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Vermont Gathering Pg 4

On Friday were some more tourist type activity. Cori & family had done the Alpine Slide and the Gondola earlier in the week. The gondola did not get a great report, mostly because it was so hot. The slide, though, had a more favorable review. So those who were still there (a few people left on Thursday) and wanted to join us went on the slide. As it turns out, that was only Matt, Emily, Jimmy, Ted, and Craig. The slide was very fun. And I was just as slow as I had been the last time I went on one of those.

We then drove along Scenic Route 108 to the rest area on the other side of the mountain. This has a nice view, although still too hazy to really show it.

Some of the men in the group decided to test their balance walking along the fence. They all did well. Passing each other on the top of the fence was a bit of a challenge, though.

We then stopped at Smugglers' Notch. The smugglers' cave is here. As you can see, the clouds were very low that day. The cave is not so much a true cave as a spot under huge slabs of rock. The temperature in the cave was noticeably cooler than outside it.

There was a great rock between the regular parking lot and the overflow lot where we parked. A couple of us climbed it. (We don't have a picture of Jimmy at the top, but he was there.)

Our next stop was lunch. We decided to go to another tourist must-see, the Von Trapp Lodge. We ate at what they call the Tea House. We had gotten a favorable report on the food from our taste testers, Cori, Jeremy, Nicki, & Keagan.

The utensils they used were called Tater Ware, which are biodegradable. I've put them in water, but don't see much of a difference yet, after one week. On their website, they state "Home composting 70 to 90 days must be fractured".

The lodge itself is an upscale hotel.

In the gift shop was a yodeling stuffed goat. This is the type of thing that half way through the adults are looking for the off switch. But there were two young boys there who were just fascinated by it, and had their mother press the button multiple times. Cori told us that Nicki & Keagan were also very interested in it. (It actually wasn't too bad.) For those who want to see it in action:

you-tube link

After arriving back at the lodge, aA few of us walked up the road before supper and Stowehoff Inn. It was a very nice location. The pub there was a '70's theme', which probably just means they haven't wanted to update the decor. The movie The Four Seasons was filmed here. That evening (Friday) were some games and relaxing back at the lodge.

On Saturday, Dad, Cristina, and Carman left, along with Tim, Kate, Janson, Owen, Jeff, Shiela & kids. So the folks left were Ted, Craig, Cori, Jeremy, Nicki, Keagan, Matt, Emily, Jimmy, Paul, Anne, Nancy, and Becky. Some people (Jeff, Tim, Ted, others) played disc golf that morning. Matt, Emily, Paul and I decided to hike from Smugglers' Notch to Sterling Pond. This is a really nice hike. It is steep, but the footing is very good and it is not particularly long (1.2 miles). It is also a very pretty hike.


Along the way we met the McNamara clan hiking. Paul and I enjoyed keeping Jack company for a while, talking about wine.

The pond was lovely and popular (particularly since this was a Saturday).

Past the pond the hiking book said that there is an outlook. This is true. It is actually the top of some ski runs associated with Smugglers' Notch. (The sun was really bright, hence our squints.)

There is a 'hut' there, with an interesting sign outside of it (which Matt proceeded to flaunt). Inside was a couch suspended on rope. Rather odd.

I never knew that ski lifts were counterbalanced for tension.

A couple pictures from our descent:

Ted wanted to go to a brew pub for supper. For some reason, Nicki and Keagan weren't interested, so they stayed back at the lodge with Cori, Jeremy, Nancy, and Becky.

The rest of us went to Waterbury and The Alchemist Pub and Brewer. There was a slight wait for a table, so we wandered around Waterbury, stopping on the deck of another place.

Back at the Alchemist, the beer was good (although not as good as the one in Burlington in my very unexpert opinion). The tempeh sandwich I had was spectacular. Emily ordered a Pineapple Gaspacho Soup. She dipped her bread in, took a bite, and declared that she would not be able to eat it. Matt, Ted, and Craig did manage to eat it. However, it was incredibly garlicky, they report. We could smell it.

Matt was sporting a beard for the week.

We left Sunday morning and went to The Dutch Pancake Cafe. Thanks to Tim for recommending it. Not inexpesive, but very good and different. Both Paul and I ordered the Blueberry and Banana Dutch Pancake. In case you don't know what a Dutch pancake is, or if you want to create one for yourself:

Dutch Pancake Recipe

You-Tube how-to video


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August 2009