Thursday, June 28, 2018

Vermont - Day 28

Maple Grove Campground
Thursday, 28 June 2018

Today was for relaxing and catching up.  It rained pretty hard for quite a while this morning so I was really glad I hadn't planned on being on the road in it.

Tomorrow I'll head over to the Northeast Kingdom, which is what they call the (surprise!) northeast corner of Vermont.  I'm looking forward to seeing what the state looks like over there.

And I need to get on the phone to try to find a reservation somewhere in New Hampshire for the July 4th period.  Probably every campground in the state will be full.  Good thing I left it till the last minute - I'd hate to make things easy on myself.

Vermont - Day 27

Maple Grove Campground (again)
Wednesday, 27 June 2018

today's route
The drive to Burlington (along my old friend Rt. 7) was pleasant but time-consuming, as usual.  It took me through Burlington, which was nice, and I could see something of Vermont's largest city (population 42,000+ in 2015).  It looked very pleasant and sits right on Lake Champlain.

The clinic was part of a medical complex and was right next to a cemetery, oddly.  I took the dogs for a walk over there and found a headstone that I had trouble believing.  It was for a husband and wife and the inscription read, "Here lies the loving parents of nine/They would have had more but they didn't have time."  And it wasn't something from 150 years ago but instead was recent.  The husband died in 1996 at the age of 53 and the wife lived 10 years longer.  The kids were probably right - they had a fair number of children in those few years of living.

I had to wait a couple hours in the clinic but did get my prescription.  Now all I have to do is find a pharmacy located somewhere I won't mind waiting however long it takes them to fill it.  But then I just wanted to get out of town to avoid rush hour traffic and drive the extra hour I knew it'd take to get back to this campground.

I stayed here for several days a couple of weeks ago and like it very much, and it's relatively inexpensive and therefore hard to beat.

Vermont - Day 26

Country Village Campground
Tuesday, 26 June 2018
today's route
On the 30-or-so mile drive down to Rutland, I smelled a skunk.  Made me feel right at home.

As I was stuck in the traffic jam in Brandon - the result of the road work and 2 sections of 1-lane roads, I wasn't moving and happened to notice out my passenger window a statue of Stephen Douglas.  The Stephen Douglas who ran for president against A. Lincoln.  Wondering what on earth that was doing in Brandon, VT, I looked it up and learned Douglas was born in Brandon and went to school there and in Middlebury before going out to Illinois where he ran into Lincoln.   You just never know what you're going to find in oddball places.

On my drives up and down Rt. 7 I've been noticing that the price of gasoline is substantially lower in the Rutland area than in the Burlington area.  To me that doesn't make sense because of Burlington being the biggest city in the state with more competition so why would things be more expensive?  But gas is typically $2.98 near Burlington and $2.83 in Rutland.  And I stopped in Middlebury for gas and paid $2.72.  A substantial difference when I'm getting 30 gallons or so.

I went to the vet's office to drop off their records and then drove out to Fair Haven, about 20 minutes to the west, a few feet from the VT/NY line.  Almost a week ago I broke the sewer hose and since then have been seriously trying to find an RV supply store to patronize.  Oddly, this one seemed to be my choice.  They didn't have one that was like what I broke but they had something similar enough, and I was desperate enough, that I decided to get it.  There's only so long they want you to go without pumping out the blackwater tank and I figured I'd reached it.

Back at the vet's office everybody got examined and shot.  Roscoe complained seriously the whole time and hissed when anybody tried to do anything to him.  The vet staff thought his bark was worse than his bite but I assured them he can do both equally well, so they were a little more careful with him.  And I got 4 more months of tick preventative, which will get me to October in Rhode Island, and we'll see if it's necessary after that. 

Back at the campground I decided since everybody else was getting their medical needs seen to, I needed to do the same, so tomorrow I'm going to the University of Vermont Urgent Care clinic just outside of Burlington to see about more blood pressure medicine, which I ran out of more than a month ago.

Vermont - Day 25

Country Village Campground (again)
Monday, 25 June 2018

I went back south again because I wanted to go to a specific museum that keeps odd hours.  It's just north of Vergennes (pronounced ver-JENS), not far from last night's campground, and I'd intended to start heading north and east after that.  But I got rerouted.  First the museum.
the Rokeby house
The Rokeby Museum is billed as being an important part of the Underground Railroad, which is why I wanted to go there.  Turns out that's what they used to think but not any more.

