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Thrifting is so VERY Vermont. 

I woke up this morning and had to take a minute to look around and orient myself. Normally I'm pretty good at this when I travel, but I guess I've hit a wall where I'm now starting to forget where I am each morning. Luckily I have Facebook to remind me, when I type in a status and it posts my location automatically for me.  

Oh, Big Brother.

What would I do without you?

My first stop of the day was a Goodwill in South Burlington.

When I walk in, one of the first things I see are gardening supplies! Hard to think about gardening when I woke up so cold I'm currently wearing three layers and a puffy vest, but nonetheless.  This store is teeming with people and carries a ton of new stuff, too.

Back in the shoes, I run into a family. Clifford, Julia and their seven-year-old daughter Jailyn, who is currently sitting on the floor trying on shoes. They say they're not regular shoppers, but they come in on occasion to check out what they've got.  

"She just burns through shoes," Clifford says, looking down at his daughter.  "So every so often we come here."     

I take a look around a bit for myself, and stumble onto a t-shirt with a wedding photo of Luke and Laura from the 1981 episode of General Hospital. I think a moment, pondering buying it for kitsch value or for a friend, but after a few photos I put it back, hoping it might find it's rightful home with a Luke and Laura fanatic somewhere.

I notice a mother and daughter browsing the dresses.  As it turns out, Kimberlee and her daughter Cali come here ever Saturday together, and have been doing that for the last 8 years.  

Cali finds a top and holds it up for her mom to see. "Do you like this?" she asks. "NO," her mom replies-- nearly instantly.  

"I'm honest," Kimberlee says with a smile.

Cali sums up why they shop here-- as she says, "since forever."

"Vermont is an expensive place to live anyway, so you may as well try to find something cheap," she said.

In the back there's a stack of brand new dog beds for sale and a whole wall of dog toys. I'm smitten. This place clearly loves their dogs-- and I'm so, so, SO missing my dog right now.  I see a squeaky newspaper toy for sale that reads "Dog bites man. Dog very angry." 

I can't resist.

It goes in the cart.

I check out with my dog toy and head to The Skinny Pancake, a recommendation from Cali. On my drive down, I notice folks are out frolicking in the parks, wearing shorts and even a car driving around with it's top down. What the what, Vermont? It's 53 degrees with a stiff cold wind. 

I finally find a seat at the bar where I order something called "The Love Maker." No regrets there, folks. If you're ever in these parts you should hit this place up. 

My next stop (also a Cali recommendation-- thanks, girl!) is Replays, a thrift store that benefits Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.  

That's where I meet Marianne, a long-time thrifter who already has with a pile of purple tops draped over one arm. She says she shops here because she knows the money goes toward a good cause. And like so many others, the thrill of the hunt is a big reason. "I treasure stuff I get here more because, you know, you can't find that again," she says. 

The shop is packed with cute antiques one shelf along the wall is lined with wigs. They're available for customers with medical needs for them, and they often get re-donated back when customers finish their chemotherapy. 

With two stores under my belt for the day, I decide to make a special stop to treat myself for staying so on schedule. The Ben & Jerry's factory in Waterbury.  

Oh, the humanity. 

I've never even had that much Ben & Jerry's in my life, but I have to say, seeing it being made and getting a few tastes during the tour will probably cause an increase in ice cream purchases after I get home. 

A little Raspberry Truffle and a Liz Lemon Sundae later, I head to Newbury to meet family friends who have been big supporters of the trip and have offered to put me up for the night. It doesn't hurt that they're also big thrifters and have a long list of suggestions waiting for me.

The roads leading there make me feel like I'm in a car commercial, except with more moose and snowmobile crossing signs.  

So I leave you tonight somewhere far from an interstate where I get to sleep in a non-hotel bed and eat meals that don't just consist of popcorn and diet soda.

One more week! 


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