One amazing bonus of living year-round in Killington is experiencing the incredible juxtapositions that the mountain and valley provide. We can ski for part of the day, leave the mountain, come down to the valley and resume quiet life on the Sherburne Flats.
Mother’s Day and the following Sunday offered such a choice. The crowd on Superstar was thick: skiers and riders bounced off the back-wrenching moguls that seem more like channels at this point than bumps. Things were hopping on the slope and at the Umbrella Bar. People from all over New England and Vermont set up tailgate parties in the parking lot. The smell of grilled hamburgers wafted over the entire area. Spirits were high, the music loud–it was a party.
Meanwhile, back down on the Sherburne Flats on Mission Farm Road, things are a lot more sedate. We can see the Skyeship base lodge from the church steps. On those long winter nights and mornings, when I first get up in the dark and come down to the kitchen to get my coffee, I look over to the base lodge, see the lights on and say good morning to the lifties who are getting the gondola ready for the day. We can hear the last snow-cats going back up Great Eastern at daybreak. The Skyeship, an outpost of Killington Resort, closes for the summer, though, which makes things a little lonely down here.
However quiet it might seem, the change of season brings new activity. Many more people walk their dogs up and down Mission Farm Road, stopping at our fountain to fill a dog bowl with water for their canine companions. When people tire of bicycling up East Mountain Road (right now in preparation for the Stage Race on Memorial Day weekend), they sprint up and down our mile-long road. If we watch them out the window, we get a little dizzy seeing them race back and forth.
While there are no black flies up on Superstar, they have arrived with a vengeance down here. Despite the menace of frost yet to come, we are putting in the flower and vegetable gardens and reclaiming more garden area from the encroaching fields, unearthing long-buried old fencing in the process.
Perhaps the greatest juxtaposition lies in the almost quaint 19th-century semblance of existence on the farm, contrasted with the modernity up on the mountain. When Josiah Wood settled this land in 1783, he could never ever have imagined his homestead becoming a neighbor to the “Beast of the East.” However, Church of Our Saviour/Mission Farm’s core value and ethos of hospitality meld well with the overall sense of hospitality in the Killington region and, in that, the juxtaposition of old and new, quiet and activity, ceases to be a challenge, but a gift.