Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Coffee, Wine And Nearly Ice Cream In Vermont.

We liked New Hampshire with its dramatic mountains and "notches" as the passes are called, and we enjoyed Vermont with its more rolling hills packed into a tiny size, measured by us crossing in three hours from New Hampshire to Burlington and we weren't trying to hurry. Monday was to be devoted to checking out the area around the university town of Burlington. Forty minutes into our exploratory dog walk rain stopped play, huge icy drops that had even the locals running for cover.
Well, we said, let's find a museum or something indoors, and a passerby mentioned Shelburne Museum down Highway 7, so nothing loathe, off we went. And of course it was pouring rain and the museum is lovely but is scattered across the fields so we said sod this lets get lunch. Soup, sandwich and coffee restored us and we, being flexible, decided to go wine tasting instead.
Our baseline for tasting wine is Napa California where we used to go decades ago in the early days of wine's popularity. But we have visited wineries as far away as Eger in Hungary, Orvieto in Italy and as unexpected as Homestead, a Florida so to find wine bring made this far from Napa doesn't faze us. We enjoyed the low key, snobbery-free wines on offer in this little state with the big views.
Driving Vermont us half the fun with narrow winding toads just crying out for a motorcycle, not that we encountered very many, but I thoroughly enjoyed the UnFlorida curves and twists, and the greenery all around and above us, glimpsed through the sunroof.
The Fourth of July just past added some bright colors along the way as we hunted down the valley where chocolate, cheese, coffee and ice cream are produced in this industrious state.
Green Mountain Coffee claims a corporate conscience, of the sort the Walton family could never learn to emulate and they produce a very drinkable coffee at the same time. Their café and and oublic access is in this railway building attached to the working station of Waterbury on the line between Burlington and Montpelier.
We went inside and got free samples, and checked the usual dust catchers in display.
They had artifacts produced in distant countries where Green Mountain us working to create jobs and local economies. Layne shopped with a conscience..!
While Cheyenne was her usual patient self.

The coffee making prices I found fascinating, explained in film...
...and with actual beans from the manufacturing process.
With a reminder that Green Mountain does well by doing good.
We sat around outside as they shut up shop and enjoyed the coffees we bought. It was a pleasant spot overlooking the park in Waterbury.
Then we removed ourselves to see that other Vermont icon in action, though I have to say that when we pulled into the parking lot we were swarmed by a sea of jolly visitors mostly pre-teenagers and we took one look at each other and said "some other time." I fear I shall live to regret not checking out how they make their delightful ice cream.
The road back to Burlington was plunging into darkness in the valley, looking lovely and menacing at the same time.
On the chore of Lake Champlain the sun was still high enough to make it daylight as websites for the Plattsburgh ferry, a 15 minute ride to New York at a dollar a minute. It runs every ten minutes 24 hours a day so I must suppose lots of people want to cross the northern tip of the lake though where they go and why I couldn't say.
We were planning a long day's drive to Syracuse to see friends so we wanted an easy start on the New York side of the lake.
It was a twenty minute drive once we landed to get to the La Quinta in Plattsburgh, our jumping off point for our drive through the Adirondacks.
Our early morning walk revealed mainstream shopping once again, acres of parking anonymous chain stores and convenience. Time to take off for the woods once more.