Thursday, August 30, 2007

Traveler's Tales Day 3

No hangover from the Groleaus! Yeah!

The plan for day 3 was to head to Bartlett Falls in Lincoln. Since it was a weekday and in such an unpopulated area, I decided I need some mace. You know, Vermont may have low crime, but there are some people out there a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Luckily, there was a Dick's Sporting Goods right by the hotel. But no dice. They recommended a place called Powderhorn, just up the street. Though they were closed, the owner happened to be out front watering his plants and let me in a bit early. I haven't ever seen so many guns in one place, but I got my mace.

This was supposed to be the last really warm day during my stay, so I needed to make hay. I grabbed a Starbucks, and headed for the hills. I drove up & down the mountain a few times before I thought to call my Ma and ask her to look up the directions online. Turns out the place I called from was the parking area for the Falls. Sheesh!

I got down to the water and slipped around on the rocks a bit. The waterproof case for the camera did not work out...since it was a bit humid, when I put the camera in the case, there was almost immediate condensation. Eeep!

I met these two dudes, who said they were recently gradumicated high schools seniors on a jaunt around New England. Nice ideer, boys! I encouraged them a bit, but they were fine in the end, if a touch chilly. At least I didn't need to use the mace on them. Being a loner, I wasn't prepared to risk injury by doing this myself (yeah, that's the ticket).

Here's me at the top of the falls, wet from a quick dip (was it that frigid when I was a kid???):

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Clear water:

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Top o' the falls:

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Dangling off the cliff:

On the flat rocks (suck it - it's a self portrait!):

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The really bottom-of-the-line Kia Rio I was driving probably wouldn't do so well up Lincoln Gap Rd., so I headed to Route 17, up and over the mountains to Waitsfield. I liked the convenient parking area at the top.

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I passed Mad River Glen on the way down. I don't think I can (see the ski area's tag line for the question to my answer).

The next stop in this marathon day of trying to take advantage of the weather was the famous Joe's Snack Bar in Jericho. They used to have more flavors of creemees, but vanilla will do any day.

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With the approaching cold front on the brain, I hooked up again with the Groleaus for some hot racin' action in Barre. We encountered some heavy rain on our way down, but it cleared in time for the races. Thunder Road, the "Nation's Site of Excitement", mentioned in one of my earlier posts, is situated in a bowl up in the hills near the quarries. There was still some fog from the earlier rain hanging around.

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We had a hard time deciding whether to watch the racing or the 2nd line of storms approaching over the mountains.

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We drive back through them storms....pretty neat for an ol weather buff like me. Back to the hotel for some skiing on the morrow (not really).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Traveler's Tales Days 1 and 2

I started from Alexandria at about 5 a.m. on Tuesday, August 14. I hoped to avoid the East Coast rush hours, by getting north of Baltimore before 7 and into the New York area after 9 a.m. I was successful skirting DC and Baltimore, and made it onto the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey at about 8:30. The *bang*! Gridlock. It soon cleared out and I headed onto the NY State Thruway toward Albany, with just myself, a few cars and a lot of trucks sharing the road.

My first mountain view excited me so much, I took video while driving (shhhh). I thought I had first sight of the Adirondacks, but as it turns out with was the Catskills. Oh well. I won't post the vid, though, because you can't actually see the mountains.

I cross the Champlain Bridge at Crown Point et voila! Vermont! The drive from Crown Point to Burlington was really lovely. I passed through Vergennes, which seems to be enjoying a renaissance. Last time I passed through there, it was a depressed former industrial area. Now it's got lovely little sidewalk cafes and shops. Good job, Vergennes! No pics, because after 9 1/2 hours driving, I wasn't gonna stop til I got to the hotel.

On Wednesday, my first order of business was to drive up to Essex, and explore the old neighborhood (you recall I spent 1st - 8th grades there). It's changed a lot - there's a highway cutting through. The old Grannis house is still there - it was my favorite of my friends houses because it was supposedly and Underground Railroad stop, and it had lots of nooks and crannies and even a staircase hidden behind a cabinet!

I hit Brigham Hill Rd. in the rain, noticing the other Underground Railroad house on the corner is in sad shape. A long time back, the Shelburne Museum offered to buy the house, but the owners said no. I don't know if the museum has enough money now, but it sure would be nice if the house could be preserved professionally.

I stopped at 171 Brigham Hill Rd. (the ol' Steingrandt homestead). The driveway was all nice gravel now, probably because it was on the market recently. They added a nice split rail fence, and cleared and mowed the little grassy area. It looks like they also planted a couple of pine trees.

I continued up to Brigham Hill Ln. (mostly just so I could turn around), and encountered this little pond. I don't recall this from living here. Maybe beavers came along, but I didn't see a lodge.

I drove back out toward Old Stage Rd., and stopped at this farm, still there after all these years. That is Mt. Mansfield in the background, highest point in Vermont. I remember the farmer herdering his cows across the road. No such luck this day.
This is on Chapin Rd., near Tower Rd. on my way back to town from Brigham Hill. That's Vermont's second-highest peak, Camel's Hump. The houses are where the model airplane field was. My Pa crashed a couple planes there back in the day.

I had to head to Shelburne for lunch with Jenn Brown, friend from way back. She was a Nick Rhodes gal, I was a Simon Lebon gal. Our little Middle School fan club had the members of Duran Duran neatly parsed between us. This is the restaurant we were to dine in, Bistro Sauce, 95 Falls Rd. in Shelburne. It was delish! I had grilled salmon with a potato pancake and salad (perfectly dressed), and the key lime mousee for dessert.

We were stuffed!! It was so good to see you, Jenn!!

I headed up to downtown Burlington to check out the scene on Church St. I stopped at April Cornell to stock up on frilly clothes, but was otherwise disappointed. Urban Outfitters? Macy's? Nope, sorry, doesn't work for me.

The old vintage clothing store was still there, but not as vintage as in years past. Although maybe the 80's are considered vintage now?

Downtown Burlington:

I thought since I was a DC wuss, 80 degree weather wouldn't affect me at all! But I was sweating like a hog at the fair, so went back to the hotel to clean up, then off to the Groleaus'! These folks always treated me as daughter #2, and it was so good to see them again and be back at the house at which I spent many a sleepover. They fed me (awesome pasta!!) and got me drunk. I was sober by the time I went back to the hotel, totally pooped, at 10:30 p.m.

More to come.....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I'm baaaaack!

Pictures and narrative to come...right now I'm pooped. I drove straight through from Williston, VT to home in Alexandria, VA, only stopping once for gas.