Where They Know Your Name

It was one of the few times that I didn’t have a camera, a situation made more ironic by the fact that most of my visits to this country inn at the center of Arlington Vermont had been to serve in the capacity as wedding photographer.

We went for a birthday party – two actually .  My son goes to school with the daughter of the innkeepers, but neither he nor his brother had enjoyed a meal there before, and, when we sat down at our table with our impeccably-prepared meal, he said, “Mom, is this a fancy restaurant?”

The buffet had been beautifully decorated, and expertly-arranged flowers adorned every table.  It was a beautiful as any wedding, but without any of the tension that such a momentous ceremony can create.  But as we looked around the tent-covered patio and carefully restored barn and gardens, we children cavorting noisily in the paths.  We saw the innkeepers’ children showing off their new rabbits.  And we saw waitstaff, plucked from the ranks of our neighbors (who could very easily also have been guests), hosting friends rather than customers.

“It’s the fanciest,” I replied.  “Where else can you have a meal like this and still get to pet a rabbit?”