Awesome Weekend #3

We enjoyed such a great four weeks in Lake Champlain that I’m very glad to keep a log, otherwise the too frequent senior moments would win out.  Benj had to assist with the morning Farm Market so we made plans for the late afternoon and evening.

The Middlebury Co-op was our second stop, after donating a bag of books to a huge used book shop. Benj had told me about powdered humus that you reconstitute with water/oil to turn it back into “real” hummus. He said it was very good and I thought it was an ideal boat item; long-lasting and you can make just the amount you want when you need to. Picked up a bunch of other non-perishables and checked out the new huge deli “and more” section which was due to open in a few days.

We wanted to stroll and shop in downtown so Benj headed home and we enjoyed a pleasant walk. Russ obtained another birthday gift while I hunted for a card; our sneaky gift acquisition plan working like a charm.

Dinner at American Flatbread in the MarbleWorks was long overdue. It hadn’t made the cut in prior visits to Vermont, and since they were closed Sundays we had to plan for a Saturday night.

I don’t know, forget the food just focus on the creative and delicious cocktails you can find on nearly every menu throughout Vermont; Rutland, Middlebury and the surrounding town, yes, Burlington too. I settled on a New York Sour, which was not described, and wow, just wow!  I wanted bourbon instead of whiskey though. The sour mix was not your usual heavy “too this or that”, it had to be homemade. So that and the bourbon, in a glass with a huge round iceball (I can’t call it a cube), topped with a Malbec floater.  I had to look it up to be sure it’s a real drink and not just an American Flatbread creation.

My New York Sour with a huge round ice ball was divine!!

Ok, then we ate pizza. 🙂

Dinner for four- one large and one small. The young ones took home leftovers- not that much was left.

We had walked from downtown- yep all of a six-minute walk. Benj and Lily walked from home, so that meant a walk back for all. Warm and lovely evening, perfect to walk.

Sunday: Russ had been wanting to hike and Mt Philo was very close and not too strenuous. I opted out as the long hike around Valcour bruised my left big toe under the nail; the same sneaks that ruined my right big toe nail last September. Plus, father-son time was rather overdue and I had some things I needed to get done.

View from Mt Philo. Gorgeous. So much green, so many mountains. Farmland too

The view proved amazing, the temperature on the cool side; perfect for a guys’ hike. And since we seem to follow up pleasant outings and meals with a grocery stop, this would be no exception. Of course Benj selected the veggie items. He also selected several items for his lunch; more than I could eat in four meals! He, and all the farm crew, burn so many calories that they have to focus hard on consuming enough calories every day. Peanut butter, honey, huge salads are common because eating healthy is important. So proud of this guy!

The guys returned and we got to hang out with our son for a couple more hours. Life IS good.

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Vergennes-8/24- More than one way to get there

Sunbathing turtles in Otter Creek

Vermont’s smallest and oldest city is named for Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes. His hatred for the British led him to support the American rebel colonists in the Revolutionary War. At the War’s end he negotiated the 1783 Treat of Paris between the United States and Britain.

The French Canadian influence is strong throughout Vermont’s northern sector as you may know or have guessed. North of Burlington we had no trouble finding French speaking radio stations, because well, we are fluent you know. 🙂

To get to Vergennes by boat you have two choices. One is to take the big boat (yours or a friend’s) SEVEN miles on Otter Creek, stopping at the falls, and docking at the town docks for the day, or a night or two. You might even be lucky enough to snag a power pedestal. We chickened out on this method for a couple of reasons. The option we chose was to pick a calm day, anchor nearby and dinghy in. A much faster method and you get that up close and personal view of the creek.

The falls looked imposing even though springtime must add a ton of extra water to the flow. Vergennes once flourished as a ship building town but today it’s a “boutique” city better known for places such as 3 Squares, The Antidote, Park Squeeze and the Black Sheep.

The Falls at Vergennes

I should mention The Laundry too so that you are “in the know”. The Laundry does not welcome your dirty clothes. In fact the owners are a bit standoff-ish and not very welcoming, period. But that’s how it is at the wood-fired, awesome breads and baked goods, espresso bar, located in what used to be a laundromat. Word is though, the place is for sale or simply closing soon.

