A Mainer Thanks Vermont

It’s Vicki Doudera here, just back from five days in the Green Mountain State.

Nate receiving his diploma on Saturday.

The impetus for my trip was middle son Nate’s graduation from Champlain College, but I also visited aunts, uncles and cousins, held a book talk to promote DEADLY OFFER at the Barnes & Noble, and spent an afternoon walking along Lake Champlain. Thanks to my mother and grandfather being natives, I have lots of family and friends in Vermont, and have always felt at home there.
I can’t tell you how many summers and holidays I spent with my grandparents, Vic and Lena Guiduli, who were longtime restauranteurs in Barre. I have fond memories of that small town, known as the “granite capital of the world,” where everyone shopped on Main Street and greeted each other by name. I loved our trips to the lakeside cottages of my relatives or their friends, adored swimming in the clean waters and catching fish on the shore. I bicycled with Burlington cousins through UVM’s Redstone Campus, ate vanilla “creemies” in the countryside.

Statue of a granite sculptor in Barre.

I clamored to be taken to the “Farm,” my grandfather’s hunting camp in the Northeast Kingdom, a classic farmhouse without electricity nor plumbing on one hundred forested acres.
The Farm was where I first encountered “grown up” thriller novels — a stash of musty Ian Flemings — and where I fell in love with nature. Although my grandfather and his friends hunted just about everything that hopped, ran, or swam, they had a deep love of and respect for the woods and its inhabitants. We’d take long walks to the beaver dam, watch for bears lumbering up the power line, and look for deer in the fields at dusk. To me, it was heaven.

It was during the countless drives back home to Massachusetts that I realized I was not a city — or even a suburban — girl. I remember experiencing a sinking feeling, deep in my stomach, as we headed south through New Hampshire. I grew more and more depressed as the traffic increased, not because I didn’t like my life in Massachusetts, but because I absolutely hated leaving Vermont. My aunt reminds me of how I would “hide” in my grandparents’ closets so that my parents would leave me behind. On several occasions it actually worked.


Flash forward to my early twenties. Shortly after my husband Ed and I met in Boston, we realized that we both longed to be somewhere else. Somewhere cleaner, calmer, and wilder. Ed had friends in southern Vermont, and I had all my family connections, and so we decided to look for a business there. At the last minute we also contacted a business broker in a state where we knew absolutely no one — Maine.


Why Maine? We’d taken a spur-of-the-moment vacation to an empty cottage in Corea, a tiny Downeast coastal town, and magical things had happened. I’ll go into that in another post, but that’s the short answer of how Maine came to be in the running for our new home. A love of the ocean was another draw.


That we picked Maine over Vermont twenty-six years ago had more to do with the size of our bank accounts than anything else. Real estate in Maine was less expensive, and so we found ourselves purchasing an old Victorian in Camden, opening an inn, and rooting ourselves to a different part of Northern New England.


A funny thing happened the first time we traveled back to the coast from a trip to see relatives in Vermont. I braced myself for that sinking feeling, so much a part of every previous journey, and instead I felt — fine. Happy, even. Glad to have visited Vermont, but just as glad to be returning to Maine. As I write this I have tears in my eyes at the memory.


I’m grateful to beautiful Vermont, birthplace of my mother, grandfather, and scores of my loved ones and friends. I’m thankful for the way that state helped chisel me into who I am. I realize that it’s thanks to Vermont that I’ve built such a satisfying life in Maine, finding my own small town with its welcoming Main Street, as well as a mini version of the “Farm” where I can enjoy nature or read a musty Ian Fleming.

And I’m happy that — thanks to Vermont — I now have a graduate who is not only happy, but employed. Whew!






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8 Responses to A Mainer Thanks Vermont

  1. Deanna says:

    I love New England!!! That’s probably why I live here, too.
    Congratulations to Nate and to his parents too!!! Dee

  2. John Clark says:

    Congratulations on helping add another skilled human to our world. I don’t think most people realize how important sense of place is in our lives. I did not appreciate Maine until I went to college in Arizona. The cultural and geographic change was well worth being there for 4 years, but boy, did I learn to love Maine.

  3. Lea Wait says:

    Congratulations to you all! Nate especially — but to all the family of the new graduate. And there does seem to be a Vermont/Maine connection …. an amazing number of people summer in Maine and winter in Vermont. Not everyone needs a southern fix!

  4. Barb Ross says:

    Congratulations to Nate–and of course, to you and Ed. Big checkmark on the day for all of you.

    I spent Sunday at my niece’s graduation party and almost everyone there remarked on how hard these kids work, how well travelled they are. If they are the future, I can’t wait!

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