Into the sliver state of Vermont, the gray sky leads us to Rutland, where we once again struggle to find a hotel that accepts their coupon. This time, an owner says something like “The Thanksgiving holiday is only a month away,” or “There is a hunting convention in town.” He, like all the others, uses the vague disclaimer at the bottom of the coupon to get away with charging us full price. As we turn to walk away, he calls us back and agrees to the coupon rate. The next day, I call a gallery in Woodstock to see if they are interested in displaying the New York-inspired painting. He schedules to meet with us later in the day, so we spend some time visiting White Rocks National Rec. Area.
We meet with our thirty-eighth gallery owner, who is a tall man from Poland wearing tapered jeans and a black shirt. He thinks our project is a great idea and, after we sign the paperwork, he proposes that we join him for dinner. He explains that he is already having two other guests at his house tonight, but would love for us to come. We make plans to meet at eight and aim the Element in the direction of Montpelier.
Our drive through the mountains is guided by snow tracks, and we are too warm to step out of the car once we arrive at the capital. After taking a few photos from within our incubator, we stop for lunch at a cute little place called Girasole. On our drive back, we pick up a coffee cake and get cleaned up for dinner.
Our host has prepared a great Polish dish, portabella and sauerkraut crepes. We feel as if we are eating at a five star restaurant, complete with frothy cappuccino to cleanse our palette. Lois and Keith are Wojtek’s other guests and we enjoy talking with them until late in the night. The two are husband and wife, and a colorful combination. He, a humble artist, is dressed modestly in a blue plaid fleece and worn jeans. Lois is the life of the party in her red blazer, her face beaming and laughing wildly under a perfect black bob. Wojtek offers us a warm bed for the night and we gratefully accept. After sleeping in the Element for so long, it feels strange sleeping in a real bed two nights in a row!
The next morning, we are replenished with coffee and sweet bread and thank our host for his hospitality. Wojtek came from Poland with only fourteen dollars and a Walkman to his name, and his story is quite admirable. He suggests some sites to see, as we wander off to the infamous Lake Champlain to try to catch a glimpse of the controversial twenty-foot monster known as “Champ.” We make a visit to the breathtaking Quechee Gorge, and refuse to leave Vermont without a look into maple syrup. We stop at Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks before making our way to Burlington.