Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Farewell Vermont

The month of June has been about squeezing in Vermont activities we have never gotten around to doing. We have been acting like tourists, visiting attractions in and around northeastern Vermont. 

We went to the Rock of Ages Quarry and it was surprisingly interesting, even to me.  The granite quarry and the sculpting plant are part of the tour.  There was heavy machinery to captivate the children and the views from the top of the quarry over the mountain tops was spectacular.  We also heard that the Cabot Creamery plant was worth a visit.  The beautiful drive to and from was better than the tour and my kids snubbed the free samples asking me where the "two year old cheddar" was, but it was worth the effort. This two year old cheddar question was a reference to an artisan cheese made at Shelburne Farm in Vermont, that the kids all love.  It seems we'll be bringing cheese snobbery with us from Vermont.  We also visited the Champlain Chocolate Factory.  The tour was short and sweet (pun intended).  There was also Ausable Chasm, a spectacular natural wonder right across Lake Champlain in New York. We took the ferry over and were wowed by this miniature Grand Canyon with a powerful waterfall and rapids.  Some of us were too chicken for the raft ride, but we all enjoyed the hike.

Even better than these excursions was our discovery of something I wish we had known about sooner - swimming holes.  These natural potholes, bowls of rock formed by small and large waterfalls, are all over the state.  They're beautiful, great for swimming, and an adventure to find.  The two we visited emptied into shallow river beds that provided hours of fun for the kids - collecting smooth river rocks, searching for crayfish, minnows and other fish, and using their bodies, natural surroundings, and imaginations to entertain themselves.  It's been good, wholesome, summer fun the way our great grandparents would remember.   

After discovering our first swimming whole at Joiner Brook in Bolton, we met someone there who suggested another in Bristol, and while there I met people touring all of Vermont's best swimming holes.  If only there were more summer days in Vermont to fit them all in.

This month, among other things, I learned that I should act like a tourist in my own town all the time.  In the past weeks I have seen, truly seen with appreciative eyes, more of Vermont than I have in all the years I have lived here.

Our truck is being loaded as I write this.  While I am sure that Maryland will provide as much adventure and fun as The Green Mountain state has, we will miss Vermont dearly. 

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