Let's take a moment to observe that most people feel like they need an excuse to go on vacation. Why??? The Danes are some of the happiest people in the world, and they take at least four weeks a year to travel, most taking up to two months.  Take time off, feel more refreshed, work harder when you get back to work. Seems like a no brainer to me ;).
When Omar and I were planning our Presidents Day Weekend getaway, we decided to go back to a place we fell in love with last year--Killington, Vermont. We took the early flight to Boston from BWI. I used to hate the 6AM flight, but now I think it’s actually the best thing since (gluten free) sliced bread. Sure, you’re a little tired when that 4AM alarm goes off, but most times the flight is only half full. We had a whole row to ourselves! IT WAS AMAZING. Clearly I was already in vacation mode because I slept the whole way, Omar on the other hand did not, but he did offer his shoulder as a very comfortable pillow…
We knew this trip would be a little different than our last ski trip because I actually could not eat any of the real food from the lodge cafeteria. Because of this we decided to go for an Airbnb instead of hotel. As soon as we got to Boston and got our car, ( I unsuccessfully tried to befriend the rental car attendant) we stopped at Trader Joe’s for a food haul. We went a little overboard, but knew we would be buying breakfast or lunch so that justified the purchase of four different cheeses among many other fresh fruits and veggies!
We rolled into our Airbnb at Stone Revival Gallery and were blown away by the quaint, quiet, atmosphere. Our host left us a bunch of goodies and amenities that we totally weren’t expecting. Her husband is a sculptor and she is an artist as well. The first floor of their place is their art gallery that houses many artists work.
She even let us use her snowshoes! Neither of us had ever been snowshoeing so it was a really fun experience. It was also 45 degrees out that day, so amazing just to be out enjoying the weather and the peaceful nature that was around us.
For our first day of skiing we trekked it early to the mountain. My group ski lesson started at 9:30 AM. I was nervous to say that Iwas an intermediate skier but I “have a parallel turn” so that put me into the most advanced group. I was surprised of this considering I nearly had a panic attack on the mountain
last time we went in January. Doug was a super knowledgeable instructor and really helped me and the rest of the group to get our confidence back on the slopes. At one point we had to go down the hill holding our polls horizonally in front of us. That’s when I took my first tumble of the day but a nice couple helped me up. Since it was 37 Degrees that day, the conditions were perfect and none of the falls hurt too much. By the end of the day it did feel a bit like skiing on mashed potatoes. In the late afternoon we rediscovered the trail
called “The Great Eastern. It is utterly incredible. It is 3.17 miles of beautiful greenery and easier slopes that land you at the Skyeship gondola. It’s a green (beginner level) so really anyone can do it, although there are a couple steeper parts. It takes about a half hour to ski down. We did the run two times and made it back to the gondola ten minutes before the lifts closed! We were able to do one last run down a more difficult path.
Day two on the slopes was much colder-it was 15 degrees when we started skiing! I was already soooo sore. I still am not sure how I made it through the whole day. It was quite busy on the Saturday, I would recommend going during the week if you can. We hit some really hard runs that day! Talk about adrenaline rush. I couldn’t believe how good Omar was skiing, but he always waited for me before going down the next part of the run. I took way more spills the second day because it was so icy! Here’s a pic of us day two at the very top of Mount Killington Peak Elevation 4,236′.
All smiles! We stopped at this place called “iPie” and got a gluten free BBQ chicken pizza that was to die for. I hadn’t had a pizza in such a long time. The owner was super flexible and gave me all the details and precautions they take to make the pizza really gluten free. YUM.
Sunday came time to leave, we were so sad because it had unexpectaldy snowed 6 inches that night, of course. We hadn't planned to ski that day and we were so sore that we knew it was the best decision not to ski. We headed down to BOSTON to see our friends Amelia and Apurve! Right when we got there Amelia took us exploring. We went to this really interesting Chinese American restaurant called Mei Mei. I had some Curry Chicken. Then we went to Boston Commons and frocklied, looked at dogs, and eventually tasted some free espresso at the Nespresso Café. That evening the four of us got dinner at Barcelona- a tapas place. They were so sweet and we only ordered gluten free things so that we could all share. Love you guys!!
The next day they took us to the Fort Independence and we walked, stalked dogs, and explored around. This picture pretty much says it all....
Then we went to the north end for dinner at a place called Neptune Oyster. I had the Crab Bisque. We also indulged in fresh oysters and the Cioppino. We chilled for the rest of the night watching the olympics and winding down. We had so many laughs and an all-around great time. Thanks for being amazing hosts you two!
On Tuesday it was gorgeous out in Boston and we explored the city and went shopping before heading back. I had my
first ever Gluten Free Doughnut at Jennifer Lee's Gormet Bakery in Boston Public Market!!!
I took a pretty big break from social media during the trip and it was so refreshing. I practiced being more present and there for the conversations and people around me. I would highly recommend it! So friends, use those vacation days, or just give yourself some time off if you (like me) don't get them in your job. The time to travel is now!!
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
-T. S. Eliot
 ]Buettner, Dan. (2017). Blue Zones of Happiness. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic LLC.