Kat really wanted to get up to the Maine coast, but we have things to do that must be done this August in Campbellsville, KY. We settled on seeing Niagara Falls, Cooperstown NY, and most of Vermont this July. The Falls will get its own post, and the Baseball Hall of Fame now has its post. Today I need to write about lovely Vermont.
Our campground was on Malletts Bay in Colchester. It’s not a great place to camp; it’s getting on in age, and the worst outbreak of tree-killer gypsy moths in 30 years made it worse for humans, if better for the crows and ravens who feast on the dying bugs. Colchester is home to one of the state’s best Cremee stands, but we did not know of such delicacies until well after we left. Lake Champlain is beautiful if you tour on a sunny day. We had clouds and without a blue sky above the water looks brownish gray. Grand Isle is the big island in Champlain and a bridge runs to it. We drove all over the big island in a couple of hours and found no evidence of a fishing industry, but some cows, lots of hayfields, and some corn.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJYRfOPwZqE (Yeah, we missed this one.)
Burlington is six miles away and there we took in the Church Street Marketplace on a Sunday. There were street musicians, a good juggling act, and maybe 70 pricey shops, restaurants, and bars. We went south to Quechee/Pine Valley KOA just outside Woodstock. Typically KOA’s are the bottom of the campground barrel, but this is probably worth the $60 to $70 a night you pay to sleep there. It is spacious, feature packed, and long on service. Plus the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park is but 8 miles away, and worth a trip. Marsh was one of our first conservationists, Billings was a railroad baron for whom that Montana city was named (his railroad ran through it), and the Rockefeller was a son of old John D. The 30 minute movie is the highlight of the park, but in summer the gardens are in bloom and beautifully maintained. We bought some local maple syrup and wonderful Vermont cheeses at Sugar Bush Farms nearby.
We pulled 55 miles south to Chester, VT and a nearby campground for a 3-day weekend. Here we learned of Creemees, a variant on soft-serve ice cream. The local flavor of choice is maple vanilla. We found ours at Green Mountain Sugar House. The only flavor there is maple vanilla, and it’s good, but still in no discernible way different from soft-serve. Today we had a very good lobster roll at Mountain Man’s Lobster Shack in Chester. It’s a generous slice of some kind of white bread, heavily buttered then toasted, then filled with cold lobster claw and tail meat chunks, with a light saucing of mayo and perhaps lemon juice. Lobster rolls are widely available across lower VT, probably because Portsmouth, ME is a mere 125 miles to the east of Chester.
Joe the Lobster Guy also operates a jewelry shop next door, and has more business than he really wants. But he loves to tell stories, as do I. Joe asked where we were from and I told him “We pulled a travel trailer from north Georgia all the way here to experience a Mountain Man Lobster Roll.” Then I told him the truth – that on the drive to our campground I spied a LOBSTER ROLLS road sign and his little kitchen. The internet reviews love his sandwiches, and he already knew. A white van rolled up. Kat noted “You’ve got some business here” and then the van turned around and left. Joe smiled “I had a car from New Jersey drive up. They couldn’t decide what to do, so I went to talk to them, explaining that while we also offer boneless cod fish ‘n chips, smoked pulled pork sandwiches, and hot dogs, the house specialty is lobster rolls … as good – I think better – than anything you’ll find in Maine.” “Okay then. Sounds good!” Then he made a little face and told us “They ordered hot dogs.”