June 14, 2017, North Beach Campground, Burlington, VT
Our campground in Burlington, Vermont was in the middle of the city, behind the high school on Lake Champlain. Our gps took us off the hwy, thru town on some pretty narrow car lined streets, making those wide turns a very scary adventure. Looking down into cars and seeing the looks on some of the drivers faces…priceless!! You could see they weren’t sure we wouldn’t drive right into them.
The campground is really not big rig friendly, lots of low hanging trees with mostly tent sites. There are only about 10 sites that can accommodate a big rig. Our site had a very steep slope to it, after putting numerous wood blocks under the tires and jacks we finally had it level. There was no moving to another site as the campground that weekend was sold out, one of the workers saw our predicament, went to the shop and came back with nice cut up planks for us to use.
There is a paved bike/walking path that goes along the lake by North Beach campground which makes it easy access to Burlington’s downtown and waterfront. The beach area is for public use with a pavilion and bbq’s, play area for the kids, rentals of kayaks and paddle boards.
While walking around Burlington’s marina area, we found the ice cream vendor who sells Maple Ice cream cones…yes…we stopped and had a double!! Guy opted for a root beer float. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day so it sure tasted good.
We took a drive thru town and found Church street which is closed to traffic. There are numerous little shops, restaurants with tables on the sidewalks, vendor carts selling everything from soup to nuts. The University of Vermont is in Burlington so the town is full of students enjoying the wonderful weather.
We stopped at one of the most picturesque old grain mills, located on a small fast moving river. The Chittenden Mill, it was named after the first governor of Vermont. The inside has been turned into a museum for the “Snowflake Collection” and also gift shop.
For over 40 years Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley photographed thousand of individual snowflakes, perfecting the technique to keep them from melting. Snowflakes or snow crystals are difficult to photograph because they do melt so quickly, he would photograph the snowflakes outside to keep the delicate specimens from melting. Bentley developed equipment and techniques to take photographs of individual snowflakes.
He stood in the winter cold for hours waiting patiently so he could catch falling flakes. Once a snowflake landed, he carefully handled it with a feather to place it under the camera lens. From the first photograph he took in 1885 until his death in 1931 he photographed more than 5000 snow crystals, while gathering this large collection he learned that every single snowflake was unique and none the same. Each crystal takes on its own unique size and shape as it is falling to earth, there are many factors that cause this, temperature, wind, humidity, and up and down drafts.
On our tour of the area we stopped at Smugglers Notch State Park. This is a mountain pass that derives its name from activities that were prohibited by the Embargo Act of 1807, which forbid American trade between America and Canada.
Due to the proximity to Montreal the illegal trade with Canada continued. Fugitive slaves also used the Notch as an escape route. In 1922 the road was used during the Prohibition years to smuggle liquor in from Canada.
This area is extremely rocky, the mountain is 2,170’ and is now used for mountain climbing, there are also many hiking trails with some very strenuous trails. The spur trail leads to the top of Elephant’s Head, as you climb you gain about 1,100 feet in the 2.1 miles from the parking lot.
We had heard thru the years about all the skiing in Stow, Vermont and what a wonderful place it is. It is a beautiful place, the town was pretty spread out, there were lots of restaurants and stores, but I didn’t see the attraction. Of course, I don’t ski nor will I ever!! I have tried it in Tahoe and Yosemite. Being afraid of heights, getting on a ski lift was terrifying.
We stopped for lunch at a tavern in Stowe, and then headed to the Moss Glen Waterfall. The hike to waterfall was about was about 1/2 mile, the last part straight up hill. It was so worth the trip, the walk way to the falls was lined with flowers and ferns (as tall as me), part of the path you walked on wood as it was pretty wet and muddy, following the river on one side, as it was flowing over the rocks.
After checking it out from the top, we decided to hike down to the bottom, once there, Carolyn and I took off our shoes, rolled up our pants, braved the icy cold water, walked into the river, climbing over the rocks, trying not to fall, trying to keep our cameras dry, to get to the bottom of the falls.
There was one last big boulder that I climbed over but Carolyn decided it was way to much for her. We were disappointed as we could only see half way up!!
It was finally time to get our ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s and take the tour!!! Jokes on us as we braved the parking lot, drove around a protest going on about migrant workers, and worked our way thru the people, we get to the tour line….with a sign that says, “No ice cream being made today”!
Well, dang, all of us deciding that we weren’t going to spend the $4.00 each and not see ice cream being made. Off we went to the ice cream line…..we were about the 40th in line….looked at each other and decided we can go to the store and get it for less money. So off we went…..
Every state seems to have its share of out of the ordinary, so found this 38 drawer structures that claims to be the world’s only giant filing cabinet. It was built in 2002 by Bren Alvarez. The tower is titles “File Under File Under So. Co., Waiting for…” Each of the drawer representing the number of years of paperwork that were accumulated while working on the project to connect Interstate 89 to downtown Burlington. The road connector was first proposed in 1965, it has never been built, and 51 yrs later is still in limbo.
Gary and Carolyn had been to the Magic Hat Brewery and Artifactory before and thought we should experience it as well. I will say, I thought it was one of the coolest breweries and funkiest we have ever been to.
They have a self guided tour which takes about 5 mins!! Magic Hat brews four year round beers, #9 “Not Quite Pale Ale”, Dream Machine, Circus Boy and Single Chair. They also produce seasonal beer, which is beer produced for a particular season. Seasonal beers are usually produced when the fresh ingredients are available or for special holidays, festivals or events.
As we walked down the halls, on our way to start the tour, is the Magic Hat ArtSpace. The halls showcase local artists and their work for 2 months. When a new artist is chosen to display their work, a reception is held to showcase on the first Friday of that month, to showcase the new artist. All the artists along the walls are for sale.
The Magic Hat also sells their own brand of items, tee shirts, hats, glassware, sunglasses, bottle openers and of course their beer.
They hold events all year long, like the one coming up in August, “Wall to Wall Canvas”, which is a live art competition, the winner will win $500.00. Artists use wheat pasting, stencils, collage, spray painting, and markers to create unique pieces of art, the art will then be displayed along the walls of the brewery.
Since it was Father’s Day, Guy and I decided to take a drive to the islands off the coast of Burlington. There are a group of 4 islands in the middle of Lake Champlain, Grand Isle, North Hero, South Alburgh, Isle La Motte, the drive was about 3-4 hours.
We were amazed at how beautiful it was, lots of big red barns, some in drastic need of repair, some falling down, but quite a few that were still being used. There flowers everywhere along the road. Guy and I wondered what everyone did for work that didn’t have a farm, there weren’t any stores or places to work, unless you had a roadside buisness.
We stopped for lunch at North Hero House Inn and Restaurant, they were cooking and serving lunch out on the grass overlooking the lake.
It was an awesome view, the wind was blowing about 30 miles an hr, almost to windy to eat out as things were flying everywhere. But it was Father’s Day, everyone was loving the atmosphere, the place was crowded, the wait was pretty long, but there was lots of laughter.
What a great time we had during our time in Burlington. It seemed like it flew by and now it was time to head off to New Hampshire. So come along on our journey with us to Shelburne. Until next time have a Blessed Day.