It has been over a week since I took the Montpelier/Mad River Valley tour with Natalia of Vermontology Tours and it still stands out as the highlight of an overall awesome trip. Although the tour was not customized for me, it certainly felt that way as it likely did for each of the 5 of us. First of all, Natalia was very prompt at picking me up from my hotel and I immediately felt the same warmth and enthusiasm I had sensed in my email and phone conversations with her. She wanted to assure that we were comfortable and made a point to learn our individual interests and highlight those things along the way (e.g. waterfalls, colorful foliage, quaint towns, horticultural gems, covered bridges, eclectic museums, art galleries, roadside stands), as well as providing a rich local history of a state she so clearly loves. The trip was very well balanced with time in the vehicle and time to walk around, with ample bathroom stops. Our lunch sitting beside a brook in Warren was definitely a bonus.
I am a middle aged African American woman traveling solo and was joined by an older Australian couple as well as a young Indian couple. Shortly into the trip I felt well acquainted with my fellow travelers; this was due in large part to Natalia’s natural ability to bring everyone into conversations so that we all bonded and gelled although of very varied backgrounds.
It was my first, but hopefully not last, visit to Vermont and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Burlington and later a couple of days down the road in Essex –both being very clean, scenic and friendly. However, it was the day long tour of the quaint towns that transported me back in time to a magical place that I wish to visit again and again. It was truly a balm for my spirit as was Natalia herself. I look forward to taking another trip with her and can’t recommend it strongly enough for anyone else.