Category Archives: Vermont

Burlington & Stowe Vermont

Mountain View Campground, Vermont

We slept well last night with the heater off. It was quiet and cold outside.  We were snug inside. Yesterday evening, we drove through the town of Stowe and through Morrisville to Mountain View Campground where Allison and a blazing fire welcomed us.   Ellen had called ahead and reserved one of the two remaining sites.  We are in space “B”.   Water pressure this morning was low.  I went outside to check on our connection and met our neighbor, Jean Pierre, who asked, “Is your water pressure low?”  His was too and we concluded that all the campers were drawing water.   Time to use internal water and the pump.

This is Stowe Vermont and the weather is clearing!  I asked Ellen how she felt about spending another day here before pushing on.  We were both OK with it.  Cappuccino in hand, I walked to the office.   Last night I made this trip to get the codes for internet access and met Dave, the owner.  I wondered if Dave or Allison would be at the desk this morning.  Dave is a warm direct and talkative fellow with a distinct Boston accent.  Allison is more typical of a Vermonter,  mater of fact and reserved until you get talking with her.   It was Allison and the blazing fire at the desk.  She said there was a rig coming in and that site “B” was taken, but there were two sites that could go empty today.  The two friends had not decided if they would stay another day.  They had not made up their mind.  As we were talking, Dave walked in.  Allison explained the situation and Dave stalked out to ask if they planned to stay.   Allison and I chatted about Vermont until Dave returned to say, “they’re leaving today”.  Great, we keep site “B” and the newcomers will have one of the vacated sites.   We will stay another night, perhaps two!

We’re setting up to go back to Stowe now.   We’ll probably take the Gondola up Mt Mansfield, Vermont’s highest mountain at 4393 feet and visit a near-by covered bridge or two.  Last night Dave gave me a list of local hikes that range from easy/novice, intermediate, and expert. One of the expert hikes states flatly that the terrain is steep and wet.  It is a difficult hike up and it should NOT be  descended.

Stowe Vermont

The sky is clearing.  Today promises to be a wonderful day.  We will be walking in and around Stowe Vermont today.

North Beach Campground, Vermont

Yesterday, we were slow to leave North Beach Campground.  It was a cool morning and raining off and on. We watched the weather news over cups of coffee hoping that the cold front would pass and the sun would shine this weekend.  We left for downtown Burlington Vermont around noon and a few minutes later we were driving up Main Street.  I had no idea we had stayed so close to the town.  Main Street runs from the waterfront up a hill and crosses Church Street.  Church Street is closed to traffic.  It’s a pedestrian walkway with shops on either side of the wide street.  In warm summer weather Church Street is probably a buzz with patrons enjoying a meal on a sidewalk table.  This is what Santa Cruz Avenue, Menlo Park should become.

At the top of the hill we turned left and left again going back down the hill and into a parking lot on Lake Champlain.  We drove past the ticketing kiosk which was unattended and had our choice of parking spots.   A large tent on the parking lot housed the remnants of a maritime exhibit.  The nearby maritime building had been flooded and was closed.

We walked Main Street to Church Street.  It seemed that the lights were timed not for the cars, but for pedestrians.  Each walk light lit as we approached.  It was eery.


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Walking Main Street, Burlington Vermont

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Church Street was fun.  Burlington is a college town. While not crowded,  the street was full of people of all ages going about their day.  On a side street to our right we did a double take.  There’s a mural depicting famous and not so famous people. The mural is huge; almost an entire city block.


The Mural’s “Legend”

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Can you find Ethan Alan, President Lincoln, Billy Kidd, Elvis, Bernie Sanders, a bust of George Armstrong Custer?  How many of these people were raised in Burlington Vermont?


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Church Street in the Rain, Burlington Vermont



A Popular Guy in Burlington VT


On Lake Champlain,, Burlington Vermont

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Lake Shore Burlington Vermont

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We have no idea what this guy is all about

Everyone is saying that the foliage here in Stowe is “at peak”.  It looks to me like it is a few days to a week away.  I could easily be wrong, but I think people want “peak foliage” this weekend.  It’s Columbus Day Weekend which is Canada’s equivalent of our Thanksgiving.  I’ve heard more french spoken today than I have since visiting Paris so many years ago.

Everyone is talking about how strange this fall has been.  It’s been warm (hot!) and dry which is not good for fall colors.  Last week the weather turned cold and wet.  The cold weather brings on the color.  Without moisture, the leaves turn brown and fall all at once.  The rain and cold is welcome, though 44 degrees is uncomfortable compared to 80.

New England Foliage Trip, Mirror Lake NY, Lake Placid NY, Lake Champlain, Vermont

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                       The Festive Entrance                     Inside view


The Gift Shop & Cafe is Warm and Cozy

Yesterday (10/7/15) we visited Fort Ticonderoga.  We did not post photos of the fort or views of Lake Champlain in yesterday’s blog, so….    here is a sense of what it is like to visit the fort.

