we are your team…

…for the Rand McNally/USA TODAY Best of the Road rally 2012!


Because we can finish a Ben & Jerry’s Vermonster no problem!

The Peacock's at Ben & Jerry's

Talk about being able to hang!

Welcome to the world of the Peacock’s. Sure, Mom and I had some help on this giant bucket o’ goodness, but we are not afraid and we like a good challenge! We finished:

20 scoops of ice cream

4 bananas

4 cookies

4 brownies


Various chocolate toppings and tidbits

Hot fudge

Whipped cream


Mamma Peacock and I are ready to take on whatever other buckets of goodness are out there in Small Town America, so VOTE FOR US! Team Blue Lollipop Road!

Where do you want to send us to find the good treats?


the real deal

It’s been about 10 days since the good madness began for Team Blue Lollipop Road soliciting votes in hopes to be chosen for the Rand McNally/USA TODAY Best of the Road 2012. I have worked my tail off already and can barely sleep at night because I want so badly to go on this trip with my Mom. The anticipation and excitement of it all (and we are not even on the trip yet!)- is the energy I live for. I love it. I love “meeting” new travelers on social media, I love watching the videos from last years competitors, I love reading about small towns I have never been to and daydreaming about going to to them.

This competition and rally is particularly important to me because it’s about Small Town America. The people, the food, the fun, the everyday life. This is what I have always traveled for and what the whole point of Blue Lollipop Road is: It’s about spending time with interesting and fun people in regular everyday places. My favorite travel memories are the ones where I’ve done nothing big or “important”, just the times enjoying coffee shop chats with people like Jack Burrows:

Jack Burrows- road people

Jack sat down beside me as I typed away at my computer in July of 2010 and told me about his Inn that he owned on a little Island where I was in NC. Just a happy smiley guy excited to have a visitor to his town. (How could you not love that face?) Another one of my most favorite road times was meeting these little cuties near the VT/NH border in September 2011 when I stopped at their lemonade stand:

Cutie-pies at a lemonade stand

(It’s as if this was staged it was so incredibly adorable, but it was totally random.)

I was quite the lemonade stand entrepreneur myself when I was little. (Mom will tell you stories on that and how I tried to sell “rock pictures” at my lemonade stands too.) I always have to stop to support my fellow business ladies like these, and naturally I couldn’t leave without a photo, so I asked the moms and dads if I could take one and give the girls a blue lollipop which they happily agreed. I didn’t even have to ask these 4 to stick out their blue tongues. They were giggling and loving it:

Blue lollipop tongues!

This picture is one of my favorite I have ever taken in the thousands I have. The pure joy of a simple sunny day with a lemonade stand and a lollipop.

These are the kinds of moments I live for, and why I stay curious and travel. These are moments you can’t buy, force to make, or get anywhere else but on the road. That is why I want to go on this Best of the Road rally with my Mom. I want to share with her moments like these that are out there to be had because she is a huge reason why I’ve made such a rich and full life of adventure. She’s always encouraged me to go, do and be exactly what I want with no expectation or rule other than to work hard and follow my heart and that’s exactly what I am doing here.

So? In all the moments of butt-busting to get votes, vying for social media attention and nuzzling Team Blue Lollipop Road into a spot in the lead to be chosen as one of the finalists, my hope is that the authenticity of Mom, myself and the spirit of Blue Lollipop Road will always shine through more than anything else. Spending time in Small Town America and moments with people are where my heart and soul are. If I could choose how to spend a dream day, or a million dollars if I had it- being in a car on a x-country trip in the USA like the one that I am competing to get in on now, would be my absolute first choice.

Here’s to the road!



big news on BLR 8/18 soccer reunion event

I got some fantastic thrilling news this week on a surprise for the 8/18 event in Vermont. It will involve an art show at the Vermont Arts Exchange by one of our very own alumni who was on the first ever women’s varsity soccer team at MAU. (Hint, hint. Guesses anyone?)

We are busy as bees working on this event which is sure to be incredible for all involved. More details in the coming weeks!

If you are MAU alumni reading this, from the Southern Vermont area, or non- alumni and want to be involved/included in this event, please post a comment here or contact me at diane (@)




blue lollipop road reunion soccer weekend!

