Vermont 2008 Archives

March 9, 2008

Back to Vermont

Wiessner Woods

Okay - so we have Becky's trip dates, which means we can finally plan our summer vacations. Last year, we visited Stowe Vermont, while the girls were away at encampment (the end of August) but this also meant that we were there on a Monday to Monday - and lost most of our first Monday to travel (we couldn't hit the road until 12:30pm, after the girls' bus left). Plus, we couldn't take advantage of the Stowe Farmers' Market, which meets on Sunday, since it was the day before our departure.

This year, we decided to go while Becky's in Australia and Sammi is at the beach with my parents, so that we could leave early on a Saturday morning (Chris is talking 5:00am), and make some stops along the way up (can you say King Arthur?), plus, with our first full day being Sunday, we can definitely stock up on provisions at the Farmers' Market.

I contacted Goldilocks again, and just need to print and mail the contract. We added an extra night (departing Saturday July 12, returning Sunday July 20), and the owner kindly offered us the rental at last year's rates since we're returning customers! We cannot wait!

June 4, 2008

Potential Bike Rides

When we head up to Vermont next month, we're hoping to do three or four bike rides over the course of the week. One we know we'll do is a repeat of the first ride from last summer's vacation, the Stowe City Ride. If you remember, this one killed me; it's where I realized they don't have hills in Vermont, they have mountains.

The other ride we definitely want to do is the one I chickened out on last year, the Ferry to Ferry ride.


Yes, it's got 2200 feet of climbs, with that one big hill, but heck, you do get the break of the ferry in there (twice), and there's something cool about riding in two different states.

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July 10, 2008

Vermont Itinerary - Sort of

Stowe Pinnacle View
Stowe Pinnacle View

With all the commotion over Becky's departure, I totally haven't focused on my own departure Saturday to Vermont! Chris has really stepped up and done a bunch of planning (in regards to hikes and bike rides) for this trip, and having this as our second time to the area, makes it easier too because we know what to expect (and where we want to eat out).

We're doing a couple of things different this year. One, since we're not going while the girls are at encampment, we can leave on Saturday morning and take advantage of the Stowe Farmer's market on Sunday to stock the cabin. Two, since we don't have to leave in the afternoon, and can hit the road early, we're going to make some stops along the way. Three, we're extending our visit by one day going Saturday - to Sunday as opposed to Saturday to Saturday.

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July 11, 2008

Stowe Weather


Packing List

Back at it - lots to do today and I'm in pre-trip panic. At least I get to copy last year's packing list and tweak it.

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July 12, 2008

Beer, Beer and Beer

Saturday went pretty much as outlined in the itinerary with a few great surprises along the way.

First, the drive up the New York State throughway is so much more pleasant than the drive through Westchester, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Once you hit the top of the Garden State parkway, this way, you’re in beautiful scenery. The other way, you’re constantly dealing with suburban sprawl, cities and congestion. The only down side, we got off the thruway around Lake George so there was some minor (very) traffic there – though we can see how it will be worse next Sunday (end of weekend). Also, once we got off at Lake George, we were for the most part on winding, country roads which I and Chris’s car, enjoy.


As planned, we stopped at the Long Trail Brewery for lunch. There’s a small “store” when you walk in (really a counter with merchandise behind it), a large bar/restaurant and the best part a patio outside where we sat to enjoy lunch along a river. Of course we started with beer. Chris went for the Belgian White, while I let him convince me (yeah, twist my arm) to have the sampler. Four ounces each of their six beers – five regulars and one seasonal, arranged from lightest to heaviest. I had their Blackbeary wheat, the Belgian White, the Hefeweizen, the regular ale, the Double Bagger (still my favorite) and the double IPA. Don’t worry I didn’t drink all of them, but definitely did taste them. Chris enjoyed bratwurst for lunch and I enjoyed their chili.


After lunch, we did some “shopping” at the store, getting two pint glasses, two t-shirts, and two six packs for the house (the Belgian White and Doulbe IPA – both good summer brews) and our passports stamped. It was a nice way to break up the drive.

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July 13, 2008

Hiking, Biking and Bears - Not Really

So what do you do when you wake up at 5:00 in the morning and your husband is snoring cheerfully beside you? Get out of bed, turn on the computer and see if your daughter has updated her blog from Australia.

She hadn’t and after taking care of some things (like checking the weather forecast, it was supposed to be miserable), I decided to go for a bike ride. Nothing too complicated, but I really wanted to go down the road our house was on to see where all those cars were going to and from the night before.

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July 14, 2008

A Fledgling Disaster - Not!

Some of you may remember this entry from our last trip to Vermont, I'll Take a Century any Day. It describes the first ride we did in Vermont. Well, this year, we decided to do it again - sort of a gauge to see how are training was going. And I have to say, it's going well!

