Let's go back to November 2019 for a moment... That was when members of our Harley Owners Group® received a survey, asking them which would be their pick for an overnight trip in the new year. That was also a time when Corona was just a beer. Our FX Thunder H.O.G. Chapter did pick their destination: the Kitzhof Inn in the green mountains of Southern Vermont.
Fast forward four months and it seemed like everything for the remainder of 2020 would be on PAUSE due to the Coronavirus -events, concerts & rallies were being postponed or outright cancelled. Would this trip be next?? Everyone held their breath, put on a face masks, washed their hands, and had hoped that we would all come out on the other side okay.
Slowly, but surely, our hopes and prayers were answered. All of New England seemed to have flattened the COVID-19 curve and recreational travel was allowed (so long as it was between states that weren't experiencing surges). So off went our chapter, into the somewhat wild green mountains!
The majority of the group started out on Friday, July 17th, riding the back roads to the Kitzhof in under six hours. Some rain showers would pop up, but that's what rain suits are for! Once everyone arrived, Simon & Alison (owners of the inn & motorcyclists themselves) warmly welcomed the group and explained how the new rules would work: wearing face masks, cleaning the common areas, no housekeeping but extra towels would provided if needed, etc., etc.
Normally the group would have been the Kitzhof's 10th or 12th group booking by mid-July... but as we all know, these are not normal times. That's why on Saturday, with Simon leading and Alison on sweep, our group finally did do something normal: went on their "These Green Hills" ride (and boy did it feel great!). There were sweeping curves, delightful valleys, mountain vistas accompanied with quaint villages and townships. Vermont doesn't have any skyscrapers (in fact they don't have any buildings over 124 feet tall), but that is made up by their plentiful hilltops and tree lined drives.
Ending the ride at The Vermont Country Store (just 34 miles north of the inn) was a great chance to get some of the local flavor. A restored general store, it first opened its doors in 1946. Still family owned and run today (five generations later), they take pride in "being the Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-to-Find." Of course face masks and social distancing rules still applied, but in no way did that diminish the charm.
Back to the Kitzhof Inn after that, which is located right on VT-100. Scenic Route VT-100 is also one of the "50 Rides, 1 Nation" Ride Challenges that National H.O.G.® has, and it's easy to see why. Just around every corner is either a nice little straight-away, a series of twisties, or a village that, at first glance, time seems to have forgotten (although they do have today's modern conveniences upon further investigation).
The FX Thunder H.O.G.® Chapter had enough time left in the afternoon for a relaxing swim in the pool and talk about the day's ride while Simon & Alison prepared the dinner for that evening. That, along with breakfast both mornings, the guided ride and use of all the amenities were included in the group rate -quite a deal!!
After a hearty, hot breakfast Sunday morning, it was time to pack up and head home. One of Simon's last gifts to the group: taking a group photo so they can savor the memories the group made while there. Back to the 'real world' and all that brings, so leaving the Kitzhof Inn was bitter-sweet.
Even though part of the reason we travel is so that in coming home we can be grateful for the things we have, the 'things' that Vermont and the Kitzhof Inn have are quite wondrous and will be missed greatly.