Need some life hacks to get you through pandemic winter No. 2? Our Staytripper supplement this week recommends embracing the cold season. In the story headlined "Wintervention," eight Vermonters share their survival strategies, from staying in a tiny Hardwick tree house to joining in the Abenaki Snow Snake Games. Take it from me, a California girl who grew up in Maryland: The winter edition of our guide to Vermont — put together by and for the people who live here — casts a whole new light on the dreary days before us.
Seven Days started Staytripper during the summer of 2020, when strict quarantine requirements limited travel into and out of the state. We discontinued the bilingual tourist magazine, BTV, that we had been publishing for the airport and scrambled to create a guide for locals: "The road map to rediscovering Vermont," as Staytripper is subtitled, encourages Vermonters to explore their own state — safely, of course. The cover of the first issue, in July 2020, showed a lone kayaker plying the waters of the Waterbury Reservoir. The rest of the book was full of pandemic-proof adventures, from a guide to Vermont's quirky roadside attractions to day trip recommendations in Barre, Shelburne and Hubbardton.
Under the circumstances, we expected the monthly supplement to be viable for four months — through October, the end of Vermont's official tourist season. But the pandemic didn't end, so we kept going, searching for stories that would work in stick season and winter: sleigh rides, interesting inns, ski-area eateries, cold-weather hikes, even winter driving tips. Every issue was useful, beautiful and inspiring, thanks to the careful planning of editor Carolyn Fox, Seven Days' special publications manager.
In normal times, Carolyn spends much of the first three months of the year overseeing the assembly of 7 Nights, our annual dining guide that aims to list every restaurant, bar and nightclub in Vermont. The 2020 edition was ready to go to the printer on March 13, 2020, but we had to scrap the whole thing. The magazine won't return in 2022, as we'd hoped, because the restaurant scene is still changing too quickly. This unexpected hiatus has allowed Carolyn to keep producing Staytripper. As of this fall, she's also in charge of Nest, Seven Days' home, design and real estate quarterly. November's amazing local Gift Guide was also her baby.
When she isn't creating our special publishing projects, Carolyn is chief proofreader of Seven Days — poring over every word in the newspaper as it gets produced on Monday and Tuesday. Her careful fact-checking has saved us incalculable embarrassment. Every one of our reporters and editors will attest to her eagle eye. A Champlain College grad who is now an employee-owner of Seven Days, she is a tremendous asset to the operation. If she has signed off on a page, it's good to go.
She's creative, too. Though not a fan of winter sports herself, Carolyn found enough interesting stories to fill five frozen Staytrippers. This summer, after 15 issues, we decided to switch the pub from a monthly to a quarterly — in part because the pandemic seemed to be waning.
Instead, for the second year in a row, the snowy woods of Vermont look like the place to be. Like a freshly tracked cross-country ski trail, this Green Mountain guide should help get you through whatever lies ahead.