2011 Vacation: Day Thirteen: Into Vermont

Leaving Franconia Notch area heading to Vermont
Leaving Franconia Notch area heading to Vermont

We left Lincoln, NH, after a huge breakfast involving blueberry pancakes and blueberry syrup.  The weather was sunny and warm, so the views were terrific.

The Cabot Cheese visitor's center
The Cabot Cheese visitor's center

Our first stop was the factory tour for Cabot cheese.  The tour was minimalist, but we did get to see cheddar in the making and learn the difference between curds and whey.  Cabot is a farmers’ cooperative, so all the farmers who participate in the co-op get a share of the profits at the end of the year.  We also learned that more aging makes cheddar sharper.  Average, run-of-the-mill cheddar ages two to four months.  Extra sharp ages about twelve months.  Some of their more “select” cheese is actually aged in caves not far from the factory.  They had lots of cheeses to sample while awaiting the tour, and we walked away with quite a few blocks of the cheese.

Apparently there are not very many residents of Vermont; note this license plate number!
Apparently there are not very many residents of Vermont; note this license plate number!

We found this license plate very funny.  Look at the number: four!  Where have you ever seen a single-digit license plate?

There are two competing stories of how Vermont got its name.  The first claims that a Dr. Peters, saw Mount Killington and christened the area “verd mont” in 1763.  The second lore traces the name to a letter from a Dr. Young to friends in which he calls the area Vermont in 1777.  It seems to me that both could be true.

The Ben and Jerry's ice cream visitor's center
The Ben and Jerry's ice cream visitor's center

Our next stop was the Ben and Jerry’s factory tour.  We enjoyed the stop, but frankly we’ve been on much better factory tours.  The introductory movie was more about Ben and Jerry’s commitment to left-leaning ideas than it was about how ice cream is made.  The Blue Bell tour in Texas was a better tutorial on the production process.  After a small sample of ice cream at the end of the tour, we got back on the road.

Moss Glen Falls, the most photographed falls in Vermont
Moss Glen Falls, the most photographed falls in Vermont

Along route 100 and complete unmarked are the Moss Glen Falls.  We were looking for it but missed it the first time.  There was a pull off, but no marking whatsoever.  These are purported to be the “most photographed falls” in Vermont.  Given the single-digit license plate number and the fact that the falls are unmarked, I’m not sure what would constitute the “most photographed.”  In any event, the falls were quite spectacular and were in fact two sets of falls 50 feet apart from each other.

Texas Falls in Green Mountain National Forest
Texas Falls in Green Mountain National Forest

We took a detour off the scenic highway into the Green Mountain National Forest to see the Texas Falls.  When we first approached the falls, they were mostly hidden, so they didn’t look like much.  As we got closer, however, the crevasse cut through the rock seemed to open up, revealing their full extent.

The Texas Falls
The Texas Falls

We were standing on a walking bridge to take these pictures.  Interestingly, just on the down-stream side of the bridge, we could see the rock in the picture below.  Look how the falling water has cut this nearly circular path through the rock.

See how the falls have carved this rock!
See how the falls have carved this rock!

Vermont seems a lot more “blue,” leftist, Commie, and Hippie than I expected.  This is general impression based on the bumper stickers and signs I have seen hanging around.  I would have expected a place involved in so much hunting, fishing, and agriculture to be more conservative.  (On the other hand, New Hampshire seems more conservative than I expected.)  My buddy Mark, who grew up in Vermont, said it wasn’t like this in the past, but he seemed to validate my impression of the current state of affairs, commenting that Vermont is becoming a “welfare state.”

We stayed for the night near Mount Killington.  This is a ski resort area, so in August, it seems pretty dead.  We ate dinner at an Irish pub and came back to the room to finish a game of Phase 10 that we started yesterday.  I won, which made Sam pout, since Phase 10 is her game.

Tomorrow we’ll be doing a couple of hikes and then heading to Massachusetts, where we’ll be going to a Six Flags.  Our vacation is drawing to a close, which is sad.

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