We did have a choice as to whether we would ride in the rain on Tuesday. Seth, one of the owners of the inn to inn company, had previously offered to pick us up in Shoreham and take us to Middlebury if the weather was uncooperative. However, Angie and I felt we were adequately equipped with foul weather gear to at least ride the shortest route between the two Inns.
The route we were to take was shortest for safe cycling, but not the most direct route. It avoided taking the busiest roads and totaled about 18.5 miles. Enough on wet roads even with decent tires and fenders. We also agreed that since it was such a short ride, the use of the more accelerated settings on the e-bikes as needed was not going to hurt us. The range of the battery on my bike, depending on the settings, was 20-50 miles.
Most of the cars that did pass us gave us a wide berth. I’d say there were only two drivers that didn’t seem to care if they came too close, put us at risk, or got us more wet. I had to stay about 10 feet behind Angie to avoid getting the spray from her rear tire in my face. Even with getting as wet as we did, minimizing sources of water was preferred, and the fact that the bikes each have fenders also made it less unpleasant. The hardest part was that neither of us brought waterproof shoes or shoe covers, so our feet and ankles did get super wet, as did our gloves. The wool socks we both opted for were probably better than synthetic even if they were sopping wet when we arrived at the Swift House Inn in Middlebury.
There was not much stopping for sightseeing but I did try to take in the scenery as we rode, though much was obscured by cloud. We did see a hawk sitting atop a pole but it flew off before I could get to my phone to take a picture. I also saw a cardinal flit across the road in a flash of red.
We arrived in Middlebury as the rain became heavier, and found our way to the Swift House Inn, another historic site on the tour, if only 200 years old! Our room was not quite ready, but our bags had already arrived, so I was able to grab the battery chargers so that I could unlock the batteries from the bikes. I’m not sure if we’ve mentioned previously, but due to mishaps with the battery keys and previous guests, Doon has zip-tied to the chargers the keys used to remove the batteries from the bikes. Therefore, in order to remove the batteries from the bikes, it’s necessary to take the entire charger to the bike to operate the key. Given how tight the space was in the bike shed, it was quite an achievement to remove the battery that slid out from the back rack of my bike. The bike Angie was using had a battery that removed sideways, so that was easier. I should note here that I only just realized that we neglected to take any pictures of the bikes we were riding on this trip!
Once we were showered and had set our soggy clothing to dry, Angie and I set out to find lunch. This proved to be a bit of a frustrating experience. The first restaurant we’d chosen, based on recommendations and research, was Two Brothers Tavern. That was closed, as the owners had decided to give their staff that day off following a very busy graduation and holiday weekend! Upon further investigation, we found that Sabai Sabai, the Thai restaurant we’d identified for dinner, was also closed on Tuesdays! But task number one was to find somewhere that was still open for lunch at 2:15 p.m. We just snuck in under the wire at Morgan’s Grill inside the Middlebury Inn, where Angie had chowder and I opted for fish and chips.
We decided to get what little adventuring we could do, done before we went back to the inn for the night.
We walked up to the campus of Middlebury College (parent of Monterey Institute), but didn’t venture far into the environs because it was still raining and not that pleasant out.
After partially retracing our steps, we settled in for a while at Schafer’s, ordering drinks and making use of the Wi-Fi for some blogging, and in Angie’s case, her last homework assignment for the week.
We killed a bit of time there and then worked our way back in the direction from which we’d come, stopping in a maple syrup and tchotchke shop, where we scored some free, flavored fudge but didn’t see anything we wanted to buy, getting to the restaurant Fire and Ice in time for happy hour. We enjoyed our cocktails and watched as this quirky joint quickly filled up (the bar opened at 4:30 but dinner service didn’t start till 5:00).
The key feature of the place is the large salad bar that is set up around what appears to be a large boat. We enjoyed the atmosphere and our food and drink, and were happy to be back in our room at the Swift House Inn at a reasonable hour.
We don’t think we got to see or taste the best of Middlebury. Jessica’s Restaurant at the Swift House Inn is reputed to be the best restaurant in town, but doesn’t serve on Tuesday nights, and other spots we’d picked out in advance suggested we were cursed by Ruhetag (see featured image), as we often had been in Europe in 2014. It’s a shame, since we had so much extra time there after taking the shortest possible route that day. We may have to add Middlebury back to our list. Although we have a long list of places we’d still like to go, we can keep Vermont on our list as long as we mainly visit some new spots, right?