Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Being tourists in Vermont!

Mat and Marty are great tour guides!  One afternoon, we set out on an excursion.  When we got back, Mat chuckled because it turned into a 6 hour adventure!

We drove about 30 minutes to Barre, VT to the Hope Cemetery.    Cemeteries intrigue me and both Mat and Marty said this one should not be missed.  It was easy to see why...the tombstones are amazing.

This last one (above) was very interesting.  It was a married couple sitting up in their bed with their likeness carved in the headboard.  They are holding hands.  The wife died quite a few years before the husband and he remarried.  That little marker in the foreground of the picture is for his second wife.  :-)

From there, we went to Cabot Creamery.  Their tasting room has about 15 or so different types of their cheese that you can sample.  We "noshed" quite a bit and ended up buying enough cheese to last us the next year!  Who knew that cheese with horseradish infused in it could be so tasty?  ;-)

Then it was on to Morse Farms Maple Sugarworks.  They had a walking interpretive tour and a fantastic gift shop.  Our supply of maple syrup was getting low so we stocked up on that as well as some gifts for family. We then had to sample a maple creamee.  Oh my....vanilla soft serve infused with maple syrup.  This is a must try!  Morse Farms is said to have the best maple creamee and it sure was delicious!

We then drove through Montpelier...the smallest capital in the US.    

It was a wonderful outing and, needless to say, no one ate dinner that night!  We were stuffed to the gills!

Another day, we set out to Waterbury, VT.  We just HAD to check out Ben & Jerry's!

We knew not to go on a Saturday or Sunday...that would be self-inflicted torture!  However, we would strongly recommend NOT going on a Friday, either!  Mat and Marty said the crowds were the worse they had ever seen them.  We opted not to take the tour (it was an hour wait!) and just eat ice cream and visit the flavor graveyard.  Dan got a White Russian milkshake; Mat got Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz, Marty got Chocolate Therapy, and I got Coconut Seven Layer Bar.  All were fabulous!
Mat and Dan enjoying their cool treats

Entrance to the flavor graveyard

I loved the captions on the flavor tombstones

I think I would have liked this flavor!

Oh no - no blueberry ice cream?!

Dan and Marty enjoying a chuckle. 
We left Ben & Jerry's and headed to Cold Hollow Cider Mill.  As soon as you entered the building, the smell of apples and cinnamon was amazing.  The cider press was not operating :-( but we did end up buying a gallon of cider and 6 cider doughnuts. Two disappeared really really quickly.  ;-)

We then went to Lake Champlain Chocolates.  We just smelled our way through this place!  We saw "seconds" (chocolates with labels that were crooked) at $19-$22 a pound and knew we wouldn't be buying any!

It was another great day of being tourists in Vermont!

Monday, August 19, 2013


I admit....some states intrigue me more than others.  Vermont is a state that both Dan and I wanted to explore.  Our friends Mat and Marty live in central Vermont.  Last winter when we were in Cedar Key, they had invited us to their place for a few days.  We arrived and settled in for three days.

View from our rig at Mat and Marty's home
I love the old horse barns on their property!  Marty was a master gardener and their yard is amazing!
We would then move to a campground close to them for another week of exploring!

We sure didn't need to go far to do some exploring.  One morning, Mat, Dan and I set out across the street. Dan and Mat were quite intrigued with what we found.
A very old GMC truck
On Mat and Marty's property, there is a memorial for a B-17 that crashed in 1943.  Wow!

   Mat led us to the crash site.  There were only small remnants of the crash left.
Small pieces found by others visiting the crash site

Dan found these larger pieces in the woods nearby.
Mat had told us that several people had found things by scratching in the dirt.  We crouched down to see if we could find anything.  Wow - we found a bullet, two buttons from uniforms, a switch and a few other items we could not identify.

It was very fascinating to us.  The "official" word is that this plane crashed due to sabotage. However, local folks believe that it was pilot error.

While at Mat and Marty's, each afternoon, we would enjoy "nosh".  Marty got us hooked on this word which means "little snack".   We got to enjoy these views while "noshing"!!

