December 4, 2014

  • End of our Vermont Vacation ~ Lake George, New York

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    We didn't check out of our motel until late morning on October 9 ~ we had booked a two-hour luncheon cruise
    on Lake George ~ it was so nice to have a leisurely beginning to our last sight-seeing day for this trip.

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    Music played as we were ushered to our window table on the bottom deck.

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    As we pulled away from the dock, we were served a buffet lunch ~ the butternut acorn squash soup was scrumptious.
    The tour began at noon on the landlocked lake ~ it is 32 miles long and 3 miles wide at the widest point ~ 200 feet deep.

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    Dessert came a bit later with more coffee.

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    The foliage was about halfway to peak ~ very beautiful.

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    There are 11 major species of fish in Lake George ~ it completely freezes in the winter with ice over 30 inches deep.

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    We traveled along the west coast of the lake first ~ along what they call Millionaire Row ~ lined with stately mansions.

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    We spent some time outside, but it was pretty windy, so we soon went back in for yet another cup of coffee ~ :)

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    There are 183 islands in the lake ~ 29 are privately owned.

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    The steamboat company has 3 different boats, including a paddle-wheeler; they have been in business since 1817.

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    ~ The Sagamore ~
    This Victorian-era resort is located on Green Island ~ in the town of Bolton Landing, Lake George.

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    The Sagamore first opened in 1883 and quickly developed into the social center for the wealthy of the area,
    those from Green Island and Millionaire Row ~ it also attracted an international clientele.
    A room there during peak foliage season might now cost as much as $500 a night.

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    James Fennimore Cooper wrote of the region in his book, "The Last of the Mohicans".
    The hotel was named after an American Indian who was called "the Sagamore" in his 1826 novel.

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    The mountains that surround the lake are foothills of the Adirondacks;
    Lake George lies within the borders of New York's Adirondack State Park which was established in 1892.

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    As we traveled back along the eastern, less posh side of the lake, there was music and dancing inside;
    several formed a conga line and thoroughly enjoyed themselves ~ lots of smiles and laughs.

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    All too soon, it was time to debark and seriously head towards home.

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    ~ interesting sights along the way ~

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    We stayed in New York yet that night and spent the next night with friends in Pennsylvania.

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    As we drove toward home through the Pennsylvania mountains on the 11th, the foliage was at peak color,
    but because of the rain and fog, we sadly couldn't enjoy much of it ~ :(

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    Eventually, the sun did break through ~ we stopped to spend the last night of our trip with our youngest son and his family.

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    Then when we drove down our street in our own little town, this is the glorious sight that met our eyes!
    Wow, God, what a welcome home You granted us ~ after 3,286 wonderful miles ~ :)
    We were so blessed to experience autumn twice this year ~ once in Vermont and then back at home ~ :)
    I just wish our town forefathers had thought to bury all those electric lines ~ ;)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven . . . 
    the leaves thereof were fair . . . the beasts of the field had shadow under it,
    and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof . . ."
    Daniel 4:11-12
    TGBTG

December 2, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part XII

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    On October 8, we again crossed over the Green Mountains, driving a bit southwest.
    In this photo, I was wishing those high wires had been buried like the ones in Woodstock!

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    We came across this interesting barn upon which was a clock face, a compass, a globe and an eagle;
    no one seemed to know the significance of the decorations.
    In nearby Dorset, they told us it was built by Mr. Dorr who owned a good bit of ground around the village.

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    They said he was rather an eccentric ~ also owned this long, curved line of antique tractors ~ around 40 of them.
    A large antique car show is hosted there each summer.

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    We shopped in the very old general store ~ brought back so many memories for me of the little old grocery
    in the town where my paternal grandparents lived ~ I loved visiting that old store in Pyrmont, Indiana.

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    Clayton had fun with some of the merchandise;
    we bought several things in the store, including my pair of Sloggers.

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    The businesses in Dorset went to great lengths to decorate for autumn;
    I loved the bright tangerine color of some of these pumpkins ~ beautiful!
    Many villages in Vermont have a "green" or small park at its center ~ some of the streets surrounding them are one-way;
    it gave me a whole new perspective of the saying, "around the village green".

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    We headed north under darkened skies ~ just wandering a bit on that last day in Vermont.
    The sunshine eventually returned as we meandered on our way.

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    Something we were told about pastures in Vermont ~ "You can tell it is a pasture
    if there are lots rocks in it ~ not much good for anything else then." ~ :)

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    There were still a few pockets of flaming color.

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    We had to take a detour over winding backroads and ran onto this charming old Red Schoolhouse cemetery;
    it looked like it probably contained less than 50 graves.