The long and the short of it - I had to get off my bike twice on Ferry, once to rest on the steep uphill (but I never walked) and once to answer my cell phone, as it was the phone call from Becky's chaperon, telling me they had landed safely in Darwin and I needed to call the next parent in the phone chain. Panting, I listened and then dialed. But after that, I didn't stop on any of the hills! Not on those two hills on Stagecoach and not going up Stowe Hollow road either! Slow and steady but I did them!!

Now for the almost Fledgling disaster ... while we were on Randolph Road, we saw a fledgling in the middle of the road who couldn't fly. We could hear the parents above us going bonkers as we approached (experienced from our time with the Robins earlier in the spring, told us that this little gal must have leapt from the nest a day or two early.

We couldn't just leave her there and Chris got off his bike trying to figure out a way to pick her up (without touching her - though Becky later said that we could have touched her, it would have been okay). The mother swooped down near us but knew she was no match for Chris. As he came back to his bike though, thinking he could use his route holder to scoop her up, the fledgling managed to hop from the middle of the road into the grass under her tree where her parents waited. Phrew.

I love how Chris rescues animals we see in distress on our bike rides (I told you about that turtle last year, right?).

Anyway, after the ride, we hit pie in the sky, did a bunch of shopping, and headed down to Waterbury for another Brew pub but more on that stuff in another entry.

Fine Wine Cellars

I've mentioned this store before but I just want to give a little shout out to these guys. One of the things we looked forward to on this trip, was stopping by this store and getting wine? Why? Not because it's a cool looking store (it's literally in someone's basement, crammed floor to ceiling with racks and crates of wine), not because of the great prices (though I think these guys are really good and snooping out close outs and deals on unknowns if you're open to trying new things) but because they're just some really cool guys to talk to that know their wine and with a little information as to what you're looking for can make some great suggestions, at least we think.

Last year they turned us on to a Merlot we actually liked (the Kiona from 1998) and we're not typically Merlot drinkers. They also gave us some O'Reilly's Pinot Noir that we enjoyed and now we have three Burgundies in our cellar waiting for us to open that they recommended.

This year, we went in on Monday, looking for something from the Rhone region, a white to go with a spicy lobster dish, and something fun to sip whilst sitting outside in the summer sun.

We came home with a Patrick Lesec 2005 Gigondas (we'll give this a go tonight), a Charles Koehly Riesling (for the Lobster), Weingut Michlits a mildly fizzante rose from pinot noir grapes out of Austria (I'm sipping it now as I type and it's very refreshing for a summer drink - not too fizzy, not too sweet), and lastly a Kiona Cabernet that we'll try (and perhaps compare to the Merlot when we're home).

Oh and the last reason, they deserve a shout out, they told us the Gigondas isn't really ready to drink yet, but they wanted us to try it. So they sent us home with a Riedel decanter, told us to let it sit for an hour and then drink it and to just bring the decanter back later in the week. I love that type of service!

Here's their contact info if you're interested: Fine Wine Cellars

July 15, 2008

Biker Kills Husband on Highlands Road

It came pretty darn close to that on our ride yesterday. Humbled again and forced off the bike. Though Chris likes to say, it's because we did two hard rides, two days in a row, so we were tired. Whatev, as Sammi says. All I know is they have flipping mountains over in NY State too.

Other than those six miles on Highland Road, the ride was pretty cool and pretty fun. I'll have more updates, and pictures to come (as soon as Chris gets our stuff out of the car). We were so tired when we got home, we picked up a pizza, took the bikes of the car, left everything else, opened more beer and ate and went to bed.

Oh, and keep checking for random updates because I'm going to post date them as I do them now (so remember to page down and check for dates), but for now, I need to get going b/c I'm freezing here and getting hungry (supposed to get hot later though - back in to the 80s with 90s tomorrow and no a/c - yikes)!

An Epiphany

Yesterday, after our bike ride, we continued our trek through the Breweries of Vermont, on our quest to get 10 stamps on our passports and obtain the coveted Vermont Breweries t-shirt for free. So after we returned from our ride, changed out of our grubby biking clothes (and freshened up with some baby wipes in a local bathroom), we walked into the town of Burlington (yes, I know it's a city - but hey - the population of Burlington matches my home town, so I find it hard to call it a city). Up a hill and a few blocks and we stopped first at Three Needs on 207 College Street.

Now I have to say, I think if my friend Shannon drank beer, this is the type of place in which Shannon would hang. We arrived about five minutes after opening (at 4:00pm), and the place was already hopping (by the time we left 20 minutes later, almost all the tables and bar stools were filled and there was a line six deep for the pool table). The place had a definite funky vibe with the friendliest and perkiest bar maid I've yet to meet.

