• Stephen D'Agostino

Raiders of the Lost Ark Tomorrow at Puddledock Park


The Reading Recreation Commission had just set up the tent on Puddledock Park and eased the lid off the massive tub of ice cream donated by Jaime Wyman and Villagers when a pair of cyclists, Greg Sando and Sarah Havens, rolled by.


Rec Commissioner Lisa Kaija called out to the bikers that we had ice cream. Greg, who was now in front of the walkway to the library, stopped. At first, he seemed skeptical, but Lisa kept sweetening the deal, so to speak, by listing off the toppings available: Oreo cookies, chocolate jimmies, rainbow jimmies, cherries, chocolate sauce, marshmallows, and of course, whipped cream.


Sarah said they had biked a long way, and they deserved a treat. They got off the bikes and became the first customers at the Third Annual Ice Cream Party.


I chatted with Greg and Sarah for a while and learned that they lived in Strafford while in Vermont, and in London the rest of the time. I was amazed that they had biked all this way, but they corrected me. They drove to Cavendish and then rode in a loop that would end up being 27 miles, a short ride according to the man.


Their route, as best as I could figure, brought them from Downers along Route 131 to Twenty Mile Stream Road, about which they both commented on the hills, down Tyson Road to Route 106, and then back to Downers.


They requested add-ins for their ice cream, became subjects of photographs from Tara Wray, who was taking shots for the Standard, and chatted some more. They told me that they’ve biked all over the state. They like to bike into New York, but the ferry service, they said, is out. They've also biked into Canada, but are unable to this year given the restrictions on travel out of the country.


Out of curiosity, Greg and Sarah found this route. As they finished their ice cream, I explained the difference or (non-difference) between Felchville and Reading, the different hamlets in town, and that we are getting “Welcome to Reading” signs soon, and we hope they will ease the confusion.


Sarah took photos of the library, commenting on its beauty. I told them once the library is reopened, they'd have to come back to see how beautiful it is on the inside. Sarah complimented the Rec Commission for putting on an event like this and said that Reading was a town she would remember. Though I usually don't travel by bike, I am happy when I come across a person, place, or experience in our state that I, too, can say I will remember.


As luck would have it, Bill and I had memorable moments in all three categories last weekend. On Saturday, we went pandemic peach picking at Shelburne Orchards. I’ve never gone peach picking before, but I assumed it would be similar to apple picking. And if these were normal times, it probably would have been. I certainly would have come home with more peaches than I would know what to do with.


Instead, we had to pre-pay for one box that we could fill with one layer of peaches. I think we managed to get 28. We'll work our way through those, but I learned how to freeze them just in case.


From there, we went to the Burlington Farmers' Market and bought a chicken and corn from a man wearing a Zuckerman for Governor face mask. But not only that. He was wearing a David Zuckerman ponytail. Actually, I think there is only one such ponytail. How many other states can you buy poultry and produce from the Lieutenant Governor/candidate for Governor?


Traveling north, we ended up at Kill Kare State Park on the tip of a peninsula in the town of St. Albans Bay. After having lunch there and watching the boats—motor, sail, and kayaks—ply the waters, I left understanding how Sarah felt. This state park is an extraordinary place, and right now, perhaps my favorite spot on the lake.


I am hoping for a memorable evening tomorrow night at Puddledock Park. The Reading Recreation Commission will be showing Raiders of the Lost Ark. For safety, the Rec is limiting the number of participants to 50. There is still time for you to secure your spot. You can either send an email to the Rec Commission at ReadingVTRecreation@gmail.com or secure a spot through the event listing on the Commission's Facebook Page, Facebook.com/readingparks. I'll give you the link to the event, but it's long: https://www.facebook.com/events/629026621079918/


Also, remember, on August 27, which is one week from tonight, there will be live music at Puddledock Park, featuring Bluegrasoles, a two-thirds local trio. The other third is from Springfield.


And a note on the way out. Congratulations to Ethan Westney for earning his Eagle Scout last weekend. Ethan and some other scouts, as you may know, created the benches that are in Puddledock Park and the trellis to hide the wellhead. These sturdy wooden seats are extremely comfortable. They're perfect perches for watching movies. The Reading Green Spaces Committee is happy that we were able to play a small part in Ethan's efforts to earn this honor.


That’s the news from Reading! See you next week!


This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on August 20, 2020.


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