Monday, August 30, 2010

A Bit of Vermont

Vermont really is as beautiful as they say. We just got back from a 5 day trip there, and I highly recommend a visit.

Marshfield VT
We started our trip in Groton State Forest. There are half a dozen state parks within the forest, mostly situated around various ponds. We stayed at Ricker Pond State Park, which has a lovely little pond with resident loons. Their eerie cries at night really make you feel like you're getting the wilderness experience! The campground has tent and RV sites, as well as lean-tos and one room cabins for rent at very reasonable prices. There is a little sandy beach on the pond, perfect for kids. The Cross-Vermont Bike Path runs right through the campground, which was the reason we chose it.

The next morning after arriving, we rode our bikes up the trail to the town of Marshfield, which took about 1.5 hours. The trail is a little rough, gravel, not paved. It's on an old railroad bed, so the grade, whether uphill or down, is very gradual- until you get to Marshfield. Then it's a downhill run into town, fun even though you know you'll pay for it later when you have to go back up. We stopped in at Rainbow Sweets, a cafe and bakery celebrating 25 years in business. Its owner assured us that people come from miles around to eat there, and it wasn't hard to believe. The spanakopita was excellent, and the glass case full of pastries was tempting, although we didn't indulge.

Peacham Bog
The following day, we explored a little more on foot, going to Peacham Bog for a hike, and Owl's Head to see the view. Then we headed off to Burlington.

Burlington really is a jewel, a little college town on the edge of Lake Champlain. Heading into town on Rt. 2 west, there is a view from a hilltop of the town, lake, and the Adirondack mountains on the New York side that is quite beautiful. We stayed at La Quinta, a chain motel that wasn't exciting but was clean, with a heated outdoor pool and continental breakfast, for reasonable rates. They didn't blink an eye when we rolled our bikes through the lobby and took them up in the elevator to our room.

The Breakwater Cafe
Later that day, we met our friends at the Breakwater Cafe. As you might guess from the name, it's located right on the water, nestled between a marina and 2 ferry docks. There's a large outdoor patio, pub food, and friendly waitresses. As the evening went on, the atmosphere became quite lively, with a band and dancing.

Lake Champlain causeway
The next morning, we headed out for a ride on the Lake Champlain Bikeway. If you are even just a casual rider, you will love this bike path! The scenery along Lake Champlain is breathtaking, the path is paved and mostly flat. At one point, we chose to ride along a causeway out into the lake, rather than along the shore. The causeway heads toward Grand Isle, although you can't ride all the way there, because of a cut that allows boat traffic through. Instead, there is a little ferry that takes bikes across for a $10.00 round trip fee. We chose to turn around and head back to Burlington at that point, but the possibilities for bike riding up through the chain of islands in the middle of the lake are really intriguing and a possible future vacation.

That night we ate at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill, not cheap but the food was very good. The next morning we packed up and headed home. A short, fairly inexpensive vaction that we really enjoyed.

Post by Kathleen Weber