Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Winding Up Our Vermont Stay

Hard to top Ben & Jerry’s but we did Winking smile

We explored the cute, touristy little town of Stowe one day.

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Stowe VT is the ski capital of the East. Good thing we were here in the Spring/Summer! The traffic wasn’t too bad :)  We just randomly explored the area driving until we found something interesting :)

The Green Mountains feature Smuggler’s Notch, a very historical  pass through the mountains that is only open in the summer.

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In 1807, President Thomas Jefferson passed an embargo act forbidding American trade with Great Britain and Canada. The locals weren’t too happy about that. Montreal was much closer than other American trading centers so they used the Notch to smuggle goods to Canada. Later, slaves used the Notch to escape to Canada. During the prohibition years, smuggling booze from Canada through the Notch was very common.

Somewhere in the Green Mountains, we happened upon the Trapp Family Lodge. If you were ever a Sound of Music fan, this would be the place for you :) The family toured the US in the 1940’s and settled in Stowe VT. The estate is spectacular and a very popular venue in this area.

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Of course no trip to Vermont would be complete without a trip to Montpelier, the capital city.

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Along with the mountains we found small lakes. Perfect size for Sea Eagling :) We did some padding one afternoon on Eden Lake.

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We paddled all the way to the other end and back again. Took us all of about 1½ hours :)

That night we were invited to a delicious meal of smoked pulled pork butt made by our new friends Faye and Dave. It was fantastic!

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Faye and Dave just sold their home and plan to join the full-timing world soon. We met the day we arrived and Faye confessed she read many of the same blogs I did and had one of her own. She finally decided to put herself “out there” and made it known that it was now public.  She also decided to quit lurking and start commenting on the blogs she reads. Guess she’s going to fit into this lifestyle just fine :) Click on the link and welcome them!

The following day, they took us on our very first river paddle. They have a canoe and we have the Sea Eagle. We left our Jeep at the put in spot and Dave left his truck at the take out. What a great paddle this was…not much paddling required actually.

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All in all, it was about a 7-8 mile trip and took the majority of the afternoon. Fabulous way to spend a day. We topped it off with an ice cream cone at the camp store :)

Vermont is a place I could easily come back to. I think I’m going to miss it.

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Vermont. The Green Mountain State and Home of Ben & Jerry’s!

Tuesday, we got an early start, for us, and headed out at 10:00 AM for Waterbury, a drive of about 26 miles. I had found that the Ben and Jerry’s Factory was in Waterbury and how could I resist??? The very first B&J was in Burlington VT, a short distance away. When they ran out of space, they acquired the Waterbury location.

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B&J has a refreshing business ethic/plan and they’ve held to their mission statement for all these years. I won’t go into their politics here, but if you’re interested, a google search will get you all the info you could desire :)

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It’s a great story starting with Ben and Jerry meeting in 1963, in 7th grade, and becoming fast friends. When they graduated, they pooled their money and paid $5 to Penn State for a correspondence course on how to make ice cream. The rest, as they say, is history. They are still best friends today.

We had to wait about 20 minutes for the next tour to begin so we wandered through the gift shop/tourist trap :) They did have some pretty cute things but it’s always easy to pass on more “stuff” when you live in a motorhome :)

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Our tour was divided into 3 parts with the first being a film about the history of Ben and Jerry’s. After that we observed the ice cream making process from the mezzanine. No photos are allowed of this process. (They wanted to be certain we weren’t Haagen-Dazs spies :) Lastly, we were taken to the Flavoroom where we all enjoyed a sample of the Flavor of the Day. This day happened to be Triple Caramel Chunk. Yum! Samples are samples though, never quite enough. So we stopped in the Scoop Shop to get a couple cones and chose to try Coconut Seven Layer Bar. Double Yum!

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This was a combination of Coconut Ice Cream with Coconut & Fudge Flakes, Walnuts and Swirls of Graham Cracker & Butterscotch. Awesome! Those of you that are fans of Jamaica Me Crazy at Brusters will have to try this and tell me if it’s comparable. I can’t imagine it being better…but never say never :)

With cone in hand, we wandered the grounds and found the best find of the day. The Flavor Graveyard! All retired or abandoned flavors are given a royal send off in this “cemetery”.

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Here are a few of my favorite gravestones :) Someone has a fantastic sense of humor! Can you find your old favorite?

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Once we completed our Ben & Jerry’s pilgrimage, we drove a few blocks to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Along with cider, Cold Hollow is noted for their Apple Cider Donuts. We couldn’t resist trying just one :)

Cold Hollow Cider Mill

Our donut was hot off the presses and pretty darn good. In fact, we had to allow them to cool a bit before we could handle them :)

After a short grocery stop, we headed home for the day. With a lunch of ice cream and donuts for dessert, I wasn’t sure I’d even be hungry for the ribs I had in the crockpot for dinner. I was :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wrapping Up Time With Family…Moving Onto Vermont

Our family time came to an end when we left for Vermont on Monday. We had a busy week in which I neglected to take many photos :(  Most of our time was spent with Rick’s mom, Denise, catching up on all the “happenings”. We shared a couple meals with his brother Jean-Luc and SIL Linda. We also got to see niece Katie, who was home from California for a visit. At no time did I remember to pull out my camera…or even my phone! Sorry guys!