We walked up the road to Main Street and as we got to the corner a young woman gave us a friendly “oh you must be boaters/visitors or certainly not Vermonters”, look. We laughed and said some words about she could tell we weren’t locals. Of course she was curious and we chatted about why we were here and where we were from. During our short conversation, because we’d tell people that our son lived in Middlebury and we’d come up to see him and explore the Lake, she asks, “Which Farm?” and we say, “Elmer Farm.” “Oh I know Nick. He was growing flowers last year.”  Yes, Nick works there; we met him last summer. Tiny world up here. The farm community, whether it be fruit/veggie, dairy, small livestock, honey bee or maple syrup; the tendrils of who knows who are interwoven extensively.

3 Squares provided us a delicious lunch and a street-side view. We couldn’t miss Daily Chocolate just off Main St. Last time we came up here (RV year) I felt like we’d betrayed Middlebury Chocolates even though we’d indulged at both shops. This year Middlebury Chocolates, while still in the business of producing excellent chocolates, has closed their retail shop. 😦

The Men’s Shop provided another birthday gift; my plan to obtain these was working!

The third way to get here is by car, but you knew that. We will do that too, but more on that later.

The day was cool and my outfit a poor choice given that more clouds than sun arrived in the afternoon. Remedy: buy a $4 long-sleeved top at the secondhand shop. Dark clouds loomed as we headed back up Otter Creek, and you know me just fearless when it comes to rain. Hehe. We kept going and no one got wet.

Lovely evening view from the mooring

Returned to our mooring…. Because hey, we’d paid for the darn thing.

The Kindness of Friends

A reunion with Jeff & Laurie Saforek aboard Twin Sisters

Have you ever experienced a B&B that picks you up, provides meals, libations and all amenities including a washer & dryer, engages in stimulating conversation with you and then says, “Please, take my car”?

Here’s the quick (really!) back story: March 2012 went to Nippers on Guana Cay, Abacos to see the Barefoot Man for the first time. Click HERE to read about it. Met a few couples, friends who’d come a few times before and really got into “Foot”. Kept in touch via Facebook. Neither of us returning to a concert when the others did. Then last December Jeff and … are you ready?…. Laurie (#2) moved from Iowa to S. Burlington when Jeff was headhunted for Cabot/AgriMark.

Wow, and! they lived less than 30 minutes away from Point Bay Marina. We gave Benj and Lily the day off that Saturday but they missed us so much they stopped by anyway and brought lunch. More like they were headed up to see friends in Burlington and stopped by with lunch and stayed to meet Jeff and Laurie. Either way, we loved seeing them!

 

Jeff explains how the clothbound cheddar is created and then shares!

 

Zany owners of this B&B!

 

Unusual garden art spray of metal and glass beads

Sunday morning Laurie whipped up a batch of yummy blueberry pancakes; Russ was smitten. I was more smitten by getting that laundry done and being able to choose which bedroom we wanted! The upstairs suite suited us perfectly.

Alrighty then, two days with a car, what do to do, where to go!!?? First off, how about Middlebury? 🙂  Sure, let’s check out the apartment- more vinyl and cute cats.

Benj & lily’s turntable at their apt. The record really is purple/pink

Moo and I have matching outfits

Stonecutter Spirits (located in the Marbleworks) called to us. They may only bottle two spirits but their cocktail menu is impressive.

Anyone get the theme of the drink menu?

 

Just amazing concoctions. And no, we aren’t going to drive around drinking at every stop- just a few!

A walking short tour through Middlebury College (very la di da you know) with a stop for Cremees (our first). Cremees are so Vermont and so not like Dairy Queen. Real ingredients but limited flavors; usually chocolate and vanilla, with maple if you are lucky. Dinner outside at Two Brothers ended the evening and we did well at finding our way back to the marina. Benj and Lily opted to walk home; they are lucky to live so close to downtown.

Off we went Monday, timing our drive to arrive at Lake Champlain Chocolates for the hourly “tour”. It’s really a sit down affair with a knowledgeable guide. You watch a short video, then hear about where chocolate comes from all while sitting next to the production floor behind a huge window. The talk was very informative and interesting. All the jars below got passed around so we each had an up close look. Chocolate samples got handed out as we sat down and also after the “tour”.