I have planned a weekend for female soccer alumni of my high school in Vermont to come together to reconnect and reminisce, play soccer, honor our past teammates, and give back to the community we grew up in. I’ve been working on things for months. Some of the biggest pieces are now set in place, so I wanted to finally share!

The Blue Lollipop Road Reunion Soccer Weekend will take place the weekend of August 18, 2012 in Shaftsbury and Bennington, VT.

Part of the festivities will include the STRONG MOJO summit- which will be  an opportunity for current female athletes to meet with former soccer  players. (That’s us!) We will share our life experiences since leaving high school through a leadership/mentor forum. There will be a memorial dedication to Maria Greene and Brandy Brown (our lost friends who inspired me to start BLR), an alumni soccer tournament, and of course, social gatherings.

There is no doubt that if I hadn’t been a part of soccer teams every year growing up, and if I hadn’t participated in the student exchange program through Mount Anthony High School like I did in 1994, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today and this site would not exist.
Through sport and having coaches who were incredible mentors (thanks Traci!)- I learned about teamwork, and confidence. I learned that by taking care of my body and exercising, that I would take care of my mind and soul too. When our team had all hands in before each game chanting: One…two…three…”STRONG MOJO!” we each knew we had the power together or alone- to go, be, and do anything. As I stood in Germany during my student exchange month abroad never having been out of the state of Vermont before, my eyes flew open to see there was a whole big world out there to discover. Since then, I’ve spent time in all 50 states and 13 countries. I’ve learned how to be resourceful, savvy, flexible, independent, and open. I’ve met people I would have never otherwise met, tried foods I never imagined I’d try, and seen sights that have taken my breath away. What I’ve learned most from athletics and travel is that I can do anything I set my mind to.
These are the messages I want to bring back to the place where I came from and share with the younger generation. It’s a pay back/pay forward for what has been a huge part of shaping my life. It brings Blue lollipop Road full circle after all these years.
Stay tuned for a fundraising campaign we will be launching for this event and get ready to spread the word!
With this announcement I will also share that this is a big shift time for BLR. There will be many site changes you will see here soon and a super exciting bit of fame news I’ll dish to you this week!
Here’s to running towards life and never forgetting where you came from.

day 3: bennington, vt to chester, vt to portsmouth, nh

It’s just not a trip to Vermont if you don’t make it to Sonny’s Blue Benn Diner for breakfast:

Blue Benn and Blue Lollipop Road

If you have followed here for any bit of time, you have definitely heard about this place before. I am a serious repeat offender. The Blue Benn has long been written up and praised in publications like the New York Times, countless magazines and a bunch of road food books, but even with all that mega-popularity, I love that it’s always stayed the same:

(Yikes. I’m also a bad hair day and outfit repeat offender! After watching this video I am thinking my no shopping and same haircut for about 5 years habit might need to be broken…)

I digress…back to the good stuff:

I asked Jeannie, one of the always friendly Blue Benn Waitresses if I could ask her a few questions before our breakfast came out:

…as we nibbled on a fresh made cinnamon sugar doughnut for an appetizer:

Blue Benn doughnuts

Finally, scrambled eggs, perfectly seasoned red potato hash browns, and homemade sourdough toast:

Blue Benn breakfast

Of course I had to snap a photo of this sign that made me laugh:

Blue Benn Diner signs

Blue Benn breakfast builds strong bones and big muscles!

Blue Benn muscles

With a full belly, it was off to NH on a much different route than I would usually take. Detours a plenty because of Hurricane Irene which added a bunch of miles and time to my destination, but I am more than Ok with that. Detours and new roads mean new things to see and new people to meet. Like this super cool truck I spotted:

Roadside trucks

Unfortunately in this detour case, there was some damage to be seen:

Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene

A couple miles from the above sad scene, I spotted this lighthearted display on the side of the road:

Hurricane Irene- lighthearted

…and once again had to whip out the video camera. (Boy, I am really digging having a video camera along with me this go- around!):

I saw a few people across the street, so had to ask them if they knew what the deal was with the above. Turns out, one of the women was the creator of the fun scene. Meet Kim:

We agreed making good out of a not so good situation helped keep spirits up and was needed for worker morale. Kim also talked about how her quirky set up had brought the neighbors together; They had started coming over and asking if they could add more to her project. (Yay! Neighbors banding together!) I wonder what the display will look like in another week! (Kim if you are reading this, thank you for the chat. I’d love for you to send me any photos in the coming days/weeks of the additions. I will post them here of course!)

