were wonderful hosts. We stayed at their cozy rental house in the suburbs of South Burlington, on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, near the airport and the University of Vermont, where James was a graduate student. Audrey worked as an industrial designer at a wood working shop an hour’s drive south, where she commuted once a week. Both hosts are down home and can be countrified, but both are very smart and cosmopolitan. They enjoy a good meal with a great wine or beer. We always ate well and had sophisticated meals, whether at their house or at several eclectic little restaurants downtown.
While we were there, Audrey and James took us to a local brewery where they bought several six packs of small batch, flavorful beers.
One day we went snow skiing at a commercial resort near Burlington. I cannot remember the name of the slope we went to, but there are hundreds of them all over New England. The northeast US has ski slopes every few miles, like western NC has Baptist churches every few miles.
Another day James and I went hiking in deep snow to a small mountain nearby that was the site of one of his biology research projects. From the top we had a wonderful view of the Vermont countryside.
A good time was had by all.