I was always planning on doing Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) during the summer of 2018 and early on in Seminary, I started thinking it would be fun to go somewhere new for the summer. After spending last summer in Atlanta, I knew I never wanted to do that again, so I turned my sights North. I'd never been to New England before and thought it would be fun to there for the summer. I quickly found University of Vermont Medical Center and had a wonderful interview with the Jesuit priests who are the supervisors there. It felt like a perfect fit and despite the fact that I'd never been to Vermont and didn't know a soul there, I accepted the position. My supervisor connected me with a place to live and my Presbytery helped me pay for housing. I've been waiting for this for months!
When I decided to drive up, I asked one of my best friends Alexandra if she'd like to come up with me. She loves road trips so she said yes and we began planning. We called up family, friends, and family of friends and found places to stay along the way. It was probably the best road trip I've ever done! Here are a few snapshots of the trip!
Day 1 - Atlanta, GA to Raleigh, NC
The first photo is of the night before when I said goodbye to my good friends. We'll be together again when I'm back in Atlanta for a few days in August, but it was good to be together one last time before the summer. Alexandra and I left early Friday morning and drove up first to Durham to have lunch with her uncle and then on to Raleigh. Our friend Lucas connected us to his sister and brother-in-law who graciously let us stay with them. We rested up for a bit, and then went out to walk around a nearby lake and to a great little hipster-y restaurant nearby. I'm always surprised at how exhausting driving is, but we hit the hay early that night.
Day 2 - Raleigh, NC to Washington, DC
The next morning, we headed up to DC and besides some very predictable traffic, made it there easily in time for lunch. We stayed with my friends from SPU, Jared and Amanda Wyma-Bradley, who I haven't seen since we graduated college four years ago. It was so much fun to catch up and hear about grad school, work, and life. Their apartment was adorable and they are the best hosts! They had something to do in the evening, which worked out perfectly for me and Alexandra to go into the city.
Jared and Amanda live in Arlington, and despite the fact that it was in the high 80's and humid, we walked over 3 miles in and around town. We walked through Arlington cemetery, which I had never been to before, which was a very powerful experience. We walked across the Potomac, to the Lincoln and Washington memorials, and all the way to the National Portrait Gallery. We went straight to the Hall of Presidents to pay our respects to the new Obama portrait, which is even more beautiful in person.
Sweaty and exhausted, we looked quickly at Google Maps and found a Ramen restaurant nearby. It was only a brief wait, which turned out to be WELL worth it. It was called Daikaya and apparently, it can have a 2hr+ wait to get in. It was so delicious and a perfect refuel for our return trip home.
When we got out of the restaurant, a storm was starting to come in. We grabbed bikes from a bike sharing program (which ended up being free!) and rode back along the mall. It was even more beautiful with the dark clouds looming and the cool breeze. We made our way back to Arlington but when the rain started, we happily ditched our bikes and took a Lyft the last mile home!
Day 3 - Washington, DC to Hudson NY
On Sunday morning, we went to a nearby Farmer's Market with Jared and Amanda to get wood-fired bagels they had been wanting to try. They truly were the best bagels I'd ever had (peanut-butter and bacon on a plain bagel) and from there we hit the road again. We stopped in Delaware so I could buy a new phone without sales tax (my Oregonian roots run deep). After an absurdly long wait, we headed back on the road through rain and toll roads and made our way up to Hudson, New York where my aunt, cousin and his wife live. My aunt lives in town, but we stayed with my cousin and his wife out in the country. Their home and property are stunning and we enjoyed one of my favorite Brazillian dishes for dinner.
Day 4 - Hudson, NY
We spent two nights in Hudson, which meant we got to spend the day exploring Hudson with my Aunt Carolyn. She first took us to an outdoor modern art sculpture garden, which was massive and incredible. Alexandra was in heaven. We went into Hudson for lunch, which is simply the cutest little town. It's the kind of place where New Yorkers use 'weekend' as a verb. We counted no less than 12 antique shops on the main street and were delighted that the sun came out. It was a perfect day. We also got lots of time to play with Richard and Julia's new puppy Daphne, which was definitely a highlight for me.
Day 5 - Hudson, NY to Burlington, VT
Our last stretch of the drive was only 3.5 hours, but we arrived in Burlington in the midst of an absolute downpour, so we grabbed a bite to eat at an adorable bakery in town before going to my new home.
I'm staying at an Episcopal Retreat Center that is right on Lake Champlain. It truly is the most incredible gift to me. Having spent the last two years in Atlanta way from my beloved water and mountains, to spend 11 weeks living in such a beautiful location is overwhelming in the best way. There are hiking trails, kayaks, and a bike path into town nearby. I'm still figuring out the camp and retreat center, but my little slice of life up here is exactly what I was hoping for (plus a spare bed, so come visit!!). We ended our first day in Vermont with a hike down to the end of the peninsula with local beer and cider in hand. I think I'm going to be alright here!
Day 6 - Burlington, VT
For Alexandra's last day, we hiked Mt. Mansfield, which turns out to be the highest point in Vermont. It was a challenging hike, made all the more challenging because we decided to take a different route down, which turned out to basically be a vertical cascade of snow and water. It was extremely difficult and my legs still hurt 3 days later. However, the views from the top made it all worth it and I am just so glad to be living somewhere with good hiking nearby.
After a stop at one of Vermont's maaaaaany breweries, I dropped off Alexandra at the airport and headed back to my new home. It was an incredible trip and I'm so grateful to have such a good friend and travel companion!
I'm settling into life here in Burlington- finding my way to Trader Joe's without using google maps (on the first try!), trying out classes at the local YMCA, and charting my route to work. I start my chaplaincy program on Monday, which I'm excited about. More updates on that after I get through my first week!