 

The entire chocolate lineup

Time to make the chocolate turkeys.

Next stop Shelburne Vineyard not too far south from Lake Champlain Chocolates, on Rte 7.

Wine tasting, personal tour and take a glass with you! Louise Svenson, a very drinkable white

 

Corks? Punts? It’s all good. and fun too

 

Clever name for canned wine you can take on your small boat. Exercise caution of course!

Since today was the big eclipse day (though not so much for up here), we wanted to be outside around “the time”. The Vineyard and Folinos across the street for pizza lunch fit the bill nicely.

Approx 45 mins before the eclipse

 

Day two, Tuesday. Had wanted to head south but couldn’t find anything of interest within acceptable distance, so north won again. Waterbury, then continue north to Cabot with a stop in between for apple cider donuts. You might know the famous place in Waterbury created by those two groovy ice cream guys.

I think the cow might be the cutest of the three!

 

Interesting info. I’d never heard the term “disher” or “dipper”.

A few miles north of Ben & Jerry’s is Cider Mill Hollow. How sweet of Russ to find me a donut place along the way.

Love the sense of humor

 

Cider Mill Hollow. That’s a real rabbit- several were jumping around- so cute

The donuts- excellent cider flavor. Coated with cinnamon/sugar would have been better!

 

At Cabot we get booties and a tour. But the tours are ending soon.

The bad part of Tuesday was the wind, which picked up during the day and drove the waves into the mooring field from the worst possible direction, southwest. We raced to shop at Hannaford before dark rain clouds arrived at Charlotte. We did well, beat the rain but dinghied out in the highest wind- 21 mph, somehow keeping dry and climbing aboard safely.

Not so fast missy; Mother Nature wasn’t finished yet. At 6pm we got clobbered by a squall that caused a problem for one boat. Yikes.

The wind whipped up suddenly, topping out at 32! I leaned forward to take a photo of the weather station display and my eyes widened as I watched a sailboat go walkabout. Russ hailed the marina with the bad news. The guy Russ spoke to assured us we’d be fine on our “new” mooring.

Got caught on one boat, then she got free and is on the loose through the mooring field, again

An hour later the guys were able to come out in the work boat, disentangle s/v Sunset Breeze and get her secure on another mooring. Believe it or not, none of the boats had more than very minimal damage. Lucky.

Wednesday morning we returned our ride and once again became car-less.

 

Lake Cruise North: Mon – Thurs

The massive qty of cormorants ruined the trees at Four Brothers, tiny islands in the middle of the Lake

Advice given by friends Jean & Carole of m/v Apollo II and gleaned from ActiveCaptain reviews indicated that the best of the Lake was central; not much very south or very north. They also cautioned us about anchoring depth. Everywhere else we’ve been, the shallower the better; cuz why not? But in the Lake you want more depth; generally 15 ft or more, otherwise your anchor joins the massive quantities of tall weeds growing and can’t dig in well. Fresh water vs salt water. Our first lake boating experience.

Not every safe or pleasant anchorage provides shore access either. So let’s tackle the state parks to our north first to be sure we don’t miss those.

Our itinerary was Burton Island State Park (the northern-most stop), and Valcour Island (southern-most but still 22nm north of Charlotte) with whatever looked good in between, weather dependent. Monday, Aug 14- off we went.

 

Private planes are popular. Along the Alburg Passage. This stretch is protected and straight.

I’m pretty sure that the above location as well as the entire section of Lake to the east of North Hero Island is located in Lake Champlain’s Inland Sea. Sectioned off by Grand Isle and North Hero with train tracks filling in along the way, this north-eastern portion is smaller; thus more benign in windy conditions.

As we rounded the tip of North Hero, Twins got to within six miles of the Canadian border. During the first couple of weeks Canadian flagged vessels, mostly sailboats, seemed to outnumber the home team. We feel right at home. 🙂

You may recall I’d said there wasn’t much “way up north”, but we had to go up and around the tip of North Hero (above Grand Isle aka South Hero) then back down 10 miles to get to Burton.

