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“Exceeded My Expectations!”

The day my husband and I spent on a Vermont Country Driving Tour was not only great fun, it was memorable. We know and love Vermont, but driving the back roads in a shiny black BMW convertible while listening (via comfy headsets) to historic tales and fascinating facts was a new and exciting way to enjoy the state even more. Out host George Landis is not only knowledgeable, he is warm and friendly. He obviously cares about Vermont and seemed to know instinctively what would interest us and the rest of the group. We drove at the perfect speed to enjoy the sites and the soft summer sun, then stopped for a glamorous little picnic near the new Lake Champlain Bridge. Climbing back into the sports car we meandered past bucolic farms, explored quaint towns, and marveled at the long views of the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains. Our last stop was a terrific restaurant where I feasted on local vegetables, and a spicy fresh cioppino.

I wasn’t sure a day spent driving and listening to a guided tour would be relaxing, but it was. There was no rushing–it was a perfectly timed excursion. And George is so easy going that all I had to do was steer. I must confess that on the last leg of the trip–back to home base, the Dream House Country Inn (5 stars, too)–I drove a bit more quickly and got a taste of what the BMW had to offer. I didn’t speed, but with the top down I felt like I was living a dream. What a unique experience. The perfect combination of so much that I love: Vermont, driving, history, food, and friends.

The Journey has Begun

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Enjoying our Fiat 500 Touring Club adventure in Paulo, the vintage Fiat

 

George and I want to share a little bit about ourselves and how we ended up back in Vermont with a bunch of cool cars and a cozy B&B to take care of.  It’s a journey I never would have predicted, but looking back, it makes all kinds of sense.  In the following posts we will let you know what’s rattling around in our trunk so you can get to know us a little better.  George will share his POV and I will correct him, no, just kidding.  I have my own stuff to share, so I will leave him alone!

Here is a picture of us in Italy, in a vintage Fiat.  More on that adventure later.

George says

35 cars, 4 motorbikes and 4 boats ago, I was already in love with driving.  My wife calls me a gear-head but that isn’t entirely accurate in the pure definition of the term. I love driving anything, tractors, lawnmowers, scooters, boats, cars & trucks. But I am not a twisting the wrench kind of gear-head, I let mechanics take care of those needs.  I just love to drive!

It all started way before I learned to drive.  My father loved to take road trips.  All of us, 6 kids and 2 parents, would pile into the car and head out to visit family.  These trips all started the same, up at 5 AM, drive for several hours, then stop for one of the highlights or the trip–breakfast at a local diner.  Oh, those stacks of pancakes and fried eggs were the best.  I could hardly sleep the night before due to my excitement for the adventure.  My father was not into sightseeing along the way, he just wanted to get on the road and get there as soon as possible.  Stopping for fuel and food was the only form of entertainment on those trips.  This was long before air conditioning and in-car entertainment wasn’t even showing up in sci-fi movies, so you can imagine the hours of boredom and discomfort that was part of the journey, but I still loved the whole experience and to this day I still am excited to get up early and head out on the road. Mention the words “road trip” and I am all ears.

Roads and transportation have changed me and are a part of who I am. I hate to admit it but I tend to do what my father did.  Get up, get on the road and head for the destination.

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George and grandson, Ethan, grounds-keeping at the inn.

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Apple-picking season with George’s beloved Kubota

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Tourterelle Restaurant, one of our favorite dining spots

 

Sue says

Over the years of my marriage to George, I have known that he likes his “boy toys” but it didn’t really scare me until we started shopping for a place to open our B&B, Dreamhouse Country Inn.  When we were deciding whether or not to buy this place, George said to me, “I don’t think there is going to be enough room for my stuff.”  I was gob-smacked to say the least.  This property has two big barns behind the inn with 7 bays.  “Seven. Bays,” I said to him, “What are you planning on putting in them?”

Well, now they are full of BMW Z4 convertibles and together we have come up with some niche tours that bring together our favorite things to do in Vermont.  I have to admit that I, too, love driving around Vermont.  It is so lovely and chill.

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Menu at the Warren General Store

But I love the food scene in Vermont, as well.  I am passionate about supporting our local growers and food producers.  Because of them, our beautiful landscape is staying beautiful—still dotted with small farms, with animals grazing on the green hills.  Vermont is the kind of place where you can start a restaurant in the middle of nowhere, like Tourterelle, and by word of mouth, build up the kind of reputation that draws people from miles away.  When I cater one of our Picnic Tours, I try and use as many local products as I can.  I like knowing where my tomatoes and cheese come from.  I’m proud of our food entrepreneurs and I want to be part of their exciting scene.