I kept on my way, and was giddy to pass a lemonade stand with a bunch of adorable kids around it. I was a lemonade stand entrepreneur myself when I was a little girl, so I make sure always to support my peers in business (even the ones that are 25 years younger.) Meet Aeden, Anika, Ella, and Gwen

Cutie-pies at a lemonade stand

Would you believe I did not stage this? I mean, not only is this the most perfect looking lemonade stand structure, but these 4 girls were like the poster children for cute, and they were raising money for Hurricane Irene victims. (And did you notice that hat on Ella? Just precious.) The best part of all of this was that they were really working well together like a perfect team, and they were smart and organized.

There were a bunch of adults milling around (that I asked permission to take this photo) as there was a bbq happening and a wine and cheese shop open on the property. I spoke with several friendly women who turned out to be the girls Mother’s, Grandma, and Aunts. They asked if I was a reporter and were curious about my car and website name on the side of it. As I was chatting with this sweet group of kids and adults, it dawned on me; The blue lollipops! I have a couple boxes in tow, have had them for a few months now. I’ve never once given what I protect as the most special lollipops ever made- out to a single “stranger” yet in my travels. (I have racked my brain as to how best to gift these out to the special people I meet and spend time with. These blue lollipop are so much more than piece of candy to me.) So, as I was standing in the sun, sipping my .50 cent lemonade on this sunny and warm Sunday, I felt like the world went silent for a moment.  This was the time to gift the first special lollies. A butterfly fluttered in my stomach, and I excitedly grabbed them to give the girls each one. (After asking mom of course.) They immediately ripped the wrappers off and in no time were sticking out their blue tongues to each other, not even being coached by me to do so. To you few women out there who will read this, and fully understand the overwhelming feeling of joy and memory I had watching this scene- hello! Remember these times? 🙂

Blue lollipop tongues!

As I look at this photo, all I can do is smile. (Really? Can I not get through this portion of the post without tearing up?) Such the perfect moment of pure fun and friendship.

I drove away grinning ear to ear as the girls yelled after me: “Come back soon, come back soon!!!” I am still grinning now, 8 hours later. Thank you girls. Driving past your lemonade stand on my detour today was serendipitous, and you gave me a precious gift I won’t forget.

After near 5 hours in the car, I rolled into Portsmouth to be whisked away immediately by a gracious host to a dinner bbq at an absolutely gorgeous Rye Beach house. I left my cameras in my purse as I was busy meeting new friends and having good food and conversation. A very late 2am night again now getting all the days photos, videos and stories uploaded and here to share and make sure I fit it all in. I have a feeling this will be my normal routine over the next couple weeks; full days and staying up much to late to post here, finally hitting the pillow fully exhausted falling asleep like a baby with a big fat smile on my face. Now that’s what I call a good day.

Up tomorrow: Exploring around the gorgeous NH coast!

***(Side note here to say I have been having a blast finally doing video posts starting a few days ago! I am clearly a rookie and don’t have a team of media peeps along in this particular ride, so thanks for being patient with my shaky hands and sporadic snippets. Next go around I am so bringing a videographer along! Ohh- that gives me a few ideas. If anyone out there is interested in talking about some Blue Lollipop Road video stuff, drop me a line!)

***Total miles driven today, day 3: 223

***Total miles driven since trip start (9/2/11): 563


day 2: around vermont

What a day around the Green Mountain State!

In true sunny Vermont brochure fashion (it really is like on TV and in magazines!) we spent a full day out in the beautiful countryside meeting small town folks, finding fresh-grown local foods, and stopping at any roadside spot that struck our fancy. First stop was the West River Farmer’s Market in Londonderry:

It didn’t take me long to find some cheese that I loved:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

Meet Farmer Mariah:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

She was happy to tell me about her cheeses when I asked if I could take her picture. We bought some swiss from her and had it for an appetizer with dinner tonight. YUM!

