Wednesday, October 20, 2021

More Unexpected Fun in Eastern New York

August 11, 2021                                                              Most Recent Posts:
Camping on the Battenkill                                Wandering Around Vermont
Arlington, Vermont                                         The Trail to Lake Paran Take Two

It has been unusually hot here in Vermont.  I know it is August but I wasn’t expecting 88 degrees here.  It felt like 98.

I’ve been looking for a shuttle to enable me to kayak the Battenkill River since I arrived and found that I cannot put in here at the campground as I was hoping.  The river is too low here.

I found a place called Vermont River Runners but not much information on them other than an address which said they were not too far from here down route 313 which runs along the Battenkill River into New York.   On my way there, I drove by the Arlington Covered Bridge near the former home of Norman Rockwell that I talked about earlier.  It has a put in but the problem is how to get back.

Eaglesville Covered Bridge

IMG_20210811_140929693When I entered New York I finally gave up on finding the River Runners. I knew there were four covered bridges in New York relatively near by and, though I struggled with an intermittent phone signal for google maps, I was able to locate two of them. 


IMG_20210811_140946005_HDRThe Eagleville Covered Bridge was great! Though it was a Wednesday, lots of people were jumping into the river from the bridge’s pilings and a rope swing.  I assume these were local folks who know all about this.

The Eaglesville Bridge was built by Ephraim W. Clapp in 1858 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in March of 1978.  It is a single span Towne Truss design  of 100 feet over the Battenkill River.  It is owned and maintained by the county

Eagleville bridge
In March of 1977, just prior to its registry, high water on the Battenkill undermined the east abutment dropping the bridge into the river.  Somehow a county bridge crew diverted the river and saved the bridge.  Apparently it took quite a twist when it went down but Towne Lattice Trust proved to be flexible and resilient.  It was repaired and over the years has been resided, reroofed and repainted a number of times.  The last rehabilitation was 2006-2007.  Hats off to the county for such dedication.

On both sides of the bridge kids were having a grand time as you can see.


What great memories they are making.  Wish I’d had something like this for hot summer days.  Did you?



IMG_20210811_143755397Despite my internet mapping troubles, I managed to find a second bridge only 2.2 miles away but it was “closed”.  It is owned not by the county but by the town of Shushan where it is located right next to the regular bridge which replaced it.  It is not in nearly as good repair as the Eaglesville owned by the county.   The sign on the bridge made me laugh.  I assume that was original sign and the original spelling from 1858.  It is now a museum of farm tools donated by the town’s people.  From these pictures it is difficult to tell how long it is.


On the left side of the bridge it says Hours 1-4 Season.  I later read it is not open on Monday but I was here on a Wednesday during those hours and it was closed up tight.  You’d think August would be the season.  I really would like to have gone inside given its length.


                      The 2012 picture below was borrowed from and shows the length.  It really is LONG.

Shushan bridge

The bridge was originally built by Milton & James Stevens also in  1858.  It too was listed on the National Historic Register in 1978.  It also crosses the Battenkill and is a 161 foot long two span structure of the Towne Lattice Truss design.

Across from the bridge was Salem District # 6 School house now a also a museum, also closed.


I thought since I’d fallen unintentionally into visiting New York area covered bridges I would go on and see the other two here in Washington County but my internet/mapping wouldn’t cooperate.  I had their names but no directions.  I later learned that they were  4 miles and 12 miles away from Shushan.   There are a total of 5 covered bridges within 24 miles west of the campground and 4 others south near Bennington.  Truly a great area for covered bridges.   Today I’d inadvertently gone by 3 of them and was sorry to have to turn back without seeing the other two.

Another example of an unexpected afternoon excursion in Vermont.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Wandering Around in Vermont

August 9, 2021                                                          Most Recent Posts:
Camping on the Battenkill                          The Trail to Lake Paran Take Two
Arlington Vermont                                       The Bridges of Bennington County

One of the things I love about being on the road is that there is always something new to do every day.  Some days, like today, surprises show up.

IMG_9055First off I wanted to check out Bullhead Pond to see if it was a potential kayak spot since it is only about 12 miles north just beyond Manchester.

I was amazed to get this shot of an overhead fisherman.