Burton Island is up north off St Albans, laying off the SW tip of St Alban’s Point. It is only accessible by boat; visitors can come in their own vessel or take the Island Runner passenger ferry from Kill Kare State Park, a very short ride. The island had a long agricultural history before Sidney Burton built a camp in 1902. Future owners sold the island to the State of Vermont in 1962 and Burton Island State Park opened in 1964.

Burton offers lean-to shelters, tent sites, a marina with 100 slips and 15 moorings, free pump out with marina stay, a store, walking trails and more. It’s just lovely. Moorings are charged not a fixed price but by boat length. This is when we are happy to be “small.”

Burton Island State Park, the Island runner ferry

Walking trails called out. I think we ended up walking most of them.

Any guesses what I am looking for? Not donuts 🙂

We like to look at, admire and wonder about when we spot interesting boats. Don’t you?

Near St Albans and Burton Island State Park- as seen from our mooring

At the boat, in 8ft- can see the weed forest very, clearly their tops brush the water’s surface.

Tuesday we got a pump out, exchanged a couple of books then retraced our path as far as Pelots Bay. This medium-sized bay offers protection from all directions except north. It’s a thumb indent in the top half of the south part of North Hero Island. Got that?

Fire inside or the sunset reflection?

We had two choices for our next stop and I think we chose well with Deep Bay at Point Au Roche State Park on the New York shore. See? French influence again, oui?

This wonderful mooring field holds at least 40 moorings, all easy to retrieve and generously spaced. Around 6pm someone will come out to collect the mooring fee: $17 if NY State resident and add $5 if you are not.

Perfect paddle spot at Deep Bay Point Au Roche State Park

The park offered more trails than we could do in a day so we chose the ones that were close to the shoreline, for the best views and a way to choose!

Sit a spell. Point Au Roche State Park

 

Very similar to Maine. We’d observed this quite a bit north of Crown Point

You know about Champ, right? Don’t think we spotted the dude; not that we looked much. The water not being the sort of “clear” we are used to. But hey, maybe we need to dive down and look some time.

Our search has ended! We found Champ

Valcour Island held a bit of fascination and trepidation for me. Imagine being in the same waters as a historic U.S. Naval battle? Epic I tell you. We’d read plenty of ActiveCaptain reviews about how the west side of Valcour offered protected anchoring north and south of Bluff Point. The 2 mile long island sits close to the New York shore and all shapes and sizes of vessels can easily pop over. Stern to the beach anchoring is popular with locals.

The nervous part came about when I saw a posting on FB from a boater who reported a boat fire near Bluff Point. No one was injured in the severe blaze but hey I felt nervous; silly I know. But I’m nervous about Irma too and we are more than 1200 miles away. Concerned for everyone and everything in her wide path. Beginning to wonder about Jose too.

See all the wind vanes on the mountain ridge?

The trip down from Deep Bay was a bit rough as we motored into wind and waves, but very calm as we tucked behind Valcour and dropped the hook in 20 ft north of Bluff Point.

Island History: First spotted by Samuel de Champlain in 1609. The French named it “Ile de Valcours”, or Island of Pines. The British, being a bit more knowledge but more boring, called it “Almost One Rock” for the mass of underlying limestone. Happy it ended up as Valcour Island.

Valcour is, as I mentioned above, the site of one of the first major naval battles of the Revolutionary War. A dozen “gunboat battle ships” led by Benedict Arnold used Valcour as a cover and fought bravely for six hours only to raise the white flag in the end. However, fog at night can be a friend and what remained of the fleet slipped away undetected.

Today, the island is a state park and the site of the state’s (the entire state of New York mind you) largest heron rookery.

Valcour Island Lighthouse on Bluff Point

We took the dinghy past the lighthouse to the small protected indent south of Bluff Point. There, the trail was close and we picked it up for a trek south, around the southern tip to the eastern side then back across at the island’s midpoint.

Dinghy in, two anchors. And a cairn. Empty now, but much busier later.

The park offers a handful of camp sites, with water views and nearby outhouses. The eastern side (facing the Lake) offers a few tiny coves.

Tiny cove. Might have been named Smugglers Cove. Got that Maine feel goin’

A better find was the Seton House. Built by Henry Seton (or Seaton) in 1929 and sold to NY in 1973, it stands sturdily with an exceptional slate roof, a pump house, steps leading down to a huge concrete dock that has a small bend at the end of it to provide add’l wave protection.

