Searching for cow, Indy reporter moo-ves around town 

Four photos of Abby the Cow are hiding in four locations in Milton. (Courtesy photo)

Wind whipped around me as a piercing Vermont winter settled on Milton last Friday. A bright tomato red, my fingertips turned numb.

“Frostbite?” I thought to myself. “Worth it,” I decided.

After all, I had a free half-gallon of milk from Hillside Creamery coming my way. I was determined.

Determined to find Abby the cow, that is.

Last month, in the dark hours after Milton School Board adjourned its bi-weekly meeting, trustee Cathy Vadnais approached me in the Milton High School parking lot. She had an idea. A story fostering community fun? I was all ears. 

  Abby, her primary cow at the creamery, was about to take a trip around town. But before you start picturing the brown and white spotted animal grazing around the MHS football field or waiting for a table at Milton Diner, take a minute to mull over the rules. 

Four 8-inch by 8-inch laminated photographs of Abby are strategically placed around Milton. Under each picture is a word. Collect all four words, construct the sentence and head to Hillside Creamery between 1 and 4 p.m. on November 19-21 to gulp up your milk and enter a raffle to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

Easy enough? Well here are your hints.

1. Abby is going to listen to moo-sic in the park

2. Abby needs a good book or moo-vie.

3. Abby is going to look at some udder-ly fabulous art

4. Abby is checking out the moo-seum

Ready? Set? Moo.

Out to pasture

It was Friday morning, and Vadnais said the scavenger hunt was set. “Nothing like some good community fun to end the week in a good moo-d,” I chuckled to myself.

That afternoon, I headed home to grab my winter coat before moo-ving onto Milton. I needed all the warmth I could get.

First up was Milton’s well-known park. I parked the car, swung my camera around my neck and nuzzled my gloves on. A few seconds later, there was Abby. Clue No. 1 was in the books. (And no, I’m not ruining the fun for you.)

To document my findings, out came my iPhone to snap a selfie. An innocent laugh escaped me as a nearby man walking his dog looked quizzically my way.

I had a feeling that wouldn’t be the first confused face I’d en-cow-nter on my trek.

The next hint was in walking distance, so I threw on a beanie and moseyed on over.

As expected, the doors were locked. It was Veterans Day, but I wouldn’t be deterred. Peaking through the window, I searched for Abby. No luck. From window to window I went, until I had cased the whole building. Still nothing. 

Meanwhile, a few bundled-up Miltonians strolled up to the building to find out the venue was closed for the day.

Milton Indy reporter Kaylee Sullivan takes a selfie with a photo of Abby the cow last Friday. Underneath Abby, a piece of paper unveils one of four words hidden around town — but we’re not unveiling that just yet. (Selfie by Kaylee Sullivan)

“If it were nighttime, someone might just call the cops on me,” I thought as I snuck around the corner, carefully avoiding a few leaf-less branches.

I admitted defeat; I’d have to come back on Monday to find the missing word.

So, I climbed back in my Honda for a short drive to where I believed Abby No. 3 was hidden. As heat finally seeped through the car vents, I hopped back out into the bitter air.

Was she posted on the storefront windows, alongside a number of community advertisements? Nope. So, through the double-doors I went.

To my left, two women greeted me with smiles. “How do I even begin to describe why I’m here?” I asked myself, a grin stretching across my face.

“I’m here, looking for a … cow?” I said after brief introductions.

I slowly waltzed around, searching for Abby among a grand showcase of some truly beautiful artwork. I found a painting (or four) of black and white cows grazing along a bright green landscape. But still, no Abby.

Nearing the front desk, the volunteer worker helped me brainstorm. We both agreed I hadn’t mis-cow-culated: There aren’t any other places in town that showcase artwork.

She led me around the shop, offering an extra set of eyes. And BAM!, there Abby was.

Mission (almost) accomplished.

Embarrassingly, I posed for a picture with Abby — we were really starting to get to know each other at this point — said my thanks, and headed out the door with a comical grin still intact. 

Onto clue No. 4, I knew which moo-seum I was looking for, but wasn’t quite sure how to get there. I drove in circles for quite some time. At least this go-around afforded a toasty car.

Knowing I was in the right neighborhood, I drove up and down a few streets, braking at the houses and buildings with signs out front. The drivers in my rear-view weren’t so pleased, but if the below-freezing temps weren’t stopping me, then a couple people with road rage wouldn’t either.

When I set out on this adventure, I promised myself I wouldn’t use my phone or a GPS to figure out where I was going. Even though I’ve been covering Milton for the past year-and-a-half, I knew there were a few nooks and crannies I hadn’t yet explored. This museum just happened to be one of them.

So, I wandered into our Main Street office, where I knew I might find two Milton stalwarts next door: Mr. and Mrs. Don Turner Sr.

“It’s on a side street,” Nancy Turner quietly told me, almost as if revealing a secret.

A couple minutes later, I pulled up to find the last Abby. Through the trees to the left, a blazing sunset cloaked the building as I yet again took a selfie. A juvenile feeling surged through me as I heard a few neighbors across the street open their front door.

I was a kid again, searching for pastel purple, pink and blue Easter eggs around the neighborhood. And holy cow, what a feeling.

Soon enough, I had all four words. Like my eggs, I scrambled them up to make a working sentence.

Mission (completely) accomplished.

Now, what’s the phrase, you may ask? Head out to the pasture and find out.