We visited Killington Vermont the weekend before Halloween this year. When we arrived, there was about 6 inches of snow on the ground. A bit of a jolt in October, to say the least! We decided Mother Nature had played the biggest trick of all this holiday weekend. We spent the day exploring the area and stopped at the Inn at Long Trail on the mountain in Killington, east of Pico. The inn was an interesting lodge-type building, very rustic and built next to the Long Trail in 1938 by Mortimer Proctor, an avid outdoors man.
The rooms are built around a series of rock formations, millions of years old, that protrude into the interior. Some of the furniture is built from trees with the bark still intact. A large wood-burning (becoming a rare commodity these days) fireplace was roaring in the great room of the lodge. It was a very cold day and we decided to return later that evening when a traditional Irish band was scheduled to play at McGrath’s, the Irish Pub on premises.
According to the inn’s website, they have Irish bands there each weekend, just in case anyone needs an extra incentive to visit…
As the day grew longer, the snow began to fall again in earnest. After a long day of exploring and adventuring, we drove back to the pub that evening in a raging wind and snowstorm. The visibility was very limited and the roads were icy. Fortunately, not many other travelers were out and about on the roads. The fireplace at the inn was quite welcoming when we arrived. We headed into McGrath’s Pub and immediately; I was reminded of the scene in Star Wars where all the aliens were socializing at the bar. The pub staff, the band and most of the patrons were dressed in costume and nonchalantly kibitzing.
We felt like the conspicuous aliens there! We didn’t realize there was a dress code! It was a riot really, altogether very surreal. Two of the male band members had beards and were dolled up in flowing locks and dresses, one as a Girl Scout, complete with cookies and merit badges, another with 6 inch spike heels and all other accoutrements in the extreme as well. Patrons were garbed as fairies, pirates, and witches, Tarzan and Jane, hippies, leprechauns, Pocahontas and any number of other wacky characters.
Pat was thrilled when the Guinness he’d ordered arrived as a ‘perfect pour’ and as a bonus, it had a nice shamrock indented in the foam on top, and the presentation was done correctly; a perfect 10! I’ve learned that to those that appreciate their ‘pint o’ Guinness’, the technical aspects of the ‘pour’ and presentation really matter. Pat saw this 3-part pour process demonstrated at the Guinness Brewery in St. James Gate in Dublin a few years ago and has been critiquing the method in US and Irish pubs ever since.
We laughed a lot while we were at McGrath’s, observers to the seeming madness around us. The Blarney Rebel Band, out of Utica New York, was pretty good too. I took a lot of photos for folks in costume so they could have a visual memory of the event. Eventually, it was time to return to our accommodations. We headed back out into the winter-like madness beyond, clearing ice and snow off the car and forging into the blinding storm, reminding ourselves that it truly was still only October. Interestingly, none of the native Vermonters in the pub seemed at all surprised or bothered by the early snow. Of course, most of them were also fantasy creatures!
The next morning, the sun struggled above the horizon and threw shards of light upon the shimmering trees. It was all very pretty if one did not consider the fact that it was still October! The fresh snow on the lingering clinging foliage was vibrant in contrast. As the sun melted snow from branches and exposed more color, the trees glistened and glittered. A rather unusual combination, as traditionally, most of the colorful autumn leaves are long gone before we have significant snowfall.
We drove back home to New Hampshire in the early morning snow, reminiscing about our wacky evening at the pub, and realized that those fantasy characters were not the weirdest or spookiest occurrence on this Halloween weekend after all… The unseasonal weather actually was the biggest trickster of all! We thought 10 or so inches in Vermont was a lot. Hah ! We had 22 inches of snow waiting for us back in NH! It took hours to dig our way in from the road.