A recent day trip to southern Vermont cost me $20 with no compromise on a fun and meaningful travel experience. The endless scenic views served as the cheap travel anchor while the urge to buy “stuff” came in a distance second — truly a banner Vermont travel day for the cheapskate!
I visited quaint Vermont country towns like Putney, Newfane, Jamaica, Londonderry and Weston and was totally awed by the winding back roads with mountain views, meandering rivers, covered bridges, classic Vermont town commons, country and general stores, and open spaces accented by farms, cows and. at this time of the season, bright yellow flowers layering the land. At the end of the loop –Routes 30 and Route 100 — I came across a 100-mile view of Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire at the Hogback Mountain Scenic View Overlook, somewhere between Wilmington and Brattleboro. It’s really one of those “You had to be there” scenarios to fully appreciate this scene and the whole region, in general.
So, how did I spend several hours in Vermont on less than $20? Well, first, I stopped at the Putney Diner
in Putney, and feasted on a huge roast turkey sandwich with homemade stuffing and cheddar cheese for just under $9. The
turkey was freshly carved — none of this slimy, fake turkey (or real turkey that somehow doesn’t taste real) that most places offer. The turkey sandwich came with some delicious French fries and cole slaw. Oh yes, the drink of choice was water with lemon — better than paying money for some beverage with several teaspoons of sugar! The staff and locals at the Putney Diner were mighty friendly, kind of unintentionally offering a “Welcome to Vermont” greeting better than any tourism board could ever
My last spending spree on this cheap travel trip was buying a pound of delicious homemade fudge at the Vermont Country Store for about $10. This is an amazing country store that has been
in business since 1946 and specializes in thousands of hard-to-find goods. It’s always tempting to buy everything in the store (I had my eye of the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, I suppose, for old-time memories sake and nothing else as it’s actually kind of a crappy, crudely made toy), but fudge certainly sufficed as the sole purchase. I do know that when our budget calls for it, a return to the Vermont Country Store is in order — the variety of interesting merchandise is staggering, including clothing, food and candy, toys, hardware, and health and beauty items.
Along the way back home, the orange-colored sky, sweet smell in the air, the winding down of community events, auctions and yard sales, and families sitting together on their front porches suggested a life that is often foreign in our suburban lives. And all for around $20 — sometimes the greatest things in life are free, or close to it!