"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Stowe Vermont

Who'll stop the rain?

Click here to listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival
Our next stop was only 35 miles up the road from Burlington. We got settled in Stowe at our campground with 75 spaces where we happened to be the only people there on our arrival. As night fell, another RV came in and parked right next to us. Our view of the mountains changed to a view of them. Fortunately, we moved closer to the check in building to get internet and we were alone again.
Leaving North Beach after one  more walk.

 Of course, we stopped and tasted the cheese since it was raining too hard to go outside even with rain gear. 
 The Apple Cider Mill had cider donuts that we felt obligated to taste test. They passed with flying colors. They also had Maple Cream liquor that was so smooth and tasty that it could be habit forming. I decided against taking any home. 

 What can I say?

 We also made a visit to the Green Mountain Club to make our hiking plans on trails that go up.

Mills Trail to Bingham Falls

Bingham Falls

 Von Trapp Lodge

 Stowe is a Vermont ski resort and home to the Von Trapp family
that moved here from Austria and which the Sound of Music was based on. The Von Trapp Lodge is on the mountainside with unbelievable mountain views.
 After checking out the lodge, we headed back down the mountain the their brewery for a scrumptious lunch and some bier. The tarragon dressing, pickled eggs and marinated tomatoes made this Cobb Salad extra special.
Mike opted for the burger and shaved radishes with a lemon olive oil.

Stowe Rec Path

Stowe Rec bike path end
 The sun finally came out on Sunday. We were out the door for a bike ride on the Stowe Rec Path that runs along the Gold Brook Creek. I had unzipped my bright yellow vest and it was flapping in the breeze behind me as I rode. I like to wave at little kids as they ride by me. Mike heard a little girl asked her mother why I was wearing a cape as I passed. So I began singing the  Mighty Mouse theme song. "Here she comes to save the day."

I love little kids. They live in another world.

Chair lift now used for a swing in the park
Bubbles and music at the Farmer's Market

Pedestrian covered bridge

Green Mountains living up to their names

Smuggler's Notch


 The sun was still shining after a stop at the farmer's market. We put away our bikes and headed out for a hike to Sterling Pond.
Sterling Pond Trail was steep hike from Smuggler's Notch, not a walk in the park. The higher we walked the more the mud and water covered the trail. I felt a little bad for the tourists that bought new shoes for their trip to Stowe and ruined them in the mud on this hike.
A hike and bike ride in one day were tiring and sitting by a campfire was a treat. I wasn't to sad about the rain returning in the evening. Chilling out and reading was pretty nice after all of that activity.

The trail rarely leveled off more that a few feet.

 Smuggler's Notch is a narrow pass through the Green Mountains with 1000 foot cliffs with narrow winding roads. In1807 President Thomas Jefferson passed and embargo forbidding trade with Great Britain and Canada. This was a hardship for Vermonters since Montreal was closer than other markets in the US. Many local people continued illegal trade with Canada, herding cattle and carrying other goods through the Notch. Later, fugitive slaves used the Notch as an escape route to Canada. During Prohibition years, liquor was smuggled from Canada.
A cave used by smugglers to hide with their wares.
This is the most difficult section of the Long Trail rated as expert.

The cliffs of Smuggler's Notch

Moss Glen Falls

Slip sliding away in the mud on the way to Moss Glen Falls
 The ski museum was closed except weekend.

Gold Brook Bridge

  Gold Brook Bridge is not your ordinary covered bridge. This bridge is also known as "Emily's Bridge,"  due to the fact that it is haunted by a ghost named Emily. There are many stories of how Emily died on the bridge. One story is that she was supposed to elope with a lover who was meeting her at the bridge, and when he didn't show, she hung herself from the rafters.
 Reports tell of scratch marks appearing on parked vehicles and of mysterious bangs echoing throughout the bridge. Visitors who explore the structure on foot, hear screams, laughter, footsteps, and creaking rope. Some people have even spotted a white apparition floating near the bridge’s entrance.
It was raining when we arrived and didn't stay long but didn't see any sign of Emily.
The rain is finally supposed to end for a while as we head to Rutland for Mike's class reunion and a visit with his family.
Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain here

Thursday, June 1, 2017

More of Burlington, VT

Is it still raining?