It was a farm right on what's now Rt. 7 (that I'm getting to be such good friends with) and many of the buildings are still there.  It was the home of a family of Robinsons for 4 generations; one of those was Rowland Evans Robinson, who wrote Out of Bondage in 1897.  His father was the first to bring merino sheep to Vermont from Spain and other farmers quickly followed suit.  By 1850, more than 80% of Vermont had been deforested to make grazing land for the sheep.  (Hard to believe now.)  The family were Quakers, prominent in their community, and strongly abolitionist.

Apparently the family's reputation for being part of the Underground Railroad comes from the escaped slaves who weren't hidden but instead lived and worked openly on the family farm.  The slaves who made it to Vermont were relatively safe because southern slave owners found it too difficult to send someone all the way up and then transport the escapee all the way back through the northern states.  The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 changed all that.  More on that in a minute.

The Robinsons were, as most northerners were, racists but had a deep religious conviction that slavery was a sin.  Therefore, they opposed a gradual emancipation of slavery on the grounds that there is no Biblical authority for a gradual relinquishment of sin.

At the new visitors center on the property is an exhibit with more information about US slavery.  According to the exhibit, the original US Constitution prohibited interference with the African slave trade for 20 years.  As soon as it could - January 1808 - Congress banned slave importation from Africa.  The result was that southern states started getting slaves from northern states.  Between 1790 and 1860, more than 1,000,000 slaves were relocated.

Most Americans were initially against abolitionism because they were afraid it would tear the US apart.  Oddly, even as far back as the 1840s some abolitionists were talking secession, not wanting to live in a country that countenanced slavery.

Then in 1850 came the Fugitive Slave Act.  Its intent was to calm the hostility between north and south by providing the southerners a way of retrieving their "property" but, as legislation often does, it had the opposite effect.  The Act didn't just allow slave owners to legally recapture slaves, but it also compelled ordinary citizens, under penalty of law, to aid in the recapture.  It made them complicit in the slave trade and they didn't like that; it turned their apathy into action.  In addition, the Act paid a bounty to people who turned in escaped slaves, at which point Vermont stopped being a safe haven.

Then the 1857 US Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v. Sanford that blacks were never intended under the Constitution to be US citizens and "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."

By 1860, slaves were worth almost $4 billion - that's a B, in 1860 dollars - can you imagine? It was more than manufacturing, railroads, livestock, banking, farm equipment and the cotton crop combined.  What had happened was that when tobacco exhausted the soil, farmers turned to planting wheat.  But workers were needed only seasonally for wheat so northern farmers didn't need a year-round work force.  They sold their slaves to the southern cotton farmers.  Almost the entire country ended being complicit, one way or another.

So I didn't get what I thought I was going to get from this museum but it was interesting all the same.
locust tree
There were quite a few of these locust trees around the house and the tour guide said early settlers often planted locust trees to protect against lightning.  The idea was that rain would collect in all those nooks and crannies in the trunk and lightning would aim for the water, rather than the house.  Wonder if it's true.

When I got back to the RV I discovered I needed to rethink my itinerary.  Roscoe's been producing liquid stools for some days now.  I kept hoping he'd snap out of it, but that hasn't happened, as he demonstrated yet again.  I liked that vet I took Dexter to for his Lyme vaccine so called to see if they could work Roscoe in.  They gave us an appointment for tomorrow afternoon and said I could lump in annual shots for him and Jasper and Gracie.  Those shots aren't due until next month but I figured since I was going to be at a vet's office anyway, and it's almost next month anyway, I might as well get it done.

As a result, I came back south again so as to have less of a drive tomorrow to the vet's office in Rutland.  This is a good campground.

