There are two sides to winter in New England: Winter in the city is a grim mosaic of grey snowbanks and brown slush and salt-stained boots on sanity-strained commuters. Winter in the country? That’s an entirely different story, full of mountain vistas, snow-dusted trees, and endless stretches of fresh, white powder. At the beginning of February, Sean and I escaped the bleak streets of Boston for the snowy paradise of eastern Vermont. We found a rustic, one-room cabin on AirBnB (hand-built by a friendly fellow transplant to these colder climes) and spent a weekend tucked away like a couple of mountain recluses.
We arrived late on Friday night to a fire roaring in the wood-burning stove—the only real heat source in the place—and promptly unpacked our homemade marshmallows and assorted candy and started roasting. (Reese’s s’mores. Alleluia, amen.)
When we woke up on Saturday, our fire had gone out, and the interior temperature had plummeted to a frosty 40 degrees. It took three hours, three kindling-seeking missions, a handful of swears, and a little bit of female ingenuity (what can I say? I
watch a lot of movies was a Girl Scout) before we finally got the fire going again. But once we did, our little hideaway became the perfect cozy retreat.
There was a wind chill advisory that morning, so I refused to go outside until the threat of immediate and inescapable frostbite had passed. But once it was safe, we strapped on the snowshoes provided by our host and trudged through the 150 undisturbed acres behind the cabin. (For about an hour. Until my baby toes started to hurt so badly that I was convinced I was going to lose them to gangrene. Note to self: wear proper winter boots next time.)
We devoted the entire rest of the day to lazing around inside. We didn’t watch T.V. (there wasn’t one); we didn’t stream Netflix (no wi-fi, either); and we didn’t wash our hair (the five gallon tank supplied just enough water in the unheated bathroom for a cursory underarm scrub). What we did instead was play Trivial Pursuit while Iron and Wine and Feist tunes hummed in the background; show off our “considerable” “musical” “talents” (ahem) on the guitar we found inside; curl up under blankets and chat about our future plans; eat chipotle Gouda and fig goat cheese in our sweats and wool socks; and listen for coyotes as we drifted off to sleep in our lofted bedroom.