8/17/16 to 8/20/16
Wednesday 8/17/16 The trip from 1000 Islands to Burlington was about 211 miles. We traveled through small towns along The Saint Lawrence River for quite awhile. Then along the top of New York and the US and Canadian border. We came across a detour because a bridge was closed and this added another hour to our trip. But we got to see something we've never seen. A huge wind farm in Clinton, NY. We could see these giant windmills from way off and ended up driving right through them installed on farmland. Doing a Google search I found out there are 67 of them in this area.
We camped in Colchester, Vermont which is right next to the city of Burlington, Vermont. Burlington sits right on Lake Champlain and it seems that everyone here owns a sailboat. It's the most populous city in Vermont. Bernie Sanders was mayor of Burlington from 1981 to 1989. We decided to camp there for 4 days because it was close to a couple of things we wanted to do. We stayed at Lone Pine Campsites. Lone Pine is a very large and modern campground but really not the kind we like. All the amenities were great but you have to pay for them. This was one of the more expensive campgrounds we stayed at but all we need is a place to park with water and electric. We like to use our trailer as a "base camp" and like to see things in the area so we are gone most of the day and never get to use everything these big campgrounds have to offer. This place had 2 pools, a camp store, a game room, laundry mat, rental petal carts, putt-putt golf, and even their own antique fire truck that they give the kids rides on. Lots of families stay here all summer. There are hundreds of trailers here and about 90% are seasonal. So although it's a nice place, we didn't like it.
Thursday 8/18/16 We read that Burlington had a great bike path so after breakfast we packed a lunch and headed into town to check it out. The Burlington Bike Path is part of the park system and serves runners, walkers, and bikers. It runs through residential neighborhoods, commercial districts, Burlington Parks, along the Lake Champlain shoreline and through town. We started at one end and rode to a bridge 6-1/2 miles away. Then turned around, ate lunch at one of the beaches and finished where we started. A total of 13 miles. It's a great bike trail and there are great things to see all along it. It connects to other bike trails but 13 miles was enough for us.
As we pulled out of the park and headed down the road we got to see the worlds highest filing cabinet! Yes, there is such a thing. I just had to stop and take a couple of pictures. Just so I could say I was there. It's located in a residential area, basically on a deserted block of land.
Friday 8/19/16 I did some research on zip lines the night before and there happen to be one in Smugglers' Notch near Stowe. Reading all the reviews it seemed like everyone loved it. So I called and made reservations. Smugglers' Notch is a ski resort town. It's about a 40-minute drive from where we were staying. The name of this place is ArborTrek Canopy Adventures. They offer a zip line canopy tour which we took. It included 8 zip lines (a total of 4,500'), 2 rope bridges, and 2 rappels. This was a blast! On our trip, we had 7 other guests and 2 guides. After we geared up and went through some ground training we loaded into a van and they took us up the mountain to the beginning. We started out from a wooden platform and zipped down to different tree stands that were 30 or 40 feet off the ground. Crossing rope bridges from tree to tree and rappelling down from 2 of the stands. All of this was on the mountain through the forest. The whole experience took around 3 hours. Rose was a little reluctant at first but she had a great time. I was really impressed by how well the guides took care of everyone. They gave me a special hang cord for my camera so I could take it along and take lots of pictures. (and a few videos) I would highly recommend this place if you are anywhere near Stowe.
A video of Rose on Zip Line #1
A video of Rose on Zip Line #2
A video of Rose on Zip Line #3
The pictures below were taken buy one of our guides.
When we were leaving we asked one of the guides if there were any local places for lunch. He suggested the Blue Donkey so we drove through Stowe (another ski town) and had lunch. This is a beautiful area with lots of scenic views.
We knew we were close to Waterbury, VT so on the way back to Burlington we stopped at the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory and took the factory tour. If you don't know the Ben & Jerry's story here's a link. Not too much to see at the factory. This is the factory where it all started but they have other factories all over the world. They show you a short film with a timeline from when Ben & Jerry started the company until the present day. Then they take you to a glass-enclosed platform above the factory and explain the ice cream making process. As the guide talks, she points out different numbered stations below. (no pictures allowed!) We got there around 3:30 and at that time the workers were just cleaning up so we didn't get to see any ice cream being made. At the end, they give you a small sample of the ice cream they made that day. Today it was Americone Dream. Of course, they had a gift shop and a place to buy Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. It was pretty crowded and it looked like everybody bought an ice cream cone. Near the factory, they have a "Flavor Graveyard" where discontinued ice cream flavors are buried. Each gravestone has a little rhyme about that flavor.
Saturday 8/20/16 Today we planned on walking around Burlington and taking a 1-1/2 hour lunch cruise on Lake Champlain aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III. I researched this boat trip online and the lunch cruise was only $9.00 more per person than the narrated tour so we decided to have lunch on the ship. Basically, they sit you on the lower deck which has windows all around. About 15 minutes into the tour they open a buffet and serve you drinks. As you cruise along the lake there is a recorded narration that explains the history of the lake and points out different landmarks. The cruise was fine but if we were to do it again we wouldn't do the lunch cruise. We were seated near the back of the ship which we thought were great seats. We had a great view but we were right above the ship's propellers and there was a loud rumble the whole trip which made it hard to hear the recording. Also, they led people up to the buffet by tables and we were the last to get our food. By the time we were done eating we only had about 20 minutes to walk outside on the upper decks.
After the lake cruise, we walked the boardwalk along the shoreline and then headed up the hill to Church Street. The Church Street Marketplace is an uncovered outdoor pedestrian shopping and dining mall consisting of the four blocks of Church Street between Main and Pearl Streets. Since it was Saturday there was also a farmers/artists market in the town square. Burlington is a very dog-friendly city. We saw dogs everywhere we went, even inside the stores. Some of the business owners even have water bowls outside their doors. The weather was perfect that day and according to Rose's Fitbit, we walked 7 1/2 miles and did 28 flights of stairs.
Sunday 8/21/16 We packed up and left Lone Pine Campsites. We really enjoyed our stay in Burlington, VT. Now on our way to the White Mountains of New Hampshire!
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