Vermont - Day 24 - horses and bears

Shelburne Area Campground, near Burlington
Sunday, 24 June 2018

The campground I've stayed in the last few nights has a small population of rabbits, that we see occasionally when we're out for walks - especially early in the morning.  Today I saw one right outside the RV, and Dexter did too.
Look just to the left of Dexter's head.  Dext was riveted.  The rabbit never noticed.
I also learned a new bird at this campground - the catbird.  I've been seeing a bird for weeks that looked to me just like a mockingbird but without the white markings.  And then the last few days I've realized it was a bird I was hearing making those sounds much like a cat, and I finally put it all together and looked it up in the bird book and, sure enough, there it was right above the mockingbird.  No idea how I'd missed it earlier.
a catbird - they're bigger than this makes it look
today's route
North of the campground today I saw an unusual statue by the side of the road.  It was possibly wood or maybe concrete - sturdy, whatever it was because it was the figure of a King Kong type ape holding one arm straight into the sky with an old Volkswagen Beetle on its hand.

I passed a store called the Vermont Flannel Co. store and wished I weren't living in an RV so could dream up an excuse for going in to see what they had.  Although, silly me, I was thinking in terms of bolts of fabric, not ready-made clothing.  Just as well because I'd certainly have spent more than I should.

In Weybridge, not far north of yesterday's campground is the original Morgan Horse Farm, run by the University of Vermont.  I've never been more than mildly interested in horses, even when I was a kid - it was my sister Louise who was horse-crazy.  But this still seemed like it might be interesting, and it was.

This breed of horse was established by a man named Justin Morgan who, in 1789, bred a horse he called Figure.  Figure was part thoroughbred and part Arabian; he was short, strong, muscled, even-tempered, and good looking, a good work horse with endurance.  When he was bred to mares, the offspring always had his characteristics - a very dominate strain, apparently - and people wanted the horses with those characteristics because they were so useful.  Figure died in 1821, having established a substantial line of progeny.
front view of the barn

rear view of the barn
Fast forward 50 years to 1878, when this barn was built by Joseph Battell, a very wealthy man with a strong social conscience and a love of horses.  What he wanted to do at this farm was preserve the Morgan horse breed, which was being gradually bred out of existence, in favor of showier characteristics.  Battell did extensive research to trace the Morgan horses - those currently living and their ancestors - and he carefully began a breeding program to reestablish the original characteristics.

I took these barn photos because I couldn't believe how elaborate this building is.  It really is just a barn, just as it has been for 140 years.  If you can blow up these photos, look at the window details - even in the rear.

Anyway, Battell gave the farm to the US Government in 1906 and for the next 50 years the government continued the breeding program.  Morgan horses turned out to be very brave and were used as cavalry horses.  In the 1950s the University of Vermont took over the farm for the purpose of continuing and improving the breed.

These photos are all Morgan horses.  Most are yearlings.  They currently have 200 horses at the farm.  If you want one of your own, they hold a raffle every year for a colt from that year's crop; you can get information about it online.

And because I looked at some of the exhibits they have in the barn, I'm able to tell you that a horse has the largest eyeball of any land mammal.  Also that because horses have their eyes on the sides of their heads, their brains have to sort out the 2 images to make one image, but the horse's monocular vision is better than its binocular vision.

It was very interesting and I didn't dare let the dogs out of the RV for a walk because I was sure Dexter would get overly excited.  He tends to growl at large animals (cows, horses) he sees from the windows.  But I remember my Old English Sheepdog Charlie not being worried about horses at all and followed one too closely and got kicked.  So you never know.

After the farm, I drove into Middlebury looking for the Danforth Pewter Co.  It turned out to be smack in downtown and I found it only when I was out with the dogs and was pretty sure they shouldn't be in a store so didn't go.  The pewter people make their own stuff and it's really nice stuff, from what I could see.

One of Middlebury's claims to fame is its waterfall smack in the middle of town.

Just on the other side of those buildings is Main Street.  That bridge and many of the buildings were burned down in the late 1800s and were rebuilt by Joseph Battell, Mr. Morgan horse rebuilder.  This sign explains what happened.  I thought it was interesting that it was the same man.  Like I said - social conscience.

I really liked Middlebury.  It was quaint without being cute and seemed very pleasant.  I took these other photos there.
this shop is made of marble

seems to be what happens to our old tires

John Deere was hanging around too.

Middlebury College reminds me a lot of Southwestern University back in the late 60s when I first went there - lots of green lawns and old buildings.
As I drove northward toward Burlington, I noticed the mountains started flattening out.  I was in the Lake Champlain valley and could, in fact, see the lake pretty often from the road.  I haven't spent any time yet in the far northeast part of the state, but from the drive today I'm guessing it turns from mountains into rolling hills.

