Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship

hometown support for the 3rd annual blr play it forward event

Yay for The Bank of Bennington! They matched a donation to the registration fees our alumni friend Kristen Fisk (a bank employee) paid. We love alumni and companies who support BLR Play It Forward & the BLR Memorial Travel Scholarship Fund.

Thanks Kristen and Bank of Bennington!

How’s your business giving back?

#PlayForwardGiveBack #Community #BLR2014




Today is Wednesday October 16, and this makes b-day number 5 for BLR. Let’s celebrate!

Cupcake anyone?!

She-Daisy Cupcakery Cupcake

This is the perfect time to write about the above de-lish treat (sun drop pound cake with a sun drop glaze and lemon buttercream) that Wendi, Owner of She Daisy Cupcakery gifted me a few weeks ago after she bought a pair of my vintage Frye boots. (Craigslist rocks.) So yeah, I took a treat from a stranger. (I seem to keep breaking all those rules our parents told us to live by.) Wendi was a blast to talk to. She quit a career that was blah, followed her passion to the land of things sweet- and voila a cupcake company! Another good story about a random encounter with a hard-working, inspiring person who followed their heart. I love being able to share about these kind of people here.

Without a doubt the best part of these past 5 years on the Blue Lollipop Road, has been meeting new people, the kindness of strangers, and spending time with those already in my life that I love. What else is there, really?

Ahhh- yes, the people I’ve met along the way, who share similar interests:

Million Mile Joe

Hood River, Oregon travel people

Allen & Judy Kirkwood on Alaska Ferry Boat

Meet Jack Burrows: Blue Lollipop Road

…the cities I’ve fallen in love with:

Chicago skyline from my apartment

Toronto view

…my various office locations:

Blue Benn Diner Office

Coffee Shop Office

Finger Lakes Office

My BLR Chicago Office

Coffee Shop Office

Coffee Shop Patio Office

…the food I’ve noshed on:

Chicago Brunch de-lish

Food truck tacos

Bongo Room Pancakes

Blue Benn Diner breakfast appetizer

…the places that’ve helped me find the way back to myself:

Thank you Argentina! I found myself again

…the signs that make me laugh:

Signs at The Chocolate Barn

Signs In Bathrooms

Upstate, NY Road Signs

Farmer's Market

Funny Signs: Blue Lollipop Road

Funny Signs: Blue Lollipop Road

…the excitement, energy, and adorable kids (and adults) who keep the Strong Mojo alive:

BLR Play It Forward Day 2012

Ben & Sam with blue tongues

The Carter Girls playing mini gold in BLR tees

Blue Lollipop Kids!

Caleb & Carter with blue tongues

Scott & Sierra love blue lollipops

…the adventure from coast to coast and beyond:

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

BLR-Mobile at the Alaska Border

BLR in Bermuda

The original Blue Lollipop Road: Cafayete, Argentina

Henna in India

Bermuda sights

Iquazu Falls, Argentina


"Crabbing" in Ketchikan, Alaska

…the lessons I’ve learned:

BLR inspiration

…the special friends I’ve reconnected with:

BLR Play It Forward Day 2012

BLR Play It Forward 2013

BLR PLay It Forward Day 2012

BLR PLay It Forward Celebration Cocktails 2013

…honoring lost friends by giving back to hometown female athletes, so they have the opportunity to go out and see a bigger world too:

BLR Memorial Scholarship recipients Hannah Patterson & Mercedes Chen

(Above left 2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson, and 2013 recipient Mercedes Chen at a recent soccer game:)

…events with good friends in beloved landmarks:

Cubs at Wrigley!

…the strangers out there who’re also on the Blue Lollipop Road:

BLR partners in crime

…the freedom I have found and felt:

Finding freedom on the Blue Lollipop Road

Finding freedom on the Blue Lollipop Road

…the truths I’ve come to know and trust:

Knowing what makes me richer

…the journeys and daydreaming in the sky:

Plane ride to Bermuda

…and on the road:

VA farm country

…the cheesy places I’ve been:

BLR-Mobile at South of the Border

…and the beautiful:

Napa hot air balloon mornings

…the nicknames I’ve acquired:


…knowing that there will always be bumps, so I better strap in tight:

Buckle up on the BLR

…never losing faith in things that I hope for:

I think so too

Things I wish

…and to wherever, and whatever- the road leads to next:

The Blue Lollipop Road

5 years ago today I drove down a road in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and “Blue Lollipop Road” popped ever so randomly into my head as I was brainstorming a best way to share my stories with more than just family and close friends. Who knew this is what it would become! I’ve managed all the above on a shoestring budget and with no plan whatsoever. I didn’t grow up with a trust fund, I never spent my childhood jet-setting the globe with my parents (I barely made it out of the state of Vermont until I was 15), I’ve never taken any writing or computer classes (I’m sure that is very obvious considering my regular grammatical errors and other:), and at the risk of sounding so cliche’- I’m just a small town wildly curious kid, that came from humble beginnings, learned in an heartbreaking incident at a very young age how short life is, and since then have decided that every day is a chance and a choice to live like I mean it. During my journeys on this Blue Lollipop Road, I’ve learned things that’ve absolutely changed my perspective and my life as a whole, I’ve seen places that’ve taken my breath away, and I’ve met people I wouldn’t have been able to in my wildest dreams- all because of this platform. Now that is something to celebrate!

I’ve written and shared here in and effort to keep myself in check and awake about what’s really important, to prevent myself from falling into the drone-zone, and to remember all the things that are possible. I hope by visiting here, you stay fired-up about life, like a kid in a candy store too.

