Lyons Falls, New York: Population = 546, elevation = 800 feet, average January low temp = 8.3, Average July high temp = 76, average sunny days = 161, annual snowfall = 107.7”, annual rainfall = 43.8”, air quality index = 96.4, water quality index = 70, comfort index = 56
Our next stop is in North River. This is too small a town to be listed in the website I go to for stats, so I picked nearby Lyons Falls instead. We did stop in Lyons Falls for the night and it was a small city without much to draw a tourist except a hotel and restaurant. We did explore a bit and found the falls. Right below the falls is a canoe launching site that looked like the start of a scenic day of paddling.
North River is a few miles away and uphill. Along the way, the road runs alongside the Hudson River. Hard to believe that pretty little stream is going to pass through New York City. We leave the highway at a sketchy looking road that soon turns into gravel washboard and we are chugging through deep woods. Ramshackle shacks and tidy cabins slip by as we rumble along. Finally we get to the gate, next to the cemetery, of the hobby farm where our cabin is. The cabin looks like Granny lived there for a long time. It is odd and archaic, but not uncomfortable. Even quaint in some ways. A big dog, a little horse, and lots of fluffy chickens and geese patrol the grounds.
The weather turns very hot and humid for our stay here and the cabin is not air-conditioned. We drive around in our nice cool car, just to escape the heat. Ice cream here, a beer there, sight-seeing all around. On our second day, we rent an inflatable kayak for two and go out paddling on Thirteenth Lake. The wind is cool and brisk, the water is wonderfully chilly and refreshing. Afterwards, we drive up to the top of the mountain to the Garnet Hill Lodge. At the cabin there is not a puff of wind. Up here, there is a cool breeze through the pines and it is very comfortable out on the deck, sipping giant Long Island ice teas, enjoying the view.
South Hero, Vermont: Population = 1917, elevation = 110 feet, average January low temp = 9.9, Average July high temp = 81, average sunny days = 159, annual snowfall = 51.6”, annual rainfall = 32.4”, air quality index = 92.8, water quality index = 70, comfort index = 56
Our next cabin is on an island in Lake Champlain. This is not one of the Great Lakes, but, at 124 miles long, it is still pretty great. The weather is still steamy but there is a fresh breeze off the lake and a dock I can and do jump off.
TripAdvisors has a very short list of Things To Do in South Hero, so we set off to check them out. The Snow Farm Winery offer tastings and, occasionally concerts. No concert today, but lots of wines. Sorry, I am a beer drinker and, to me, a taste is about 2 ounces. This guy gives us about enough wine to float a gnat and talks about berries and cherries and nose.
At least we got good directions to the beach from Wine Guy. TripAdvisor was miles off. The beach is a nice mix of sandy and rocky, sunny and shady. For some reason, one of the locals has tacked colorful birdhouses to all of the nearby trees. And there is a dinosaur in the forest.
The next day we are off to see Michelle and Chris, marylu’s niece and her husband. They live nearby in Winooski, a suburb of Burlington. The company is fine and the dinner is excellent and, for a special treat for the out-of-staters, we go out for creemees. For the uninitiated, this is an ice milk soft serve, like Dairy Queen, but flavored with real Vermont maple syrup. Delicious. After our cones, we are just in time to go catch sunset at the very popular lookout at Battery Park.
We have more family to see while we are here. Joey and Andy live in Montpelier, the smallest population of the capitol cities in the USA, with only 7,855. During our travels, we enjoy touring state capitols, so we spot the dome and head for it. It is oddly deserted and nobody answers our knock on the door. Turns out August 16th is Bennington Battle Day in Vermont, a legal holiday celebrating a battle in 1777.
The weather has turned to a steady light rain, but we are meeting in a nature park with a shelter so our picnic is fine and it is great fun catching up. The rain comes and goes throughout but lets off just before we leave. On the way home, the floodgates open and the rain pounds down in sheets and buckets. It is a long slow slosh back to our island. Vermont is the seventh highest state as far as taxes, but I am not seeing much of that on the Interstate. The lines are old and faded and there are no lights. It is a white knuckle drive that seems to take forever.
A day or two in the mountains without air conditioning or cell phone service is probably enough to last me a long time. On the beach in Vermont is a much more comfortable place. A little isolated, but it was only a 20 minute drive to Burlington and all the Vermonter goodies there. Nice place to visit, but too far North and too much winter to suit my clothes.
Next up: Quebec City, Quebec