Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vermont - Day 1

When we left Massachusetts, we were Vermont bound.  We ended up spending time in Vermont so that we could hook up with an old friend just across the border in New Hampshire, at Dartmouth.  It really worked out well, though, because we thoroughly enjoyed our time here! 

We stayed at Getaway Mountain Campground in Ascutney, VT.  Although this RV park is nothing special, it was just fine for us.  It was easy to get into and easy to get out of, and it had a nice pool for swimming, as well as a little kid outside sandbox/play area.  From there, we daytripped to Quechee. Visiting Quechee Gorge is free, and although the Gorge itself is not really spectacular in terms of the view, it really is great fun for swimming!  We hiked the short but steep trail down from the visitor center, and at the bottom met a journalist, Ellen Fiedelholtz, who told us all the best spots to swim and jump as she’d been coming ever since she was a kid. She, of course, asked us all sorts of questions about what we do, travelling the US in our fifth wheel for the last year.  Afterwards, we played in the water for quite a while, swimming at first, then jumping into the deep portion repeatedly.  Even Genna got brave and jumped, too, with her lifejacket on, of course!  Soooo proud of how much progress that girl has made in the water this year!!

Queechee Gorge from the bridge
The rocks are quite rugged.   Along the bank, you can see how high the river was during hurricane Irene last September.
We all had fun jumping into the creek.
The water felt great!

Alyssa showing off.
Even Genna got into the act.
After much fun playing at Quechee Gorge, we ate a picnic lunch outside the Visitor Center, surreptitiously changed into dry clothes, and made our way to Sugarbush Farm in search of Vermont cheese and maple syrup samples.  Again, Sugarbush Farm is free, so that is always a nice perk!  One of the owners assisted with my cheese samples; it was truly interesting to taste the gradual, or not so gradual, progression of flavor with the increased aging times.  Genna was so cute; she would sniff the cheese before she would decide whether or not she wanted to taste it, and oddly enough, she ended up tasting about every other one of the 15 varieties available to sample.  We also got to taste four different grades of maple syrup, and I have to say that I’ve never tasted better.  Of course, I’m hardly a maple syrup connoisseur; it is expensive, after all, so my experience with it is limited.  But then again, it takes 40-50 gallons of sap to yield one gallon of maple syrup, so it is easy to see why it is on the pricey side.  We did take the maple syrup walk in the woods as well as watched the video to learn more about the process.  Ironically, one of the kids had just asked me why covered bridges were covered, and on the wall next to the video, there was an article about exactly that…in short, once the wooden bridges were built, they decided to cover them to help protect the bridge, so that it would last longer! 

This is where we sampled all the cheeses.   I wish I remembered to take photos while it was happening.
This pole shows the levels of snowfall for the last several years.
Although everyone, except Jake, had fun trying the various cheeses and syrups, I think the most fun was had outside with the farm animals.  All the kids got involved feeding the cows and goats grass and clover (why buy food to feed them when there’s so much free, green stuff around to offer?).  Jake was a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e.  He has decided that every animal is a “bup,” and every “bup” says “moo.”  He had a blast!  He totally got in on the action and was right in the middle of the girls, pulling grass and clover out of the ground and offering it to the animals, squealing with sheer delight.  Love, love this age!

We really enjoyed Sugarbush farm.
One of two wrecked covered bridges we saw in Vermont, due to hurricane Irene in 2011.

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