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