October 13 - 17, 2019: Danby, Vermont
One of my bucket list items was to see the Fall colors in Vermont. It is really hard to predict when the colors are going to start changing, but we have been watching a couple of different applications and web pages for the color changes. Now is the time, so we headed North to Vermont and the town of Danby which is in the Southwestern part of the state and in the Green Mountain National Forest.
We stopped at a Visitor Center/Rest Stop in Massachusetts and they were giving away free apples that were huge and yummy! Of course, we also took advantage of the photo opportunity with the largest apple ; )
As you can see, the colors are starting to change and I am sure the further North we go, they will become more vibrant and pictures cannot do them justice.
We traveled along Interstate 495N, then onto US 12N, Interstate 91N, then US 7N, and a few smaller roads in between. We passed through some really cool small towns in New Hampshire and into Vermont.
Notice the red street sign, this is the first time we have seen that color in all of our travels. This was both in the New Hampshire and Vermont on US 12N.
As we got closer to Danby, Vermont we saw some really cool houses and other buildings and the colors were amazing. The pictures do not do them justice. The single below is my favorite, it has the entire spectrum of colors in one tree. We have these in Idaho and I need to find out what type of tree it is, I am sure it is a Maple, but...what kind?
In Danby we stayed at Otter Creek Fun Center. This is a boondocker location and it was perfect! Our host, Anthony, was a great guy full of energy and ideas for his business. We were able to park anywhere we wanted, but we opted to park close to the front so we could plug into power. The temperatures were 58f during the day and it got down to 35f at night so it was nice to be able to run the heater.
We liked the fact that Anthony's place, Otter Creek Fun Center, was very centrally located for everything we wanted to do. We could play miniature golf, hit a bucket of golf balls, play games, and...he makes homemade AWESOME Maple Creamees (this is basically vanilla ice cream with Maple syrup and other secret stuff mixed in - YUM!). One of the days I had pumpkin and Maple Creamee mixed - OMG..... And...he had a dog named Susie who was a sweetheart.
To top it off, the best views for the Fall colors and Green Mountains were right outside our door!
As soon as we arrived at Anthony's, we unhooked the trailer and headed to Stratton Mountain Ski Resort (about 20 miles away) for an Indigo Girls concert! We stumbled upon this about two weeks ago so we were planning our last two weeks around attending the concert.
The concert was outdoors and started at 5:30pm. We bundled in as many layers as we could find in the trailer and enjoyed the show. At the end of the evening, the temperature was 46f. A little cold to be sitting outside watching a concert, but hey...it was the Indigo Girls in Vermont in the Fall. Who could pass that up? Even the artist were cold and putting on extra layers as the show progressed.
Waiting in line for the doors to open we met some gals and had some great conversations with them. We hung out near them during the show and enjoyed their company. The opening band was Lauren Davidson, then Lucy Wainwright Roche, and then the Indigo Girls. What a great show with picturesque hills and sunset.
In the first picture, you can see the Stratton Mountain ski runs in the background.
The fiddle/violin player was phenominal. She did some recorded, looping tracks and then played on top of them and was making sounds I have never heard from a violin before. Wow....click the video below for a sample.
The next day predicted gorgeous weather of sunny and 65, so we decided to golf. What better way to see the Fall colors of Vermont than on a golf course. We choose Stratton Mountain Golf because the day before we had driven by and it looked similar to our mountain courses in Idaho (McCall, Jug Mtn, etc.)
We played 9 holes on their Lake Course and 9 holes on their Forest Course for a total of 18 holes with a cart and it was spectacular! What gorgeous scenery, the tee boxes, greens, and fairway were in great shape for the Fall.
We stayed in the town of Danby, VT and this is just above an area that is called The Shires of Vermont. The North Shire starts in Manchester, VT and goes to the South Shire in Bennington, VT. In addition to The Shires, did you know that Vermont has over 100 covered bridges? Well, now you do! We read this and thought it would be cool to see a few of them. So we took a scenic byway drive on 7a through The Shires of Vermont stopping at some of the small towns, and also saw 5 of the 100 covered bridges.
This link contains the map for the bridges and scenic byways.
We started our journey in Manchester, VT. One of the local favorites is an apple cider donut, so...of course, I had to try one even though I am not a donut fan. The apple cider donut is the one on the right, it is basically a cake donut with apple cider. It was okay, but nothing special enough to warrant having a second one - thank goodness!
As we drove through Manchester, we discovered there were a TON of outlet stores all in their own buildings throughout the town. So this is a huge shopping area.
