Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Adventure in Vermont Continues -- Cliff Jumping!

Many of you may remember from my celebratory facebook and twitter posts that I jumped off of a cliff while I was in Vermont. No, not just while I was in Vermont. On the VERY first day I was in Vermont. It was quite the way to start off the month.

One of the cast members is a Burlington local, so he knows a lot of the great spots to hang out, and he took us to Bristol Falls, a 35 minute drive south from Burlington. It was idyllic, with lush green woods, babbling waters, and...a huge freaking waterfall!

(Photo credit to Walter Rodriguez, a fellow castmate and professional photographer)

Do you see the verrrry small dude wearing red trunks all the way up there in the top left of that photograph? That's the rock we jumped off of. And yeah, we landed at the bottom of that waterfall. A jump of probably 25 feet.

When we first got there, I was like, Hell no, I'm not jumping! I was pretty comfy just sitting on this rock in the sun.

(Photo credit to W.R.)

But then everyone else jumped and said it was so fun and I thought, Well, what a great way to start off a month of adventure...

(Photo credit to W.R.)

So I spent way too long standing on that rock and looking down. WAY too long. If you're ever faced with an opportunity to cliff jump, my friends, do not overanalyze. I promise, it does not get any easier by standing and staring at the fall for a long period of time.

Finally, I thought to myself, If I can go to terrifying auditions all the time and not let that get me down, then a little jump off a rock is not going to paralyze me either. And I went for it.

(Photo credit to W.R.)

It was scary. It was fun. It was the most exhilarating thing I've done in a long time, maybe ever. What a rush, man. I'm not a huge adrenaline junkie, but for a few moments, I understood why people are. 

But sheesh, that water was cold at the bottom! Catch-your-breath cold. And it was a long swim back to the spot where I could climb up again.

(Photo credit to W.R.)

So when Dan and my friends came up the last weekend of performances to see the show and hang out, they had heard about my adventure and wanted to head to Bristol Falls, too!

We are all a little goofy, no lie.

Laura proved what a bad ass she is by walking right up to the edge of the rock and just jumping right off. You go, girl!

Dan took a long time to get warmed up to the idea, but eventually he loved it, too.

And this is my friend Lynde's reaction to the idea of cliff jumping once she saw how high up the rock was:

And she goes skydiving! That gives you an idea of how intimidating this jump looked (and was!).

Have you ever been cliff jumping? What's the most adventurous outdoorsy thing you've ever done?

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Adventure in Vermont Continues -- The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory!

Next up in the Vermont Adventures series -- The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory! My wonderful in-laws (and brother-in-law!) drove all the way from southern Massachusetts one weekend to see a performance of mine and to hang out. My Mother-in-Law, Michelle, is a huge fan of Vermont Teddy Bears (for you non-New Englanders, they're like Build-a-Bears) and the factory is only about ten minutes outside of Burlington, so we decided to take a trip Sunday morning.

We started off by getting to squeeze some of the adorable teddy bears that have been made throughout the history of the company. I don't know what's going on with my face in this picture, my only excuse is that it was early the morning after I had a performance:

We got to hear all about how they make the bears, and see the workshop where the magic happens. It was like one giant Disney-fied sewing room:

My favorite part of the tour was the end where we saw the Teddy Bear Hospital. Please note how adorable it is that the IV bag is a honey jar :)

The "hospital" really functions, though. The Vermont Teddy Bear Company has a lifetime guarantee on all of its bears, and will fix and/or replace your bear, no matter what happens to it. Even if you run it over with a lawnmower, they will fix your frankenbear and send it back to you. I thought that was pretty cool. Customer service at its best, right?

Outside the factory, there was a big food truck with a giant hotdog on the side that Stella and I wanted to get a picture with. Yes, we're goofy. Yes, she cooperated for this. Thank you, dear.

And one of my favorite pictures from my whole month is this one that I convinced everyone to pose for with me. It's cheesy, and I had to do a little begging to get the boys to agree, but isn't it cute?

After the factory, we stopped at a souvenir shop in town and I picked up one of the most fun souvenirs ever: chapstick called Moose Smooch! With this picture on the side:

A big, huge thank you to my wonderful new family who made the long drive up to Burlington to see my show and keep me company. I love you guys!

What's the silliest souvenir you've ever picked up?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Adventure in Vermont Continues -- Ben & Jerry's!

So I've been a very, very bad blogger this past month. There's no denying it. I have a couple of excuses: 

1. The internet access I had at my host family's was spotty, at best, and whenever I was able to grab a moment of internet, either at their house or by going to a coffee shop, I had about five million things to attend to that didn't include blogging. Running three businesses while you're out of town takes work, yo! 

2. August was tough on me, my friends. Yes, Vermont was a very great adventure. Probably the biggest adventure I've had since our Greek honeymoon. I saw incredible sights, met some friends for life in the form of my host family, lunched with some Bees, explored the countryside on my own, and performed in an incredible play. But it was also quite the challenge. I missed my husband and doggies and home A LOT, and the working atmosphere at the theater was quite stressful for me.

I'd still like to go back in time, though, and share some of the wonderful things I saw and experienced while I was in Vermont! First up -- the Ben & Jerry's Factory! My incredible godmother, Jana, who lives in Maine, made the trip over to Vermont for the first weekend of performances and brought along her granddaughter, Alex. The three of us spent the weekend having all sorts of fun! This is the view we saw of the factory from the parking lot:

Only in Vermont would a factory be surrounded by trees and greenery, right? I convinced Alex to pose with a cow sculpture, although I'm sure she would want me to tell you that it was only reluctantly:

As a huge Ben & Jerry's devotee, walking up to these doors made me feel like a little girl meeting Cinderella at Disney World. I'm not even kidding.

Once inside, I was giddy to be greeted by a whole wall of all of the Ben & Jerry's flavors in existence!

We soon started the tour, which was a bargain at only $3 a person. It was a short tour, though, so a trip here won't take all day, just in case you're thinking about making plans to visit. We learned about which flavors are the most popular:

I was surprised to learn that Cherry Garcia beats out Cookie Dough...I guess not everyone is as big of a Cookie Dough fiend as I am! Then we got to see the giant room where the ice cream actually gets made. Although it was big, it wasn't as big as I would have expected a room where 300k pints of ice cream gets made every day. Think: the size of a small black box theater. Sadly, you're not allowed to take pictures in that room, so I don't have any. But I did snap a picture of the place where I want to work someday:

I mean, right?? Then we got to dig into some samples and hear about all the flavors that have been discontinued, like one that incorporated kahlua...until the production of that ice cream single-handedly drove up the price of kahlua so high that it wasn't cost effective to make the ice cream anymore! Oops!

We also saw some cool relics from the very first Ben & Jerry's stand, which was run out of a remodeled gas station in Burlington. These are some of the original signs from that stand in the 60's:

And, of course, because it's me and I'm a huge dork/ham, I had to get a cheesy picture with the human-sized faux pint of ice cream!

Overall, I had a lot of fun, but the tour wasn't anything fancy. For all you Ben & Jerry's lovers out there, it's definitely worth the trip if you're in the area. Plus, I got some super cute souvenirs in the gift shop, including an actual combination lock that fits their ice cream pints. No more ice cream thieves in this house ;)

What's your favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor?