Manchester, Vermont was on the menu this weekend, and it was quite a memorable day trip. After an hour and half we found ourselves at the base of Equinox Mountain, the highest peak in the Taconic Mountain range. We set out to climb up to the summit 3.1 miles away. The climb was enjoyable, upwards the whole way but not tremendously steep. Early on in the hike we were pleased that there wasn’t snow on the ground, but that was sure to change before we knew it.
Views for the most part of the hike were scarcely seen between the trees until the path began to narrow and we were walking on a ridge.
We encountered few people on the brisk day; all letting us know how the trail got icy. Some were turning back, but that didn’t deter us, whether it was foolish or not we kept going. As we gained higher elevation the whole trail was a sheet of ice hidden by snow, and things got pretty hairy. The sun came out blue skies peaking through the pines elevated our spirits as we continued onward.
We made it unscathed to the top and soaked in the pristine panoramic views while being battered by wind.
The people we spoke with who intended to or were on their way back from visiting the summit all had spikes, poles, and the works. We were completely under-geared making the grueling 3.1 mile descent, this is not an experience I would recommend or want to repeat without proper gear. We saw bear and snowshoe hare tracks as we plodding along. A man said he saw two black bears running down the side of the mountain, we were not surprised. By the time we made it back to our car we were hungry and ready for a lunch-dinner. We couldn’t have been happier with our choice at nearby Ponce Bistro. The atmosphere was small and intimate, and we positively sunk into the most comfortable couch at our table by a fireplace. We sipped on pear woodchuck cider as we waited for our meals. Both of us have had the amber woodchuck before, but never pear, and it was delicious.
We ordered a few small plates from the bistro menu to share including the Spanish meatloaf tacos (I rarely eat red meat but couldn’t help devouring one of these delicious tacos), curried shrimp which were succulent and perfectly flavored, and a crunchy and tasty overstuffed baguette pizza with mozz, feta, tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms.
Dinner was absolutely perfect and we saved room for the crème brulee bread pudding dessert that we noticed everyone was ordering. Yum.
The service was great and owner was very friendly, couldn’t recommend this place any more! After a wild hike and flawless dunch, we popped in and out of a few Manchester Outlets stores looking for holiday gifts. I couldn’t find anything for anyone until I wound up at Northshire Bookstore.
Something about this locally owned and independent spot tickles my fancy. I’ve been to both the Saratoga and Manchester locations, the Manchester shop is larger and has a greater selection of goods. Their whole second floor is dedicated to kids and it’s really fantastic. While this is a bookstore, they also have plentiful kitschy items perfect for holiday stocking stuffers. Vermont hates highways and street lamps. The drive back on Route 7 was deliciously dark all the way into to New York.