Mid week we took a day trip to Montreal to visit his Aunt Rita in the hospital and join his cousins for lunch. I got a poor quality phone picture at the restaurant. From left to right, Denise, Michel, Monique, Marc and Rick.

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The food was good and we left with promises to keep in touch and see them our next time through.

On Sunday, we were invited to friends Troy and Dee Anne who we hadn’t seen in 20+ years. They had just moved back to the area from the Houston area after many years. Troy was born here but Dee Anne is from Texas so this is a new life for her. They and their daughter, Amelia, have just built a beautiful new home and we got to spend the day getting reacquainted. We had a wonderful time and a wonderful meal with Troy breaking in his new Weber grill :)

Dee Anne and Denise

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Rick and Troy

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We hit the road bright and early Monday morning at 10:20 :) We had a long, hard 95 mile drive ahead of us :)

After stopping for diesel in St. Albans, we pulled into the Maplewoods Campground in Johnson, VT early afternoon. What a gem! This is a brand new campground that opened last year. It was the dream of the owners to have a campground in the mountains and now, it is reality. The views are magnificent!

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Even the bathrooms are picturesque :)

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Yes, I believe we’re going to like it here :) Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A New State, More Friends and Fun and Chocolate!

Our route north started in Wilson NC, continuing on to Glen Allen VA and Williamsport MD. Maryland was a new state for us. Not that we’d never been there before or that we’d ever travelled through there before. We had never spent the night there before…in Lucy. We took care of that on this trip when we spent the night at the Hagerstown/Antietam KOA in Williamsport.

Hagerstown KOA

This is a really nice campground right on the banks of Conococheague Creek, an offshoot of the Potomac. There are several seasonal campers onsite but, for the most part, it was well tended.

As we walked the park, we came upon  residents Lucy and Ethel :) They are locals and share their area with the goldfish and the chickens :)

Lucy and Ethel

The owner has decorated the little café with memorabilia he has collected over the years celebrating the life and career of Lucille Ball. As it was the beginning of the season, the café was only open on weekends but we were allowed to go in to check out the display. There were several dresses/clothing donated directly from Lucille Ball.

I Love Lucy Memorabilia

There were checks signed by Lucy, receipts signed by Lucy, all with documentation to verify authenticity…very cool.

When we left there, we headed to Mannheim PA to visit our friends Nancy and Neil!

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We pulled into their park, PA Dutch Country RV Park in Mannheim, on Thursday afternoon and set up right across the street from them.

PA Dutch Country RV Park

We got together Thursday evening for a glass of wine and got caught up on each other’s lives.

The next morning (Friday) we met for coffee before going out to breakfast at the Kountry Kitchen Family Restaurant. I really wish I had remembered to take a photo, because Nancy and I had an excellent dish! We both had George’s Special which was Baby Spinach, Chopped Tomatoes & Bacon Tossed In Olive Oil Placed In a Casserole And Topped With Two Eggs Over Easy & Feta Cheese with homefries And Toast. I don’t know who George is, but he came up with a winner :) The guys both enjoyed their food too.

It had rained all night and it wasn’t going to give us a break. With Neil as our chauffeur, we managed a quick stop at Wilbur’s Chocolate in Lititz to stock up on their awesome Wilbur’s Buds and Triple coated Almonds. I’m a sucker for good chocolate :)

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From there, we headed over to The Sturgis Pretzel Factory to pick up a supply of their wonderful freshly made pretzels. Of course, while we were there, we had to have one of the warm, soft pretzels too :)

Nancy and Neil have lived in this area their entire lives so they had fun being tourists for the day. We discovered these 2 gems when we were in this area 2 years ago and knew we couldn’t leave without a 2nd visit.

With no let up in the rain, we headed back home and took a small nap :)  Nancy was preparing dinner for us so we wanted to be well-rested :)We headed over there around 5:00.

Look who greeted us when we walked in the door! Tatum or Tater Tot as she’s also known, is 4 years old and absolutely adorable. I’m not normally a big dog person but I was crazy about this little cutie. Look at that face! :)

Tatum Cutie Pie

Dinner was wonderful! Nancy had fresh Guacamole and chips, plus Italian bread and dipping sauce for an appetizer. Dinner was homemade meatloaf, mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus with Apple Dumplings for dessert. It was fabulous and we ate way too much!

Dinner at Nancy and Neil's

The evening went by much too quickly and before we knew it, it was 10 PM and time to call it a night.

This morning, we got up early, for us, and after saying our good byes, pulled out at 9:00 to continue our northern trek. We drove as far as Bainbridge NY, a little over 200 miles. We are staying at the Riverside RV Campground on the bank of the Susquehanna River.

Susquehanna River in Bainbridge NY

This is a cute little town and a really nice small park. We’ll be here through tomorrow so maybe we’ll get some exploring done since the rain has finally stopped.

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle