Meet Anne and Tony-Maine Trip Leaders

 If it weren’t for a love of travel, Anne’s and Tony’s far-reaching paths would never have crossed. Fortunately for each of these devoted travelers, fate had marriage in store for them, and VBT travelers have been benefiting ever since. Anne and Tony are Trip Leaders on VBT’s six-day Maine Coast: Purely Acadia bicycling vacation, and the same personal sense of wonder and discovery that inspires them to travel helps make them well loved by our travelers.

Anne grew up in the small town of Sherman, Maine, located in northern Aroostook County, not far from the Canadian border, where a population of only a few hundred meant there were likely more moose than people year round—and certainly more cows. “I had a great childhood growing up in the country,” Anne recalls. “I was raised on a dairy farm, one of seven children.” Anne studied at the University of Maine, then, giving in to the urge to travel, went halfway around the world to continue her education at the University of Hawaii. She would stay an islander for the next 30 years.

Tony was raised in North Carolina, and while the traditions of the American South are quite different from the maple sugar candy and pine needle paths of Maine, he loved the outdoor life just as much as Anne. He learned to play sports, bicycle, swim, and fish, outdoor activities that remain an essential part of his life. “I still love anything that is related to the outdoors,” Tony said. “Paddling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, fishing, and long-distance cycling.” He is also an accomplished stonemason. Anne’s outdoor interests are much the same, with the addition of working her organic garden—especially its robust supply of flavorful garlic and berries. If she has to be indoors, she’ll find a way to be productive and artistic braiding wool rugs.

Between the two of them, the couple’s love of adventure has brought them from Canada to New Zealand to the Virgin Islands, from Arizona to Alaska to Mississippi. “I would love to explore the entire world,” Anne said. “South America would be a great destination,” Tony added. Once their twisting paths finally intersected, the couple joined VBT, where they have been Trip Leaders for about a decade. Loving their lives in Maine as they do, Anne and Tony are radiant examples of the simple, down-to-earth way of life that Maine encourages—and it’s a glow that delights their travelers.

“When travelers from other states come to Maine for their bicycling vacation, we always recommend the local food,” Anne said. “It’s so fresh and distinctive. We recommend lobster, of course, and whoopie pies—and garlic!” Knowing which side his bread is buttered on, Tony recommends Anne’s home cooking.

“We love to share our appreciation of the beauty of the area,” Tony said. The colorful plant life, the wonderful variety of animals, the fresh air. It’s like no other place. We always want our travelers to know that this is their vacation, and we both work hard to make it memorable is every way.” Anne agrees. “This is the way life should be. In Maine, it’s a step back in time to a simpler life. I always like to have our travelers take a deep breath first and realize that they will be taken care of. Relax. Embrace the local experience, enjoy the culture and the people and all the beauty there is to enjoy by bicycle.”

           

French Crepes Recipe

If anyone knows crepes, it’s VBT Burgundy Trip Leader Sophie. After all, one cannot grow up in western France, between Burgundy and the Loire Valley, without loving this distinctly French culinary specialty. In fact, she considers crepes her “comfort food.” As a child in the village of Chateaubriant, she helped prepare various savory and sweet fillings for her mother’s delicate wheat-flour pastries.

Food was a constant part of her life because her parents owned the village butcher shop. From an early age, she appreciated the role that recipes play in linking generations. Though she didn’t have the opportunity to travel in her younger years, she burst into world travel after graduating from University, where she studied several languages. In 25 years time, she’s collected stamps from six continents on her passport. But her first love remains the lovely back roads of her native France, which she enjoys sharing with VBT travelers. And you can be sure that she enjoys staying close to home for another reason: the mouthwatering crepes that remind her of her simple childhood in a small French village. She shares it with us here.

Preparation

1. Mix the flour, water, and salt well, and let sit before cooking. You may even chill the batter overnight.

2. Heat skillet over medium-low heat. Melt a little butter in pan and pour 3 tablespoons of batter onto the skillet and swirl it so it spreads thin. Let it cook about 1 minute to a light golden brown before gently turning with a large spatula. Cook another minute and remove from skillet onto a warm plate. Prepare all crepes and keep them warm.

3. Add savory or sweet filling (see below) down center of each crepe, and fold each side in. Use your imagination; mix any of the ingredients below, and experiment with your own ideas!

Some typical fillings from the VBT Bristol Test Kitchen:

Savory

-Sauteed spinach and mushrooms with a dash of thyme
-Cooked shredded chicken and melted Vermont cheddar cheese
-Grilled shrimp and asparagus
-Thinly sliced ham and shaved cheese

Sweet

-Sauteed apples and caramel sauce, drizzled with cognac
-Vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce or calvados French apple brandy
-Mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, sliced strawberries) with whipped cream
-Nutella ( a hazelnut spread) and strawberries

Serves 10