Thursday, November 20, 2008

New England Road Trip: ME, NH, VT, NY aka Long Post, Lots of Pictures

The leaves in the south eastern part of New England hadn't really turned very much in early October. There were plenty of leaves on the ground, but the ones on the trees were still pretty green. As we made our way north, and west, especially this morning from Maine to New Hampshire, the colors really started coming out. It was so beautiful. There were little white church steeples around every bend, and rolling hills of gold. I could have stopped for photo ops a million times, but I had made the decision before the trip that I wasn't going to try to capture the view, so instead I just took a few photos from inside the car. Like this one...
The bright blue at the top is just clouds through the tinted part of our windshield.

First stop: Mt Washington. It's somewhere back behind those hills and clouds. It's the highest point in the northeast, and compared to the mountains we are used to out west, it's really more like a hill, but I wanted to see it for a couple of reasons: one, it's the first place that the sun hits the United States* (and twice a year you can get up before the crack of dawn, and drive to the top to actually witness it), and two, it has crazy weather. The fastest wind speed ever recorded was at the weather station on the top (over 200mph!). The weather was crazy while we were there too. It was snowing at the top, and the auto road was closed, so we didn't get to drive to the top, but the weather at the bottom was actually really nice, so we got out and ran around for a while.
*I haven't found any evidence supporting this fact, so it's possible that I made it up.
From the White Mountains, we moved on towards Vermont, making a quick stop at Polly's Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill for some lunch on the way.

This place was great! An order of pancakes is served with pure, delicious, sweet, local, mouth-watering maple syrup, maple spread (a little like peanut butter, only maple flavored), and maple sugar. And that's not even the coolest part. An order is six medium sized pancakes and you can mix and match between several flavors of batter (like buttermilk, buckwheat, cornmeal, and whole wheat) and even choose some add-ins if you want (blueberry, walnut, coconut, and chocolate chip). Yum! I'm thinking pancakes is on the menu for dinner tonight.

It's an old tool shed turned pancake place, and passed down through the family, who you'll see in pictures around the place, and possibly showing you to your seat. If you're party is small, you may end up sharing a table, and it's an open kitchen, so you can see and hear the pancake flippers chatting it up between batches. Be sure to pick up some of the maple syrup from the gift shop on your way out. I wish we would have bought more. Mhhh... I think I could drink that stuff straight. Okay, maybe not really.

On a completely unrelated side note, once we got into Maine, we started hearing and seeing things about moose(s?) (what's the plural on that? nemesis? nemesi? whatever). Supposedly they were everywhere, and I was really hoping to see one and take a picture. I was expecting it to be sitting nicely in an open area near the side of the road, chewing cud or something, and I could very carefully get out (because I've heard that moose(s?) can be very aggressive) and snap a picture of it. Well apparently moose(s?) are a little more agile than I expected, because as I was driving, what looked like a medium sized moose came bounding (literally) out of nowhere up the bank on the side of the road, just to the edge and then promptly flipped around (that's what it looked like, okay) and bounded off. That was my moose sighting. And it scared the something out of me. It looked like it would have been pretty if it were anything other than a blur. It had nice coloring. Anyway, back to the photos...
So, pancakes for lunch and...
ice cream for dinner.
We drove across Vermont and got into Waterbury just in time for one of the last tours of the day at the Ben and Jerry's factory, so we took it.
The factory was surprisingly small, and the tour was short and to the point. I was impressed that we were taken to an observation room where we could actually see the workers on the floor making and packaging ice cream (a completely different approach than the Hershey's experience). In fact, I was impressed with Ben and Jerry's company in general. Either that, or they are really great at marketing. After the tour, I wasn't surprised that Ben and Jerry's was more expensive than any other ice cream, and I didn't feel bad about paying it either. And they obviously care about their employees - they give them three pints of ice cream for every day that they work. Anyone for moving to Vermont with me for a job?
After the tour and the good sized sample, we went out to the scoop shop and bought... what else?... more ice cream.
It was freezing outside, so we took it in the car and ate it while we drove up to Stowe and to see the view from the Trapp Family Lodge as the sun set. It was so beautiful. It's not the only town we saw that made me want to find a cabin and just spend a week there.
After dark, we crossed over into New York to our hotel for the night. We had booked all of our hotels in advance (and all but one on priceline), so there was some flexibility during the day, but we did have specific destinations for the night. It worked out nicely and saved us a lot of money.


adventure knitter said...

did you just ask random people to take your family snapshots along the way? or did you bring along your own personal family photographer??

Heatherlyn Colt said...

Wow. Those pictures are so . . . picturesque, beautiful. Wow. And I am so jealous. I would LOVE to tour the Ben and Jerry Ice Cream factory (I've wanted to ever since I saw that you could in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond!) Fun. Thanks for posting your adventures on your blog; it's a real treat.