An English Summer Detour

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We took a detour while driving home on Monday after a week’s stay in New Hampshire. John suggested we get off the interstate highway and take a more scenic route across southern Vermont. The detour would extend our 5-hour travel day by another hour or so, but we were up for an adventure.

We didn’t know what we would find, but to our delight, we encountered a taste of English summer along the way.

The drive on the road less traveled was lovely. Winding along waterways and passing through the little towns of Chester and Londonderry, we finally arrived at Bennington – the town we had targeted as a place to have dinner. But we were disappointed to find most of the Main Street restaurants were closed.

Before pushing on, we decided to check out the Battle Monument — its commanding presence in the landscape had impressed us when we had approached the town. It looked like the Washington Monument had gone on vacation to the rolling green hills of Vermont.

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We parked and took Jack for a walk around the monument.

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It was a beautiful evening and John remarked that it reminded him of England.

I thought it ironic that John would be transported with memories of an English summer’s evening while standing on a revolutionary war site where the British suffered a terrible defeat. But there was no evidence of battle on this evening. The lawn around the monument was manicured like a village green.

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Even the houses on Monument Circle had a bit of an English look to them. And it was a perfect temperature. With the exception of a 300 ft. tall stone obelisk, to John it all had an English air about it.

After taking it all in, we gave Jack his evening kibble (one of us got to eat in Bennington) and returned to the car. We continued on our route home, hoping to find a good place to eat before getting on the NY Thruway.

With Bennington a few miles behind us, we rounded yet another bend in the road, and on our left was … an English Pub!

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I was the first to see the “Man of Kent Tavern & Cafe” sign, because John’s eyes were drawn to the red MG that was parked beneath it.

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In addition to having a classic British sports car outside,

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the Man of Kent has an impressive beer menu inside, featuring several English beers on tap.

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We ordered pints of the Old Speckled Hen.

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While waiting for our dinners to arrive, I remarked to John that he often reminisces about an English summer, and he must miss it. Summer weather in New Jersey tends to be hot and humid and does not resemble the ideal English summer that John longs for.

Having spent some memorable summer evenings in England with John, I have an appreciation for what he is missing. Sitting outside a country pub on a temperate evening with daylight that lingers until 10PM is a quintessentially English experience.

Unfortunately, we could not linger at the Man of Kent in Hoosick, New York. When we left the pub we still had several hours of thruway driving ahead of us.

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But John and I both felt very satisfied with our stops along the way.

It’s good to get out of the fast lane once in a while and slow our pace enough to appreciate something as beautiful as a summer’s evening. Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses… or an Old Speckled Hen.

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live. enjoy. repeat.

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