A vagabond’s lament – meet cool folks, hello, goodbye.

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It’s happened to all of us – you meet someone and you click right away. Conversation flows easily, common interests are discovered, and laughter ensues. When you are a fulltime RVer on the move, connections like this are bittersweet because you know they are fleeting.

To Jennifer Meyer and Kate Hill- I regret we had such a short time together in Sturbridge, Mass., but I think of you every time I open my fridge!

These two gals from from Oregon have been traveling across the U.S. like us (www.oneyearontheroad.com), and when we met they had just been to Cape Cod. By luck, they got there in time to witness the cranberry harvest. Jennifer was trying to get some photos when a truck driver stopped and offered her a higher vantage point by standing on his cranberry-laden truck.

She got her shot, then he offered, “You want some cranberries?” and scooped a bunch into a plastic bag. Apparently a believer in pass-it-on, Jennifer offered us some of the cranberries that “fell off the truck.”IMG_9285

I made this tart cranberry applesauce, with apple cider from Vermont, apples from Maine, cranberries from Massachusettes, and a little brown sugar.

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Attention wordsmiths and other curious types.

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By Saimi Rote Bergmann

Back before cars, when horsepower meant horse-powered, wagon teams sported harnesses decorated with bells. American wagoners took pride in their expensive brass bells – some even filed the bells a bit to give theirs a unique sound.
If a teamster’s wagon got mired in mud or broke down and he needed help from another wagoner, it was customary for him to relinquish his bells to the rescuer. Thus, it was a point of honor (and an excuse for a little bragging) to arrive at a destination with all your bells.
Hence the phrase, “I’ll be there with bells on.”

(Learned this nugget of cool info at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. You can see an example of the wagon bells on the harness at the far right side of the photo.)

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Cider donuts, bacon-BBQ sauce, fried cheese. Travel really is broadening. Sigh.

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by Saimi Bergmann

So glad my RV does not have a bathroom scale.

Calories to the left of me, calories to the right of me. That’s a problem with traveling the country – too many untried eateries just begging us to stop. Restaurants with tempting names, tempting menus, local fame.

We succumbed to the lure of Prohibition Pig – I mean, come on, how could we not stop?  At this Waterbury, VT,  restaurant we shared a signature appetizer called Fried Pimiento Cheese.  Imagine a walnut-sized creamy cheddar cheese ball studded with pimientos, rolled in panko, then deep fried. Sinful, indulgent, amazing. Served with a sweet sauce, but even better when dipped in their proprietary bacon-BBQ sauce. Yes, I said bacon.

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Despite being well past my normal daily caloric limit, we had to stop at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill near Stowe. Gourmet Magazine named their cider donuts the fourth best in the country – could you resist that?

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I thought the claim of making 800 dozen donuts a day was ridiculous until we got to there. Even taking into account that it was the Friday before Columbus Day, the crowds were staggering, and the donuts were snatched up as quickly as they were made.

In my opinion, the donuts were just OK, but the cider was delicious, and the Sweet Tango apples sold in a big bin out front were a perfect blend of crisp, sweet and tart.

 

This meal goes into the Breakfast Hall of Fame

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Burlington, Vermont, home to three universities, is littered with restaurants, so it was nigh impossible to choose just one. I asked every single resident I could find, including fellow bus riders, to recommend an eatery.  Penny Cluse Cafe got numerous nominations, so we went there for brunch.

Hubby got their justifiably famous gingerbread pancakes, served with, of course, authentic Vermont maple syrup.  I got a breakfast platter with homefries good enough to write home about. But it was the biscuits and gravy that made this meal a stand out. Instead of sausage, the gravy is flavored with myriad herbs. This stuff is so good the locals buy it by the pint and take it home rather than stand in long lines waiting for a table.

I will definitely be trying to make this – what a treat for my vegetarian daughter.

 

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Heading to Vermont for some leaf peeping

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By Saimi Rote Bergmann

Round two. Here we go again, heading off for our second vagabond tour. This time, we will travel the U.S. clockwise.

First, as they say on TV, a review of season one. Hubby and I sold our Ohio home and hit the road in September, 2014. We drove west, high points including the Bourbon Trail just south of Louisville, Ky., the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, and a taping of Betty White’s show, “Hot in Cleveland,” in Hollywood. Also enjoyed Death Valley and visiting the Clinton and Reagan presidential libraries, in Arkansas and California, respectively.

And oh, the food. We remember most cities by the dishes we enjoyed. Traveling on our stomaches, to twist a phrase.

After eight months and 12,000 miles through 22 states we returned to Ohio for the summer, so I could run Foodie Field Trips, a seasonal tour company I own with Jennifer Mastroianni. (www.foodiefieldtripsohio.com)

Today we left Ohio, heading east to New England. Because hubby was a college professor, we never could vacation in the fall, and I’ve always wanted to go leaf peeping in Vermont and New Hampshire.

 

 

 

 

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Boiled peanuts. Weirdly delicious.

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By Saimi

After 10,000 miles through 20 states in 8 months, my strongest memories center on food. Each region had its own staples, seasonings and  flavor palette. And in each region, I discovered a treat I had never before tried.

In Georgia it was boiled peanuts.

I can hear my friends with Southern roots howling in disbelief. “You’ve never had boiled peanuts?”

Well, I have now. And they are as different from the roasted version as they can be. They are boiled IN THE SHELL in salted or seasoned water. You can buy them in grocery stores from the same type of tureen in which northern stores sell soup.image

The shells have softened and are easily peeled open. The nuts inside have also softened, and have the feel of a cooked navy bean. They maintain much of the peanutty taste, but without the roasting, it is much milder.

To my Georgia friends, Len and Susanne, who insisted I try this local favorite, I say “Thanks!”  Best of all, it is a treat that is easily transported and easily shared.

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Tell me a (his)story…

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Some of you may be old enough to remember Paul Harvey’s radio show, during which he told historical stories with a surprise ending. His tag line after the big reveal was, “And now you know the REST of the story.”

We heard several Harvey-worthy tales at the Alamo yesterday from fabled folk like Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie – all part of the celebration honoring the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo.

My favorite story was told by a reenactor who is also a certified artillery instructor. He totes a canon around with him, and occasionally fires it.

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He let us hold surprisingly heavy cannonballs and taught us about “grapeshot,” which is a canister full of small cannonballs that when fired, hurls the balls in all directions – similar to a shotgun blast.

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He also told us about a military man who took the traditional cannonball, hollowed it, then stuffed the inside with gunpowder and added a fuse. When the cannon fired, it lit the fuse, and when the fuse lit the gunpowder, the cannonball exploded, hurling bits of metal everywhere. The name of the man who invented this? Henry Shrapnel.  And now you know the REST of the story.