Just a few miles south of today's campground is something I've been looking forward to: the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory.  And it's worth looking forward to.  I took the tour, which was seriously full of almost un-bear-able puns but still fun.  Here's what I learned.
These bears were born in Vermont and can prove it - a genuine VT Teddy Bear has eyes that, if you look very carefully, say "born in Vermont" in them.

They use 200 yards of fur to make 750 bears each day, and each bear is made of 14 layers of fabric.  Because that's a fair amount of weight when the fabric is spread out on the cutting table, they blow air under it like on an air hockey table to help move it under the press.  The press uses 34,000 pounds of pressure to meld the 14 layers together, and then the different parts are cut out.

The eyes and the moveable limbs are attached with locking washers so the more the little kid tries to pull them out, the more they tighten, which means there's never a choking hazard.

The stuffing is made from shredded recycled plastic bottles that are blown into fluffiness.  A 15" bear takes ¾ pound of stuffing (which is a fair amount of plastic bottles, when you think about it).

In the gift shop they had some bears that I can and some that I can't find on their website. Bears   The ones I can't find are for the Shriners Hospital, with a portion of the sale price donated to the hospital, and the Right to Bear Hugs bear.  The ones I was most surprised and impressed with were the Limb Loss/Limb Difference Bears.  Those bears are made missing an arm or leg and are expected to help children of military personnel or children with birth defects or those in traumatic accidents.  It just never entered my head these might be needed but I'm glad it entered theirs.  You can special order a particular style.

All in all, you can't possibly come out of there without smiling.

I stopped at a grocery store on the way to the campground and ended doing a stunning parking job.
This is how I thought I was parking.
This is what was happening on the other side.  There's not even a full inch clearance.  I have no idea how that could have happened.

Vermont - Day 23 - Arlington

Country Village Campground
Saturday, 23 June 2018

today's route
"There's a crazy little shack beyond the track, and everybody calls it the Sugar Shack."  Remember this from the 1960s?  Well, it keeps running through my head because today I drove down to a place called The Sugar Shack in Arlington, VT.

Arlington was the first capital of Vermont and today the Lions Club was holding its Redneck Warrior Challenge (it has its own web page at that included at least a sack race, because I saw it.  Too bad it started raining hard enough to make it tough for the warriors.

Anyway, I was in Arlington because Norman Rockwell used to live here and most of the faces he put in his illustrations came from people who lived here - and some still live here.  The Sugar Shack is part bakery (great cider doughnuts!), part store selling Vermont-made products (including the best jam I've ever eaten, made by Sidehill Farm in Brattleboro), and part Rockwell exhibit.  I don't think they have many originals, but they've got the majority of his Saturday Evening Post covers and explanations on many of them by the people who posed.

The locals said he took photos of them and then painted from the photos, figuring he could get an image closer to life that way than if he'd have them pose long enough to do the painting.  He paid them $5 for each sitting.  They all said that.  And apparently they all liked him very much and he was very much a part of the life of the town.

You can find the covers online SEPost.  My favorites were "Homecoming Marine" from 10-13-1945 and "Breaking Home Ties" from 9-25-1954.

While I was on the road, I heard a story on Vermont Public Radio about Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen HereVPR  Very interesting story.

Vermont - Day 22 - Proctor

Country Village Campground
Friday, 22 June 2018

This is yesterday's map and I can't seem to find the photo I took of day's route.  But if you look northwest of Rutland, you'll see Proctor, which is where I went today.

Google refuses to give me a route using the state routes unless there's no alternative, and I've gotten lost often enough on them that I decided to stick with US Rt 7, which I'm getting to know fairly well.  So I went down to Rutland, went west a bit, and drove north to Proctor.

Proctor's claim to fame is the Vermont Marble Museum, which is well worth the visit.  The whole Rutland area was put on the map originally because of marble quarries, which still operate in the area.  Rutland is still Vermont's 3rd largest town, with 16,000-17,000 residents (which shows that "large" is relative up here).

This plaque explains a little of the background.

