Monday, June 7, 2010

Vermont scenery

Saturday, June 5 - Just as we had hoped, we saw some fantastic scenery as we drove through Vermont. Here are some highlights:

Pancakes and ice cream

Saturday, June 5 - The goal of our last Saturday of the trip was to see a lot of Vermont, and to get some tasty ice cream from Ben & Jerry's. However, we kicked it off with an added bonus: breakfast at a Burlington highlight, The Skinny Pancake. Not only do they make all kinds of sweet and savory crepes, but they were also the venue that night for our new favorite band, Holy Ghost Tent Revival. Too bad we couldn't stay a second night.

We took a quick walk through town before heading to the second most important destination for Sandy on this trip (after L.L. Bean in Freeport): Ben & Jerry's factory in Waterbury, VT. Sandy knows how to pick 'em. L.L. Bean is the most visited tourist destination in Maine, and Ben & Jerry's is the most visited destination in Vermont.

The first thing that you do on the tour at B&J's is to watch the MOO-vie of the history of the company. That's after you take the Vanilla-vator up to the second floor, if you don't want to take the stairs. After you see the factory, you then get a nice-sized sample. Today's flavor: Oatmeal Cookie Crunch.

After the tour, our last stop was the Flavor Graveyard behind the factory, where there's a tombstone for every flavor that has gone to meet its maker. Every flavor has it's own poem, such as:

Wild Maine Blueberry (1990-1992):
Wild Maine Blueberry
From the land of the puffin
Now when we crave you
We turn to the muffin.


Peanuts! Popcorn! (2000-2000)
Peanuts! Popcorn!
Mix 'em in a pot!
Plop 'em in your ice cream!
Well, maybe not.

Pimp Mobile

We almost forgot to tell you about the rental car. When we picked up the car at Alamo in Stamford, CT, they told us they were giving us a free upgrade. And we sure got an upgrade. I tell ya, those pimps in Maine were sure jealous of our wheels. Not only was it a new car, we also had the new, orange, New York license plates on it. And we even got comments on the plates. We were at a gas station in Vermont right before the Canadian border on our way to Montreal, and the guy from the car in front of me said, "Whatdaya think about those new New York plates?"

We thought this shot in Acadia National Park was particularly appropriate for the road trip, since we were parked right in front of one of those Cruise America rental RVs (aka 1-800-RV4RENT), which we saw everywhere on our previous two road trips in the national parks in the west. Ah, the memories.

Road Trip 2010 conclusion update:
Final road stats:
68.57 gallons of gas. 1800 miles. Gas price range: $2.69 (Holden, ME) to 3.09 (Darien, CT). 26.25 mpg. Not too bad for that big ride.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jazz Fest in Burlington

Friday, June 4 - We couldn't have timed our arrival in Burlington more perfectly. We were pleasantly surprised to find the town rockin' as we drove into downtown -- it was the first night of the 10-day Burlington Jazz Festival! One of the main streets through town, Church Street, is now a
pedestrian mall, and that's where all the action was happening. The first band we saw was Jesse Dee, right in front of City Hall.

After we grabbed a drink and somthing to eat at one of the outdoor cafes, we bumped into another performance going on by a band that literally had the crowd jumping. These guys were mesmerizing to watch. The band is called Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and they have a jazzy, bluesy, bluegrassy, New Orleans-y feel, and they had more energy and excitement than you can imagine.

A picture cannot do these guys justice, so take a look at the video below. It's hard to see in the video, but these guys had so much energy that the stage and tent were shaking. It wouldn't have been shocking if the stage had collapsed. Take a look. The sound isn't that great, but if you watch it all the way through, you can see how they had the crowd in the palm of their hands.

Back to Vermont

Friday, June 4 - On our way back to Vermont, we passed a wind farm in rural northern New York. We've had a fondness for the wind turbines since we first encountered them on Road Trip '08.

We crossed over from Vermont to New York via a small bridge in rural Rouses Point, NY which is less than a mile from the Canadian border. Despite the great time we had in Montreal, we turned right. So many more new things to see in Vermont!

There were some beautiful views as we drove south through the islands in the northern part of Lake Champlain. It was a race to get to Burlington before sunset!

Mom's hometown

Friday, June 4 - We had a great visit to my mom's hometown, right on the St. Lawrence River, and were really glad to to spend some time at my aunt's house and have a nice home-cooked lunch. Thanks, Sandy and Don!

Afterward, on our way to Vermont, we drove through the village where my grandfather grew up, and stopped at the road where his family farms were. Great to have a bit of a family history tour on the road trip!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Back to the USA

Friday, June 5 - Leaving Montreal, we headed to Cornwall, Ontario, in order to make a quick visit to my (Ken's) mom's hometown, Massena, New York on the St. Lawrence River and have lunch with my aunt.

This route gave us an unplanned visit to Ontario (sorry for the blurry freeway pic), adding another State/Province to our list. Had an easy trip through customs to arrive back home in the USA.