Trop Rock, Vermont Style

As you know, I spent the winter in the Arizona desert, which is NOT a hotbed of Trop Rock activity. Although a few of my songwriter friends did pass through Phoenix while I was there, so I got my fix. And Kelly McGuire did his annual NW tour earlier this summer, although he didn’t bring Mark Mulligan with him to Coeur d’Alene this time.

But otherwise I’ve been missing my musician friends, and my Trop Rock world. So this past weekend I drove the winding roads of Vermont to Stowe, where the first annual Beach House on the Mountain Festival was being held. And what an amazing weekend it was! I’ve been within 8 miles of Stowe many times in the past, but didn’t realize it. (I was distracted by the Ben and Jerry’s plant, the Cabot Cheese shop, the Grand View winery, and the Cider Hollow cider and donut place.) So I was surprised when I passed the aforementioned places on my way north. This time I resisted though, since Deb and I stopped in June on our way through. And I figured I’d be eating plenty of bad stuff all weekend!

Stowe is a gorgeous town tucked into a lush green valley. There are no chain stores/restaurants/ anything in town, so it’s filled with quaint shops and restaurants, art galleries and coffee shops. In the winter it’s a ski town, but in the summer it’s filled with folks drawn there for the hiking, biking, and reveling in the Vermont countryside. There were bikers and rollerbladers and runners traversing the paved path that winds along the river from town up the mountain, and lots of shops renting the same equipment.

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Anyway, I checked into my hotel and spent some time exploring the area. Local art galleries, a wonderful dinner on the patio of a nice restaurant, hiking the bike path, and driving up to the Trapp Family Lodge (as in Maria Von Trapp, from The Sound of Music) to explore their piece of paradise on the top of the mountain.

And of course I indulged in the hotel’s hot tub, slept late, and read as I scarfed two yummy breakfasts. And watched ESPN! I’ve been going through Sports Center withdrawal, so got my fix. And oh yes, there was a music festival, too…

A few of my friends and acquaintances were in town for the festival, so it was like old home week. I made myself useful selling their CDs and T-shirts, and helping introduce a new group of people to the wonders of Trop Rock. The turnout wasn’t as big as the organizers hoped it would be, but once everyone who did show up tells their friends about this event, more folks are bound to attend next year.

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Just imagine sitting in a natural amphitheater, surrounded by rustling birch trees and cottonwoods, toes tickled by lush green grass, the sound of the fountain cascading into the pond, the mountains towering around you – oh yes, and the strains of music drifting through the air. Folks danced, blenders spun daiquiris and margaritas, singers sang, friends hugged, strangers met, children laughed, and everyone marveled at how much fun we were having.

And I, of course, was thrilled to be back in my element. I caught up with Kelly and John Reno, chatted with Michelle and Tom Becker, sold CDs for John Frinzi, and met the guys from Island Castaways. I ate Greek food and ice cream to combat the humidity (not to mention a rum runner and a pina colada!), made new friends, listened to my old friends weave their magic, and loved every second of it.

All too soon, it was over. I had to leave at 10:30pm to make the 3-hour drive to my sister’s house, so missed most of Latitude’s set. But I’ll hear them in FL this winter. And of course I’ll run into the rest of the folks in Key West in November.

If you like good music and beautiful settings, small towns and friendly people, mark your calendar to attend Beach House on the Mountain next summer. If the gods are kind, you’ll find me there behind the merchandise table, selling CDs and feeling useful. And singing along to my favorite songs!

(thanks to the BHotM folks for some of the pictures!)

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