Here’s to the next 5 years, and to going for it all.

What are you celebrating today?

#HappyBirthday #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad #ThisIsWhatILove


this is what the blue lollipop road memorial scholarship does!

As you all know, I awarded the inaugural Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship last year. The scholarship fund was established in 2012 in honor of the spirit and zest for life embodied by two former Mount Anthony Union High School soccer players, Maria Greene and Brandy Brown, who were killed in a car accident in 1994. (My friends- the incredible girls BLR is dedicated to.) The mission of this scholarship is to encourage a commitment to maintaining an active lifestyle, and to support travel for education and self-empowerment. The scholarships were awarded to not one, but two deserving MAU soccer playing students last year because alumni and community members were so generous with donations! These scholarships were a one-time monetary gift, awarded to Hannah Patterson & Raheema Madanay for:

*Participating in a MAU student exchange program;

*Taking a “Gap” Year between graduation and post-secondary education; and/or

*Going on an adventure travel trip intended for personal growth.

Here are Hannah and Raheema below:

BLR Memorial scholarship winners Raheema Madanay and Hanna Patterson

Hannah has shared the story of what she used her scholarship funds for, along with some great photos below:

     Hi, my name is Hannah Patterson. Last year I won the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship with my fellow classmate Raheemah Madany. I used some of the money I won as part of the scholarship to travel to Nicaragua with the Rotary Interact club at my school. This is a service trip taken every two years to the Sister City of Bennington Vermont, Somotillo, Nicaragua. I spent nine days in 90+ weather with about 20 other high school students. During these days our group worked with the Social Commission of Somotillo to help the community in any way we could.
     This included going to a few local schools and working with the kids as well as handing out dental supplies, painting a church, planting over 100 shrubs at the only hospital in Somotillo, delivering over 65 suitcases full of medical supplies to the hospital, helping to build a roof for the newly constructed kitchen in the Mother’s and Infant’s Center, painting a mural at one of the schools and much more. 
     Although doing all of the projects was more gratifying than anything I have ever done before, for me the greatest experience was being able to interact with the people and become fully immersed in their culture. The people of Somotillo were some of the happiest people I had ever seen and it was truly inspiring to see that even without the material items of first world countries, they were much more content than many who live here. Every day local children would come to where we were staying and invited us to play soccer (in which they completely put us to shame), or to come be a part of their community. Whether that was eating in the houses of many different families, listening to music, watching cultural dances, or best of all playing games, they were always willing to show us their lives.
      As traveling is a big part of my life, I was intrigued by a saying that one of our guides shared with us. In essence, once we have experienced this we are now “perfectly ruined” in the sense that we can no longer ignore the poverty that consumes a majority of the world and even in our first world lives we can not ignore the struggles that others face throughout the world. This trip allowed me to experience another culture without so much of a tourist’s perspective, which I have not been able to do before now. Being immersed in the culture gave me a more complete understanding of what it means to be a citizen of the world. I am grateful that I received this scholarship because it allowed me to further my passion for traveling and grow as a person. I am glad to say that I have been “perfectly ruined”.

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson trip to Nicaragua

How inspiring and memorable are these photos? (And yay for some soccer playing fun too!) Love it all.

I’m so glad Hannah said she is now “perfectly ruined.” I felt the exact same way about myself as soon as I stepped off the plane in Germany during my 1994 student exchange trip. To this day my Mother always jokes that I “never came back the same.” She’s right. Once you jump out of your everyday surroundings, experience other cultures (in the US or abroad), and work side by side with people you’d never otherwise meet in your regular daily life- your eyes open to a bigger world than you ever knew existed and you grow in a way you can’t describe. It’s as if when you’re submersed in any “place” outside your comfort zone, you change in an instant and you’re inspired to do, be, and see more. Your confidence grows, you suddenly “get” what really matters, and a drive is born inside you to really live more each day. I took my trip abroad nearly 20 years before Hannah, but it sounds like she had the same type of rich, unforgettable, life altering time that I did too. I can’t wait to see what she does with her next 20 years. I have a feeling there will be wonderful things to come.

Thanks for sharing Hannah! I’m so proud of you. This is a fantastic example of why creating BLR Play It Forward and the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship Fund has meant so much to me. I truly believe that travel changes and enriches lives. I’m glad it has changed and enriched yours!

Thank you to all my fellow MAU alumni who paid registration fees to participate in BLR Play It Forward 2012 and to all the community members who generously donated to help fund this scholarship! Hannah’s story illustrates my dream coming true. It’s always been my goal with Blue Lollipop Road, to provide an avenue, an opportunity, for young people to see that there’s a whole big world out there- and that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. Your support made this happen! Together we can keep the next generation healthy, active in community, and traveling for education and self-empowerment. I can’t wait to award another scholarship this year on July 13th with all your support again, and to see where the next deserving MAU student adventures, to learn and grow.


thank you bob harris!

In lieu of gifts for a retirement party I attended this weekend it was suggested that guests make a donation to their favorite charity. My newly retired friend Bob’s wife requested that for my donation, I give to the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship fund- which I happily did.

A hundred years ago I dated Bob’s son, Andrew, that’s how we know each other. Andrew might not know this, but he had a huge part in influencing my choice to live the “vagabond” lifestyle, so how perfect that all these years later Bob and his family still support young people reaching their travel goals.

Thanks Bob! I look forward to sharing who becomes the recipient of the 2013 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship. Here’s to adventure at any age. You are just getting started!