This building is across the street from the museum and I think may be a warehouse.  It's just that it's made of marble, as you can see in this closer view on the right.
Inside the museum (also made of marble, duh), I learned that marble is your basic limestone.  It starts a gazillion years ago as countless trillions of sea creatures leaving their shells on the ocean floor when they die.  Those are eventually stressed by shifts of tectonic plates, forming limestone, which gradually softens and reforms into marble.

Mt. St. Helens
Mt. Fuji
I learned that there are several different types of volcanoes, and that Earth's most picturesque volcanoes are called composite cones and are formed by alternate layers of lava and ejected loose fragments; they include Mt. Fuji in Japan, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier in Washington state, and Mt. Shasta in California.  (I didn't understand why they had a big display about volcanoes, or why they had a triceratops skeleton from North Dakota, in the marble museum, but they were interesting.)

There was also an exhibit about VT buildings that I skimmed through (not being specifically about marble), but I thought this sign was interesting.  An entire state is a national treasure?

But for me the museum had 2 star attractions: several statues they had that were carved out of single pieces of marble, and an exhibit on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, made of marble milled here in Proctor.

First the Tomb.

The marble itself came from a quarry in Colorado that's 10,000' above sea level.  It was then shipped to Proctor, VT, where it was milled - shaped and decorated - and then it went to Arlington, VA.  Since this was done in the 1920s, it's hard for me to imagine the technological challenge the logistics must have presented.  The finished statue is 16' long, 10' wide, and 11' high.

It was first used for the body of an unknown soldier from World War I, and later for ditto from World War II and the Korean War.  Then there was the interesting situation of the soldier who'd been entombed representing the Vietnam War.  His identity was unknown when he was buried but subsequent DNA tests learned who he was and he was disinterred so he could be buried properly.  But they've left that crypt empty since then - I'm guessing they don't want to have to go through that again.

Now for the happy stuff.  Just look at these statues.

I hope you can blow them up enough to see the texture of their garments and the other details.  Just stunning.  And each from only one piece of stone.

Vermont - Day 21 - Rutland

Country Village Campground, Leicester
Thursday, 21 June 2018
First Day of Summer
today's route
The meteorologist this morning said, "This is the longest day of the year - sort of - they always have 24 hours."  He went on to say that daylight today would last 15 hours and 33 minutes, and it's 183 days until winter.  That last really brightened the day for the Vermonters who think this last winter lasted too long.

Dexter's appointment was at 11:30 and I went by the vet's office early to take them his records - they sensibly wanted to know who they were dealing with before they took my word for it what kind of drugs they should be shooting into him.

The office is down a side street, about 5 blocks from downtown, in what looks like the original part of town.  Some houses are old and run-down, some have been knocked down with new fancy ones built instead, and some have been carefully maintained or refurbished.  Across the street from the office is the local baseball field with multiple signs saying no dogs allowed - I guess not everybody picks up after their dogs and the Little Leaguers didn't like stepping in it.  But there're sidewalks around the neighborhood so the dogs and I had a nice walk.

The vet wanted to do a preliminary exam of Dexter to be sure he's still in good health and my Austin vet's office knows well he doesn't care much for that sort of thing.  He's been known to growl and snap - just a warning, but an effective one.  The vet's been known to bribe him with treats.  He thought he'd do the same thing here and they were ready for him without me telling them - I guess they've seen this sort of thing before.  Dexter loves food in any form and he was pretty friendly by the time the shot was done with.

By then I had to find a place to park where we could eat lunch - Jasper being quite insistent that it was past time for food.

I didn't much want to go back to last night's campground.  Although they'd mowed all that tall grass this morning I didn't really warm up to all that non-tree/shrub expanse.  When I first got to Vermont, I found a publication called "Vermont Campground Guide" - the 2017 version but it's been working.  It lists all the public and private campgrounds in the state with a map showing about where they are.  It's been very useful, and it was useful again today.  I found a campground about 30-40 miles north of Rutland that charged the same as last night, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Of course, it takes about an hour to drive that distance, even though the road is technically a US highway - Route 7 - it runs from Bennington in the south all the way to the Canadian border and I'd already made its acquaintance when I was touring the Lake Champlain area.  It's a 2-lane road the whole way - usually with decent shoulders, though - but it curves quite a bit and runs through most of the small towns along the way, so it's slow going.

