Our last stop before returning to Canada was in Vermont. I had originally planned on having two days in Vermont because there are some deeply interesting little museums (the Museum of Everyday Life, the Vermontasaurus, the Experimental Balloon and Airship Museum, to mention just a few), but we had to get to Montreal for the Skilling Deskilling Workshop, so we had less time than we would have liked. Really, it’s just an excuse to return to Vermont in the near future.
We stayed in a little tiny village called Plymouth. It is, quite literally, 3 buildings at the bottom of the hill, and then at the top of the hill a little village preserved almost intact from the 1920s.
It has two claims to fame: 1. It’s the birthplace of former President Calvin Coolidge, and 2. It has a delicious little cheese factory that has also been there since the 1920s.
The factory has a little museum on the top floor, where you can learn all about cheese making.
The collection includes a garden rake that was once used as a stand-in when a whey rake was unavailable (for making delicious, delicious curds).
Swiss Diplomat making a “delicious cheese” face.
Purchases were made, and then we hit the road again.
And what a road. Driving in Vermont is a pleasure, unlike pretty much everywhere else. Almost empty roads and gorgeous views. And no snow when we were going through.
We made a second quick stop in Waterbury, home of the Alchemist Brewery. It was the very last day that their retail store was open, and the beer that they brew (Heady Topper) is virtually impossible to get at any store in Vermont, and totally impossible to get outside of the state.
More purchases were made!
And then we headed for Montreal, where we took almost no pictures. We were there because I was going to the fabulous Deskilling/Reskilling workshop at Concordia. I wish I had taken pictures because it involved my wishlist of speakers, fabulous talks, a pretty sweet little apartment to stay in, and pieorgies. It was really excellent, and I’m so glad that I was invited.
I did see a lot of art … Cory Arcangel at DHC, Beat Nation (second time, just as good) at MAC, Mishka Henner at the McCord. And some good friends – it just happened that my collaborators from the IP project were all in Montreal at the same time. Breakfast was had! So nice.
On our way back to London we stopped in Hudson to see our friends Duncan and Anna. Tim and Duncan had found a recipe for maple syrup beer in Catherine Parr Trail’s 1857 Emigrant Housekeeper’s Guide to the Backwoods of Canada and decided to try their luck with brewing it.
I built robots with Owen.
And a modernist sculpture garden (featuring art critics in their cups, a Takashi Murakami mushroom house and a Surrealist police bear).
And then we went back to London.
Despite her expression, Lucy was happy to be back. We took her over to the house, and she and the cats (who are in excellent spirits) had a nice furry reunion. It was really bizarre to be home but not home. And to go to the house and see it half filled with our stuff and half with someone else’s. We were staying a block away with our friends Patrick and Kelly and it was so much fun that we all pledged to No Stress 2014 (among other things). And… we were once again neglectful of pictures. None of us with our friends. But one of the food!
Heady Topper and Plymouth cheese were consumed. Both delicious.
I went with Kelly and Patrick to Toronto. We saw the Geoffrey Farmer show, but we were really there for the Theaster Gates talk at the AGO. I’m honestly not sure how to describe the talk, which was more of a performance than a talk. It was charged, moving and lyrical in equal parts and I’m sure there are plenty of critics out there who can do a better job of analyzing it than I can. I felt changed by it, and that’s high praise for a talk. Then, as you would, we went on a search, in the dark, for a 34 foot unicorn horn, and then we went back to London.
I went to derby practice on Thursday night and strapped my skates on for the first time in more than two months (yikes). I managed to have fun and not break any more bones, both of which felt like an accomplishment. My legs were pretty sore when we left London very early on Friday morning and drove out to Buffalo just ahead of a giant winter storm (parts of which reached us here).