NE Trip Part 3 – Vermont

Vermont

My first glimpses of Vermont was through sleep-laced eyes as we left New Hampshire and the White Mountains behind. The rolling farmland was beautiful and we passed a few dairies that were picturesque. Cabot cheese comes from this part of Vermont. Okay, so it really comes from the rich milk the cows produce but you know what I mean!

Sad to say I did not get any photos of idyllic scenes of cows contentedly chewing their cud as the colorful foliage blazed around them, offset by the rolling landscape. There. Was that a good enough word picture to suffice? Good.

We also drove through Montpelier, the capital city which has a population of less than 10,000. We ended up driving past capital building and got a kick out of the activities going on on the front lawn. Seemed it was a great place to throw frisbee.

We also did not stop at Cabot’s processing plant but we did get to stop at their annex store aka free cheese samples. And cheese is not all they sell but oh, was it good! And if you know me very well you will know that to me free cheese leaves me speechless. For a few minutes, anyway! I will not tell you how many cubes I ate.

But having just come from Ben & Jerry’s and having a cup of Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz ice cream. Oh, I didn’t tell you about Ben & Jerry’s? How could I have missed that?

Well, Waterbury, VT is the home of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, a couple of good old mountain boys who started making and marketing ice cream. Their business nearly got away from them, as in they had no business experience but had a good product and loved selling it. Let’s just say the business is really scooping up the money, if you know what I mean!

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The factory in Waterbury is a fun, colorful place. There is a tour that includes a video, as well as “top-secret” peak into the factory (no photos allowed). 

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And apparently their employees like to have fun. This guy had popped around the corner down the hall and I told him I wasn’t necessarily trying to get a picture of him so he struck a pose.

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At the end of the tour you get a free sample.

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There is a graveyard of flavors that didn’t make the grade.

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And for some of them you can see why. And as you can see, this flavor has been . . . well . . resurrected.

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Ben & Jerry’s employees get 3 free pints of ice cream for every shift they work. Can you imagine?

The sight of this is enough to give you diabetes!

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Some goofy tourists. (Photo from Carol’s stash.)

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There was a busload of Amish from Indiana that got there a little ahead of us. We didn’t know any of them but were able to make a few connections. They were quite delighted to chat with us.

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So after we had ice cream, we had cheese samples, and after that we stopped in at Cold Hollow Cider Mill where they have lots of goodies for sale and cider samples to taste. This is some wonderful cider!! They also have cider donuts that are more like a spice cake.

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They have a cloth press that they use for demonstration purposes.

We ate lunch at a 50s style diner which was full and the food was good but the service rather poor.

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We then walked thru town stopping in the stores. There were a couple general merchandise stores that had lots of neat things. 

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There were not any touristy stores like you would see in places like Myrtle Beach & Gatlinburg. We had heard lots about Stowe and judging from the costs of lodging in the area, they can get high prices because there is the demand for it. But we were surprised at what Stowe was like. The weather was overcast (again) and even rainy while we were there so we didn’t do much outside stuff. We were told there is a nice bike path but like I said, the weather was not conducive to biking.

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We went to Von Trapp Family Lodge where we took a tour led by Carla, a great-granddaughter of the Captain and Maria.

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The setting for their lodge is beautiful! 

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The family owns around 2,000 acres at the “top of the mountain”. 360 view was magnificent. The clouds were starting to clear so we got to see tops of surrounding mountains.

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The tour was very interesting and included a film made by BBC that showed an interview of Maria, and the real von Trapp home in Austria.

Maria also told of the real wedding proposal which was a bit different than the movie. They sold the rights of the story for a “song” as Carla said. So the only benefits they received was publicity. Carla said they probably would’ve given away most of the $ had they earned lots from it.

They were pleased that movie stayed as true to the real story as it did but there is a bit of difference between the two. Click here for more info:

The Captain, Maria and several of the children are buried beside the lodge.

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Some artist had drawn cartoons of their family and they were framed and hung in the one hallway. I though they were so cute!

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An HDR image of the view from inside looking out.

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We drove on several local scenic drives and saw some more beautiful scenery.

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This horse farm is for sale. The house nearby looked empty.

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On the way back to Massachusetts, we took Hwy 100, another scenic highway, part of the way. We passed the Moss Glenn Falls near Granville. These are right beside the road and are beautiful!!! These are all taken with a slow shutter speed to get the water to look this way.

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Vermont Country Store would’ve been another very interesting stop to make but it was too far out of our route as we had to head back to Boston airport to drop off another tripmate, leaving Lois and I for the last 5 days. Check out the vintage FP toys they carry.