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    I couldn't enter the gated fence, but was able to photograph this stone of Phebe, a young wife born in 1794 who died in 1823.

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    We entered the village of Brandon ~ had to take several photos of the signs for our grandson by that name ~ :)

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    Sheri's diner offered us a delicious lunch ~ we split their signature meatloaf sandwich with a bourbon berry barbecue sauce.
    At their deli, they offered a salmon, scallion and mush quiche ~ wished later I had tried that ~ :)
    I enjoyed the "laughter" saying on the chalkboard.

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    ~ waterfall near the diner ~
    We specifically visited this village at the wish of Dianne ~ she wanted us to see the artwork of Warren Kimball.
    His works had mostly been moved to a town just south, so we did venture down to view a bit of it in an antique store.
    The locals in Brandon told us they would give us directions to his home and we could just ask him to show us his art,
    but we declined ~ they said he wouldn't care, but I wasn't too sure he really would like a couple of tourists on his doorstep!

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    The town of Brandon was decorated for autumn and Halloween both ~ many of the lampposts had "people" attached.

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    The lady in lavender had quite the shoes!  :)

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    Traveling nearer and nearer to the state line, we found a couple more covered bridges.

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    ~ Cooley Bridge ~

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    ~ Gorham Bridge ~

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    We stopped briefly at the Vermont Marble Museum ~ mainly just checked out their gift shop.

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    After dragging our feet about it all day long, we finally had to say good-bye to amazing Vermont,
    and crossing into New York, we checked into a very nice Comfort Suites at Lake George.

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    That evening, we ate on the shore of Glen Lake, sharing a fisherman's platter;
    our meal included corn on the cob ~ we had seen lots of it at farm stands ~ they must have a late season for it.

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    Clayton had been wanting to see a moose so badly ~ well, we finally saw one, missing one of its wooden antlers ~ :D

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    We ate on their tent-enclosed patio which was heated with the neatest propane heaters.

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    It was a beautiful evening on the lakeshore.

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    As it was raining the night before, we were unable to view the blood moon as many of our friends had at home,
    but the full moon was gorgeous this following night in New York.
    Only one more post to go from our vacation ~ hoping to finish it up later this week.  Almost time for Christmas pictures!
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    ". . . as the people pressed upon Him to hear the Word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret."
    Luke 5:1
    TGBTG

November 26, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part XI

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    From Montpelier, we struck out south on a winding road to the town of Northfield Falls;
    the map showed that the little village contained four (!!) covered bridges.
    And apparently, there are two other bridges very near there that we missed altogether ~ :(
    On the way, we still saw a few patches of brilliant color, although most of the landscape looked a bit faded.

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    ~ Station Bridge ~ 
    This bridge (first of the four) sits close to the inviting general store, where we bought our lunch;
    we shared a pulled pork sandwich with a side of potato salad, then split a piece of pumpkin cheesecake.

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    Station Bridge spans the Dog River.  Cox Brook flows into the Dog River at this point.

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    ~ viewing the second bridge just up the road ~

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    ~ Northfield Falls (aka Cox Brook Cascades) ~

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    ~ Lower Bridge ~

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    The second bridge spans Cox Brook.

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    ~ looking back toward the Station Bridge ~

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    ~ Upper Bridge ~
    The third bridge also spans Cox Brook ~ it is about a quarter mile from the Lower Bridge ~ just around the bend.

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    I enjoyed photographing the bridges ~ each is unique in some way.
    We were somewhat surprised that nearly all the bridges we saw on this trip are still able to be driven across by vehicles.
    We drove across all four of these antique bridges ~ so fun ~ :)

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    The last bridge we saw near the town was Slaughter House Bridge which also spans the Dog River;
    all four bridges were built in 1872 ~ somebody had a busy year back then ~ :)

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    ~ viewing the Dog River from inside Slaughter House Bridge ~

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    Driving on south towards our B&B, Clayton noticed a deer on a ridge above us;
    he pulled off and slowly backed up to see if it was still there.  It stared at us like we were crazy ~ :)

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    ~ still a bit of red foliage here and there ~

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    ~ a tiny covered bridge near Pittsfield ~

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    ~ our B&B ~ built in 1840 as a summer hotel ~
    President Calvin Coolidge and Thomas Edison stayed there on occasion.

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    This lazy fellow greeted us as we walked up to the porch;
    he was definitely letting the grass grow under his feet ~ :D

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    I absolutely loved the front porch!