I determined that Bullhead was very small but had an easy put in so I would return one morning for a quiet paddle.  From there I headed further north to Lake St Catherine’s State Park another 26 miles to Poultney Vermont.

Lake Saint Catherine’s is, the opposite of Bullhead, it’s a very big lake – 852 acres.  The 117 acre state park is on one end and there are private homes all along further down.  It’s definitely large enough for interesting kayaking.  I didn’t see any power boats today but there must be on week ends at least.

I was surprised to find so few people here today but it was early yet.

I took the trail from the beach area to the 50 site campground.





At one end of the campground is a very adequate boat launch but they do not allow parking in the lot so I’m not sure what folks with large boats and trailers do even if they are staying in the campground.

I’d have to drive the kayak here, drop it off, drive the car back to the main lot and then walk back here.  Could be done.

Notice the small white building on the far side shore of the lake.

It appears to be a very interesting private home.  For sure I’ll come back and kayak here and check it out from the water.


Walking around the campground I found several lovely sites large enough for Winnona.  The problem would be figuring out how to get here without going through the multiple round abouts in Manchester.  I could do it, but I’d rather not.  And of course there are no hook ups here.


Back at the beach, more people had shown up.  I got my beach chair and, down by the water, ate the lunch I’d packed.  I then asked about launching the kayak on the beach and was told that would be fine.  It would be a bit of trouble to get it from the parking lot to the shore but it’s doable and easier than the boat launch.   I’m looking forward to returning.


On my trip back, I drove through the small village of Wells and it was so cute and so Vermont that I stopped and took these pictures.

The Wells United Methodist Church has what looks like a golden dome.  Pretty fancy

Unfortunately for me the little town library was closed at 1pm today.

IMG_9081 Wells Library

Another picturesque church was Wells Episcopal. I noticed that both are simply nearly identical small buildings of approximately the same size and shape but differently ornamented.  And always white.

Luckily every village has a country store.  That’s no longer true in Virginia.  Many of the wonderful small country stores have been forced to close.  Notice the extended entry to keep the cold winter weather out before entering the real door to the store.


Driving down Route 30 back toward Manchester I passed this large pristine road heading into the hills and thought, what a great picture of Vermont.


What I didn’t know until I looked at the pictures was that a heart had been mowed into the field. 


Isn’t it sweet?  I just never know what I’m going to find.  I wonder if down the road is a wedding venue.  If there was a sign, I didn’t take a photograph of it and this far removed can’t remember.  A serious problem when I get so far behind on my posts.

IMG_9124Driving down Route 30 just south of Dorset I found another surprise.  I saw a large parking lot which I thought might belong to a park, maybe hiking trails. 

So I pulled in and found there was a gatekeeper charging $15 to park for the day to visit the Dorset Quarry.  The attendant, Gary, was kind enough to let me pull in and look around at no charge.  I learned from the sign he’s pointing to that between 1785 and 1926 more than two dozen quarries in South and East Dorset produced more than 15 million cubic feet of marble from the Shelbourne Marble Formation and employed as many as 300. 

I climbed the small hill to take a look.


What a surprise.  I was amazed at the size of the blocks.  A water playground.




IMG_9117This quarry is recognized as the first marble quarry in the United States.  At first the quarries on the slopes of Dorset Mountain provided small blocks for lintels, hearths, doorsills and headstones but by 1839 they were supplying larger blocks used in the construction of buildings such as the New York Public Library, the Montreal Museum of Fine Art and the Harvard Medical School.  Demand for marble decreased in the early 20th century and Dorset quarries ceased operation in 1920.  The quarry has been a popular swimming hole since 1922.

Based on the screams from those jumping in when they hit the water, it is VERY COLD!  I noticed that few people stayed in the water very long, but I’m betting the marble heats up nicely in the sun so they can warm up.


Really looks like fun doesn’t it?


IMG_9118Gary told me the quarry has gone through many owners and had been left overgrown, gated and in serious disrepair until recently when the new owner cleaned it up and reopened it.  No small task or expense according to Gary.

Clearly folks are having a great time.  At first I thought the $15 was mighty high and it is for a solo person like me but others can bring a car full of people and spend the day as many were doing.    What great fun and a great spot for families and teens during the summer.

IMG_9125On my way back through Manchester I stopped at Nature’s Market to pick up a few things not available in the regular grocery store especially some vegan sour cream for Pam’s Mushroom Stroganoff which I love.  I was thrilled to find that unlike everywhere else I’d been, they had it.

