Friday, August 21, 2015

Morrisville in Upper Vermont

Our last stop in Vermont was a small town called Morrisville.  Continuing our hiking, we went to a place called Sterling Falls Gorge. It is a chain of three waterfalls and six cascades within a protected area. The walls of Sterling Falls Gorge range from 11 feet to over 50 feet along a beautiful path.

I thought this tree was amazing.  It was probably 100 feet tall but appeared to be healthy while clinging to the earth for sustenance.  

The pool above one of the waterfalls was a great place for the pups to cool off.
We drove to the nearby town of Stowe to see the sights.

There were moose everywhere.

This one was soooo old he could be used as a planter.  

Stowe is a skiing town so there were many beautiful homes in the area.

The Green Mountain Inn has been in business since 1833.

Big, beautiful homes were on the main street along with many tourists.

Notice the window on the side of this house.  We had never seen this before and thought it was quite strange.  Over the next week we saw many more homes with the same window placement.  It must be another way to add  air and light into upper floors.  Kind of like a sunroof ,but not.
Vermonters work very hard to keep their state green and clean.  You will not find any billboards or advertisements along the interstates or state roads.  This is a great way to show off their mountains and beautiful hillsides but when driving you need to be aware of where you are going because you can miss places very easily.

These are the only types of signs allowed by state law.   

The weather could change from clear to cloudy very quickly so making daily plans could be a challenge.  On one particular rainy day we decided to drive to the Ben and Jerry's Factory in Manchester about an hour away. 

After all, when you are in the area this stop is a must.  

Hmmm........we arrived at 12:10 and the next factory tour wasn't until 2:00 and there was a long line of people signing up for that one.  We also found out that bus tours take precedence so that makes the wait even longer.  The place was jammed with people waiting their turn, the rain was coming down off and on, and the parking lots were made of dirt so they became muddy and slick.  And everyone seemed just a little cranky....   

So we said the heck with it and looked in the Ben and Jerry's cemetery which was close to where our car was parked.

Since we had just returned from Hawaii I thought one of these tombstones was fitting.  It reads,  Aloha Macadamia   - We won't blame the macadamia but we were kind of in denial. The marketplace has spoken. Mac got aloha'ed off the aisle.          2001-2002.    Very clever! 

Another headstone read,  'Dastardly Mash - Here the brazen DASTARDLY lies. Some say that raisin caused its demise'. 1976-1991

Since it was lunchtime and we weren't going to be able to indulge in ice cream, we drove to the nearby town of Waterbury and found a brewery where we had a good meal and a stout beer.

This delicious concoction is called a Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout.  Sweet, dark delicious stout with roasted malt and coffee flavors.  When it is served the beer is erupting in swirls inside the glass looking like clouds in a thunderstorm.  Very appropriate for the day and a different and tasty brew.  And since I'm left handed.......besides, who needs Cherry Garcia! 

Driving back to Morrisville we stopped so I could get my hair cut.  While the Captain was waiting, he raced into the local grocery store and picked up three pints of Ben and Jerry's ice cream just to support the cause :)

The Captain had heard about a place called Dog Chapel that was dedicated by an artist, Stephen Huneck who was a lover of animals.  He was a successful woodcarver who eventually became an artist.  In 1994, he found out he suffered from Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome after falling down a flight of stairs.  It left him in a coma for two months and the doctors were not hopeful.  With the help of his wife he made a full recovery but he had to relearn everything from how to walk to signing his name.  Right before the accident he had been inspired to create a series of woodcut prints based on his dog, Sally.  He completed that work and much more.  His home and studio were in St Johnsbury, Vermont, which he shared with his wife, Gwen, and three dogs: two Black Labs, Daisy and Sally, and Molly, a Golden Retriever.  Just down the road from their home is Dog Mountain where the Dog Chapel is located.

Dog Chapel is set on 150 acres on a private mountaintop spot.  The grounds are always open to people and their dogs.  The property was purchased in 1995.  There is no leash law on what they named Dog Mountain.  Dogs are welcome and free to run, play, swim and meet other dogs.  

The unspoiled haven is covered with hiking trails and dog ponds.

Wild flowers were in bloom everywhere.  

There are benches along the trails with dogs always as the theme.

The Dog Chapel was very inspirational.

Even the pews are carved to resemble dogs.

The walls inside the chapel are covered with messages of love depicting the spiritual bond people have with their pets.  Some owners have even left urns with the ashes of their departed animals.  It was so inspirational.
Inside another building is a shop with some of the artwork created by Stephen Huneck.  Besides the artwork, he wrote 10 books inspired by his Black Lab, Sally.  They are all illustrated with his vibrant woodcut prints.

In the shop the dogs are also allowed to be 'leash free'.  
This is the faucet in the bathroom inside the shop. The water turns off and on by moving the dog's tail.

The artist and his beloved dog, Sally. Sadly, he died in 2010 and his wife passed three years later.  Today a foundation has been created to protect the grounds and Dog Mountain so that it can never be developed and will always remain a place for dogs to run free. 
  This sign says it all.

We made a stop at the Cabot Creamery in Cabot, Vermont.  Cabot is owned by 1,200 dairy farm families throughout New York and New England.  The town is very small and rural.  Little known facts we found out while there - the average cow produces 90 lbs of milk per day.  It takes 10 lbs of milk to make one lb of cheddar.  Color was originally added to distinguish where the cheddar was made.  Cheddars made in the New England states retain the natural white color.  Cabot cheese did not sell well in the South because the cheddar there has food coloring added. In order for Cabot to be competitive they had to add a yellow additive to the cheddar like the other cheese makers.

Main street Cabot. It is a very small rural town.

Right outside of town is the Cabot factory.   They produce cottage cheese, sour cream, yogurt and specialty cheeses.  The location has a 70,000 sq foot cheese aging and distribution warehouse and a cut and wrap operation which processes millions of cheese per year.  They also have great samples for all the visitors.  We had a couple......
Vermont is a beautiful state. It has so much to offer and we really enjoyed the scenery and the quaint towns.  It was like stepping back into the past and a quieter way of life.

As we left our campground heading for our next stop we saw this traffic sign on the side of the road.

I see what they mean.  This barn was right on the edge of the highway and I'll bet in winter it could get real interesting!

On to the state of New Hampshire where we plan to spend twelve days.  We are looking forward to another beautiful area.  Peace!

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