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    Inside, they offered us a free upgrade ~ how nice!  But, they didn't offer us the Coolidge Suite ~ :)

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    After checking in, we took a walk around the inn ~ there was always something interesting to see.

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    ~ another steeple with 'the breath of God' symbol ~ 

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    A beaver had been gnawing on a couple trees near the creek.
    You can see the dam they were creating behind the tree.

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    We had all intentions of taking a row on Echo Lake in one of the canoes, but we had forgotten the key
    to unlock the padlocks and there was water standing in all of the canoes anyway.
    Oh well, you know what they say about good intentions anyway;
    we just hiked back to the inn with those intentions intact ~ :)
    We drove down to Ludlow for supper ~ Clayton had a stuffed pork chop and I chose pot roast.
    It was another splendid day in Vermont, despite the rain and wind in the forenoon.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth,
    and my right hand hath spanned the heavens;
    when I call unto them, they stand up together."
    Isaiah 48:13
    TGBTG

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    "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts . . . and be ye thankful."
    Colossians 3:15

November 25, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part X

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    On Tuesday, October 7, we backtracked northwest a bit, through the rain;
    the village of Royalton lay in the valley below us as we drove on the interstate.
    The foliage was dimming fast ~ leaves were rapidly falling as the rain poured down.

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    We visited the Rock of Ages granite quarry and factory at Barre, Vermont,
    where they mostly make tombstones and beautiful memorials.  The company was founded in 1885.

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    Clayton was fascinated by the processing and enjoyed seeing all the machinery.

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    I'll have to admit, it was interesting ~ I enjoy old cemeteries, but a tombstone factory stretched me a bit ~ :)

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    ~ in the lobby ~ a photo of the 9/11 memorial which they had manufactured ~

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    We rode to the quarry in an old schoolbus ~ up a steep, rocky grade ~ in the pouring rain.
    The quarry was flooded in 2011 from Hurricane Irene ~ they are still trying to figure out how to drain the water
    which is stained a milky aquamarine color by an algae which grows from the granite dust.
    The color is similar to the glacier-dust-stained waters in parts of Oregon and Washington, we were told.

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    When we arrived at the observation point above the quarry, the wind and rain were fierce.
    I had to take pictures blindly above my head, aiming out over the railing while sheltering under an umbrella,
    trying to protect my camera.  That worked okay for a little bit, until the howling wind blew my umbrella inside out!
    Our guide had extras, thankfully, but we all got pretty wet anyway.

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    ~ our guide ~
    Clayton was amazed by the cranes which can lift 250-ton blocks of granite!
    We learned that the strain of granite at this location is 10 miles deep, 4 miles long and 2 miles wide;
    there is enough granite to supply the company for 4,500 more years! ~ they harvest about 175,000 square feet a year.

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    From the top of the derrick (crane) to the bottom of the quarry (if the water was drained),
    it is 600 feet, presently.  The water itself is 85 feet deep.
    We heard a few jokes on our tour ~ "We don't take our jobs for 'granite'."
    One of the tourists said they probably all like "rock and roll" music.
    When our guide asked where we had learned about Rock of Ages, one tourist replied, "In church!" ~ :D

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    I hoped these ladders were just a sentimental thing and were not still used ~ they looked pretty rickety.
    While we were there, sirens blew, warning of an imminent blast ~ which turned out to be
    rather a "small blast", our guide said.
    The ladders are a testimony of weathering many stormy blasts ~ even a hurricane.

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    Driving back to the factory, we passed several blocks of granite stockpiled for future use.

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    We left the factory and drove through Barre, searching for the Hope cemetery ~ they said we really needed
    to go there to view all the interesting tombstones that people had requested for their loved ones' memorials.

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    I must say, it is one of the more interesting and unusual cemeteries we have ever visited.

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    It truly is a beautiful setting, though, with huge, very lush hydrangea bushes throughout.

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    Next, we drove to Montpelier, solely to see their remarkable, golden-domed statehouse ~ lovely setting.
    It was built from Barre granite ~ as are many monuments in Washington D.C.
    Only half our day was done, but will complete it on the next post ~ kind of wondering why I take so many pictures!!
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God."
    Acts 10:4
    TGBTG

November 20, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part IX

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    Monday ~ October 6 ~ a foggy 36º morning ~ but by the time we had driven back to that picturesque Jenne Farm,
    the sun had burst out of the haze.  We arrived before other photographers, but could see that the grass
    was heavily trampled on the hill where many had stood to take their pictures over the weekend.

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    The view was spectacular that day ~ by the time we left, several others had arrived and were hauling out
    their massive cameras, scopes and tripods ~ rather unbelievable, actually.

