We left of on Wednesday where we used the free wifi at a great little library in Charlotte, VT. We headed towards Burlington, but stopped at Shelbourne Vineyards first to taste their wines and take a tour of the facility and walked through the vineyard.
Most of the grapes had already been harvested, but one variety was still on the vine. We swung into Shelbourne Museum thinking it was the farms, but soon learned our mistake and by the time we figured out the difference and where the farm was we had to rush along in order to catch the ferry at the end of the day. We did get to see downtown Burlington and walked along, poking into bike shops and antique shops, and enjoyed the Church St. Marketplace. We even stopped at Ben & Jerry's (since we forgot to stop at the factory on the way) to try out the Schweddy Balls ice cream, and it was gross. I don't think I've ever finished a bowl of ice cream without wanting another bowl, but Curtis and I both had to force ourselves to finish our shared dish. At least we can say we tried it.
Malted milk balls and something that had the texture of a date, but tasted like rum. In other words, gross.
We finished our Burlington tour walking along the bike paths and the pedestrian walkway on the waterfront and then headed back south to catch the ferry across Lake Champlain to New York. We got there just in time with one spot left on the ferry and enjoyed a nice 20 minute ferry ride to Essex. We camped out on state land just a short ways away from where we got off the ferry.
Thursday was cloudy when we got up, but it looked like the sun would come out. Turns out we were wrong. Or we just drove into it. We had hoped to do a hike or a climb, but the rain was just too much we went to the best possible outdoor place we could think of on a rainy day: Ausable Chasm. The price was a bit steep, but we were bored and the first glimpse from the bridge was pretty impressive. So we bought our passes and started on the hike along their inner sanctum trail around the gorge.
Elephant's Head. Can you see it?
It was like a combination of goonies and indiana jones, and it was perfect for a rainy day. Unfortunately the flooding from Hurricane Irene had taken out a good portion of the Inner Sanctum trail that went down into the chasm on stairs and bridges, so we missed out on a lot of the good views, but we still had fun.
Next we headed south toward Keene and were lucky enough to find Alpine Adventures guide service that gave us an insider hint on where to camp for free and also some good information on local climbs. We found the campsite next to Chapel Pond:
and settled in for the night just before the rain started again. The forecast did not look good for the next week, but we woke up to pretty good weather on Friday and set out for a long hike over to Big Slide in the high peaks area.
We had hoped to do a little climbing at the summit slab, but had a hard time finding the climber's trail and by the time we did find it, the weather was iffy enough that we thought it best to head back to the same campsite again. And guess what? It rained! And poured. So much that our plans for climbing in the morning were out the window. So we drove up and over to Lake Placid and strolled through the downtown area. We stopped at a great bookstore (that sold art supplies too) and finally bought myself a book. I'd made it a week without a book and was bursting at the seams. We continued our driving tour in and out of the rain through Saranac Lakes and down rt. 30, finally stopping at Lake Durant campground on our way south.
Now we're in Montague, Massachusetts visiting with our friend Scotti tonight and we just got back from dinner at a really great cafe: Lady Killigrew. We'll be around Amherst tomorrow and Tuesday to visit more friends and then head back into NY on Wednesday.