As part of my goal to do 60 things by age 60, I have a goal to spend at least a week outside Ottawa per year. For 2023, my wife Andrea and son Jacob wanted to take an actual trip somewhere. For Jacob? He wanted to see a mountain. Initially, we planned a trip to Alberta, the US, and BC to see the Rockies. But with most of Alberta and BC tourism ministries saying in June that the wildfires were terrible and that we weren’t even in the hottest months yet, we reoriented our plans to New England (see the trip route in photo 1). Jacob would still see mountains, even if they weren’t as impressive as the Rockies.
On Day One we planned to go as far as Stowe Vermont (see photo 2). We headed out on a Saturday morning in July, passing through Eastern Ontario on the way to the bridge at Cornwall (photos 4-8) and the border crossing (photo 9, 10). We left around 10h45 (see photo 3), and crossed at 12h45. This was Jacob’s first time in the U.S., and it’s a little sad that you don’t get a “stamp” in your passport for crossing. When the immigration and customs agent asked what the purpose of our visit was, I was truthful — my son wants to see a mountain! 🙂
As we passed through northern New York state, we grabbed lunch at a Subway, and it was interesting to see the impact on the local area from 30 years ago and even from before the pandemic, when there were a lot more border crossings for shopping, etc. Now, the most common border businesses seemed to be selling pot. Many gas stations and other tourism support businesses were closed.
However, we saw windfarms (photo 11) and our first shots of distant mountains on our way to Lake Champlain by Plattsburgh (photos 12-16). We had decided to take the ferry across Lake Champlain at Essex, NY to Charlotte, VT (photos 17-28), and then work our way back northward via Burlington and on to Stowe. Lake Champlain was surprisingly calm given a decent breeze, and there were few sailboats about for a Saturday. As we passed through Burlington, Andrea had her first exciting sighting — there was an Olive Garden! As we got closer to Stowe, we could see the Green Mountains quite well, including some with rockier faces (photos 29-37). I never feel something is truly a mountain unless I can see rocky exteriors for part of it. The local river was high and muddy/murky, reflective of the recent flooding in Vermont over the previous weeks.
The road into Stowe was quite twisty, particularly as we got closer to the hotel itself, Northern Lights Lodge, which we checked into around 5h30. Pretty basic place, seeming like exactly what it is — a motel designed for skiers in the winter. A little tired looking in the hallways, a bit rougher, but when guests are likely to be carrying gear around, not unexpected. The room was good.
Stowe itself was interesting, as it is exactly what it is designed to be too — a small ski town for the winter. There were lots of small restaurants and specialty stores, with no chains hardly at all (outside of a grocery store at the edge of town and Dunkin Donuts). The hotel owner had recommended The Bench pub and we enjoyed a nice dinner there. The food was good, if a bit expensive, but I also enjoyed a really good local root beer and Andrea had a nice non-alcoholic cider.
We ticked off our travel goals with Jacob seeing mountains for the first time, although mostly small ones so far, and Jacob got to see two states (New York and Vermont). And I got to contribute to my 60×60 goal. Enjoy the photos from the day below, with 38 photos curated from our collection of 83 for the day. The total distance was about 370 km.