VERMONT IN AUTUMN OCTOBER 7-13, 2016

The Green Mountains consist of 400,000 acres and more than 1,000 miles of trails stretching over two-thirds the length of Vermont. The legendary Appalachian Trail and the oldest footpath in the U.S. called the Long Trail run through the Green Mountain forests. We enjoyed trekking on the trails past lakes, ponds, and mountain streams. The trails offered us spectacular mountain vistas as we walked through lush spruce trees and hillsides of brilliant hardwoods and softwoods changing colors.

We really liked the Waterhouses Campground and RV Park in Salisbury, Vermont. Our site was across the street from the Lake Dunmore Marina and Paddler’s Pub Restaurant. We enjoyed ‘Old Trapper’ beer from the Middlebury Otter Creek Brewery as we watched a local college crew team load up their boats onto the trailer. The campground closes on Columbus Day, so a lot of campers were tightly wrapping up their campers and motorhomes for the winter storms.

Locals called their maple trees ‘sugarbush’. A sugarbush is a group of sugar maple trees growing in the same area. Maple Sugarhouses tap their maple trees and boil the sap in early spring. Vermont is the leading producer of maple syrup in the US with an annual average yield of over half a million gallons.

We stopped in numerous maple syrup stands and stores looking for the best prices. We sampled 100% pure and delicious Vermont Maple Syrup made from crystal clear natural sugar maple tree sap. All the Vermont Maple Syrup is of equal quality, sugar content and density (thickness). There are four colors of syrup; Golden color/Delicate flavor is made at the beginning of the new maple season, Amber color/Rich flavor is made mid-season, Dark color/Robust flavor is made at end of mid season, Very Dark color/Srong flavor produced at the end of the season is used for baking.

Many towns and homes were decorated with pumpkins, scarecrows, and hay bales. It really looked like Halloween was just around the corner. The autumn leaves of oranges, browns, and yellows were spectacular.

One day we drove to the centrally located town of Waterbury, Vermont. The busses and full parking lot was the deciding factor to not stop at Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. We did spend a lot of time at the Cabot Creamery Cheddar Cheese store sampling all sorts of cheeses. Next door was the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory to top off our free tastings with delicious chocolates. Nothing compares to the wide variety of Whoopee Pies for sale at various roadside stands. Our favorite was the pumpkin cake with Vermont maple cream filling. So good!!!

There are over 100 covered bridges in Vermont. The town of Northfield has five covered bridges on Route 12. Most of the bridges were built in 1872. The bridges were built for necessity to cover and protect the structural timbers from the elements. A favorite bridge of ours was the Warren wooden covered bridge that crosses the Mad River in Warren, Vermont. There is a sign on the bridge that says’ “Lincoln Gap” but it is unknown why that sign is posted.

Stowe is the second largest town in Vermont with a population of 4,339 in the year 2000. It lies in a broad fertile valley between Mount Mansfield and the Green Mountains to the west. Stowe has many wonderful arts and crafts stores and beautiful scenery for Patty to photograph.

Stowe is home to numerous ghost sightings. The Green Mountain Inn is home to the ghost named ‘Boots Berry’. Boots was born in 1840 in the Inn’s servants’ quarters. One evening he saved a little girl stuck on the Inn’s roof during a snowstorm before slipping and falling to his death. During severe winter storms, Boots can be heard tap dancing on the third floor of the hotel. Stowe’s Gold Brook Bridge is known as ‘Emily’s Bridge’ because the ghost of Emily who died after being stood up on her wedding day haunts the bridge. Visitors to the bridge have reported scratch marks on their cars and strange noises such as footsteps and screams.

Appalachian Gap is the high mountain pass in the Green Mountains of Vermont. We were fortunate to drive on Lincoln Gap Road at sunset. The views on this mountain pass in the Green Mountains are something to see.

Of all the hikes we went on, a couple stand out in our memories. The first was the Silver Lake Interpretive Trail and Rocky Point in Branbury State Park. This interpretive trail highlights the cultural and natural history of the Silver Lake area. The 2.5 mile long trail circles Silver Lake traveling between Eastern White Pine, Paper Birch, American Beech and Striped Maple trees.

Moosalamoo National Recreation Area has a wonderful interpretive trail called the Robert Frost Trail. There were seven of Robert Frost’s poems mounted on boards along the way. Robert Frost is Vermont’s Poet Laureate and had a summer home in the heart of the Green Mountain National Forest. It was fun imagining Robert Frost walking on the trail creating future poems in his mind. We did not know which fork in the road to take at the ‘Road Not Taken’ interpretive sign!

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

 

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

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