We ended the first day in Burlington, Vermont. After a fantastic dinner at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill (which used to be the McDonald’s that BF depended on for quick food during his college radio dj days), we wandered down to the waterfront of Lake Champlain, where we promptly saw a random beaver swimming about- no where near any obvious prime beaver habitat. Perhaps he was also on vacation.
If you look at a map, Grafton Notch State Park is right next to the very top of New Hampshire, which is the skinniest part of that state. Since our friend and the BF had met when she was an exchange student at his high school in Vermont, and she hadn’t managed a trip to VT this trip, we just decided to go for it. We went through Dixfield Notch (more pretty drive), and reached the Connecticut River. We went over to VT, and circled back to NH. (These pictures are from the NH side once we were back over. I think it’s Colebrook.)
This post really belongs in March, but said road trip involved a Monday and Tuesday off, and my track record for posting during the week isn’t great, hence why it ended up in April…
After the Winter That Would Not End ™, we really needed to get the heck out of Dodge. BF’s brother happened to be house sitting in Boston, so didn’t bring his car, and needed to get back to VT. So, we packed up the car, side lined to Boston, and spend a lovely long weekend driving around. The above pictured diversion to the Allston section of town was to check out a restaurant we’d seen on a certain Food Network show that has a three letter abbreviated name. Despite the fact that the host drives me crazy, it’s the one show on that network we seek out when we have cable available. Anyway, Deep Ellum was good. We had truffled fries and I had the best kielbasa breakfast sandwich I’d ever had. We barely ate anything for the rest of the day.
On our traditional trip up to my favorite independent bookstore, I finally got my Spring flower fix. It’s sad I had to go to mountain country Vermont to manage this. But at least it happened in March, like it’s supposed to happen!
And finally, I like going to Vermont because I can stop at Bennington Beverage, and have the above selection of Woodchuck cider available to me. (Yes, this is the cider section of the cooler there. I’ve zoomed in on just the Woodchuck. There are even other Vermont brands available. And this does not include the shelf and a half of cider bombers in the next cooler over.) Being one of those wacky people that does not drink beer, this is my heaven. I grabbed an Out on a Limb (aka the Spitter Splitter) pack, which is made with old fashioned cider apples (the ones you’d never, ever want to eat raw). It was good. So good. Like seriously considering calling in the in laws and asking them stock up for me so I can grab it my next trip good.
It was nice to get out on the road again. We usually manage at least one trip even in the depths of winter, so not being able to was just depressing this year. I’m glad Spring has sprung, and we’re moving out of winter wasteland finally.
The last week of July was my vacation with the BF, and since he had a family reunion, we headed over to Vermont and the adjacent area of New York. (My personal vacation is coming up in September, and it’s completely awesome – as I’ll be able to post about in October.)
A lot of the vacation was family based, but we did get some relaxing in, as well as some interesting side trips.
Side trip #1 was on our way over, and was to Pomfret, Vermont.
BF has been trying to track down one of the lines of his family tree, which has dead ended in Pomfret. So we visited the probate court in Woodstock (the nearest big town), the Pomfret library, and the Burns Cemetery. The cemetery is one of those classic old New England cemeteries, with the really old graves (well, old by American standards) and the really interesting headstones. What’s really cool about this particular cemetery is that it’s still in use.
The other fun thing we did (this one was with the family) was a dinner cruise on Lake George.
We took the Lac du Saint Sacrement, which is behind the Minnehaha in this picture. That was a lot of fun. It’s a decent buffet dinner, and you can then stand out on the deck, where pretty much anyone that’s home when the book goes by wave as you go by.
The other fun thing we did that I didn’t get pictures of, was a driving tour of Northwestern Mass, and the roads around Bennington, VT. Basically, we wended our way around side roads that BF wasn’t sure he’d ever been on, or knew he hadn’t been on in ages. It was a really lovely drive – there’s some stunning scenery up there. We were also amused to be able to contrast that section of MA’s Route 2 with the section closer to Boston that we usually drive on. (Seriously – you’ll find it hard to believe they’re the same road.)
So it was a nice week, and a nice way to end July.
For New Year’s, we headed over to Vermont, to visit the BF’s family. They’re smack in the middle of the region that was badly effected by Hurricane Irene. Their town (Bennington), was only minorly effected – mostly by the temporary loss of the water supply coming out of the mountains, but the route we take to town passes through several towns that were very hard hit. It was a bit heartbreaking to drive through Wilmington and see so many of their businesses empty, some still boarded up and damaged.
The town of Woodford is right next to Bennington, and suffered as much as it did because it’s right at the base of the mountain, and water funneled right into it. There’s the shell of a stone house still standing next to the bridge that goes into town. (The worst of the damage is in places where you can’t really take photos, so I have nothing to show of that.)
We headed up Route 9, which goes through National Forest, so there are plenty of trailheads and the like to pull into. The river here is running higher than normal, and if you’ve been through here as often as we have, you can see where the water went that it normally doesn’t go. Definitely a sobering sight.
But, unrelated to the hurricane, something else was going on. These photos where taken on New Year’s Eve. Sure, there’s some ice:
But do you see how freakishly green everything is? Not to mention, we’re in the mountains here – everything should be under at least a foot of snow. This is definitely the warmest winter we’ve had in a while.
The other part of our epic trip to Vermont was a trip up to Burlington, where some college friends of BF, who now live in Arizona, were up visiting family. We had a wonderful time visiting with them, but also had some time to go on a nostalgia tour of the UVM campus for BF.
Per my usual form, my favorite part was the garden around the agriculture building. It was both lovely, and somewhat shady, which last Monday, was a very good thing. On the bright side, after a two hour hike the width and breadth of the campus on a humid 92 degree day, walking around my neighborhood doesn’t seem nearly onerous as it once did…