Title- Smugglers Notch, Vermont

 

It had been more than twenty-five years since I had spent any time in Vermont and I remembered it as being wooded, hilly, and the setting for "Ideals Magazine" type photographs. However, most places I know have changed dramatically over the last quarter century, and so, as Pat and I headed for a week in Vermont, I expected it to be scenic, but I was prepared for the usual assortment of strip malls, sprawling suburbs, and freeways cutting open space into parts. The surprise, in this case, was pleasant. As we flew up Lake Champlain on our descent into Burlington, I was stunned by the beauty of the Green Mountains fully adorned in fall colors. I saw farms, rambling farm houses and winding roads and water everywhere in the form of lakes and tumbling rivers. The solitary freeway, Interstate 89, wound easily along the contours of the land and was nearly devoid of traffic. I saw an image of America fifty years ago.

Bob (my cousin) and his wife, Ginny, invited us to share a vacation with them, which was the decisive allure for the trip. They traveled from the West Coast via Boston and we had a few hour wait at the Burlington Airport while they did the four hour drive north. A deli in the airport featured Bohr's Head meats and local Vermont cheese and coupled with the reality that the skill level at making deli sandwiches goes up inversely with proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, well, lets just say that my Ruben sandwich was exquisite. Bob and Ginny arrived as planned, and after hitting a grocery store to provision our week's stay, we started the one hour drive from Burlington to Smuggler's Notch. There are no straight roads in Vermont, so the timely prompting of the maps app was a crutch we happily accepted. It was becoming dusk, but the scenery was fabulous and gave us a tantalizing glimpse of what was ahead for the week.

After a delicious veal parmesan dinner prepared by Ginny, we spent the evening catching up and then turned in early to recoup from our flights. In the night, Bob and Ginny received the unexpected news that Bob's sister Joyce, (my cousin,) had passed away, probably from complications with her diabetes. We had little time to reminisce, as it was necessary for Bob and Ginny to fly home to make arrangements. Joyce was someone everybody loved, and her loss definitely put us into a melancholy frame of mind. We reluctantly said good-bye to Bob and Ginny, but knew we would see them again in a week or two. Pat and I were left to reflect and to explore northern Vermont on our own.

Smuggler's Notch is a pass in the green mountains, and Smuggler's Notch Resort, where we were staying, lies on the northern face of Spruce Peak. The name, "Smuggler" dates back to 1807, when President Thomas Jefferson forbad trade with Great Britain and Canada during the Napoleonic wars. The notch provided a pass with the rest of Vermont, and facilitated an illegal trade of cattle and other goods with Montreal, Canada, a trade on which Vermont farmers depended. The notch was used as well by slaves, escaping into Canada, and later in 1922, as a passage for prohibited liquor to move south from Montreal into the big cities of the East Coast.

 

Smugglers Notch

Our view of Smuggler's Notch, with the base of Spruce Peak moving upward to the left.

Smugglers Notch 2

Smugglers Notch Resort is a downhill ski area, with abundant cross country trails as well. A trail entrance lay just below our condo.

 

Trail 1

It was 21F when I did my first walk in the woods. Comfortably layered, I enjoyed the peaceful setting.

Trail 2

A creek winds its way through the woods.

 

Stone wall.

Several stone walls ran good distances through the woods, perhaps property boundaries dating to before the resort took over the location.

 

Title- the countryside.

 

Roundabout

Nearly all the highways in northern Vermont are two lane with very few stoplights. Occasional roundabouts move the traffic.

 

Corn silos

A typical farm nestled against the Green Mountains. The Green Mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountains, which run from Canada south to Alabama.

 

Church

Typical architecture for many of the churches scattered throughout the small communities.

 

Grist Mill

An old Grist Mill sits on the Brewster River about five miles from the Smuggler's Notch Resort.

 

Antiques

A few antiques lying around the mill.

 

A house in Jeffersonville

A typical country house in the village of Jeffersonville.

House 2

Similar architecture in Jeffersonville.

 

Lamoille River

Smaller creeks flow into the Lamoille River, which drains this part of the Green Mountains.

 

Fairfax Falls 1

Further on, the Lamoille River spills over Fairfax Falls.

 

Fairfax Falls 2

At Fairfax Falls, a hydro-electric spillway is no longer in use.

 

Title- Stowe

 

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream

A few miles south of Stowe, VT, lies the Ben and Jerry's farm and first processing plant. The van in the background is a replica of the original van in which Ben and Jerry traveled the U.S. introducing their all natural ice cream. The original van burned on a return trip from California.

 

Ben and Jerry's tasting

The factory tour is interesting, but mostly a prelude to the obligatory tasting.

 

Ben and Jerry's tasting 2

Thankfully, all natural ice cream is devoid of calories.


 

Mt. Mansfield

At 3719', Mt. Mansfield is the highest peak in Vermont and is the primary downhill ski mountain for the Stowe Mountain Resort. Here it is viewed from the Smuggler's Notch (north) side of the mountain. Stowe lies on the south side of the mountain.

 

Stowe- Shaw's General Store

With a population of just over 4,000, Stowe is one of the larger towns in northern Vermont and a popular summer and winter vacation destination. Real Estate is pricey, and some very much so. Stowe Mountain Lodge is a ski area where the client uses valet parking, and then hires one of the fashionable ski bums to do one's skiing, while the client checks into the spa for a hot Vermont stone massage, and then ruminates by the fireplace with expensive brandy to discuss global warming and the cold weather.

 

A tasteful lodge in Stowe

A tasteful lodge in Stowe.

 

Stowe City Hall

The Stowe City Hall