Vermont & New Hampshire Adventure, Day 1 | September 6, 2016 | Driving to and exploring Burlington, VT
In this season of our life, Curtis’ job has extended times of intensive training, followed by weeks of waiting for the next phase to begin. We’re currently in a time of waiting. There’s nothing we can do about it and we have no control over how long this will take, we’re just along for the ride. While this always initially sounds more fun than having long hours of work and dealing with being separated, it can still be just as much as a challenge because Curtis is anxious to start doing what he signed up to do. Of course, once work starts up, we’ll be missing these sweet days together, so right now our main goal is to take advantage of them while we can. Some days we feel guilty that we’ve been given so much free time, but we have to remember that we’re going to be making up for this someday, and for as long as our commitment with the Military continues.
Because we know we’ll have plenty of time to be stuck in New York with no time for leave…we’re going out and exploring New England as much as we can! Last year when we were driving back from Curtis’ OCS Graduation, we drove through the Southern Green Mountains in Vermont and fell in love with the area. We knew right away that we wanted to spend some time there. We had also heard that the White Mountains of New Hampshire were amazing. We decided to spend one full week driving through, hiking, and camping in the mountains. We only made 2 hotel reservations, one for the first night and one for the last, packed up all our camping gear and food, and set off on our next great adventure!
For the first day of vacation, we left in the afternoon and drove to Burlington, Vermont. We entered VT in Fairhaven on highway 4, then drove North on state route 22A.
We fell in love with the countryside almost immediately. Everything about this drive was wonderful. The homes were nicely spread apart on big acreages, each house unique and with that “old farmhouse charm”. The land varied from being flat and perfect for gardens, to big open pastures, to heavily forested with rolling hills. As we drove further North, we had stunning views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks across the water. We were ready to just pull over, pick out a home and just live there forever. We kept asking “Why is Vermont so perfect??” And that is, in a word, how we would describe this drive, as well as many others on this trip: Perfect.
We reached Burlington around 5, checked in to our hotel, and waited a bit to hopefully wait out the rush hour traffic. Burlington is the biggest city in Vermont, with a population of 24 thousand people. Vermont itself is the 49th most populated state — I mean, I know it’s a smaller state, but it isn’t the smallest one and so much of it is mountains and countryside, so we were starting to think that this could be “the one”. The one we could settle down and grow old in. (I KNOW they get bad winters, so obviously we haven’t gone and put an offer on a property yet, but it’s still an option we’ll seriously consider…)
Around 6, we headed downtown, parked, and started a little walking tour of the city. First stop, Battery Park to see another Whispering Giant statue! This is the 16th one we’ve seen!
Curtis tried to find a few letterboxes around here, but they were hidden in pretty bad spots and came up missing. This is when we discovered the thing we don’t like about Vermont: the cities. Honestly, we weren’t impressed with the downtown area or this waterfront park. The only part that felt clean and like it was meant to be visited and enjoyed was Church Street, where it was closed to traffic so there were only people shopping, eating, and walking around. It was mostly just shops and restaurants though — our favorite part of visiting cities or towns is finding historical districts, pretty architecture, and seeing courthouses. It’s all a matter of opinion obviously, but this city wasn’t for us. After reaching the end of the pedestrian section on Church Street, we decided to leave and go check out a different park.
We made it to Oakledge Park just in time for sunset, and that kind of made up for things. There were a couple of boats in the water and people having picnics, but we found a nice spot out on the rocky shore to be alone and enjoy the sunset and the lake. After that, we dropped Charlotte off at the hotel and went out hoping to find some good local food, but didn’t have any luck with the places we tried and ended up at a Denny’s. Oh well. We were really looking forward to what was to come and were glad to be getting away from society for a few days! But first, our last night in a warm bed for the next 5 days. At this point, I had never camped so many nights in a row in my life, and I was mentally preparing myself for that and wondering what I had gotten myself into. More on that (and how we survived) later!