So I was in Ludlow, VT this past weekend – not to ski, but simply for the hell of it. It’s quite the drive from CSC, actually, though many Spartan skiers and snowboarders routinely make the hour-long trek to tame the slopes of Okemo.
But not me — I was there to get my drink on.
More specifically, I was seeking out the Pot Belly Pub, an oft-rumored mythic place of boozing lore and phenomenal pub grub. I craved a Reuben sandwich – layered in cheesy corned beef and kraut — paired with the perfect pint.
But the Pot Belly was bloated to the brim with skiers, mostly from Connecticut and Mass, so we ended up at Killarney’s – an Irish pub just outside the trendiness of the town’s main drag.
It was quiet — at first – as we sat in the “dining area” near the back of the building. The waitress seated us in a hard wood booth, with all the comforts of a high-backed picnic table, and I ordered my sandwich and a pint of Murphy’s stout – great head.
It was right around the time that the appetizers arrived (a set of four over-priced potato skins slathered in cheese and bacon) that I started to hear sounds that echoed back to snow days and sledding in second grade.
Shosh shwish shosh shwish shosh shwish – and giggles.
In the time it took me to down my first pint and ask for another, an entire flock of fourth-graders and yuppie parents had taken over the “dining area,” drowning out the Flogging Molly from the restaurant’s speakers with sounds of their swishing North Face snow pants and playground screaming.
I cringed – and gulped hard on my beer.
The temptation to grab a bunch of the little buggers by their boots – kids make great sleds and well, there’s Okemo right down the street – was great. We might as well have been eating under water, as the sounds of the skier-sapien circus overloaded our ears to the point of popping. The finest Shakespearian sonnet would have sounded like muddied tar on that evening.
To make matters worse, our meal – a sandwich, some skins, some lasagna, a pop, and a couple brews – came out to whopping sixty-plus bucks when our bill arrived. The first thing I thought, after seeing those digits and the blue pen-scribbled “Thank You!” on the check, wasn’t how much I overpaid – but rather about the almost seventy tacos I could’ve bought at Taco Bell for the same price.
After paying my bill, giving our waitress “the bird” with my eyes for the experience, we drove home bitter and pissed. I counted at least thirty out-of-state plates heading towards Okemo before we hit Rutland. Most had ski racks. Most has city stickers. Most were SUVs.
I’ll be in NYC next month as a tourist, an out-of-state-plate – a sucker.
I wonder how much a Reuben costs there.