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    We noticed a tiny sign out by the road stating that they were selling half gallons of maple syrup for $25
    and there was a little, dilapidated donation box nearby.  We saw nary a person at the farm itself, though.

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    On around the bend, we saw evidence of the tree-tapping for their syrup-making ~ line upon line of sap tubing.

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    Back in Woodstock, we did a bit of window-shopping; then I sipped a maple apple caramel latté
    and shared a cinnamon muffin with Clayton, who chose a cinnamon vanilla latté.

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    The leaves were scuttling along the sidewalk under our feet; the air was crisp ~ a gorgeous autumn day.

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    ~ the millstream flowing through Woodstock ~

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    The goods in this window took my eye ~ so we ventured inside . . .

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    . . . and I decided to make the saying on the bottom right-hand corner of this pillow my new motto ~ :)

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    Through a small door at the back of the shop, we stepped out onto a little porch overlooking the millstream.

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    We next drove to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Farm/Park to take the hour-long tour
    of the mansion.  While waiting for it to begin, we walked around the beautiful grounds.

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    These families were heavily involved in the restoration of Vermont's forests and commerce
    after logging and over-grazing of sheep nearly destroyed it.  They later donated the property,
    plus around 550 acres, to the government to become a national park ~ now everyone can enjoy it.

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    I could hardly stop taking pictures of the home ~ for some reason, it reminded me of my grandparent's home,
    except it is on a much, much grander scale, of course ~ so beautiful.

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    ~ our tour guide ~
    One interesting thing he told us ~ some of the Rockefeller family had all the power lines in the Woodstock area
    buried underground to protect the views ~ and as a photographer, I greatly appreciated their foresight!  :)

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    ~ view from the front porch ~

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    While on the front porch, we were told we could not take photos inside, but back in the visitor's center,
    there was a book which had photos of the interior, so I snapped a few pictures of those.

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    From there, we drove to Norwich to visit the King Arthur Flour company.

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    It is a huge bakery/baking school/kitchen store complex.

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    They use 250,000 pounds of flour a year ~ flour can be purchased in 50-lb. bags.

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    Lots of tourists roamed the complex ~ we split a helping of tiramisu and drank a cup of coffee while people-watching.

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    ~ my very own 'King Arthur' ~ :)

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    We drove back across the Connecticut River that evening to share a salmon meal
    at Jesse's ~ in Lebanon, New Hampshire.  The lamplight was so welcoming.
    We first sampled the salad bar; the generous meal included mashed sweet potatoes and asparagus;
    we were really glad we had decided to share.
    The next day, we moved on ~ away from the Woodstock area.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "In my Father's house are many mansions:  if it were not so,
    I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you."
    John 14:2
    TGBTG

November 17, 2014

  • A Peacock Christmas

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    I'm taking a little break from the Vermont pictures, because we enjoyed an early Christmas with my mother,
    my sisters and their families yesterday ~ four people were unable to be there and were greatly missed,
    but it was still a very special day.

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    My youngest sister was in charge this year ~ she chose a peacock theme.

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    The table decorations were absolutely stunning ~ the colors so very rich and vibrant.

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    Amidst the peacock feathers, were ginkgo leaves, milkweed pods and hedgeapples;
    there were bright-colored chocolates, pretty candleholders and even a little bling ~ :)

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    ~ peacock feather napkins ~

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    My sister is an antique dealer, so she used some antique peacock vases.

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    On one table, she had perched a few vintage hats and gloves ~ one was actually called a peacock hat.

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    She had wrapped her gifts in peacock feather paper.

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    The newest (2½ weeks old) great-grandson didn't lack for someone to hold him ~ such a sweetie-pie.

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    My sister (with the peacock-feathered apron) and Mother ~ watching the dinner preparations.

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    Little boys created a game where they had to say their cousin's name before tossing the ball in their direction.

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    There were peacock children's books amidst the many books she brought for the little ones.

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    The meal was yummy, of course ~ our plates seemed way too small ~ ;)

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    ~ the most scrumptious dessert imaginable ~

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    Communion bread is a favorite treat at our family gatherings.

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    ~ gift time ~
    This year, everyone (except for the youngest children) bought a toy to fit the personality of the name they had drawn.

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    Those toys will now be donated to a toy drive in a nearby town;
    my gift was a toy camera and a stuffed bird ~ imagine that!  :)

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    Mother (sitting beside my middle sister) enjoyed all her gifts so much.

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    Then a craft table was set up ~ my sister taught them how to make things out of peacock feathers;
    some made clips for their hair, or headbands, etc.  Others made small toys.