Seton Stone house built 1929

Today the dock is used by Park employees.  So let’s see; people occupying a house in the days of glass containers…ummmm. Oh yes, a handful of lake glass we did find, right there in the small stones at the shoreline. Not as smoothed as sea glass but several pieces are definitely pre-1950s.

We zoomed back to home base mooring ball to get tucked in (if you can call it that) for the crappy weather promised for Friday. The weekend forecast was quite good; yes we had plans!

 

Gadding About… and Laurie #1

On the road out from the marina. Not just the mountains are green. Vermont is aptly named.

Our first weekend in Vermont would be the first of four where Benj and Lily (together and separately) played taxi/chauffeur/tour guide and a fine job they did too! We became very familiar with the roads to Rte 7 which is the main road between Middlebury and Burlington (and more), watched for the sheep grazing in between the rows of panels at the huge solar farm and basically enjoyed classic Vermont scenery.

I have a poor luck with Farm Markets; either miss them, forget about them or struggle to buy anything. However, I’d prepared for the Middlebury one which just this season had moved to a larger and more accessible spot on Exchange St.

The Elmer Farm booth at the Saturday Middlebury Farm Market

Checked out the Co-Op where they are nearing completion on a mega-expansion (in a small footprint way). Very exciting time. Benj and Lily can’t walk through without being stopped by former co-workers, friends and people they know from having worked there. Many of these people know our story and/or have met us before so we always enjoy a shopping visit.

The Lobby got the nod for lunch as the food and drinks are top-notch, it is close by and they offer deck dining overlooking Otter Creek.  Middlebury does not lack for mouth-watering dining and drinking options,  and we made sure to hit as many as possible over our four-week Lake stay.

Lily took us on a tour of HOPE the non-profit food shelf organization where she works- both behind a desk and out in the fields gleaning excess veggies and fruits from local farms. And yes, Elmer Farm too. 🙂

Lily works for HOPE.  We think HOPE is lucky to have her.

Maybe you are wondering who Laurie #1 is and does that mean a Laurie #2 exists? For the purposes of this post and a near-future one, we do have Lauries 1 and 2. You’ll figure it out.

Did you know that Rhode Island is the only state to celebrate V-J Day (Victory over Japan)? And that means a day off, just like with Labor Day, only in August. Lily’s parents, Martin and Laurie 🙂 planned to come up to camp (as in camping) for the weekend so we’d get to see them first time in a couple of years (I think). Excellent planning Bradburns!

Burlington got the nod and off we went in two cars. Benj wanted to hit The Gear Xchange which made me happy because with his birthday coming up and gifts yet to be obtained, this would give us a chance to either have him find something or buy a gift card. Done!

Vinyl’s been making a comeback; for longer than we’d realized, so how great is that?

Oh look a record shop- real vinyl. One of two in Burlington

Laurie-  “Now where is Martin?” and that is not he behind her. He’s intently searching for albums!

Citizen Cider was a jumping place on this lovely, warm Sunday afternoon. Six peeps, yep we found a table. Hard cider flights, individually, or crafted into delicious libations; something for everyone.

Citizen Cider: L to R- water, flight and LLC SoundSystem

My LLC SoundSystem was so excellent, I needed two! Food is served here too and nothing lacked in creativity. Even if you aren’t a vegetarian or desire gluten-free you can hardly go wrong with one of those choices; they are just that good at nearly every Vermont eatery. Mega-calorie burning guys need their protein and carbs though.

Pastrami for Benj, fried avocado tacos for me. This was lunch!

We walked down to the waterfront, Russ & I scoping out the moorings for a possible stop via Twin Sisters.

The time until dinner- boy these youngsters sure can eat!-was filled differently for each family group of three. We hung out aboard with Benj then met the others at Mr Ups in Middlebury.

Happy families prepare to drink and dine again!

Whew, more driving. Already though we are rackin’ up serious family time and getting to be with Lily more than usual.

The coming week held promise for a multi-stop Lake tour. Probably north. Stay tuned.