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Canon, lots of canon

All but two of the canon at the fort were brought from the Caribbean in the 1950s.  One of Pell’s relatives went to the islands and purchased old French and Spanish canon for the fort.  He and the canon were captured by Honduran Thugs and held for ransom.  The ransom was negotiated and paid and he was released along with the canon.

The Pell family owns the land around the fort, the fort, and King’s Gardens.  This is the same Pell who instituted the Pell Grants for education.

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One Very knowledgeable Docent               A French Cannon

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The Fort’s Battlements

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Walking the Ramparts                  French Canon Close Up

We knew it would be a cold morning, but come on: 32 degrees?  That’s cold.  Later talking with the owners of Cascade Acres Mobile Home Park and Campground we learned that it had snowed a foot and a half this time two years ago!  “Be Prepared?”  NOT.

Cascade Acres Mobile Home Park and Campground, Lake Placid


At the Cascade Acres Campground

First I must say I was glad they were there.  We had no desire to push on to a KOA that was pretty far from the town of Lake Placid.  Had we gone to the KOA, we would never have walked through main street Lake Placid or seen the beauty of Mirror Lake.  The owners of Brookwood RV Campsite, Ticonderoga said some of the best BBQ is at Smoke Signals on main street Lake Placid.  We would have missed this place if we pushed on to the KOA.  We still missed it, but for different reasons.

A word about Cascade Acres.  Off season the RV campground is EMPTY.  Park where you want, no problem.  Well sorry, there is one little bitty problem.  They do not have your typical 30 AMP hookup.  50 amps?  Forgetaboutit.  What they do have is a pair of 15 Amp 110 V circuits to each campsite. Technically that is 30 AMPs but good luck connecting.  At a local hardware store the next day we bought an “in case” 110 to 30amp connector so we could connect to a 110 V circuit and carefully run some “stuff”.  Overnight at Cascade Acres I chose to use batteries and our generator.   Also the men’s/woman’s showers and toilets are not heated. That would be no problem “on season”, but a real drag mid-October.

All in all, camping at Cascade Acres was an “adventure”.  On the bright side, it was so close to the town of Lake Placid that all the negatives were a non-issue.  Walk main street and Mirror Lake in the fall and you’ll see why.

The owners were good to talk to.  They recommended taking the Cumberland Head Ferry from Plattsburgh NY to Vermont and described the route and said it would be about $20.00.  They were correct on all counts.

Mirror Lake, Lake Placid

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The main town of Lake Placid sits on Mirror Lake, not on Lake Placid.  It is a charming ski town and a tourist get-away the other three months.  We walked the town, keeping on the sunny side of the street which was a good 15 degrees warmer.


Smoke Signals opens at 4PM.  With some difficulty and longing, we agreed that staying at this lake until 4PM could jeopardize catching the ferry to Vermont.

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Lake Placid

We chose to drive to Lake Placid, the lake, after walking the town on Mirror Lake.  There’s a road around Mirror Lake, but there is no direct way to get to Lake Placid from the town.  After trying to find an “easy” way to get there, we both agreed that it would “cost” us at least an hour or two if we’d continued on.  We chose to skip the lake and head on to Lake Champlain and the Cumberland Head Ferry to Vermont.   We were told that Lake Placid was at peak color.  What we were seeing at Mirror Lake was near peak color.  The temptation was high, but we thought by moving on to Vermont we’d have better opportunities.  Then we have been in New York for at least eight days.  It was time to move on and Burlington would be our next stop.   There’s the Burlington Coat Factory and Bernie S. had his political start in Burlington Vermont.

High Falls Gorge, The Adirondacks, Wilmington NY

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I drove past a sign for “High Falls Gorge” and noticed a waterfall to my left.  “Should we go back?”  Yes! We found a good place to turn around a quarter mile down the road and we retraced our path back to High Falls Gorge.    This is a privately owned and operated developed park with a cafe, a souvenir shop, and a wooden walkway with stairs, banisters, plexiglass underfoot viewing platforms, and guard rails and fencing.  It is a bit pricey at $11.50 each.  A group of seven people were justifying not not going at that price. We did pay and were glad we had.

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The day was brisk but sunny and the walk through the pines was invigorating; breathing in the pine, feeling the mist from the water falls, walking the maze of stairs, and incredible scenery were well worth the price.

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Cumberland Head Ferry to Vermont


For someone taking the ferry for the first time be warned, our GPS had no idea where to catch the ferry and the signs for the ferry are spaced very far apart.  If we had not stopped a postal delivery guy, we might still be hunting for the ferry.  Worse still, when we realized we were “lost”, we stopped to dial in the ferry location on our iPhones, we both had “server unavailable” popups on our phones.  We were SOL until the postal guy “saved” us.

The ferry is well outside of the town of Plattsburgh, here.

