Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Post Rally Antics!

On Monday, July 23rd, we left Essex Junction and headed to Waterbury, Vermont. Terry always plans our routes and there were some things we wanted to see in that direction. We went to the visitor's center which is in the train depot, which still operates as a depot. It sits on the tracks right in front of the Green Mountain Coffee plant. There is a coffee shop in one end of the depot where they sell Keurig coffee machines and Green Mountain Coffee. Turns out that GMC owns a part of the Keurig name, so there were a lot of choices in the shop for the coffee makers and the flavors of coffee. We walked a loop through town thinking it would offer some interesting shops, but there were just some antique stores and some small businesses. We walked back to the motorhome and continued up the road toward Stowe.

On the way, we passed by the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream factory. We wanted to visit a maple syrup farm up the road, so we continued to the Morse Farm. The family has been making maple syrup at this location for 200 years. We watched a movie about the operation and then visited the store. While we were there, the "star" of the movie came into the store area and visited with us for a time. The weather this year has not been good for the maple syrup farm. They normally tap the 3,200 trees for five weeks in the spring, but due to the mild winter and early budding of the trees, they were only able to tap the trees for five DAYS! They also don't use the maple buckets here that hang on the side of the trees. They tap the trees, then attach small hoses and the sap runs through the hoses for miles, emptying into the large storage tanks at the back of the sugar camp. I talked with "Burr" Morse about my grandfather's sugar camp and the memories I have of visiting during maple syrup time when I was young. I never knew there was any other kind of syrup until I became an adult.

We left the sugar camp and went back to Ben & Jerry's. We took a tour, which was really only one area where you could look down and view the factory floor. It was a hallway with glass on both sides and they described the different work stations. It was similar to the tour we took at Blue Bell in Brenham. although that tour was much more involved and included more. At the end of the Blue Bell tour, you got a scoop of your choice of ice cream. At the Ben & Jerry's tour, you get a nut cup with the "flavor of the day" in it. No spoon, just have to squeeze the soft, refrozen crap into your mouth. And since I don't like double chocolate fudge ice cream, I didn't eat mine. What a cheap company. I don't like their ice cream anyway, but this was really a cheap way to treat customers who come from all over to visit their creamery.

Once we left there, we continued our drive up to Stowe, Vermont. We found a campground and checked in, then took off again. We drove up the mountain to the Trapp Family Lodge. You will remember the von Trapp family as they are the family about which "The Sound of Music" was made. The family immigrated to the United States and took up residence in the mountains above Stowe, Vermont. It is said that this location was chosen because the area resembled the views the family had where they lived in Austria. The view from the lodge is indeed beautiful, stretching out for miles. We visited the lodge and hoped to have dinner there, but we were there in the middle of the afternoon and the restaurant and lounge are not open at that time. We wandered back to the parking lot and took some pictures of the views and then returned to camp.

We had been promised some rain and in the early evening, we could see a storm moving toward us from over the mountains. It really was a beautiful and interesting sight to watch the rain come across the mountains. We planned to head out the following morning and leave Vermont by traveling up through the islands on Lake Champlain.

Till next time. . .


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