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    Lots of fun, good-natured arguing and teasing went on while many different games were played.

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    Mother so enjoyed playing 42 with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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    Some relaxed and visited, read the newspaper or checked their cellphones.

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    Too soon, the end of another splendid Christmastime with Mother came to an end;
    we all left in the middle of a snowstorm ~ heading home with lots of warm memories of a very wonderful day.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks?"
    Job 39:13
    TGBTG

November 13, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part VIII

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    One of our stops that day was at this shop with an intriguing name ~ clever play on words with "Scotland Yard". ~ :)
    It was filled with wares imported from Scotland ~ tartan plaid fabrics, Celtic clothing and jewelry, etc.
    Jacob sheep roamed the pasture in front of the store; a few tried to stay dry in the little barn.

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    We crossed the Quechee covered bridge which spans the Outauquechee River.

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    In the village of Quechee, we found a place for lunch and had a bowl of sweet corn bisque soup each
    while we watched the rain pouring down outside ~ rather a chilly day.

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    After lunch, we stopped at the Simon Pearce Glass Factory where we watched glassblowers at their craft.

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    The display floor absolutely shone with their beautiful wares ~ we didn't buy a thing ~ ;)

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    Demonstrations for the many tourists took place on the lower floor.

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    Wooden bowls also are made at Simon Pearce.

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    I took a few more shots of the Quechee bridge from the back balcony of the factory.

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    On the morning of Sunday, October 5, after a French toast breakfast at our B&B, we set out to find
    a couple more covered bridges in the area ~ this one is Lincoln Bridge, just west of Woodstock.

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    The Cornish-Windsor bridge at Windsor spans the Connecticut River ~ Vermont on one side, New Hampshire on the other.

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    These photos were shot from the New Hampshire side.  The 460-foot bridge is the longest wooden bridge
    in the United States and the longest two-span (double-lane) covered bridge in the whole world.

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    This whimsical sign above the bridge entrance produced a few amused smiles.

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    We were delighted to see two beaver basking by one of the bridge pillars.

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    Next, we parked at the Quechee Gorge to spend a bit more time enjoying it on that sunny day.

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    Upriver, four kayakers were shooting the rapids through the gorge toward the bridge.

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    We could soon see they were beginning to have somewhat of a struggle through the whitewater.

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    As they began to emerge on the other side of the bridge, one of them overturned in the roiling water.

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    The others decided to portage around that turbulent section to avoid the same fate.

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    The blue kayak shot on downstream while the stranded fellow floundered ashore
    and perched on some rocks with a soon-to-arrive teammate;
    they then awaited the other two who chased it downriver and towed it back ~"
    it had gone completely round that far bend in the river.

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    While that was going on, we decided to take the hike toward the bottom of the gorge.

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    As we neared the river, the drama continued to unfold as the kayaker clung to his teammate's vessel which was rowed
    to a place on the shoreline that was a bit more accessible for him to safely board his rescued kayak.

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    They were eventually successful and again set off on their excursion down the gorge.

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    The hike back up the trail was a tad bit more taxing for us than the descent ~ :)

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    We did a bit of shopping in the Quechee Gorge shops, then made our way through more beautiful scenery . . .

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    . . . to eat lunch at a little restaurant called Worthy Kitchen.  We shared chicken tacos and their yummy fries.

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    Needing to walk off our lunch, we drove to a trailhead that is on the national park grounds;
    we had been told it was a very nice hike to "the pogue" ~ which apparently is a pond.

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    I was very anxious to see it, but somehow, we got confused on the carriage trail and never did find it;
    it was a gradual climb up the mountain, less than two miles, they said ~ so we climbed and climbed,
    but apparently made a wrong turn somewhere ~ oh well ~ got a good hike in anyway ~ :)

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    After returning to our room and watching the exciting end of the Colts game,
    we again drove across the Connecticut River to eat supper in Hanover, New Hampshire,
    at Molly's Balloon ~ rather a student hangout in that college town.

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    My eggplant sandwich, topped with tomato, caramelized onions, avocado, pesto sauce
    and goat cheese was served with a cup of roasted tomato soup ~ quite tasty.

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    Clayton chose a CBC sandwich ~ we decide that stood for chicken, bacon and cholesterol ~ :D
    Then it was back to the motel to rest up for moreVermont adventures the next day.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river
    were very many trees on the one side and on the other."
    Ezekiel 47:7
    TGBTG

November 11, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part VII

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    Very early on October 3, we left Burlington, Vermont, and headed for the northeast part of the state.