Our GPS showed a 3:34 Pm arrival at the ferry.  We actually found the ferry at 3:56 for the 4:08 ferry.  Great, we paid the $19.75 for driver, 24′ RV, and 1 passenger and queued up in line #2 behind a sprinter van and beside two 18 wheelers.  The trucks went on, the cars went on, our line started forward and the sprinter van ahead of us was waved through.  We sat and watched the last few cars waved on from lane 1, the gates close, and the ferry pull away from the dock.  Crap.

But, the advantage?  We were first on the next ferry that arrived a mere 13 minutes later! No sweat.  Three ferries ply this route.  We were the first vehicle on the ferry and had a great front row view as the ferry steamed across the lake.   It felt more than a bit like I was driving Li’l Beast across the lake.  All I needed do is turn the steering wheel and we’d turn.  No, but it felt like that.  It was very cool being the first off the ferry too.


The ferry terminates on an island.  We drove the island to the causeway connecting it to mainland Vermont.  There’s a view point on the causeway and we had to stop.  The views are stunning.

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               Memorial Stone honoring those that lost their lives during 9 -11


North Beach Campground, Burlington Vermont

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Sunset at Apple Tree Bay, Vermont

Ellen found three campgrounds past the bridge from Grand Isle; Lone Pines Campground, three stars,  Malletts Bay Campground, three star; and North Beach Campground, also three star.  We talked over the advantages of each.  North Beach was closer to the water and further on than the other two and therefore a better choice.  We could arrive well ahead of sunset, settle in, and be close to the water.  North Beach is a bit of a drive from Rt 84 through Winooski, past a huge graveyard, through a college campus, around some side streets, and down a dead end road to an entry with an 11 foot lintel welcoming RVs into the campground.  We stopped well ahead of the lintel, we are 3 inches too high to make it through.

We were third in line, busy at this time of year maybe due to college and Columbus Day holiday? We wanted an open view to the south and internet access and were told which might work for us.  We were free to drive around and pick a site.  Just come back and do the paperwork.  We chose #105 thinking it had an OK view to the south.  We have good web access, but poor sat reception.  We do get good off air HD.


Postcard Perfect

As the sun set, we hooked up, closed up, and walked down to Apple Tree Bay to watch the sun set.  The view over the bay looking toward New York is not to be missed if you are in the area.  There were sail boats off toward Burlington, a large gaff rigged schooner sailing south on Lake Champlain.  The sun had not set, but it was below the ridge to our west.  The mountain ridges in New York were different shades of gray-blue as they receded into the distance.  Lake Champlain is a huge lake.

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Sunset Light is Constantly Changing


We are now comfortably ensconced in The Beast, snug and warm.

At Syracuse NY

Visiting Family

We’re staying with Paul, Carolann, and Dylan here in Syracuse NY,  Carolann is Ellen’s sister.  We’ve had wide ranging conversations about politics, family, music, and local issues that’s been fun for all.  The driving through Pennsylvania and into New York, the weather turned overcast and rain has fallen off and on since we arrived and is expected to continue for the next few days.  There has been extensive flooding along the East Coast of the Carolinas and Maryland and with Tropical Storm (hurricane?) Joaquin on the way we could see more extensive rain.

We’re planning to push on to visit DeDe and Don in Pine Plains, but some of the roads into the woods are dirt and prone to flooding.  We’ll drive to Tivoli, drop off Li’l Beast, and ride to Pine Plains with David and Chris.

Paul said last night that it had been unusually dry the past few months.  This rain is the first they’ve had in quite a while and that the dryness influences the fall foliage.  The leaves turn “all at once” and fall from the trees!   I did notice just this happening in Pennsylvania and parts of New York where some trees had turned and dropped most of their leaves.  They were not maples though.

Empire Brewing Company

We went to the Empire Brewing Company for dinner last night.  The brewery was originally a Cajun and Creole restaurant. The brewery’s menu retained the Cajun and Creole flair.  Ellen had the lobster bisque and a fabulous three meat chili of Elk, Angus, and Kobe.  Paul and Carolann shared a cajun dish of jambolaya and gumbo.  Their IPA was goooood.

I was born and raised near Boston, Mass.  As a child and young teenager my family would take weekend trips to Vermont and New Hampshire and visit their natural wonders.  I remember  more of New Hampshire, probably because we spent more time there.  It will be fun for me to revisit some of the outstanding places I remember and discover some new ones along the way.


I recall being “out in the boonies” on our trips to Vermont.  Forty years ago, Vermont was sparsely populated, rugged, and beautiful in an undeveloped sort of way.  My guess is it has changed over the years.  Some of the resources I’ll be using to plan our trip through Vermont are:

State Parks
top ten things to do in Vermont

New Hampshire

Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire, closed Sept 19th.   Luckily the Flume and Canon Mountain Tramway are open through Oct 25th and Oct 18th respectively.  The White Mountain Cog Railway stays open through October.

Check these links for more information:

New Hampshire Parks
White Mountain Cog Railway

New England

Visit New England
foliage Map


Just a short post to catch up.