Whitehall to Point Bay Marina Charlotte, VT, Wed Aug 9th

Looking back into Lock C12 at Whitehall as we exit

The final leg, yippee!! For so many reasons I’m very happy. Russ too most likely. Right off the bat we dealt with our final bridges and Lock C12. The remaining 45 nm would be pleasant and my camera clicked away. I’d pay for that later, with so many more photos to download and edit.

Roughly one mile north of the lock we came upon the Poultney River indicating that the Vermont border would now be to our east.

Poultney River- so that means VT on our right

And on the left, New York

Herons and egrets could be spotted on both shores with regularity and fishermen proved what osprey knew- fish on!

Hopeful Heron

Fishermen mean fish and thus, Osprey. Western shore- so NY

Precise landing

Regal eagle

The chart showed us a new term, “drowned lands.”

As opposed to, say, flooded?

Drowned Land- the section behind and to the left of the green grassy stuff

Surprised by these orange paddle wheel/boat machines as we came around a bend. What the heck? Some quick research along with confirming info obtained at the Maritime Museum, told the story. Gotta get these plants at a certain time to make the effort effective, but from what we read it’s a losing battle. But hey, what a cool ride!

Mechanical paddle wheel harvester removes invasive water chestnuts

 

Water chestnut removal took place about 3nm north of the Whitehall Lock

A bit further north we saw this kayak team enjoying a paddle and helping the cause.

Kayak team goes after the water chestnut too

Fort Ticonderoga (Fort Ti in local-speak) sits high up on New York’s shore. You can see why this was an ideal perch for a fort. The fort has been completely rebuilt; some of the original stone was used to build the walls and sturdy foundations of impressive homes we spotted along both shores.  I visited Fort Ti as a child with my parents. Probably on the same trip as Lake George where I remember we rented a small power boat (the kind now displayed at a vintage boat show) and my Mom drove- fast!

Fort Ti. Boaters can anchor nearby on either shore

One can cross from the Vermont side in style, but passengers only. Docks near the fort.

Stylish vintage ferry to Fort Ti

Most will want to cross back and forth in their auto, so you take the cable ferry. It never deviates from the path. Stable enough in all weather. A small tug sits alongside at the ferry’s midpoint to assist.

Don’t pass too close in front of or behind the cable ferry

Picturesque Vermont shore

Crown Point Bridge- the only bridge across Lake Champlain. At the narrow spot of course.

We’d hoped to anchor off Crown Point State Park for lunch but pushed on, not wanting to use one more ounce of diesel than necessary. Fumes I tell you. Perhaps on the return trip we can stop.

We spent a few nights in the RV a couple of year ago….right up there

We quickly got the message that sailboats ruled the roost in the Lake; sure makes sense.

Sails outnumber powers by a WIDE margin- here, there and everywhere on the Lake

We fueled up and pumped out at the marina fuel dock. Their diesel price is very reasonable $2.49/gal considering they have no competition for miles. A ferry runs between Charlotte and Essex, NY, more recently it began operating all year.

On the right, see the circled 1, it points to Point Bay Marina, our home base for the next 4 weeks

Extra happiness arrived Thursday when Benj and Lily arrived bearing farm fresh veggies and flowers from Elmer Farm where Benj works in summer.

Gorgeous fly bridge time with dear ones

Very light and variable breeze permitted hanging out up top. Don’t we look so happy? Could this get much better? Wait and see.

Fort Edward to Whitehall, NY

They do look a bit vulture-like 🙂

Monday turned out to be a good travel day- no rain, thunderstorms or heavy winds for us thank you. Today we’d do three locks with the last two, C9 and C11 bringing us down to a lower elevation at Whitehall, NY. Would going down be less stressful than rising? Would I look out over the lock wall and see the dam? So much to worry! All for naught though. Dropping down is better! Less turbulence as the water flows out and we never got pushed too hard against the lock wall (Russ’s concern) which might pull the fenders up.

This was a unique bridge, and yes we fit under

Sea planes and plain planes

 

The highest elevation- Lock C8 at Fort Edward. One done, two to go for today.

 

Looking back leaving Lock C8

 

Keep left to avoid the netting!