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    ~ the morning drive was beautiful ~ lovely scenes around every bend ~

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    There are little white churches all over Vermont ~ and we were told that many do not have stain-glassed windows,
    but this one did ~ earlier-built churches have clear glass, so perhaps this one was built
    more recently or had stained glass installed at a later date.

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    In St. Johnsbury, we made a too-short visit to the Fairbanks museum, founded in 1889
    by industrialist, Franklin Fairbanks ~ definitely, a must-see stop for tourists.

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    Photos were allowed ~ but without flash ~ so some of the pictures are dark or blurred.
    The extraordinary domed ceiling really attracted my attention.

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    The most startling exhibits are of the over 3,000 mounted birds ~ have never seen such a sight in my life!

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    One can stand right next to the monstrous bears, but cannot touch ~ no problem!

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    There are many interesting visits on the second floor ~ shells, fossils, dolls ~ wished we could have spent more time.

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    I was interested to learn about Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, who invented microphotography
    and was the first person to photograph a single snowflake in 1885.  By the time
    he died in 1931, he had captured over 5,000 photographs of them
    and "proved" that no two are ever alike ~ fascinating ~

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    Traveling on northward, we went through an area with 3 little villages containing "Burke"
    in their names ~ had to send pics of the signs to our grandson ~ :)

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    Our main goal in the area was to visit Lake Willoughby ~ the color there was just past peak, but still quite lovely.

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    ~ view from south side of Lake Willoughby ~
    The 5-mile-long lake is a mile wide and over 300 feet deep in places;
    it sits between two mountains ~ quite dramatic ~ a breathtaking site.

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    ~ north end of the lake ~
    We drove all the way around the lake, then headed back south even though we wished we could have had
    more time in the area.  It is the least inhabited part of the state and those who live there are quite partial to it ~ :)

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    We traveled south toward Woodstock, driving the scenic route along the Connecticut River ~ on the Vermont side.

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    There is also a scenic drive on the New Hampshire side, but we didn't have time to do both.

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    We had not planned to stop at Quechee Gorge that day, but since we were traveling right over it,
    we stopped for a few quick photos.  The bridge is 168 feet above the water ~ yeah, it made me nervous ~ :(

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    The view literally takes your breath away ~ stunning!

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    On the outskirts of Woodstock, I snapped a quick photo of the Taftsville covered bridge (more photos of it later in the post).

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    ~ our bed and breakfast ~

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    After checking in, we ventured into the downtown of Woodstock (terribly blurred photo) to find a place to eat supper.

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    The shop windows were so attractive in the quaint little village ~ this was my favorite.

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    We ate at Bentley's and split a pulled pork and slaw sandwich ~ quite delicious.

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    The next morning, we drove into town to photograph the Middle Bridge which sits near downtown.

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    ~ photographed from inside the bridge ~

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    We stopped to shop at Gillingham's ~ another one of those interesting general stores.
    Vermont does not allow billboards (such a good thing) ~ we really had to be on our toes to find
    the places we wanted to stop ~ the signs are small, definitely what you would call, "hanging out your shingle".
    Our innkeeper told us we should definitely check out this particular store.

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    It was a very misty/rainy morning ~ we decided to first venture south of town
    and try to find the "most-photographed farm in America" that I had read about online.

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    On the way we saw the above covered bridge which crossed onto a steep lane
    going up to this barn in which was stabled a zebra! another guard animal?? ~ :)

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    ~ blurred photo taken through the rain ~

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    We searched for nearly two hours to find the "famous" farm, turning our car around several times,
    asking directions, knocking on doors, making wrong turns.  Many of the roads were dirt and all were very curvy and hilly.
    Most of the local people had never heard of it; even the directions we did receive were rather vague,
    because everyone assumes you just know which curve they are talking about ~ :D

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    We were beginning to think we would never find it ~ the online information had said it was 15 miles south of Woodstock . . .

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    . . . but when we finally found the place, it was actually only 7 miles south!!  We were slightly frustrated.

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    ~ Jenne Farm ~
    But our determination finally paid off ~ even though it was raining, the farm's setting was still quite beautiful.
    A special place atop this hill is set aside for photographers ~ can you imagine!?  I had to use an umbrella
    to protect my camera while taking pictures ~ others were there taking photos too ~ I wasn't the only crazy one ~ :D
    We went back another day in better weather ~ those pics will come later.

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    We then drove back through Woodstock and headed up the steep hills north of town to visit a working maple syrup farm.

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    It wasn't a fancy or modern farm, but a fascinating place to visit;
    we bought several things in the gift shop, including pure maple syrup to take to relatives.

