If you are not living in Vermont, you may not have heard about an important story: the Lake Champlain Bridge is no more!
It all started last Fall with its closure and then its destruction early this year (see the attached news clip).
But not to worry, if your travel plans require you to cross Lake Champlain in its southern part, your plans won’t be affected too much, as there is now a temporary ferry between Crown Point, New York and Chimney Point/Addison, Vermont, where the 1920s’ bridge used to stand, a few miles north of Fort Ticonderoga. So, if you are planning to cross Lake Champlain there, plan for approximately 15 minutes more (from boarding to disembarking) … and may be more the summer though when the tourist season starts. The temporary ferry is operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until the new bridge is completed.
For more on the temporary ferry (and some footage of the blow up of the historic Lake Champlain bridge), watch this clip.
PS: There is also a ferry crossing at Fort Ticonderoga, New York.
– 26th Annual Vermont Apple Festival – Springfield – Saturday October 11 and Sunday October 12. A small local event with 50 crafters and an apple pie baking contest on Sunday. It was listed as one of the Top Ten Fall Events by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce in 2007.
More information at: Springfield Apple Festival
– The Fameuse Apple – Chimney Point Historic Site – Addison – Saturday October 11, 2PM. A presentation by the botanist Elizabeth Gilbert on the historic Fameuse apple, planted by the French settlers in the 18th century. Chimney Point is charming, with its view on the lake and the foliage… and we’ll be there!
More information on Chimney Point Historic Site
– South Hero Applefest and Craft Show – South Hero – Saturday October 11 and Sunday October 12. They say it’s Vermont’s largest apple festival. Don’t they all say that? No website though…
– 36th Annual Apples and Crafts Fair – Route 4 – Woodstock – Saturday October 11 and Sunday October 12. Over 100 juried vendors. No website.
– Heirloom Apple Day at The Apple Packing Barn – The Scott Farm, Dummerston – Sunday October 12 – The Scott Farm is a land trust USA property and they grow more than 70 varieties of the Heirlom apple from around the world. They open their packing barn every Columbus week-end for this event. There is free tasting of heirloom apples baked and squeezed and presentations of the apple history at 10 am, noon and 2 pm.
More information at: Scott Farm – apple tasting days
– Dummerston Apple Pie Festival – Dummerston Congregational Church – Dummerston Center – Sunday October 12 – Also in Dummerston, this event has been taking place for more than 40 years… and it is one of the Top Ten Fall Events by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce this year. From 9 am until everything is sold out, you can buy a piece of pie or the whole pie. They make more than1500 apple pies! They also serve Vermont cheddar cheese, homemade ice cream, cider, coffee, donuts. No website.
This blog posting has been moved to http://christineseclecticlife.com/lake-champlain-french/
Last Thursday night, there was a very nice social evening at the historic site of Chimney Point. The historic site team was welcoming all for some appetizers and a free visit. This mid-1780s tavern seems the perfect place for it, with its nice white porch wrapped around the red brick building; and the view on Lake Champlain and the bridge to New York state is superb. Before long, people were sitting on the rocking chairs on the deck listening to a few notes from the Seth Warner Mount Independence Fife and Drum Corps, and chatting at one of the picnic tables on the lawn… It truly felt like a relaxing family gathering and it was delightful to watch the sunset on Lake Champlain… What a nice evening! We’ll make sure we let you know next time they organize such a special event.
Note: inside, there is also an interesting exhibit on the history of the region, the native Americans, the first French settlements and the history of battles which took place around the lake during both the French and Indian wars (middle of the 18th century) and the American Revolution. It also shows nice photos of the Chimney Point historic house when it was St-Frederick Inn at the beginning of the 20th century.
Opening hours: Wednesday through Sunday, through October 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Admission: Adults: $3.00
Route 17 is not frequently listed among “scenic drives” but it definitely has a stunning view from the top of the Green Mountains at the Appalachian Gap (great during the foliage season) and lots of sweeping views of the Lake Champlain Valley. It will be enjoyed by people who love far away views and the immensity of the valley (and may be less by people who love the cozy valleys with mountain backdrops, which you find in Central Vermont on the famous route 100).
Route 17 is also very interesting by the great diversity of its landscapes, from the end of Lake Champlain, to the valley, the hills and finally the top of the Green Mountains.
You start at the shore of Lake Champlain (literally!) at “Chimney Point” state historic site (a wonderful spot unto itself). The first half of the drive, about 45 minutes, has you cruising across fabulous farm country in the Champlain Valley with sweeping views to the north and to the south across the flat and rolling farmlands. You can see the Green Mountains in the distance getting closer. The local scenes of farms and landscape are really classic Vermont.
Then, you hit Bristol, and start the “transition” to the Green Mountains. Bristol, itself, is just a perfect example of a 4-block long “Main Street”. The town is very vibrant with stores and restaurants. When we took the drive, last week-end, we enjoyed dinner and a “cold frosty one” at the Bob Cat Brewery (we will be back!).
Within seconds of leaving the town’s main street area heading east, we were into the hills and soon the Green Mountains, rapidly gaining altitude and enjoying the scenery as we headed up the very windy turns (no views there though).
Within 20 minutes, you finally cross through Appalachian Gap which has a very nice panoramic view to the West (fabulous sunset view!).You pass over the Long Trail at over 2,300 feet and then quickly head down the other side. A couple of minutes later, you get a glance of a ski lift. You are at the top of Mad River Glenn Ski area (how many times have you actually driven by the TOP of a ski lift?!). A few more minutes and you pass the bottom of the ski slope and quickly follow the wonderful river shores down towards Vermont’s famous Route 100 and the end of your Route 17 journey…
Pick a great day this summer to do it. Start around 5, stop in Bristol for dinner, and you should be perfectly timed to see the sunset at 8pm from Appalachian Gap.
Post-scriptum: Later this summer, I have done this drive again, but from route 100 to the lake this time… I actually prefer it in this direction. For the first few miles, before you start the climb, the Green Mountains are unbelievably impressive, truly rising as a wall in front of you… Later, Bristol is again a surprise at the end of the descent… and arriving at the lake at Chimney Point is precious. Enjoy!
Illustration copyright – Sarah Dillard
Something to write down in your agenda: this week-end, June 14th and 15th, all the Vermont State Historic Sites and the Vermont Historical Society Museum offer free admission. Isn’t it the perfect excuse for a great road trip through the wonderful Vermont countryside? Weather should be collaborating: warm with just some isolated thunderstorms…Come on, get out, enjoy the sun and the fresh air, and take one of these wonderful scenic drives up and down the green Vermont hills (there are so many of them!)… President Coolidge House, the old Constitution House, Chimney Point, Mount Independence, and the other sites will be all waiting for your visit. State Parks are also free… with free ice cream! And on Saturday, it’s also free fishing.
So, if you see a little blue VW Cabrio driving around, it might be us… we’ll definitely be going from place to place! And we will report on our favorite visits next week… Psst! Don’t forget to tell us which was YOUR favorite place!
For a complete list of the Vermont State Historic Sites, visit: www.historicvermont.org/sites.