Sunday, August 26, 2012


Raw food diet class

Irene's flood waters pounded this bridge in Waitsfield

Vermont is among the 10 smallest states in area in the U.S.  With less than 700,000 residents, cows outnumber people 10 to 1.  What it lacks in people and size, it makes up for in beauty.  Lakes, rivers and charming towns cover the Green Mountain state.  We were fortunate to stay in several – Shelburne (just outside Burlington), Montpelier (the only state capital without a McDonald’s), Waitsfield (between Mad River and Sugarbush ski areas), Manchester (with elegant old New England homes) and Chittenden (where we stayed at a lodge on top of a mountain).  
The local swimming hole

It is hard to believe that the most of the state was under water last summer due to Hurricane Irene.  Covered bridges were washed out and roads collapsed.  At one point, every road in Vermont except the 2 major interstate highways were closed due to flooding. It is always amazing and encouraging to see how a land and people rebound from disaster.

View from our room in Manchester
Mountain Top Inn Chittenden

Aside from scenic drives and hikes, we took a class in raw foods one evening.  Many Vermonters are very health conscious, into organic farming and eating.  It is difficult to follow a strict raw food diet on the road but we do our best.  And part of the fun of the class was getting to know some local people.

Along with good weather, we enjoyed staying at several country inns in Vermont.  Now we cross into the neighboring state of New Hampshire.


Friday, August 17, 2012


Tippecanoe restaurant/Studebaker House South Bend
Niagara on the Lake, Ontario Canada
After leaving the Chicago area, we proceeded east via South Bend, Indiana.  While there, we visited the beautiful Notre Dame campus and had lunch at Tippecanoe.  Built in the late 1800's, the 26,000 sq. ft. mansion has 40 rooms and 20 fireplaces.  Now a huge restaurant, it was the showcase home of Clement Studebaker, co-founder of the world's largest wagon manufacturing firm.  Under his sons, the company successfully converted to automobile manufacturing.  

A Tuscan winery on the Niagara on the Lake wine trail
Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks
We then made our way  northeast into Ontario.  We covered Canada from Cape Breton to Vancouver Island in our motorhome but had missed Niagara on the Lake.  Having heard wonderful things about it, we decided to spend a little time there.  It is indeed a charming, idyllic place on the shore of Lake Ontario and surrounded by beautiful vineyards.

Approaching Burlington on the Lake Champlain ferry
Ausable Chasm
Crossing back into New York State, we followed the St. Lawrence Seaway Trail along Lake Ontario, stopping briefly just south of Rochester.  Continuing across New York State, we drove through  the Adirondack Park.  At over 6 million acres, it is the largest park in the contiguous U.S.  Beautiful as it is, we were anxious to get to New England, so we spent just one night at Saranac Lake, had breakfast in Lake Placid (home of the 1982 Winter Olympics) the next morning, made a brief stop at Ausable Chasm, a beautiful 2 mile long sandstone gorge, and proceeded to Lake Champlain and the ferry that would carry us to Burlington, Vermont.