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    Wild turkeys roamed the pasture, searching for their lunch in the drizzly rain.

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    On the other side of the parking lot, a walk through the woods had displays of how the sap is gathered.

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    ~ small chapel in the woods ~

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    We drove back down into town through the Taftsville bridge.

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    ~ enough photos for this post ~ still many more to come! ~
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    ". . . they went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise."
    Matthew 22:5
    TGBTG

November 5, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part VI

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    We continued our drive on those curving roads, searching for the Trapp family lodge;
    the family's story has become legendary in the musical, "Sound of Music".

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    After winding around and climbing ever upward, we finally found the place;
    the vast complex looks quite different now than I'm sure it did when the von Trapp's
    originally settled there on an humble farm after their immigration to America.

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    From the front porch of the current lodge, we looked out over valleys and the tall mountains beyond;
    the family settled at that spot because the view reminded them so much of their beloved homeland, Austria.

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    I wish it had not been so foggy that morning so there had been a better view of those mountains.

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    The lodge, restaurant and gift store now welcome tourists year-round and many condos sit nearby.
    We were too late for the film and opted not to take the tour ~ just roamed around for awhile, enjoying the place.

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    Above the entrance, "Guten Tag" ("Good Day!" ~ in German) greets each visitor;
    displays tell of the family history and murals grace the walls.

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    "Auf Wiedersehen" ("Good-bye") above the exit bids all farewell.

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    We wound our way back down into Stowe and I had to spend a bit of time
    at this spot ~ just to photograph this church amidst the foliage.

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    ~ my favorite shot ~

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    It was a chilly day ~ we had ½-sandwich/soup combinations; Clayton chose a BLT with clam chowder,
    but I ventured out and tried the turkey/cole slaw/Swiss cheese on rye
    and roasted red beet soup accompanied with horseradish cremé fraîche, which was absolutely scrumptious!
    Our oldest son asked me, "What were you thinking?!" ~ :)

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    Outside the café, I noticed this tree with sculptures of knitting needles stuck in balls of yarn
    nested in its branches ~ the tree stood in front of a sewing shop ~ interesting ~ :)

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    Fallen leaves sat atop our sunroof as we set out on another of the scenic drives around Stowe.

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    Our first stop on that 8½-mile drive included the second Moss Glen Falls we had seen in Vermont.
    I haven't figured out why they call two separate waterfalls by the same name ~ many miles apart.

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    We hiked the mile (round-trip) to see the falls, including the nearly straight up cliff
    at the end of the trail ~ it quite stressed both of us, but it was so worth it!

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    The 60-foot falls are spectacular ~ these pictures just look ridiculous to me
    because by looking at them, you cannot tell at all that we were standing level with the top
    of the falls and that the bottom was 60 feet below us.  It was a bit tricky finding a place amidst the tree roots
    to safely take photos without getting too near the cliff edge ~ not my cup of tea!

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    After returning to our vehicle, we continued on the scenic drive.

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    We were soon on a dusty, leaf-strewn byroad . . .

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    . . . which narrowed . . .

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    . . . then started to concern us ~ we were wondering if we had made a wrong turn and somehow driven
    onto a hiking trail.  The road at that point was barely one-lane and simply a rutted dirt path.
    We wondered what to do, but slowly kept creeping over it ~ the "road" finally widened and smoothed out again ~ oh my!

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    It was worth it ~ there were gorgeous views and foliage through there,
    but we just couldn't imagine that they actually call that trail a road!

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    After emerging back into civilization, we decided an ice cream break was in order.

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    What better place to stop for that than at the Ben & Jerry's factory at Waterbury?

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    Clayton chose "Hazed and Confused" (hazelnut) and I had "Coconut 7-Layer Bar" ~ quite yummy.

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    Next, we moved on to the Cold Hollow Cider mill, where we had tiny samples of the cider and shared an apple cider donut.

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    We drove back into Stowe, then headed toward Smuggler's Notch ~ we had been looking forward to the site all day.

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    The drive upward to the "Notch" was absolutely gorgeous.

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    Huge boulders littered the very edges of the roadway.

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    The "notch" is a very narrow pass with 1,000-foot cliffs rising on either side.

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    Only one car at a time can fit around the boulders leaning over the curve.

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    ~ maple syrup vendor with a good vantage point for sales ~ :)

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    The foliage seemed to actually glow in the pass ~ the sun shone through the golden leaves like neon.

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    We made our way down from the pass, then took backroads back to our motel.

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    Farm Bridge crosses the Seymour River in Cambridge.