After Mariah, I met Nick:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

…who didn’t stop juggling:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

…the whole time we chatted. He was fun and easy to talk to, with that infectious good energy that few have and you just want to be around. I think his branding/logo are fantastic, and couldn’t fit him more perfectly:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

Of course I had to buy a jar:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

(I know I talk about cheese and chocolate a lot as some of my big fav’s, but pickles have always been one for me too. When I was little I used to eat a whole jar by the time we got to the grocery store register.) This Mad Pickler makes some seriously de-lish stuff. I am taking my jar on the road!

It was time to stock up on goods for dinner, so I headed to the Clear Brook Farm tent:

Do you like how I snuck that one in? Yeah, that’s my little bro. I think he’s the cutest Farmer ever, and grows the best eats too:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

We picked up some fresh corn:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure


Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

…and a few other items.

Even though Farmer Brad was being a bit camera shy today, I snuck in a photo with him. Meet my brother:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

We took our brown bags full of fresh produce and hit the road:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

…stopping next at The Pantry:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

We wanted to check out this recently opened cafe’ and grocery store that sells local goods. (Love that building!) It was packed with lunchers, and made the list for a revisit when I’m back in VT sometime.

Next stop was Taylor Farm:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

It really was like a movie scene, I couldn’t have planned it better as this Farmer on a tractor rolled by 30 seconds after we stopped with a dog in tow. Little piglets were chasing this tractor. Seriously!

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

(Unfortunately the piglets ran away before I could snap a photo.)

Inside the farm stand I found homemade blueberry peach coffee cake:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

…and 96 year old Arthur carving away:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

Talk about a character! Arthur was quiet on the video, but was joking (dare I say flirting?:)- with me telling me about his craft:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

…and age.

I spent only about 5 minutes with Arthur and I was wishing for 5 hours. Can you imagine what you could learn from a gent like this? Fascinating and sweet.

The marathon day continued to the Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival that was packed:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

Garlic galore! Hanging, in bags, bowls and burlap:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

I had originally planned for some big-time noshing at the festival, but after our first 8,734 stops- there was only room for a couple snacks. I opted for a pickle to keep with the theme of the day:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

…and we tried some odd-sounding but surprisingly delicious garlic kettle corn:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

(Thanks for the special guests pass Lyndie! We had a great time.)

Finally, it was time to call it a day. I managed to sneak in my hoped-for nap on a big cushiony porch swing which was much needed after all that running around. Where was that porch swing? You guessed it; at a gorgeous old Vermont Farmhouse that has this view at the end of it’s driveway:

Vermont Day out: BLR Honda September Adventure

An hour snooze and up to make a colorful and delectable dinner with all the fresh goodies we had picked up during our day out.

Oh Vermont, how we love you. A day of good memories made, and great company finding new adventures in my home state. It’s nearly 2am now as I type, falling asleep. Tomorrow I’m off to New Hampshire to explore towns I have never been before. Yay! More new adventures.

***Total miles driven today, day 2: 96

***Total miles driven since trip start (9/2/11): 340


day 1: east brunswick, nj to albany, ny to bennington, vt

My Civic:

The BLR-Mobile

…getting all organized for my transfer to the loaner Civic. Ahhh…the shiny and beautiful hybrid:

Loaned Honda Civic Hybrid

It was a bonus to meet the STI crew I’ve been talking to for a while now, and find out they were even nicer and more accommodating in person! They all helped me get the vinyl on the car and looking perfect:

They all cheered and got excited with me?! How cool is that?

Meet Vern, Paul, Daniel, Badri, and Gary:

The STI crew

No surprise I wanted to geek out about the car a little bit, so Paul was up for being my videographer too:

Thanks guys! You really made start to this trip fantastic. I appreciate all your help!

I was off to the races in this gorgeous car. Traffic wasn’t bad at all even though I made my way through the NYC area close to rush hour time. I decided to still have my traffic-jam dance party anyway. Spoiled with a gazillion XM Radio stations- are you kidding me? I’ll take some hip-hop and 90’s jams every day of the week please. I couldn’t resist making a video of my solo dance party too, when my total fav, Young MC; Bust a Move came on. I’ll save that video for someone else to find someday and blackmail me with. One can only geek out and post videos showing it all so many times in one day!

