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javayankee May 15th, 2006 09:17 AM

Lake Champlain, Vermont
I'll be in the Lake Champlain area during the Memorial Holiday weekend. I've some questions that hopefully I'll get some advice on.

1. Are there any differences between the Northern Lights cruises or the Spirit of Etah Allan cruises? Or are they pretty much the same?

2. I'll also have my two elderly parents in the group. Besides the Burlington bike path, can anyone suggest some outdoor stuff that will show them some great scenery, etc?

3. I'm also planning to take the ferry over to the NY side and go to the Ausable Chasm and maybe the High Falls Gorge. Also, the Quechee Gorge in Vermont. Out of the three, which would offer the most "wow" scenery? Also, which would have the easiest hiking trails that my parents can handle? They're pretty active, but still they're both in early 70's.

4. Suggest some places near Stowe where I can put together some good picnic lunches?

Basically, my parents and my sister are visiting that weekend and they've never been to Vermont (I've mainly been to Stowe for skiing during winter), so I want to show them Vermont's great outdoors, without too much hardship on them.

Thanks in advance.

dfrostnh May 15th, 2006 09:36 AM

I'm not sure where the bike path goes but north of town there's a pretty area for walking/recreation. It's on the same road as Gardener's Supply which has some wonderful demonstration gardens.
Ausable Chasm is a paid tourist hike with a boat ride at the end thru some very mild rapids. We went a few years ago and I don't remember it as difficult walking. If you go to Quechee, we've never hiked around the gorge but Simon Pierce is a must visit to see their potters and glass blowers and how the generate hydro electric power. The building is beautiful. The restaurant is expensive but what a treat!
Between Burlington and Stowe you can make a visit to Boyden Valley Winery for a wine tasting. Instead of Stowe have you considered a day a Shelburne Museum? Some people spend two days there. Also if you want to take a drive, head north and then drive south on the Champlain Islands. You end up near Burlington. It makes a nice morning drive and then have lunch in Burlington. Very rural. We spent a mid-June week in the Burlington and Middlebury area a couple of years ago. There's a lot of farming in the valley along the lake. Beautiful farmland.

BuffaloGirl May 15th, 2006 12:30 PM

Shelburne Museum is wonderful!

The Stowe bike path is very scenic. It meanders past pastures, fields of wild flowers, a creek, with nice view of Mt. Mansfield.

Take a drive thru Smugglers Notch. You can also drive to the top of Mt. Mansfield!

Take the one hour ferry (there are shorter ones) if it's a nice warm day. It's such a nice ride with beautiful views of the Green Mountains on one side of the lake and the Adirondacks on the other.

My favorite thing to do in Vermont is drive thru the countryside and come across a covered bridge or old cemetary.

Have fun.

javayankee May 15th, 2006 02:42 PM

thanks for all of the suggestions.

that driving up north then down via the champlain islands sounds good. are there some good area where we can stop and have a picnic with a good view of the water, mountains in the background, etc?

yeah, i wanted to do the drives you mentioned, but the roads open in june!
i think my parents would enjoy taking morning walks on the stowe bike path, before the rest of us get up...

btw, after we go see the ausable chasm, do you think we'll have enough time left to drive up the whiteface mountain memorial highway to the top? it looks like the views from the top would be great.

also, how's the bug situation around end of may? will we need bug sprays during the daytime on the bike paths, etc?

Molly2 May 15th, 2006 07:35 PM

Re #3: Quechee Gorge can be seen on a short walk over a bridge, or on a more difficult walk to and from its base. It is a bit of a climb back up the hill, but it's not a long climb. I guess it depends on your parents fitness level.You can even scramble over the rocks, swim or fish in the gorge, depending on the water current. In the other direction from the gorge walk, a pleasant walk takes you through wildflowers and woods to a pretty pond. this might be an easier walk for your parents.

Button Bay in the Shelburne area is one of my favorite scenic walks - bring binoculars for bird-watching and look for fossils in the rocks!

dfrostnh May 16th, 2006 03:29 AM

Sorry Javayankee, we didn't picnic but here is a link I found to the islands which mentions a popular picnic spot. I don't think you are going to see any mountains. It's a little too far north but should see some rolling hillsides. Take your picnic supplies with you, there aren't very many stores and restaurants on the islands.

nkd May 18th, 2006 02:57 AM

Someone here recommended taking ferry from Charlotte, VT to Essex, NY. IT was avery scenic and we had a nice lunch right besides the ferry. I think the name of this restaurant was the Dock

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