And it was she that provided me with my epiphany. Beer brewed with coffee - yep you read that right, coffee! First she offered us tastes and I had to go for the pint. And boy did that go down well. Chris had the IPA and enjoyed that too. Two more great things about the place, one, with that coffee beer, I didn't get my usual sleepiness during the rest of our stops (more to follow on that) and when the bar maid found out we had just ridden 43 miles on our bikes, she comped us!!! Can't go wrong with that.

Double Ferry Ride

Last year when we came to Vermont, Chris and I scoured, looking for potential bike rides. We came across the GMBC Double Ferry ride

And we thought that would be fun. But then I got a look at the hills on that route, and decided against it. But this year we opted to do it, and although, a biker almost killed her husband on Highlands Road, I'm here to tell you we both survived and saw some incredible scenery along the way.

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Burlington Brewery Tour

As I've mentioned several times already, we're trying to get 10 brewery visits on our Brewer's Association passports, so we can get a free t-shirt on Saturday at the Vermont Brewer's festival. We had five so far (after realizing we missed a chance at one in Norwich, near King Arthur's Flour), but Burlington afforded us the chance to hit five more in a single afternoon!

So, after changing from our bike ride, we climbed up College Street and hit Three Needs, after enjoying an IPA (Chris) and a Coffee-Porter of some sort (me), we headed back down College Street to visit the Vermont Pub and Brewery where I had their red ale (can't remember what Chris had) and we enjoyed some sustenance (aka nachos).


Notice the biker tan line on my leg!

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July 16, 2008

Nebraska Notch

We had a hard time getting our act together this morning but finally ended up at The Bagel for breakfast (a NJ for Chris and a NY for me), then decided to hike up to Nebraska Notch.

Trout Lake (which is Private) - From the Trail

We used the book Day Hikes in Vermont for this one, and I have to say, I'm not thrilled with this book. I just find the information in it sketchy and/or inaccurate. A couple of examples from this hike:

1. It tells you to drive to the parking lot by the Trout Club. What it doesn't tell you, is as you're going along the road you'll see a sign in front of you that says Private Property Trout Club and another that points to public long term parking on your right (in an open field just to the left after you make the right). Well, don't park there. That's for people hiking the long trail (i.e., gone over night). Yes, there's a trailhead there (but no sign-in sheet) and you can follow a trail that goes through the woods (which we did), but it goes through the woods at the edge, about five feet from the road and I felt totally silly walking along there as two woman, walking on the road, passed us.

Instead, stay straight on the road until you actually see the Trout Club, which is private property, straight ahead. There will be a lot to your right and the trailhead with the sign in sheet.

2. The other piece of missing information, they don't often tell you what color blaze sign to look for. Given many of these trails are marked for snow shoeing, hiking, cross country skiing, with different blazes, it would be helpful to know the color. By the way, for Nebraska Notch, use the blue signs.

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July 17, 2008

Why I Ride/Hike

Brad commented a few days ago that our trip with all the hard rides, and sliding down mountains doesn't sound like much of vacation and he wondered why I do it. There are a few reasons, but first let me start off with a bit of an analogy.

For me, hiking and/or biking is sort of like giving birth. You're in pain , uncomfortable, maybe even fearful but eventually that ends and you forget those moments and are left (eventually) with the joy and elation. I feel the same when I hike or bike. There may be moments when I'm uncomfortable, or in pain or afraid, but eventually, I succeed, the other emotions, and sensations are gone, and I'm left with a sense of elation and pride and looking for my next hike or bike ride.

But as for reasons, well, first, for me, the more active I am, the more I can eat and drink without gaining weight - huge, huge reason.

The second, well it's to see things like this.

Falls in the Woods towards Nebraska Notch

View From Taylor Lodge atop Nebraska Notch

And that's just yesterday's hike. There are some things we've seen that a camera just couldn't even capture.

Now, all that said, as I sit here sipping on my morning coffee and chomping on a blueberry muffin, we're trying to figure out what we're doing this morning (we're going kayaking in the afternoon), and the idea of a lazy morning sounds very appealing. :)

July 18, 2008

Mount Mansfield

mount_mansfield.jpgOriginally, Chris wanted to do a complete hike of Mount Mansfield, up the Sunset Ridge Trail but that takes about five hours and is rated difficult and let's face it, I didn't think I was up to it. So as a compromise for Thursday morning, he suggested driving up the Toll Road (which takes you up to about 3850 feet and walking along the ridge-line to chin (Mount Mansfield's profile is like a man's face lying on his back, face-up, with the chin being the highest point at 4,393 feet. The ridge trail basically follows the Long Trail, marked by a series of White Blazes.


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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to What I Really Think in the Vermont 2008 category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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