We joined our friends for one last snow-filled trip north on Easter weekend. I worked until noon on Good Friday then squeezed in a sixteen mile run before meeting Tom and Jana at the commuter lot, our usual spot. Knowing it’s mud season in VT in April, Bill and I left our snow shoes home, took our spikes instead for our intended climb up Mt Ascutney. We vowed to get to the top this time.
It was overcast when we woke up on Saturday morning in Brownsville. Jana dropped Tom off at Okemo Mountain for a day of skiing so we’d have a car. It was raining where we were, snowing where Tom went. Bill and I got up late, drank our coffee in the living room and didn’t make it outside until Jana’s return. We vowed to hike Mt Ascutney Sunday morning.
We decided to spend the afternoon at Simon Pearce in Quechee. After eating roasted garlic soup, smoked salmon quiche and crispy, spicy calamari salad in their restaurant overlooking the falls, we headed downstairs to see if anyone was working. To our delight there was a young man blowing glass. He wore shorts and a tee, his long hair pulled back in a tail at the nape of his neck. We watched him complete the entire process of making a water glass, from blowing the glass to shaping it and all the steps in between. He was friendly, asked us for questions.
“Go ahead, ask me something,” he said to the small crowd gathered. “Really, I don’t have to pay attention to what I’m doing.” He smiled, we laughed.
He told us he’s made 68,000 pieces in the 4 1/2 years he’s worked there, told us a student might make 800 pieces while enrolled in a four year program. He planned on making fifty water glasses that day, each one within 1/16″ of the sample sitting on his workbench.
“I only get paid for those,” he said. Expensive piece work, I thought.
After watching him finish a glass, measure it against the sample with satisfaction and start another, we wandered outside to the falls. Still overcast, everything was grey washed. We shouted to hear each other over the roar of the crashing water. We took some pictures and wandered back in to poke around the gift shop. There were beautifully cut vases, pitchers, water, wine, champagne and martini glasses, bowls, platters. I headed straight for the seconds, the ones our friend downstairs didn’t make to spec, but ultimately left empty-handed.
We left to pick up Tom, driving through picturesque Woodstock. Back at the condo Jana napped, Bill, Tom and I read. Later, we headed out to the only restaurant nearby which, lucky for us, serves excellent food. Before bed, Bill and I made a plan to get up early and hike to the top of the mountain before heading south for Easter with his family.