Entry for July 03, 2008: Vermont vacation, Part 1

On Monday, 23 June 2008, Janice and I began our vacation in Vermont. We drove up from Massachusetts to the sleepy town of Bethel, where we had lunch at the Cockledoodledoo Pizza Cafe. From there, we visited the state capital of Montpelier, where we got a personal tour of the impressive state house.

We liked the atmosphere of the relatively small New England city, and visited a few shops, including Rivendell Books, Bear Pond Books, and the Book Garden, before continuing on our way to the Black Bear Inn in Bolton, Vermont.

I had stayed at the inn with my family about 20 years ago, and had some fuzzy memories from that time. Janice and I were pleased to find that the inn was in good condition, the staff was very friendly, and the food was excellent (breakfasts and dinners were included). I would heartily recommend the Black Bear Inn to anyone.

From our lodgings in north-central Vermont, we made day trips in various directions. On Tuesday, June 24, we visited Waterbury and Stowe. The Von Trapp Family Lodge and grounds were indeed reminiscent of the Alps that partly inspired The Sound of Music, and the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream factory tour is of course a major tourist attraction.

We also stopped by the Cabot Cheese Annex, the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and the Grand View Winery Store. The cider was refreshing on a warm summer afternoon, and we were disappointed that we couldn't buy more cheeses and chocolates because they wouldn't hold up well over a long trip.

Janice and I strolled among the art galleries and craft shops of downtown Stowe, as well as Laughing Moon Chocolates. While wet weather that week kept us from doing more hiking or any boating, we managed to see quite a bit anyway, eating our way across the forested mountains.

The next day, Janice drove us to Shelburne, where we visited the cheese-making demonstration, artisan bakery, children's educational center, and wide grounds of Shelburne Farms. The Shelburne Museum was a fascinating mix of 18th century buildings and artifacts, 19th century vehicles, and art compiled by wealthy relatives of the Vanderbilts. That night, we played Scrabble back at the inn. (I've also been playing Scrabulous through Facebook online with Janice, grad school chum Erik B.L., my boss Michele L.D'F., and co-workers Ken G., Rob M., and Barbara K.) More vacation report to come!