Summer in Massachusetts is fickle. Some years, she holds back and offers fair weather for most of the season, though this is usually associated with less than normal sunlight. Other years, Summer plays nasty and turns the air into a sticky mess. This Summer is shaping up to be the latter, at least near my house. So...
We decided that -
1. Since our vacation was disturbed by a pestulant beast
2. It was going to be hot and humid (again)
3. We need to get out there more
- it was a good idea to head North for the day.
My original plan for this weekend was to eat at at pork BBQ place in New York that I've passed three times now and haven't tried. As we looked at the weather report, however, we decided instead to head up to Vermont. If we had time, we'd stop at the BBQ place, too.
We left the house at 7:15am, after packing some snacks for the trip and having a small breakfast. About an hour and fifteen minutes later, we were at the Vermont Welcome Center in Guilford. This rest area off of I-91 is a must-stop. The grounds are absolutely gorgeous, with a walking path winding through wildflowers and old farm implements, a granite patio overlooking the grounds, and free coffee and pastries (at least on this Sunday). Inside, along with the usual collection of maps and guidebooks, are displays of Vermont crafts and artwork. It seems Vermont is doing the "common item" tour thing, with painter's pallettes. These appear throughout the state, showcasing different artist's interpretations of Vermont life.
I have noticed Interstate rest areas in many states are becoming more welcoming, but this one really stands out to me. They take great care of this facility, and we are all better off for it.
I decided I want to get fairly far North this day, perhaps even into Burlington. I hadn't been in a decade. Traffic was almost non-existent at this time of day, and the weather was cooperating as well.
We turned onto Interstate 89. For anybody who proclaims there is nothing to see on the Interstate, take this ride through Vermont. The scenery is spectacular. And, since the state isn't heavily populated, we had the road mostly to ourselves from White River Junction to the Burlington city limits.
The Montpelier exit came into view. Hey, we haven't been here yet. Let's stop. A wrong turn brought us to a marvelous entrance to a cemetery. Correcting this, we headed back into town on US-2. The town was still fairly calm when we arrived, about 11:00am. The air was refreshingly crisp, in the high 60's with a light breeze.
We stopped in at McGillicuddy's Pub for lunch, which was very good and while the price was a little high, it wasn't out of the normal range for such a place. When we emerged from there, the town had woken up considerably. We strolled around a bit, taking in the scenery and shooting some film. Then off again.
Further up I-89 is Ben & Jerry's, a perfect dessert. No production on Sundays, so we decided against the factory tour and instead just had some ice cream.
Back on the road, into South Burlington, we stopped at Red Rocks Beach. A wonderful view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks behind greeted us. From what we could hear, most of the visitors were from Quebec. Perhaps they were onto a secret here, because for a Summer day, the beach was surprsingly short of people. Loons were in abundance, fishing and just acting, er, looney, as it were. We headed back to the car, had a snack and took a 20 minute nap. The temperature had snuck up into the 70's, but the breeze was still in evidence and our nap was only disturbed by somebody yelling in French.