Hurricane Irene Skips Essex County, Vermont

Our porch just prior to storm, cleared in preparation for Irene

We were thoroughly prepared. We stocked up on food, bottled water, batteries, candles, lanterns and lots of other stuff. We brought everything in from the yard so that none of our neighbors would get hit by deadly flying objects. We stayed indoors with the dogs pretty much all day.

But in the end, nothing happened. Most predictions about Irene’s path indicated it would come up along the Connecticut River, including directly over Lancaster, NH, only 10 minutes down Route 3 from us. That’s why we were sure there would be serious consequences for the northeastern Vermont river towns.

But—no. We had a day of moderate to heavy rain (not uncommon in these parts). There was a bit of wind (nothing extraordinary, by any means). The power didn’t go out once, not even for a single second, anywhere in our town. What limited cell phone service we have in the ordinary course of affairs remained intact. Our basement is completely dry. The Connecticut River, which I can see right out my living room window, has risen somewhat, but nothing dramatic—certainly nothing compared to the scary flooding we experienced this spring. Our internet connection was down most of yesterday, but that usually happens when there is any cloud cover or rain of any kind.

So the biggest impact here was of our own making. Anticipating the worst, we stayed inside. I played with the dogs, read books, and watched an entire season of “House” on DVD, starting at noon.

At around 7pm, the rain had mostly stopped, and restlessness had set in, so I went for a walk across the bridge to Northumberland, NH. A guy over there came out of his house and told me that the real devastation was coming—we were in the eye of the storm, he said, and that’s why it was so quiet. He predicted we’d get slammed before midnight.

Didn’t turn out that way. This morning, I went walking around our little village looking for damage. Here in this photo is literally the worst thing I could find.

This is it for damage.

Fine Drinking, at the Eden Ice Cider Company, West Charleston, Vermont

Albert Leger, of Eden Ice Cider, hosting

In one corner of the Northeast Kingdom, about an hour and a half’s drive from our place in Guildhall, there’s a remarkable (and successful!) experiment in the making of ice cider. Yes, ice cider, an elegant variant of dessert wine, fermented from Vermont apples over years.

I got my first tantalizing taste of the Eden Ice Cider when we found it for sale at the Littleton, New Hampshire Food Coop. (I later learned that Eden Ice Cider is available at almost all the fine restaurants in Vermont, as well as one in New York City.) So this weekend, we made the trek up to the source, for a tasting and tour.

Albert and Elinor Leger bought this old dairy farm in West Charleston and moved here from the New Haven, Connecticut area about five years ago. Their ice cider brainstorm took place after a visit to Montreal. I won’t delve into the details and history of the operation, which has been well-covered in a recent Vermont Life Magazine article.   But I’m proud and pleased to see this entrepreneurial accomplishment here in the Northeast Kingdom.

What We Brought Back from the VIsit



And we came home with some bottles of our own. My favorite is Eden’s latest product, named “Orleans,” after the county where the farm is located.  It’s an ice cider with a touch of anise hyssop and basil.  Wow!

Visit the Eden Ice Company website, and then visit in person, with an appointment.  It’s a great Northeast Kingdom treat!