In the above photo you get an idea of how narrow the canal is. Imagine how skinny the original canal was at 40ft wide at the surface, 28ft at the bottom, with a depth of only 4ft.

Pretty close under that one!

Fort Ann docking option is much like Fort Edward. It’s roughly 40% of the way between Fort Edward and Whitehall. Might be a stop on the way back.

Fort Ann- dock floats a bit higher than at Fort Edward

Might be Lock C9- first time dropping down

Thinking this might be an old warehouse that sat close to the canal’s edge and erosion has been working

Cows graze peacefully at the water’s edge

Hiding Heron

Herons started to become prolific, eagles not so much and still precious few osprey. Caught a fleeting glimpse of turtles sunning on fallen trees by the shore.

Pretty side waters of the Canal

Mountains everywhere! Not the usual scenic background we are used to. Lovely though.

Gazing Green Heron

Whitehall bills itself as the birthplace of the U.S. Navy. The free public cement dock offers three power pedestals with water; we took the northern most spot. These cement dock walls, called “terminals” weren’t built for pleasure craft but to encourage commerce back in the day. Now, with little to no commercial boat traffic between Waterford and Whitehall, the walls make a great place for pleasure boats to tie up. Waterford also provides two floating docks on either end of the terminal wall, for smaller boats and kayaks, etc.

We weren’t alone for long!

With two nights planned in Whitehall, we had plenty of time to check out what little the town had to offer.

The best section of Main St, Whitehall

Historic Grounds, a breakfast and lunch spot located in a former bank building across from the town park/docks enticed us in for lunch and for breakfast the following morning.

Lunch time at Historic Grounds, Whitehall

Huge portions from a moderate and creative menu, prompt, friendly service and you can order a popover at breakfast! Yummy baked goods at the counter widened by eyeballs, but I dared not even get close.

Russ had a little oops- for the second time in several days. But the breeze gently blew the shoe toward shore and he snagged it with a boat hook without tumbling in himself.

Whitehall- shoe overboard- retrieved!  Good thing it happened after lunch

The final lock of the trip north would drop us down about 16 ft to an elevation of 96.5, according to our cheat sheet. Lake Champlain varies from this “normal” level during seasonal dry and wet times. Right now is a bit on the drier side.

Getting a sneak preview of lock C12 at Whitehall

The Amish have arrived! Sixteen families live in the surrounding area. Looks like they get out on the water

The Skenesborough Museum- oh wait let me backtrack. The Brit who founded what is now Whitehall was Major Philip Skene, who built the barracks at Crown Point, then sold his commission in the British army to establish Skenesborough in 1759. This was the first permanent settlement on Lake Champlain- the very bottom skinny portion, aka the most northern part of the Champlain Canal. Since it was on one of two routes between the English and French colonies, Skenesborough grew to be a thriving trade center.

After the Major and his family were “forced to leave” in 1775 the town was later renamed Whitehall; after an English something-or-other; go figure.

Then we ate breakfast. 🙂

Breakfast at Historic Grounds- or maybe I should call it an Historic Breakfast!

On day two of our stay, totally stuffed from that delicious breakfast (I had enough for my breakfast the next day)- and hey you couldn’t see in the photo, but the real Vermont maple syrup came cleverly served in an easy pour bottle.

Ok- back from my Dory-moment: we walked over to the Museum. A steal at $3, it offered just enough historical, balanced with items once owned by residents that were donated for the town’s bi-centennial celebration. The warehouse became the perfect display center, and when the event was finished, people said of their stuff, “you keep it.” And that’s how the museum came to be.

This shows roughly 90% of the entire museum portion of the building.

Skenesborough Museum

Whitehall- another claim to fame

 

Skenesborough Museum- first time we’ve ever seen on of these

Sure glad none of the machines I ever owned looked like this. But the parts are all very recognizable.

Looks like a fancy model with those claw feet.

 

Our new fave beverage!

Russ owned one much like this- boy he’s old!

 

Ladies- step right up and prepare for torture!

 

The following day, Aug 9th we’d do the final leg of our trip to the Lake. Only one lock, yay! And finally we’d enter into Vermont territory. Still to come: Lake cruising, excitement in the mooring field, visits with family and friends and a surprise auto.