After our adventurous descent down Mount Tom’s Precipice Trail we were hungry. Very hungry. Not handmade local croissant or organic frittata hungry. But cheeseburger hungry. Milkshake hungry. Lobster roll hungry. Fried clam strips hungry. You know what I mean. And after hiking up and down a beautiful Vermont mountain with two four-year olds and a five-month old we had earned our eats the old-fashioned way.
The White Cottage Snack Bar in Woodstock may be America’s most beautiful roadside burger and shake joint. The signage, the store front, and the menu looked like something you could find in Cape May or Long Beach Island along the coast of our beloved Jersey Shore. But the outdoor eating area in the back did not. In Vermont they even like to eat their burgers and shakes with a view.
We found a picnic table right next to the river and settled into a yummy post-hike meal. All of the boys enjoyed their cheeseburgers and fries and Mommy thought the clam strips were solid, but not spectacular. The portions, as you can see, were substantial. But the highlight of the meal was my mother-in-law’s juicy and generous lobster roll, which she kindly shared with the crew. It was much better than one I had enjoyed back home at the Jersey Shore the week before–but not as buttery and delicious as the ones we had tasted two years back in Camden, Maine. But that comparison just isn’t fair– a Maine lobster roll is one of God’s gifts to humanity.
As we devoured our meals a couple of youngsters at the table next to us finished their food, kicked off their shoes, and waded into the river. I considered doing the same. But my tummy was full, my legs were tired, and the summer air had turned cool. As we cleaned up our table and threw away our trash the sky turned suddenly dark and it started to drizzle. We ran back to the truck and loaded the boys up as quickly as we could.
As we drove back to the campground I felt grateful for the hike, grateful for the food, grateful for my family, grateful for Vermont, and for some strange, inexplicable reason–even grateful for the summer rain.