Okay, it’s official. We LOVE Vermont. Granted, she is wearing her beautiful autumn petticoat, but it’s not just the beautiful mountains and quaint towns we love, it’s the people and the vibe. Huge focus on the environment and a pervasive local food movement.
We stayed at North Beach State Park in Burlington. From our campsite, we could walk to the “beach” at Lake Champlain, overlooking the Adirondack Mountains in New York.
Burlington is a college town and has been called one of the most livable small cities in the U.S. Downtown has lots of restaurants, bars, art galleries and shops. There’s also a pedestrian mall with more shops, street vendors and performers. And of course, there is the waterfront at Lake Champlain.
As we went for one of our leaf peeping drives in the area, we found more of the charming covered bridges that Vermont is famous for. In fact, Vermont has the largest number of covered bridges in the United States, there are just over 100! Sadly, during Hurricane Irene two years ago, two covered bridges were destroyed and many sustained some type of damage.
The next day we went to the farmers market, a good size market with lots of great food. Lunch options included Peruvian, African, Indian and others. And we found more great cheese and many options from local farms that focus on sustainability. Many of the offerings were organic as well.
That evening, we went to that most traditional of Vermont activities: the reggae party cruise ;-). We noticed announcements about the cruise at the farmers market. It sounded like a one time deal, as opposed to the typical tourist cruises, and was featuring a singer who was “actually from Jamaica”. We love being on the water and we love reggae, so it was a perfect combination.
We realized that the party was going to take place not on a regular tour boat but on one of the car ferries that goes over to New York – interesting. It had been raining on and off since we arrived in Vermont, but fortunately, this was a perfect afternoon for a sunset cruise. Clear and calm.
And so we set off with lots of college students and a few other older fogies like us. Well, as a genuine island girl I must say the reggae music was just ok, but the setting was fabulous. We watched the sunset from the party ferry, had a few rum punches and danced. A great time.
We continued our leaf peeping by driving out to some other areas near Burlington, including Stowe, a very well known ski area. The back roads of Vermont are stunning. We often would just turn down a random road to see what we would find and more often than not would be rewarded with a beautiful scene.
And we found more of those beautiful covered bridges. Why were these bridges covered anyway?
There are theories that they were covered so the horses wouldn’t get spooked when they realized they were above flowing water, or to protect the flooring from snow. But the real reason is that they were covered to protect the structural members – the trusses. That is why most have lasted so long.
And another thing, the covered bridges were sometimes called “kissing bridges” because couples could kiss in private. So Hector and I decided to stop the car in the middle of one of the bridges that had a sign saying “kissing bridge” and kiss.
A woman was driving to the bridge from the other side and, rather than getting irritated at having to wait, gave us a big thumbs up. I love Vermont.