Not making decisions when you are tired, hurt or angry is a good thing to remember while living this lifestyle. Occasionally, when we reach a destination after a tiring day or week, we find ourselves saying that maybe it is time to find a nice place to settle down and just travel sometimes.
Crown Point
Our drive from New York took us by one of the most unusual and historic lighthouses  located on the Vermont/New York border on Lake Champlain known as Crown Point. It was originally a windmill built by the French in 1737. In the early 1900s, a lighthouse was erected. 
The Crown Point Campground on the south end of Lake Champlain looks like a great place to spend some time. But we had plans and headed across the bridge to Vermont.

Shelburne Farms

 We decided to visit Shelburne Farm even though it was raining and chilly. Our ride was pulled by a tractor and we were the only people ready to brave the weather. Several times on our travels, people comment "People from Colorado are hardy and can handle the weather." No sense waiting for everything to be perfect after driving so far. We just put on an extra shirt and a jacket and go.
We paid for our tour. Then around the corner pulled up a school bus full of kindergarteners. We looked at each other wondering if we were up to 1 1/2 hours of cute but loud little kids. Our guide walked up and said that our wagon was on its way and we would be the only two on the tour. I felt a little bad about having her taking us around in the wind and rain that was on the way. She said she knew that "Colorado people" would go out in this kind of weather and she was game.

In 1886, Dr. William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb began acquiring farmland on the shores of Lake Champlain to create a model agricultural estate.
The heyday was short-lived. Beginning around 1910, farming operations and other activities began to shrink, and subsequent generations struggled to find a workable future for this farm. 

The 10 million dollars that Lila Vanderbilt had inherited didn't last forever. The 40 gardeners, lavish parties and building of this estate was expensive. Now it's a nonprofit organization, on a 1,400-acre working farm, forest, and National Historic Landmark.

 The farm raises and grows most of the food it serves at its farm-to-table restaurant. That is the wagon with half of the cute kids. Guess we dodged that bullet.

Views of New York’s Adirondack Mountains, directly across Lake Champlain.

Our driver, Tony, was so attentive to our needs. We had our rain jackets on but he offered us ponchos. We did take him up on the umbrellas when the rain got harder. He had called down to the main office and had the school bus brought  up to the main house instead of riding back down in the wagon.
If it had been a sunny or drier day, we could have walked some of the 10 miles of trails on the property.

Champlain Islands
We got another chance to ride our bikes on the Champlain Islands (a biggie on my LIST) on our last day in Burlington. My legs were feeling lazy as they always do our first few miles. The bugs flying around my head were enough to make me get moving. The Off that I had applied didn't fazed them. I looked down at my odometer at the two mile mark and wasn't sure I wanted to do this. As we kept going, the sun was sparkling off the water like diamonds and the cool breeze on my back made me forget about being a slug.  Pretty soon I was feeling very happy and enjoying the ride and birds singing all around us.

 We rode from North Hero to Alburgh and Isle La Motte. The brush along some of the side roads was dense at times. I wondered if a moose might barrel out and take us down. The clouds would blow over us at times making the ride cooler.
We passed several cyclists along the roads and passed a group that caught my eye. One of the tandem bicycles looked like an adaptive bike I had seen previously. We stopped for lunch at the General Store and that group was also having lunch on the deck overlooking the lake. The lady had a stroke 6 years ago and  the bike was modified for their needs. Her husband showed us the special equipment as they got her situated on it. It was quite a production as I presume their lives now are. They were glad to share some of the difficulties this stroke has brought. She is paralyzed on her right side. He said the help from their friends made things easier for them. 

We watched the group ride away and I felt a bit foolish for my laziness at the first of our amazing morning ride.

Burlington Breakwater North lighthouse

After six days in Vermont, our heads were back on straight and back on the travel bandwagon. We have tried to settle down in the past, by buying a house and making it "ours". Once everything was how we wanted it, we would look at each other and say "Where next?" and sell it.