We also discovered the he flagship store for Orvis and their manufacturing factory was located here. We stopped and visited the store, but missed a tour of the factory, so...that story is for another day ; )
Next was the West Arlington Covered Bridge. Notice the old sign and cars in the gas station on the left.
Next near the town of Bennington, VT we passed a large factory in the picture on the left. The factory is National Hanger Company, Inc. If we had more time, it would have been cool to try and tour the factory ; )
Next was the Henry Covered Bridge. Keep in mind, all of these bridges are one lane.
Next was The Paper Mill Bridge.
And last was The Silk Road Bridge. This was probably one of our favorites.
These bridges are just amazing in their structure, craftsmanship, and surrounding scenery. If we had more time to explore Vermont, I would want to see all 100 bridges! Next time ; )
As we finished our Shires and bridge tours, we saw a large obelisk (monument shaped structure similar to the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.) off in the distance. We stopped by the Visitors Center and learned that this was the Bennington Battle Monument and it was still open, so...off we went to visit it!
The Bennington Battle Monument started in 1887 and was completed in 1891 to commemorate the Green Mountain Soldiers and the Battle of Bennington fought on August 16, 1777 during the American Revolution. This battle was a pivotal battle and marked a turning point in the war. The monument stands 306 feet tall and is the tallest structure in Vermont
It was cool because you could take an elevator to the top and get some great views of the surrounding countryside.
Who is that hanging out the window taking pictures? Craig! He is taking a picture of our truck (see below the red truck in the left photo).
In the picture on the right, you can see Mount Greylock which is the highest point in Massachusetts.
On our way out of Bennington, we drove past Hemmings Motor News. Wow, we did not realize that it was located here. Unfortunately, they were closed, so....we planned a trip the next day to come back for that and also visit the Orvis Manufacturing Factory!
At 10:00am the next day we arrived in Manchester, VT at the Orvis Manufacturing Factory so we could attend a tour (offered once a day at 10:00am). The day before we had visited the store just because it is the flagship store, the company has been in business since 1856 and is the oldest mail order retailer. Neither one of us fly fish, however we have talked about learning so we thought some education would be good.
The first set of pictures are from the Flagship retail store. They had some amazing flies!
For the tour of the manufacturing factory, we were not able to take any pictures or see the painting process due to trade secrets. However, we did get to see the bamboo rod and graphite rod making process all the way from the beginning to the end. Each piece and step in the process is done by hand. Wow...no wonder they are expensive and it gives a whole new appreciation to the fly rod. Below is the only picture of the factory tour.
On the tour we met a really cool couple (Maureen and Jim) and shared some great rv'ing information with each other.
After the tour we went across the street to the American Museum of Fly Fishing. Really interesting and educational.
Next we drove to Bennington, VT again and visited Hemmings Motor News. Craig grew up reading this magazine and drooling over cars as a kid. It was pretty cool to see some of the old cars in their collection.
Unfortunately, the owner, Terry Ehrich passed away in 2002 and the company was sold to American City Business Journals who have since sold off most of the collection of cars. Fortunately though, the company is still in business and publishing the magazine from the 2nd story of the building. We spent quiet a bit of time chatting with Skip (local guide) about driving and travels. What a fun time!
On our way home, we stopped by Dutton Farms to pick up some apples. Norma was a wealth of information and got us hooked on apples and cheese. She said "an apple without cheese is like a hug without the squeeze." She was so right! We ended up buying about 15 apples, apple cider, cheese, tomatoes, and a cookie. What a great snack and lunch - hard white cheddar and an apple! Thanks Norma!!!
Craig at a neat little restaurant in Bennington called the Tap House at Catamount Glass.
Oh...as a funny side note, or...not funny if you are Craig. We are still finding about 1-3 stink bugs in the trailer daily. These are the ones we picked up in Susquehanna State Park in Pennsylvania. Well, one morning Craig made his coffee and...smelled stick bug...he looked all over the pod coffee pot, pulled it apart, cleaned it, and...still smelled it. He looked inside his cup and...a stink bug floating in his coffee! I guess the stink bug was in his coffee cup, the coffee dripped into it, Craig added his sugar and was just getting ready to add his milk when he 'smelled' it. Luckily, he saw it before he drank. He didn't freak out as much as I would have. Gross...I wonder how long these little stinkers are going to continue to hitch hike with us...
On our last evening in Vermont there was a Nor'easter storm coming in. The rain started about 6:00pm, lasted overnight, and into the next day when we left. Even though it was very raining and windy, there was still a serene beauty to the landscape and misty mountains.
Our time in Vermont that started out just to see the Fall colors turned into some really cool discoveries about the area. There is still so much more of Vermont to explore and things to do. I have added Vermont to my "must visit again" list ; )