It was with great excitement that Michael and I packed up the Mini Cooper a few weeks ago for a weekend road trip to Ludlow, Vermont to shoot a wedding together. The was a trip of firsts for us – we were making our very first trip to Vermont, a state we’ve been wanting to explore since moving to New England four years ago. The road trip was also the very first we’ve taken with Orvis in the Mini (keep in mind he’s 90 pounds). Somehow, we managed to fit all of our belongings for a weekend away, two bags of photography gear, and the aforementioned giant dog in the back of a rather tiny car, with room to spare. The weekend was off to a great start before we even backed out of the driveway!
In between shooting a rehearsal dinner and the wedding the following day, we managed to see quite a bit of the immediate area, and look forward to many future trips together. The following are a few of our favorite spots we enjoyed during our downtime in charming town of Ludlow.
We owe Marcia & Paul, the sweet couple whose wedding we photographed, a special thank you for recommending The Downtown Grocery to us – had they not labeled it an ideal spot for foodies on their wedding website, there’s a good chance we would have missed out on this gem of a restaurant entirely. Two of our go-to cocktails – an Old Fashioned for Michael and a Pimm’s Cup for me – set the tone for what turned out to be a fantastic evening! Our starter, however, was far from go-to. The tempura fried squash blossoms with local tomatoes were a uniquely delicious treat, one that neither of us have had before. My Wild King Salmon was perfectly paired with just the right amount of fingerling potatoes, mushrooms, and gardencress, and left me a proud member of the infamous Clean Plate Club that night. As usual, Michael joined me in earning his CPC status, and seemed to enjoy every second of his roasted duck breast. Unfortunately we didn’t have any room for dessert that evening, but over the last hour of our meal we were getting a kick out of watching other guests order a “round of ponies” for the staff to enjoy after they got off work, so we decided to follow suit. After each round is purchased, a bell is served and everyone cheers – has there ever been a more cheerful, fulfilling way to cap off a wonderfully prepared meal?
We enjoyed our meal, the ambiance, and the staff at The Downtown Grocery so much that we decided to ask our waiter if he had any breakfast recommendations in town. Without hesitation, he recommend The Hatchery, and after spending both of the next two mornings there, Meredith and I would throw our endorsement into the hat as well. The Hatchery is the kind of breakfast joint that if you stay for long enough, the waitresses will learn your name and you might one day get something named after you on the menu – just the kind of hearty breakfast we were looking forward to before and after shooting a wedding. Meredith loved her omelette special on the first day with its spinach, tomatoes, and feta, and I ambitiously ordered the Famous Downhill (virtually two of everything on the menu – pancakes, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, eggs). I think it gets its name because after eating something so delicious, everything else seems downhill from there, but Meredith argues that after eating something so big, you’re pretty much rolling downhill the rest of the day. Regardless, if you know me, you know I love breakfast, and we both made tidy work of cleaning our plates that first morning. Shooting a wedding is somewhere between 8 and 10 hours on your feet, corralling people, pushing through crowds and staying attentive, the perfect cure for the post-working wedding hangover is easily the type of meal we had on our second morning – I crushed some blueberry pancakes with Vermont maple syrup and a side of thick-cut delicious bacon, and I was proud to see Meredith dominate her cinnamon raisin french toast in a similar fashion. If you’re in Ludlow and need some breakfast, look no further than The Hatchery on the corner.
In an attempt to tire Orvis out as much as possible before we left him to shoot the wedding, we had to find a place for him to do plenty of his favorite activity – swimming. Orvis is the type of dog that swims in the Maine ocean in February or plops belly-down in any creek he finds in the middle of summer. A water dog, through and through. When we read about Buttermilk Falls, we figured that if we got there early enough, Orvis could splash around without making too much of a fuss. The small series of beautiful falls is set just slightly off the beaten path, but Orvis had the watering hole at the bottom falls all to himself each morning after breakfast.