As I went north to the campground, I found some serious roadwork going on in the middle of Brandon - 2 different bits of 1-lane road - which made the drive even longer.  By the time I got there, I was glad I hadn't stopped anywhere for some sightseeing on the way.

This campground is much nicer.  Lots of trees and bushes to divide up the areas, and I'm in a section that doesn't have anybody else in mid-week.  Lots of places for the dogs to walk so it's good.

Vermont - Day 20

Iroquois Land Family Camping, near Rutland
Wednesday, 20 June 2018

today's route
Last night's campground was between charming little Woodstock and the VT/NH border.  This morning, I went back to the bake shop at King Arthur Flour Co. and bought some more croissants and ciabatta rolls for taking west. 

Tonight's campground is just a few miles south of Rutland and is basically an open field.  No trees or bushes anywhere near the campsites.  Just open land and hookup facilities.  Actually, the land isn't exactly open because most of the field is tall grass - about 3½' tall - and it's not something I want to shove my way through when I'm walking the dogs.  Where the campsites are is frequently mowed and the grass is all flattened.  Odd little place but not particularly expensive.

I came here because Dexter needs his booster shot for the Lyme disease vaccine that he got last month and I found a vet in Rutland that seemed respectable and would work us in tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Vermont/New Hampshire - Day 19

Quechee KOA
Tuesday, 19 June 2018

It never occurred to me that I'd hear that word outside the south, but both the Vermont and New Hampshire Public Radio stations were talking about it.

I can't seem to make these photos come together, but they should give you an idea.  I drove almost 400 miles today, and it's a good thing I'd already gotten to the Montpelier/Barre area yesterday.

I used interstates the whole way, and that included 2 goofball little toll roads in New Hampshire.  Very tiring, especially because I didn't want to go over about 60 and the speed limit was 65 so I was causing people frustration.  Most were very nice, though - especially in Vermont.  Very nice people here.

I came back to a campground where I stayed a week or so ago because it was the closest one to the VT/NH border near the interstate.

Turns out Jasper's eye is technically doing quite well - the thing that was in his eye has dissolved or somehow been sloughed off.  Now what he's got in its place is a kind of dimple - like the little dips in a golf ball.  The vet didn't offhand see any need for more drops but, because Jasper's eye had looked healthier when I was giving them to him, she agreed.  I'm sure he'll be thrilled.
not dramatic eyeshadow but just discharge - fortunately doesn't seem to cause any pain - just looks yucky
When I got off the highway at Portsmouth, I saw a panhandler working the highway intersection with a sign and suddenly realized I haven't seen a single one in the whole time I've been in Vermont.  Maybe when I go to Burlington, the largest city - but nowhere else so far.  Vermont either treats people well or has serious enforcement.

Vermont - Day 18

Lazy Lions Campground, Graniteville
Monday, 18 June 2018
today's route
Before we left Austin, it looked to me like Jasper had something stuck in his eye.  My vet agreed that there was something there that wasn't normal and sent us to a veterinary ophthalmologist.  That vet said Jasper had a condition of his cornea that left a chunk of dead tissue embedded in his eye (or something like that).  He gave me 2 different kinds of drops to give Jasper every day, and I've mostly been doing that - even in the RV. 

I ran out of one of the kinds a few weeks ago and thought I'd just wait and see because I didn't know who to take him to.  Well, in those 3 weeks or so, his eye seemed to get worse.  Or at least it was producing a lot of discharge that it hadn't been doing when I gave him both kinds of drops. 

I got desperate enough to look for an ophthalmological vet, and the closest one I could find was in Portsmouth, NH.  I decided this month-in-a-state thing was my own bright idea that had nothing to do with anybody's health and decided to dump it for a day. 

The vet's office gave me an appointment for tomorrow at 1:45.  Portsmouth is about 4 hours away from Burlington (which my campground was about 45 minutes away from) assuming I could drive like a passenger car drives.  But I don't drive nearly as fast as I would in a car, and I have to stop for bathroom breaks for all of us, so it'd be likely to take me 6+ hours.

Accordingly, today I drove back here to the campground I stayed in a few days ago, to knock an hour or so off the drive.  This is a nice campground and the dogs and I are glad to be back.