I made it to Albany, NY in perfect time for dinner at the highly-recommended Van’s Vietnamese:

Dinner at Van's BLR Honda Adventure day 1

Van’s doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the food was de-lish, and the service fabulous. I was stuffed silly for my last hour of driving to VT . Here I am! It’s actually 4:41am as I am typing right now so I am technically into day 2. I better get to bed because I have an early morning run calling my name again. Eat, run, eat, run.

After I run in the morning I’ll be heading to the oldest farmers market in the state of Vermont for my first time ever. (Unfortunately the location has changed because the hurricane wiped out the commons it’s usually on.) I’m looking forward to meeting the participating farmers and artists. (Apparently there’s a place near the market I need to get chocolate cake too. Yes, I know- maybe I should up my running mileage!) The second stop for tomorrow will be the Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival. Yeah!

Maybe after that stop, my stinky breath and I will sneak in a nap…

***Total miles driven today, day 1: 244


never a dull moment

As I am sure you all are very aware of, the Northeast- particularly the Southern parts of Vermont where I have planned to head to to kick off this Honda Adventure has been severely damaged by Hurricane Irene. This means a lot of things, one being there are several road closures, detours and spots that are simply off limits as the enormous clean up is underway. Considering my pre-planned route and meetings go from NJ, through NY and into VT then through NH into ME, I will essentially be attempting to go through the thick of it all. I have been a less planning, more doing kind of girl during my travels over the years, just rolling with what happens on the road, so It’s ironic that I pre-planned some things for this trip, and one of the worst floods in Vermont’s history happens right before I plan to be there.

This is all to say that as I set off on my trip north on Friday, I have no idea the random roads I will end up on, what detours I will have to take, which festivals and events will still be on or cancelled, or in general what to expect. I do know there will still be meetings with people like Million Mile Joe and Marcia, the maker of Whoopsies Gourmet Whoopie Pies, along with some other interesting characters yet TBA, which I am very excited about.

Thanks to you all for fantastic suggestions, participating in my plans, and rolling with the adventure as it is ever changing. Here’s to expecting the unexpected!


welcome to adventure kick-off week

Here we are. 4 days from today I will be picking up my loaned 2012 Honda Hybrid Civic and hitting the road! I have anticipated this trip for a long time, worked very hard to make it all come together and I can’t wait for it all to begin!

I wanted to start this post by talking about Hurricane Irene. Where I have been staying since leaving Chicago a couple weeks ago there is no TV, so all news and weather reports come from laptops and cell phones. During a storm like Irene that just ripped up the east coast it’s an odd feeling to 1.) Not be able to watch and see what’s going on as easily as you’re used to 2.) Be in a place that’s gorgeous, sunny, and unscathed while the 3 states you spent your first 32 years in that are loaded with most all your friends and family get pummeled. I am happy to report all my friends and family are Ok and safe. (Phew.) I cannot say thank you enough to all of you who have contacted me from around the country asking about my family in VT. Even though you’ve known I am safe in Western NY, you’ve checked on about the people I love the most and I am beyond grateful for that. I’ve been watching countless You Tube videos and reading news articles about Southern Vermont where I grew up and I’m baffled. I experienced a lot of big snow storms growing up there, but never saw anything close to the flooding and damage that’s happened there over this past weekend.

During the planning for this trip there have been buckets of ideas on where to go and what to do. There are a few surprises I had planned (and still have) but I was going to wait to announce until Friday’s kick-off. Considering the weather and events of the past few days I will announce early now, that the trip kick-off will be in my hometowns area of Shaftsbury/Bennington VT!  I decided some weeks ago that it was important for me to share with you all a few very special people, places and things that are huge contributing factors in how and why Blue Lollipop Road originated. I will head to VT after the car pick up at the end of this week. I hope when I get there everyone is still safe, sound and starting to dry out. This storm is yet another reminder that all that really matters are the people we love and the time we have together.

Here’s to supporting your neighbors, holding on tight to people you love, finding something awesome in your day when things don’t feel so awesome, and knowing that “stuff” is replaceable.

Flooded and drenched or not, I LOVE YOU VERMONT! The Blue Lollipop Road has lead me back to you, so I’m coming to show the world how beautiful you are!