A Date with My Daughter

mother daughter time together

Shelbe (left) and her super-proud mom, Lea Van Winkle. Photo by Becky Farrell Ferrigno.

How many mothers get the chance to spend the day with their daughter doing things that they both actually like to do? I’m sure any mother would agree it’s a rarity. As my daughter prepares to go back to Northeastern University we have had a couple of great days shopping for school supplies, some new clothes and shoes, cha-ching, cha-ching. But today we went hiking before we did anything else. Now that’s what I call priceless!

Years ago I use to have to be really creative to get Shelbe to go hiking with me. It was not what she considered fun. Now, however, it’s a different story. Now she asks me to go, now I try to make her talk the whole time as I work hard to almost keep up with her. So before we spent a day preparing for her return to college, washing and folding clothes and packing, we went for a short but rewarding hike.

mother daughter time together

Sterling Pond, Smugglers’ Notch

Living in the foothills of Mount Mansfield there are several hiking options, many right out our back door. For this hike we chose the Sterling Pond Trail, located in Smugglers’ Notch. At about 1.25 miles, it is almost straight up and a continuous climb. It’s rated difficult because although it is just a mile, you gain 1,000 feet in elevation. Years ago I would have been creating some kind of game to get Shelbe to keep going, but now it is me trying desperately to keep her in view. She was kind and went slower, and once she even stopped and said, “What would be the point of hiking together if I did not hike with you!”

Small World Coincidences

There is a reward at the top—Sterling Pond—and it is peaceful and lovely, especially at 8:30 in the morning. We saw some hikers coming down, after camping overnight at Sterling Pond Lodge, with big packs on their backs. Then, what a coincidence, we came across another mother/daughter combo — the mother was a graduate of Northeastern University and her daughter had taken some graduate level courses there as well. Small world indeed, when you meet people with whom you have things in common while hiking in Vermont’s backcountry. Overall it was a very quiet Wednesday morning on Vermont’s busiest hiking trail, and after we came down, we grabbed some food and went back home to face mounds of clothes and shoes.

mother daughter time together

Bottled Gentian and goldenrod, shot at Sterling Pond. Click on this image to see a bumble bee nose diving into the bottled gentians.

The week was nice, shopping was fun, but both Shelbe and I would prefer to be hiking, biking, swimming, boating, or skiing in Vermont’s beautiful mountains and lakes, instead of shopping. It makes me happy to realize that she has indeed developed her own fondness for rural life and all it has to offer in the outdoors. Her father and I are happy that she enjoys the same lifestyle we do. She may not move back home after college and she will have many of her own adventures and different places to live. Shelbe is a world traveler, but Vermont is in her blood and always will be.

I hope that in many years to come a date with my daughter will happen on a regular basis. To me this is, indeed, priceless!

If you want to live a Vermont lifestyle, give me a call at 802-858-9193 or contact me on my website and I’ll help you find a home where you can enjoy hiking in Vermont any time!


Lea Van Winkle, Owner/Broker

Pleasant Valley Real Estate



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