Saturday, October 23, 2021

A Morning with Bullhead Pond’s Green Herons

August 13, 2021                                                     Most Recent Posts:
Camping on the Battenkill         More Unexpected Fun in Eastern New York
Arlington, Vermont                                    Wandering Around Vermont                   

I was out of the house at just after 7 and in the water before 8am.  No one else around.  Just the way I like it.

An earlier post gave a first look at Bullhead Pond and a resolve to go back since although it was small, it had an easy put in and was close by.  That’s what I did with my morning.  I seem to get less and less enamored with driving.

It was early and light but the sun was not really on the pond when I began my paddle.


Is it an Eastern Phoebe flitting around?


I wonder how long before these pond lilies take over the entire surface.  Ultimately they become impossible to paddle through.


The pond has a sign for Vermont Fish & Wildlife but no indication who owns this lone house on the pond’s shore.  Seems like a great place to live.


Along the water’s edge was a lovely buttonbush.   It’s a native perennial with a very wide range from Nova Scotia to Florida.  Its flower is a favorite of butterflies and its ultimately deep red buttons are a favorite food of ducks and other waterfowl.



My kind of hitch hiker.

After paddling around the edge of the pond and seeing only the things pictured above, I wondered what to do now.  Then I saw some movement on the edge of the shore a bit away from me.  Zooming in with my camera, I located this green heron.

I spent a very long time watching him strike his various poses.  His coloring is particularly striking.

He almost seems to be say “SO what do you want?” though I wasn’t close enough to bother him.


But I was close enough for my previous friend or another of the same species to give me the eye.


Looking back in the direction of the first heron, I saw movement to the left and found two more greens.


I’m wondering if this is a family?   Dad’s out hunting?  Mom’s with junior near by?  Or am I anthropomorphizing again?


Not sure you can see how far apart they were, my colored circles are a bit light.  But the red one on the left circles these two above and the gold one on the right circles the lone green heron.  Look closely and tell me if you can spot them.


Looks like he’s fishing.




I stayed much longer than I might have at this little tranquil spot watching the herons.  In the mean time several folks had come up to where I put in with their fishing poles to try for the largemouth bass, perch and bullhead the Vermont Fish and Wildlife sign says you might find there.

A lovely morning before heading home for lunch and the various errands of life.  But this paddle was a great way to start the day.


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.