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A surprisingly active thrifty Sunday! 

This morning I woke up from the most rock solid sleep I've had in weeks, in a cozy guest bedroom of family friends in Vermont. Armed with their recommendations, we all three piled in HaRVey2 today bound for a grand circle of stores we hoped would be open. 

And guess what-- THEY ALL WERE! 

Just down the road from their home was Robert's Thrift Shop, in Bradford, VT. I'd surely have never found this place without their help since it's off the beaten path, around the corner and in a basement portion of a buliding off the main drag.  

The cashier leads me back to a TV room at the back of the store, where I find Robert himself, watching TV and doing crossoword puzzles. He tells me that he started the store by selling stuff from his own home to benefit the local annual fair, for which he was a board member. The store benefitted the Connecticut Valley Fair until recently, when the store switched to funding the Orange East Senior Center, which provides meal delieveries in the area.

He has lots of reasons he thinks folks should thrift shop more, but especially that it keeps things out of landfills. "A lot of products don't break down," he said. 

He also accepts food donations, which are given to needy customers for free. Today he has a box of cereal available. 

The store itself is a maze of stuff with a holiday room in back. You could certainly spend some time digging around here and it's certainly worth a look just for the experience of it. In the front room I spot old liquor bottles shaped like historial figures like Betsy Ross, proudly sewing her flag. There's also a porcelain bust of Clint Eastwood a la Dirty Harry and some cute emboidered kittens on dishtowels. If you know me, you know I can't pass up a cute dishtowel! 

Back in the car we take some winding roads toward Hanover, New Hampshire, home of Dartmouth College and therefore, a very necessary stop. The neighboring town of Lebanon, New Hampshire is where donations from the nearby college usually end up, so I poke into Listen Thrift Store to see what I can find. 

Inside I meet Ruby, the store's longtime manager who actually shopped here as a teenager herself. She's in back helping sort and accetp donations on what seems to be a really busy day-- especially for a Sunday!

The donations roll in at a steady pace as she tells me about the services the thrift store is able to provide to the community, as well as the food pantry the keep in back.

As it turns out, her daughter Angela is shopping out front, so I go introduce myself. She says she grew up in this thrift store since her mom worked here, and shopped here from an early age.

"As a kid it was a little embarrassing, but I also loved it," she said. She started volunteering alongside her mom at age 9, and is currently looking for things for her own 12-year-old daughter.  

The store is packed with people-- packed. And packed I spot a Betty White t-shirt hanging on a wall, which I can't even think about leaving without.

As I approach the checkout counter, I see a box of apples and peppers, with a giant FREE sign.  Also, there's a stand of bread products, including a loaf of french bread, a piece of pumpkin pie and a whoopie pie-- ALL FREE!  

Uh, yeah-- that whoopie pie came home with me. That's precious road food for tomorrow's drive to Portland, Maine!

Back in the car, we stop at a truck stop for lunch, then head to Concord, New Hampshire to take a gander at the Goodwill there. There's all sorts of new(!) gardening equipment and decorations ready for spring blooms.

I'm starting to see a LOT of Boston Red Sox stuff--t-shirts, glasses, hats-- so I know I'm getting closer and closer to the Bay State. Just as I stop to chat with some folks I spot a three-point hat for sale off in the distance-- oh, so New England.

It's near the end of the day, but there's a steady stream of folks browsing the aisles. 

It was a super productive day, so we ate dinner at a Chinese buffet nearby and started the two hour drive home again.

Three stores, four hours behind the wheel, two nights in the same bed and one very tired girl.

Tomorrow-- a drive to PORTLAND and hopefully a little lob-stah!  

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