Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kancamagus Highway to Stowe, VT

It was time to say goodbye to the White Mountains. It's been fun, the mountains are lovely, but there's stuff to see in Vermont! I decided to take the scenic route across the Kancamagus and up through Franconia Notch. Mom and Dad took the more direct, but still scenic, route through Crawford Notch.

I made a beet salad from the beets we'd gotten from the farmers market and I needed feta cheese so my first stop was going to be the farm stand that is around the corner. Unfortunately, they didn't open until 11. I considered stopping at the grocery store in Lincoln, but since I was headed to Vermont - the dairy state of the east coast, I decided I should wait and get some here.

I only made a few stops along the Kancamagus - Sabbaday Falls and the Discovery Trail. Sabbaday Falls was very nice! It was 0.6 of a mile round trip - big wide gentle trail along the river , nice pine forest! The falls were very cool, it's a sharp bend in the river and the water comes down over big rocks! The Discovery Trail is a 1.5 interpretive loop. It's supposed to serve as the intro to the park, however, it was the ugliest forest I've walked through in the Whites. It was better than road walking as a way to get in steps, but the campground was a nicer walk.



I made one more stop in Franconia Notch at the site of the former Old Man of the Mountain. The Old Man of the mountain is the state symbol of New Hampshire, however, on May 3, 2003 the ledges that were lined up perfectly to make the profile of the face fell and now it's just a sheer rock face. At the spot where you can view where the old man used to be there is a park and a lake and tons of information! There's also a museum of souvenirs through the years that featured the old man.


Soon I was on my way out of NH and into Vermont! I hadn't paid a lot of attention to the route I was taking, I knew I-93 to St. Johnsbury and then US2. I had in my head that St. Johnsbury was only a couple miles from Franconia Notch so was quite surprised when suddenly I was driving in the middle of nowhere and the only mileges I was getting on the signs was "St. Johnsbury" and "Canada". Just after crossing the Conneticut River to get from New Hampshire to Vermont, I pulled into a rest stop to check the navigation. I had no signal on my phone. No signal meant no google maps! I had to break out the Atlas! Really glad I even I had a paper map! I was right on track!

St. Johnsbury was a mess! US2 would turn right, then left, then right, then go up a big hill, then down a big hill, eventually I hit construction and it was a dirt road! Soon though I made it out and US2 was a nice road the rest of the way to Montepelier. Vermont is a really pretty state - mountains, farms, cute little towns!

I made it to The Gold Brook Campground in Stowe a little before 3. Shocklingly before Mom and Ddf! I figured will all my stops they would have gotten here first. I didn't beat them by much, I saw them pull in before I'd finished hooking up!

They had a bit of drama on the way. Dad uses Microsoft Streets and Trips on his computer as his GPS and it had routed him to approach Stowe from the north and he got confused and had to turn around, in the process of turning around he jackknifed the jeep and blocked traffic for a little while trying to get it unhooked and back rolling again! Before that he'd been driving super slow because of all the bumps. He was not well liked among the locals in that area!

After Mom and Dad got parked and hooked up I took the jeep back to some farm stands I'd seen to look for feta. I didn't find any feta, but I found other goodies - yogurt, cookies, cheddar cheese, granola!

After dinner Dad and I went out to check out the Stowe Recreation Path - a five mile multi-use trail that runs right through Stowe. It was a very nice trail! Very scenic - lots of woods, farms, mountain views! It crossed the stream 10 times! It was even almost flat! There's not a single road I've driven on in the state that is flat, but somehow they got the bike path flat. It did have some up and down and we did gain elevation on the way out, but it was mostly flat.

After the bike path we saw that IC Scoops the "Stow-made" ice cream shop was still open, so naturally we had to sample it! WOW, good stuff! :-) All homemade - no gums or stabilizers! I had cherry, almond, dark chocolate - which is basically Cherry Garcia, only I think this one was better! Dad got pistachio and it was almost better than Ben & Jerry’s also! We'll do the Ben & Jerry's tour tomorrow, but I have a feeling our ice cream purchases will be made at IC Scoops!


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