After a one-year hiatus while National Life of Vermont went through an extreme cost-cutting initiative in an effort to stay independent and stay in Montpelier, Flatlanders Weekend, the industry's only "reverse fam," returned in September.

Lynn Averill, National Life's director, travel and conferences, and the rest of the travel and conferences team plan the weekend for a small group of suppliers they've worked with on meetings and events. After several years of skiing at Sugarbush and one year of golf in nearby Stowe, this year found the group visiting the 127th Annual Tunbridge World's Fair. That meant fried dough, Civil War memorabilia, prize-winning squash, a 700-pound pig, and, of course, the oxen-pull competition. Talk about adventure travel.

Flatlanders attendees stay at Hopkins House, National Life's charming guest house, where the hospitality and the pancakes are not to be missed.