Arts & Leisure

True love — caterpillars, charcoal and all

SARAH KING AND her husband Travis stand on top of a mountain in the Adirondacks for their second wedding. The couple met while backpacking in New York.

I literally had caterpillars in my hair and charcoal on my face — he knew exactly what I was going to look like on Sunday morning — there was no trying to impress. It was just ‘this is who I am and that’s it.'
— Sarah King

Sarah King knew she had something good when she met a guy (on day three) out hiking in the woods.
“It was May and I wanted to go backpacking but none of my friends would go with me,” the Ripton singer/songwriter remembered. “I was living in New York at the time and was sitting my friend’s dog, so the dog and I went out to Harriman State Park for a four day loop. One day the dog starts barking at this guy walking toward us, and I was like ‘oh, he seems nice… oooh, real nice!’”
The couple ended up hitting it off, exchanging numbers and then off over the hill the man went.
“I got out of the woods the next day and tried calling… crickets,” King said. She remembers thinking, “He’s probably married and gave me the wrong number or something.”
But a — perhaps slightly cooky — friend suggested she didn’t like one of the phone digits and to change the six to a five… King did. Why not?
“When Travis picked up, the first thing he said was, ‘what took you so long?” said King.
The two married in 2017 on top of a mountain in Colorado, and then they did it again a year later in the Adirondacks. We’ll say it’s because they’re so in love, not because their photographer in Colorado had a creative goof. They settled in Vermont and found a little log cabin on 15 acres of woods in Ripton. Perfect.
King, will share her love through song on Friday, Jan. 24, during the “LOVE, REALLY (.!?…)” storytelling event at Bundle at 51 Main St. in Middlebury. (Click here to read more about that event.)
King’s a singer/songwriter and has been since “forever.” She studied opera while at Manhattanville College, which is what she attributes her “big voice” to, and earned a degree in music management. The 35-year-old, has performed in some big venues like the CBGB in New York City and Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles.
“I’ve had a lot of almosts,” she said. “Every time I was almost peaking, I’d change my style or move. I’m done redefining myself and my sound.”
King has settled into a place of acoustic blues rock with a side of southern soul. She performs regularly around the state and greater region. She recently released her album “What Happened Last Night.” One of the songs on the album is “With You,” which she wrote days before she met her future husband.
“It’s a funny story,” she said. “I wrote that song and had no idea what it was about or where it came from. I wrote it for myself, but didn’t know I needed it. It was also way too sappy and I never thought I would perform it… but then I met him.”
How did she know Travis was the one?
“A lot of the weird coincidences in the beginning I guess,” King said. “I knew I wanted a partner and the fact that we met each other in the woods when we weren’t trying to meet… like, I literally had caterpillars in my hair and charcoal on my face — he knew exactly what I was going to look like on Sunday morning — there was no trying to impress it was just ‘this is who I am and that’s it.’”
Aside from this adorable love story, King, who also teaches guitar lessons and works part-time at the Middlebury College bookstore, has a strong connection to storytelling.
“Sharing stories is super important,” she said, “that’s why I’m a songwriter… Plus it’ll be cool to hear other peoples’ stories with love. I joke around and say ‘I hate everything, everything is the worst,’ but really I love, love. And it’s important to celebrate positive, person-to-person connection.”
King recognized that the evening of storytelling may not be all sunshine and rainbows, saying, “ You can’t appreciate the good without the bad… it’s all part of the human experience.”

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