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Trip Report A brief meander in the Camplain Valley

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My spouse and I like to take what we call pocket vacations; three or four day jaunts within three or four hours drive of our home in Western MA, preferably to stay somewhere with a water view. This time we chose the Champlain Valley. We didn't do a lot, but we had a great time.
We left on 11/11/11 and within half an hour of our home serious snow started falling. We were not pleased, but had our studded snow tires on and pushed onward. believing google maps, we decided to route through the very Eastern edge of NY state, through rolling farmland with mountain views. It was beautiful, but heartbreaking to drive past farm after farm in disrepair and for sale, as well as what seemed like half the homes for sale in every small town we went through. We stopped in Granville NY at an undeservedly well reviewed Italian restaurant. From there we were only an hour from our destination.
We had rented a small house in West Addison, VT, directly on Lake Champlain. We were blown away by the beauty of the setting and the perfection of the house, by far the most beautiful, well equipped rental we have encountered. From the bedroom ( and from the Jacuzzi in the master bath) the lake and the Adirondack mountains behind it shone as the sun set. We went to the very close West Addison General store for grinders for dinner and went to bed content.

In the morning we headed out to the Bridge Restaurant , a scene of great jubilation as the new bridge ( for which it is named) to NY had just opened the five days earlier. The previous incarnation had been deemed unsafe and dismantled in 2009. Locals had been told it would take eight years for the work to be done, but it was done in 2. There had been a free ferry instituted jointly by VT and NY during the construction, and the restaurant had briefly been called the NO Bridge. W e had good buttermilk pancakes with (of course) Vt maple syrup. After a brief trip back home to stare at the water, we headed out to Middlebury. The trip there was extremely scenic, with pointed peaks and rolling farmland.
We stopped to say hello to many beautiful alpacas and miniature horses at the Moonlight Alpaca Farm. We easily found parking in town stopped for a very good coffee and soft pretzel next door to to our main destination, the Vermont Folk Life Center. Irritatingly, the shop was full of many items, few of them local ( or even American). However, in their gallery was a beautifully curated Photo exhibit called " Backstage at the Rainbow Cattle company, The Drag queens of Dummerston , VT", which we thoroughly enjoyed.
We were not loving Middlebury generally, so we made a quick stop at the co-op to stock up on local cheese, cider, apples and beer and headed home for a walk about the property, where it was still gorgeous.

That evening we headed to Ferrisburg, about a half hour North, to Starry Night Cafe, our idea of a a perfect restaurant:. It is a lovely, unpretentious but beautiful space, carefully but not fussily prepared, often locally sourced food in generous portions. And we ended up buying a painting on display, a very rare occurrence. The drive home was enhanced by a giant harvest moon.

Sunday was our day allotted to heading into Burlington. We stopped at the Shelburne Museum which was hosting the Green Mountain rug Hooking Guild show. The museum was closed for the season, other than the show, so we will have to return. We then continue on to Shelburne Farms where we took a walk on the lovely acreage before heading down the road past huge "cottages" on the spit of land between the lake proper and the Shelburne Bay. It was beautiful, but we were very put off by all the private roads and giant No trespassing signs .

We headed up to Burlington where we had a wonderful Dim Sum lunch at A Single Pebble, explored the Church Street Marketplace and the magnificent waterfront.
We loved the feel of Burlington and the presence of the water and the mountains.
Heading home we passed a wildlife viewing area in Addison where there were literally thousands of snow geese in a cornfield. They stop to rest on their migration, and were a sight to see, wave after wave flying in. We made it home just in time for another grand sunset, then spent the evening reading mysteries in front of the fire.

In the morning it was time to watch one last sunrise and head home. This time we drove through Vermont, straight down Rt 7. We stopped for breakfast in Brandon VT and saw the remnants of irene damage in large chunks of the road still being missing. The scenery on 7 was quite beautiful also, though driving through Rutland's miracle mile was a drag.

All in all a restful and beautiful long weekend. We have already made plans to return in September for a week, so we can continue exploring the area and use the kayaks and paddle boats supplied with the house.

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