I’m not a wine drinker but they had what looked to me like a huge inventory of organic wines.


Last stop of the afternoon was at Cold Cow Creamery where I paid what I thought was the outrageous sum of $7.50 for two scoops of ice cream.  They were doing a brisk business on this mid 80’s afternoon.  High temps for Vermont and again today VERY HUMID.



I thought this would be my first and only stop at Cold Cow Creamery until I saw this sign.


As I left this Oldsmobile Toronado pulled in.  What a color!  That can’t be an original color. Can it?  If you are a car buff, and know the answer, let me know.   David would have loved this so I took its picture and post it here in his honor and for you Roger.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, what I love about being on the road is all the things I see and experience both expected and unexpected.  Though I really miss having someone to share it all with which is one of the reasons I so appreciate your comments.

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Trail to Lake Paran Take Two

August 9, 2021                                                               Most Recent Posts:
Camping on the Battenkill                           The Bridges of Bennington County
Arlington, Vermont                                           Robert Frost’s Stone House

On Monday I went back to the Robert Frost Stone House to do the trail I had abandoned previously.  See the previous Robert Frost Stone House Post above for details.  This time I was armed with my phone and insect repellent.  It was scheduled to be in the 80’s but I thought being in the woods, it would be fine.

The Robert Frost trail head goes directly off the parking lot for the Robert Frost Stone House.  It is described as a 2 mile footpath that ends at Lake Paran in North Bennington.  Somehow the word footpath is more charming than trail. 

The trail’s first mile is on the Frost property begins as a mowed field path,  goes by the remnants of his apple orchard and the sign at the trailhead said through his stand of red pines. I didn’t see a stand of pines so I wonder how old the information sign is. 

I did see narrow brushy paths which eventually led into the woods.  Unfortunately for me the heat in Vermont in the 80’s feels like Virginia or Florida in the 90’s.  The humidity was sweat producing and the mosquitoes were again very bothersome.  

Of course in the woods there was fungi.  This was quite a large colony.




Strangely, the woods did not provide mosquito relief.  This is really the first place and turned out to be the only place the mosquitoes were a real nuisance.


I was back to the very narrow brushy paths when I reached the bridge over Paran Creek which is at mile 1.15 or about half way.



On the other side of the creek “two roads diverged”.  I decided to make it a loop trail by taking the high road first and the low road back.  On the sign, the high road had been described as offering “long views before heading back down to the lake”.  Hope to see the green mountains in the distance.

No views from up here.  At least not for someone 5 foot tall.

No views from here

But I thought Mother Nature’s lichen was very artistic.


Finally on the way back down there were some  obstructed views of the lake  through the trees but the long views of perhaps mountains I was hoping for were not anywhere.  Further evidence that the sign is old and out of date.


At the bottom of the hill a boardwalk began and went along the lake to the public beach.





IMG_9015While putting this post together, I was surprised to find that these were the only pictures I took of the beach area where I remember people were swimming and there was a concession stand.  I spoke with two women who had taken the low road and was sure I had taken pictures there but if so, they weren’t on my camera.  Suffice it to say that being in the water on the beach or playing on this slide would have been much better than battling mosquitoes in the heat on the “footpath”.


After wishing I was wearing a swimming suit under my hiking clothes, I headed back on the low road.


Look carefully in the picture below for the shite dot in the middle of the photo beyond the cloud reflection.


It’s one of two waterfowl I saw on my return walk.


This was the only impediment on the trail other than the narrowness of some of the areas of overgrowth.  Tick habitat I fear but I was well dressed for it with long pants and long sleeves despite the hot for Vermont weather.


On the return trip I stopped for a bit on the lovely bridge.




It is beautifully built and a wonderful place to sit and ponder the poetry of Frost posted there.



If you’ve read my previous post on the Frost Stone House then you know why this poem was posted here but I still think it should have The Road Not Taken since there are two choices of “roads” as you hike toward the Lake, the high road and the low road.   Not sure that either one makes all the difference though.


With the heat, humidity and bothersome mosquitoes, even though it was a very nice hike which I would be happy to do it again on a day with less of all those things, I was very glad to see the farm and the end of the  trail.