13 APR 2012: Bucket lists are important. They serve as reminders about the things we wish we could do if we had the time. So this spring I grabbed my mom’s bucket list and put some talk into action. It was time to visit Vermont.

Except we had no idea President Obama was thinking the same thing. He stepped off Air Force One at the Burlington International Airport, spent four hours but managed to raise $750,000 toward his re-election campaign. (Vermont’s a huge blue state).

A Porter Check-in

Now, as I was growing up in Niagara Falls whenever my mom Maria crossed paths with a Vermonter she would later relay the encounter on how she just met someone from Vermont.

To her, Vermont became a state of mind. Each time she uttered its name, I swear I heard a sigh at the end of her phrase – kind of like she was missing something, a longing that would just never seem to transpire.

So with ski season over, I surprised her with a girls’ getaway weekend and booked tickets on Porter Airlines, a carrier she hadn’t yet experienced, which helped turn her dream into reality. Porter made this destination easier with its new one-hour direct route to Burlington which recently ended on April 8.

“Oh look at those beautiful tailored suits and that pill box hat,” she marvelled at the flight attendant’s pleated jackets and smart retro hat.

At the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, the Porter Lounge had her marvelling. “You mean we could have a cappuccino or café au lait if we like?” Why you could even have complimentary juice, soda, water and biscuits if you preferred not to mention free Internet and newspapers.

With china cups in hand, by the gleaming glass windows, we sank into the comfy leather grey loveseats and watched the fabulous Toronto backdrop with its impressive city skyline showing off to us.

A Vermont Welcome

Passing by quaint towns, rushing brooks some with mills, others with Gothic Revival homes with pretty window boxes spruced in spring flowers, our driver Greg Martell, a local tour operator who runs GM Express, slowed the van down and said, “Here’s your home for the next few days.”

Home it was.

Outside Burlington, about a 45-minute drive east is Smugglers Notch, a family ski resort, which was winding down its season. For us it translated into R&R, girlie nights in with a bottle of wine, and plenty of gasps and sighs over the cozy digs overlooking the historic Smuggler’s Notch Pass. (It was a prime bootlegging route during its Prohibition hey days).

The Crash Pad

Located in the resort’s new north community called The Eagles, our 2,075 sq foot three-bedroom chalet had ample space and more. Smugglers made these suites fully equipped with distractions (books, chess board, three flat screen TVs) and private nooks for lazy afternoons. The sunroom styled in wicker was a highlight for breakfast and quiet reading.

The kitchen of all kitchens took top prize with spacious cupboards, cooking accessories, cookbooks, state-of-the-art appliances, everything Mom dreamed of.

“Who needs to leave?” she often remarked as I suggested daily activities.

Our days alternated between swims at the Indoor Aquatic and Exercise Center which housed a lap pool, and two hot tubs; and with hikes along the 3,000-acred grounds.

Nestled in the Green Mountains with spectacular views of the Madonna and Sterling Mountain, we wandered along the marked cross-country trails now bearing signs of spring with fresh buds dancing in the cool mountain breeze announcing the new season.

In a symbolic way, the buds represented the passage of time, off with the old and on with the new.

Mom braced herself by a footbridge, as she glanced upward to face the early spring sun that she long awaited, grinning all the way.

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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