Lovely views

So many hummingbirds

Dove and Purple Martin
Yellow Finch
One could never tire of the views 

Gorgeous sunsets

Cotton Candy skies with the moon
Yep - we love Vermont.  Thank you, Mat and Marty, for opening up your home to us.  We have had a wonderful, wonderful time.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

White Mountain National Forest

We headed to the White Mountain National Forest region with Rod and Tammy.  Our campground, White Birches, was smack dab in the middle of the forest.  We were now going on week 2 with no TV, no internet, and weak phone signal.  ;-)  I must admit, it is kind of nice!
Our sites at White Birches
We set out one day on the Presidential Range Bike Trail.  Parts of this trail can also be used by four-wheelers but we chose the "bike only" part.  It was a nice, easy trail with some picturesque spots!
Dan and Rod at the river's edge 

Watch for bulldozers?!  Wow!
Another day, we set out to do several smaller hikes.  We drove to Pinkham Notch.....
and could not believe the mass amounts of people.  We knew we got a late start but there were tons of people everywhere!  We stopped by the Visitor Center, got our bearings, and off we went.  The first trail we went on led to Mt. Washington...the highest peak east of the Rockies.
We would not be hiking that far! 

Crystal Cascades

Thumbs up on waterfalls!
We headed back down the trail and across the street to this....
Whoop whoop!
Since I was a teenager, I have wanted to hike part of the Appalachian Trail.  Today was the day! I was so excited!  The trail paralleled this stream.
Water was crystal clear

What an interesting sight...this tree grew around the rock.  Amazing! 
We stopped for lunch at this spot and just took in the views....

It was the perfect place for a picnic lunch.  We still had more trails we wanted to hike so off we went....
Yep - we need to go this way!
Our destination on this trail was Glen Ellis Falls.  The falls "fall" 64 feet and over 600 gallons of water fall every few seconds.
Glen Ellis Falls
View from right before the falls
We had a great time exploring the White Mountain National Forest with Rod and Tammy.  We both left the same day; they were headed to Pennsylvania and we were headed to Vermont.   We know that we will be back to do some serious hiking!

Hiking Little Moose Mountain

Our time at Moosehead Lake was coming to an end.  We knew we wanted to get in one more hike and set out one day with friends Rod and Tammy.  Rod and Tammy were new to hiking so we wanted to pick out a hike that we all could do.  Out of all the research that we did, Little Moose Mountain was termed "easy to moderate (emphasis on easy) and a family hike".  There are several ponds offering great views.  So, off we go.
Dan (holding a space for me!), Rod, and Tammy

Down stone steps

And across plank boards
Big Moose Pond
After hiking to the other side of the pond, we decided to stop for lunch.  There was a sandy beach with plenty of dead logs for us to sit on.

We didn't see any real moose but did see this....
Dan with half moose antler!
We headed out again and the trail started taking on a different look.  I didn't have my hiking pole with me as this was supposed to be an EASY trail.  Well, long story short, it was anything but easy.  It was easy to Big Moose Pond and moderate to strenuous after that.  Rod and Tammy did not want to turn around...they wanted to forge ahead so that's what we did.  Rod, Dan, and I made it to the summit of Little Moose Mountain...Tammy stood guard below!
Big Moose Pond and Little Moose Pond

Rod and I at the lookout
Gorgeous scenery

Breathtaking views
We headed back down the mountain and saw some interesting sights.....
Indian Pipe mushrooms were everywhere

and so was moose poop!
There were some very neat, very primitive campsites along the pond....we stopped to take a look.
Tammy and Rod goofing around!
 We heard loons and went to see where they were...
Mama loon and her babies!

What a cool reflection on the pond!
It was a beautiful day for a hike!  All in all we did 6.5 miles of not-so-easy hiking!  

The next day, we were leaving the Moosehead Lake area and our friends Gin and Syl.  It's never "good-bye"...just "see ya down the road".  We know that good times are just around the corner.