I did make a tourist stop on the way at Richmond to see the round church.  It's pretty amazing inside and still has the original wood stove and closed in pews.  The historical marker explains things better than I could.
Historical Round Church


This is the back side of the marker and I thought it was interesting.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Vermont - Day 17

Maple Grove Campground
Sunday, 17 June 2018
Father's Day

Hot and humid all day.  I took it off from traveling so I could do things like showering and laundry and sweeping and window washing and so forth.

The campground sells maple syrup that's a product of their own trees.
The blue lines are hoses attached to the trees - apparently they just leave them year round - which makes sense because it couldn't possibly be good for the trees to be poked over and over.  Of course I bought some syrup and was forced to make French toast today to try it out.  Pretty good.

This is a very small campground - only 27 campsites - but very pleasant and well-run.  They have a solar panel installation.  I meant to ask someone what percentage it supplies but never remembered.  Pretty high percentage, I'd think, because there's plenty of room to add more panels if they need them.

Lots of bedrock poking up.  I've been hearing more and more that the soil in Vermont is only about as deep as it takes to scratch at it, and it goes straight to bedrock underneath. 
I took this at the Chester Arthur homesite yesterday, and those places that look like bare patches are bedrock.

This other one is at the campground and shows considerable ingenuity in dealing with bedrock when you want a garden.  That's a chunk of bedrock sticking up out of the hill that the garden frame is sitting on.

Vermont - Day 16 - Lake Champlain

Maple Grove Campground
Saturday, 16 June 2018
today's route
I've heard people wondering about the hippies that moved to Vermont in the '60s and '70s, and from what I can see, they're still here.  And passed a Karmann Ghia that looked like it was still running fine after all these years.  Reassuring, in a way.

President Chester Arthur Homesite
Oddly, both Vermonters who were US presidents were elected to the vice-presidency and became president when their presidents were assassinated: Arthur was president from 1881-1885 after Garfield was killed; Coolidge was president from 1923-1928 after Harding was killed.  Both lived in extremely rural Vermont (which is saying something) and were highly regarded in their times.

view on the way to the home
Arthur was the son of a Baptist minister and not a lot seems to be known about him.  Historians aren't even certain where and when he was born, which seem like fairly basic facts not to know.

The house I visited was a reconstruction of the original but is in the original location, which is over a mile from the nearest town (a small collection of buildings at a crossroads).  Vermont has paved the road up to the house, but just beyond it's dirt.  Granted it's been quite a few years since he was alive, but we know a lot more about presidents from long before him - and he took over the presidency at a time of crisis (the assassination).  It all seems odd to me.  The road to his home consists of one dairy farm after another after another.  I think those are the Green Mountains in the distance in my photo - we're fairly far north, as you can see from the route map.

On my way to the Lake Champlain area, I drove through St. Albans and was stunned.  I didn't expect to see anything particularly interesting so wasn't prepared to stop to take photos or anything and very much wish I had.  It's a lovely little town with beautiful buildings, and I don't know anything about it.  Another trip, I'm definitely going to make a point of coming for a visit.

Odd little fact: Vermont owns almost all the islands in Lake Champlain - New York lost out.  (Along the same lines, New Hampshire owns the entire Connecticut River, right up to Vermont's bank.)  So the nice little driving trip I took today in Lake Chaplain crossed a peninsula attached to Canada, North Hero Island, Knight Island, Grand Isle, and South Hero Island.  The land was originally part of the payment given to the Green Mountain Boys for their efforts during the Revolutionary War; the "heroes" were Ethan Allen and his brother Ira Allen, I was told today by the docent at the Hyde Log Cabin.

Hyde Log Cabin
housing - old and new
I was impressed by the fireplace.

This cabin was built around 1783 and is one of - if not the - oldest existing log cabin in the US.  Very interesting place; many original personal items inside.

Lake Champlain area
Lake Champlain from the Vermont side is just as beautiful as from the New York side. 

These were taken from South Hero Island.

I stopped at a grocery store on the way back to the campground and found a Vermont license plate at the same time I had a camera to take its picture.

Then there's this point of view:

Finally, I took this photo of Arrowhead Mountain Lake, north of Milton.  Really a beautiful lake.