Cigar Aficionado

You Gotta Love Vermont

I haven’t spent a lot of time in Vermont, but it’s always been my impression that Vermonters travel to the beat of their own drum. They still hold dear those values of our forefathers, especially those regarding self-reliance and the whole live and let live ethos. You won’t find a whole lot of tolerance there for anyone or anything intruding into their private lives.

My wife and I vacationed there in early August, setting up base on Lake Willoughby at a wonderful place called the WillowVale Inn, which sits on a small bluff at the northern end of the lake with sweeping views of the water and two mountains that frame its southern end like towering twin pillars: Mount Pisgah and Mount Hor. We arrived at the hotel late on a Sunday afternoon after traveling through rain much of the day down from Montreal. After checking in, I politely asked the woman at the front desk if there was anywhere I could get a bottle of wine but I prefaced my question with the observation that since it was Sunday there wouldn’t be any wine shops open. She looked at me quizzically and said, “Why wouldn’t we sell wine on Sunday? The grocery stores all sell wine today.” And, then she gave me directions to the nearest grocery store in a town about seven miles away.

Vermont hasn’t been immune to the no-smoking laws that have swept the country, so I guess you’d have to agree that there are some chinks in the traditional Vermont resistance to over-regulation. But the porch on the hotel was set-up to accommodate smokers with a couple of ashtrays and some benches and rocking chairs. But I figured it was still safer to ask the question whether or not cigars would be allowed there or not. I asked the same desk clerk, and again, got the same quizzical look: “There’s an ashtray out there, isn’t there?” Enough said.

I enjoyed a wonderful lancero cigar as the sun sank low in the sky, and the pastel colors of a summer sunset began to play across the surface of the lake, and the tree-covered slopes of the mountains. It was perfect ending to a long day of hiking and bike riding, and a perfectly fine meal in a small country restaurant.