Next up … Massachusetts

NE Trip Part 2 – New Hampshire

New Hampshire has a bit of coastline sandwiched between Maine and Massachusetts. And beautiful coastline it is. There is a scenic route that runs along the coast, 1A, that we traveled for maybe 20 miles or so. We discovered that the scenic routes marked on the road maps are worth traveling. Some were more beautiful than others and definitely not as quick as interstate, but worth the extra time they take.

1A was no exception. We really wanted a fish meal on our way through there (on our way to Maine) but a few places we stopped the lobster rolls were pretty expensive. This is the side of a store beside the one restaurant we checked out.

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Imagine RVing with this view of the ocean!

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There were many beautiful houses along the way and we were happily picking out our retirement homes. 🙂

Our second entry into N.H. was heading out from the Boston airport, and heading NW toward the White Mtns. We first stopped in Canterbury to visit a Shaker village, which was very interesting.

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Most of the buildings were tourable, but as with most museums, no photos were supposed to be taken inside. Once my camera “went off”.

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This building is their meeting house aka church house. There are 2 doors, the one on the left for the men to enter and the one on the right for the ladies. The tour guide made us enter the same way, and have segregated seating as well.

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The term “shaker” comes from shaking Quaker, because of their unusual “dance” during worship. Their official name was United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing. They had their own unique theology that included worship of God but with some interesting twists. Mother Ann, the founder of the Shakers, had a strong leadership role and it seems that no one ever questioned her authority. She was seen as the female version of God, whom they believed to be sexually dual. They believed in complete celibacy, which is one reason the movement eventually died out.

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They did their best to stay secluded in their own village and avoided business with outsiders as much as possible, although they were very welcome to people visiting them. After the museum was opened, there were only a few ladies remaining. One lady continued living there, doing all her outside work before 10 am, when the village was open to the public. They took in and raised orphans and other children whose parents couldn’t care for them.

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They were extremely ingenious, pioneers in machinery and other inventions. One simple invention by one of their members is the flat straw broom. Prior to that, all straw brooms were round.

The School

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Their laundry room was amazing, with several different machines that they had invented. I so badly wanted to take pictures of that. They lived “all things in common” so all laundry was done in one building, dining in another, sleeping in another, etc. They had their own infirmary.

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They truly believed in living simply and that was evidenced in their buildings, their clothing, the furniture and other things they made. The song Simple Gifts is a Shaker song.

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Our second day in N.H. we awoke to brilliant blue skies and balmy weather.

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Perfect for time spent in the White Mtns. We stopped at Franconia Notch State Park and hiked the 2 mile trip that included 2 covered bridges, 3 water falls and a view of what use to be the Man of the Mountain.

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If you find a N.H. quarter, you will see the Man of the Mountain pictured there but the rocks making up the face came down several years ago. This is what’s left.

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The notch itself is a narrow gap between rock walls and a waterfall crashes down through it, roaring its way down. The walkway is built into the side and follows it up and then crosses over the falls at the top.

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The falls before and after were beautiful.

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I failed to get a picture of the prettiest covered bridge, a bright red one, thinking the return hike came past it and I was hoping to catch it when there weren’t fifty-leven tourists hovering around it.

Here is a pine bridge that is all but camouflaged.

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Sometimes you had to look down for color:

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Check out these roots:

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Before I got started with my hike (Carol and Lois had already left on the hike) I was sitting there waiting on the shuttle and a number of Asians were waiting as well. There was a family with a pre-teen daughter and a teen son and the son asked if I would take a picture with his sister. I obliged and chatted a little with them. His English was the best between all of them but still hard to understand. I wasn’t sure if they wanted the picture because I was American or because I look unusual. 🙂

We headed out on the interstate again and at one place it narrows down to 2 lanes.

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We then took the scenic route listed on the map and at one point we took the wrong direction and ended up on the northern scenic route. We drove through Gorham which had the most brilliant reds that I had seen on the whole trip. We didn’t stop to take pictures though.

As in Maine we saw lots of Moose Crossing signs but never did get a glimpse of one.

In Bartlett we stopped at a covered bridge that has a store built into the center of it.

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The view upriver of the bridge:

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We didn’t have enough time to take a train or make the drive up to Mt. Washington, which we’ve heard is very interesting! We did stop at a covered bridge trestle near where our motel was. The morning sun was fierce bright and if this next one looks edited to death, it’s because it nearly was.

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Here is a logging “tractor”.

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These former cabooses have been turned into small apartments. They didn’t appear to be for tourists but possibly local workers.

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We did drive by Mt. Washington Hotel which is now an Omni Hotel. It was built in the early 1900s for bigwigs to spend their vacations, which were often a month or two in length. In 2010, rates per night range from $200 – $800 per night.

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Like chess? Have a great big yard? Maybe you want a chess set like the one in front of the hotel?

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Part 3 coming up some sweet day …..