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    In Westford, we stopped to asked a pedestrian where the local covered bridge might be.
    He replied that there used to be one "back there, around that corner.  I've lived here 20 years,
    but really haven't walked down that way for 10 years or so ~ I don't know if it is still there or not."
    'That corner' was probably only a block away, and when we turned back
    and rounded the corner, the Brown's River Bridge was right there!
    We laughed at the thought that the dear man had not walked that one block in 10 years ~ :D

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    I am posting this last photo for that day just for our good farmer friends at home.  Harvest was in full swing.
    We had a light supper at a lovely little candlelit restaurant that evening, which had turned misty;
    I chose stuffed acorn squash ~ filled with polenta, caramelized onions,
    dried cranberries and mushrooms ~ Clayton had chicken marsala.
    ~ more Vermont adventures next time ~ :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys
    unto the place which Thou hast founded for them."
    Psalm 104:8
    TGBTG

October 31, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part V

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    The morning of October 1, Dianne, her husband, Larry, and their daughter, Claire, joined us
    for another yummy breakfast before we headed on north.

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    She told us to be sure to stop at a couple of the farmers' markets on the way;
    we tried, but it was too early in the day and they weren't yet open.
    I still had to take a couple photos ~ of the field of sunflowers and . . .

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    . . . this squashy "bedfellow" ~ :)

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    As we drove on toward Burlington, Clayton suddenly slowed and turned the car around;
    he said he couldn't quite believe what he had just seen and wanted me to get a photo ~ a camel amidst a flock of sheep!
    Huh??  What on earth!!??
    (Dianne just informed me the camel's name is Dudley and he is a guard animal for the sheep ~ :) )

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    We shopped a bit at a Vermont products store ~ bought more maple syrup to take to family.
    Do you think it will be enough? :)

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    Vermont is full of general/country stores ~ seems like there is one in nearly every village or town.

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    After checking into our motel, we drove to Lake Champlain and out over the bridge to the islands.
    It was rather a drab day ~ the water and sky were painted with the same steel gray hue.

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    There wasn't a lot of activity on the islands while we were there;
    it looked like many people had already vacated their summer cabins.

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    I just had to stop and photograph these morning glories ~ had never seen such a pale blue variety before.

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    Another little country store/café sported these two benches in front.

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    One of the islands has a huge fossil bed ~ we stopped and walked around a bit;
    fossils aren't real exciting for us, but they were interesting to see anyway.

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    If there had not been rings of stones around each fossil, we would never even have found them.

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    This is a horrible picture ~ so out of focus.  Basically, the sign states that on September 6, 1901,
    Vice President Teddy Roosevelt was visiting here when he learned that President McKinley had been shot.
    Eight days later, Roosevelt became the 26th president of the United States.

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    We traveled around the perimeter of some of the islands ~ then drove
    very close to the Canadian border as we crossed back to the mainland and made our way south to Burlington.

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    We ate supper on the shore of Lake Champlain at this seafood restaurant.

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    ~ Clayton's seafood platter ~

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    ~ my salmon ~ broiled in Vermont maple syrup and ginger ~

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    ~ sunset over Lake Champlain ~

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    Thursday morning, October 2, we drove east toward Stowe ~ an extremely foggy morning at first;
    we were told that Vermont autumn days often begin with fog, sometimes lasting till late morning.

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    By 9:30, the sun broke through and the foliage began to glow.

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    The road to Stowe was winding and the autumn leaves were just gorgeous.
    Upon arriving, we stopped at the visitor's center and asked lots of questions about the scenic drives around the village.

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    We first drove to Emily's bridge which spans Gold Brook.  Many stories/legends exist about this bridge and the ghost of Emily.
    Most involve a girl named Emily who was jilted by her groom on their wedding day;
    all the stories say she died at the bridge ~ either by suicide, murder or wagon accident.
    Many people claim to have seen her apparition while visiting the bridge;
    we knew nothing of the stories till later ~ our visit there was entirely peaceful ~ :)

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    We next visited the "Red Bridge" (or Sterling Bridge) which sits over Sterling Brook;
    one has to strictly follow written directions to find these bridges, because they truly are out in the "boonies"! ~ :)

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    This dilapidated barn was just across the dirt road from the Red bridge ~ I loved this shot.

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    We then wound on around the bends and over the hills ~ our goal was to find the Trapp Family Lodge complex;
    it is the site where the von Trapp family featured in the Sound of Music settled when they came to America.

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    The countryside around Stowe is so stunningly beautiful, it simply leaves one in awe!

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    I'll show you pics of the Trapp family's lodge next time ~ :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    "The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about."
    Job 40:22
    TGBTG