Grace has been with Outdoor Gear Exchange for 2.5 years and is one of two Retail Specialist in charge of our men’s and women’s clothing. When she isn’t at work you can find Grace skiing, hiking, mountain biking, SUPing, camping, and just generally livin’ the dream. Let’s here what she has to say.
Outdoor Gear Exchange: How did you end up in Vermont?
Grace Hawkins: I grew up in Connecticut but spent a fair amount of time skiing in Vermont. I guess you could say that’s when the seed was planted. After graduating from the University of Vermont, I realized how much I had fallen in love with Vermont and couldn’t picture myself leaving just yet.
OGE: What is one piece of gear you always take with you.
GH: In the winter it’s down booties because they are so comfy and warm. In the summer time it’s Chacos because it’s so nice to get back to camp and be able to put on a nice pair of sandals. “Whatever you do, take care of your shoes.”
OGE: In Vermont the season can vary greatly, do you have a preferred time of year and why?
GH: Wow! That’s a really hard question. One of the reason why I love to live in Vermont is because all the seasons are so awesome, so I can’t give you one answer. I love winter because it’s so cold and it makes you feel so good and I love to ski! I love spring because after a long, cold, treacherous winter it’s really beautiful when the sun finally comes out and warms you up. I love summer because you can wear your short shorts and all the girls be poppin’.. just kidding, I didn’t really mean that. Seriously though, I love summer because it’s hot a beautiful. You can do all activities, except for ski, and the sun is up for sooo long that you can crush all day. Fall in Vermont kind of speaks for itself, it is just beautiful and it’s the perfect temperature to do just about anything.
(At this point in the interview Grace got distracted by a passerby on the street and said, “Oh, that guy is carrying such sick skis down the street”.)
OGE: What do you like to do when you aren’t “getting after it”?
GH: I like to practice yoga and I really like music. I love going to the grocery store and baking desserts. I’ve been told I make a mean mixed drink and I love hosting gatherings with close friends.
OGE: Have you done much traveling outside of New England?
GH: I’ve done some traveling in Central and South America. One of my favorite places I’ve been was Brazil. I spent a couple of weeks in southern Brazil and made my way to the Falls de Iguazu, which is sweet and one of the New7Wonders of Nature – go there if you can. I’ve also spent some time in Europe and the west coast of the US, which are also sweet. Another awesome place in South America was the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina.
OGE: Where on the west coast were you?
OGE: What did you do there?
GH: A couple years ago I did a sweet road trip from San Francisco to Santa Barbera down Route 1. I hiked a lot of the coastline and it was absolutely gorgeous.
OGE: If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you go?
GH: I really want to go skiing in Norway. I also want to make a trip to Thailand in the near future.. just ‘cuz it’ll be great! But I really like going on ski vacations.
OGE: If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
GH: A mountain town in Europe, Chile, or Argentina. Nowhere specific, just looking for a sweet mountain town with great skiing and awesome people.
OGE: Describe yourself in one word.
GH: Sparky – super full of energy all the time and always psyched to do something fun.
OGE: In your eyes, what does a perfect day look like?
GH: It depends on the season.
Summer would be waking up early-ish on my day off, because I love to sleep. But once I’m up, we are cooking a dank bacon & egg sandwich then loading the car with mountain bikes and SUPs. Head to the trails and do a few laps of mountain biking – nothing too intense but just enough to break a sweat and get in a good workout. After we load the bikes back in the car, we’ll cool off cruising around the lake on SUPs. I really like exploring Lake Champlain on a SUP because it’s super relaxed, you can just chill out, and drink a beer while watching the sun set. After all that, head home to grill up a big dinner with friends, drink some beers, and have a bonfire of epic proportions.
The winter is a little different but same idea. Wake up, make a killer sausage & egg sandwich, pile the skis in the car and adventure into the backcountry with the dog, his name is Jude. Do laps in the woods and take snack breaks every half hour. We repeat that all day until the sun goes down around 4 or 5. Head on home to warm them bones by the fire with a nice hot tottie.
OGE: Sounds like you got it all figured out. What’s your favorite kind of beer?
GH: At the moment it’s the Otter Creek Double Dose IPA
OGE: What’s your favorite kind of food?
GH: Potatoes and pickles.