Green Mountain State Stays True To Their Name!
Sorry for the delay folks! Our Massachusetts campground does not have the greatest cell reception. Actually, it doesn't have much as all. But this isn't about Massachusetts, this is about Vermont, the Green State. The past week was spent in Southern Vermont just outside of Brattleboro. (Just call it 'Bratt,' its what the locals do, even though Brattleboro is really fun to say)
So we're driving to Vermont from Lake George, NY and have to travel through the Green Mountains to get here. No interstates, no big highways, all local. Very cool. I double checked the route through Google Maps first just to make sure there weren't any low clearances since, you know, pretty big rig. Looks good, let's do it! Gorgeous views the entire ride. Google was right, there were no low bridges, we didn't get stuck anywhere. We did miss a couple of turns that came out of nowhere but managed to get back on track no problem. Worst part about the drive was the nine mile stretch of under construction road. I'm pretty sure we saw every caution road side every made: "Rough Road," "Grooved Road," "No Shoulder," all of them. But we made it through! No flat tires. Nothing in the trailer broke either. Hooray!
We pull up into Kampfires Campground and it is such a delight. It's a fairly new park and pretty small which is nice. Despite the size, they have so many wonderful amenities. They have their own ice cream shop as part of the office/shop, a mini golf course, swimming pool (with their own private swim club you could join), horse shoes, volleyball and badminton. The bathrooms were all recently redone with bamboo floors (my favorite!), stainless steel sinks, wooden stalls. It was really nice! They even had a dog park! It was super far away from our site but the boys did get to enjoy it on our first night. All-in-all it is a really nice campground. It goes on the highly recommended list.
They must do a big Halloween event too because in the middle of the woods, where there are spaces for tent campers (Primitive camping as most of these sites call it) we found this:
It's not real but a wild thing to find when you've been at a place for only a couple of hours.
Its nestled in between Bratt (probably the biggest town, almost city in Southern Vermont) and a fairly big town Putney. There is maple syrup everywhere! No matter where you go, you could buy some. We found this place Hidden Springs Maple where we were going to pickup some for friends and family. It's not very hidden as the name suggests but it huge and has everything you could think maple. Amber, golden, dark, extra dark, bourbon barrel aged, flavors, candies, creams, hot sauces! So many things. And you have the ability to sample pretty much everything. Boy, did I have a sugar rush! We started talking to the woman working there, Layla. Since this was one of our first stops, she gave us a whole list of local places we could go and check out. The off-the-touristy-radar places which we love.
Twice Upon a Time for example. A humongous second hand, thrift, antique store. It was massive with three levels! It was filled with art, clothing, old comic books, posters, furniture, all the staples. One pretty cool thing that caught my attention were used postcards. It was pretty neat reading old letters people wrote to each other years ago. They weren't the oldest, think the oldest one dated back to the 40's, but times have definitely changed a lot since then and the art of the postcard has died quite a bit. I'm trying to bring it back! A postcard from every stop. (If you would like one too, like, comment and subscribe and let us know!)
Brattleboro reminded me a lot of Frederick, MD. It's an older town keeping its quaint, colonial style but doing its best to keep up with the times. There were tons of local, niche restaurants, mom & pop shops, very dog friendly, used books stores and record shops and art everywhere. It's an awesome town to walk around in. We had lunch at a cafe, perused through one of the used book stores (who think the story of Lizzy Borden should be in the children's section) and Twice Upon A Time, I grabbed a coffee at Mocha Joe's, one of their little coffee shops, so hipster, but good coffee. What caught our attention most about this city are the homes. Every home was a big, beautiful Victorian style home. Every block. All different colors too. Each home unique.
It's also surrounded by rivers. The West River to the...West and Connecticut River on the East. That leads to some nifty bridges with great views. Also, Just on the other side of the Connecticut River is New Hampshire. We're in a unique area where were could have breakfast in Vermont, lunch in New Hampshire and dinner in Massachusetts if we wanted. We were so close to New Hampshire and are not heading that way with the trailer just yet, so we drove out to explore a little bit. There is a used entertainment store there, Bull Moose, we went to see if they had any good Game Boy Advanced games. They didn't have the biggest selection and nothing worth buying for us, but they definitely had a huge selection of CDs, movies, books, games and nick-knacks. So what do we do instead? Well, Keene, NH closes up pretty early. It seemed like everything was closed by 8pm. But there's always ice cream. We found an ice cream shop, Rick's, with loads of flavors and every diary-free ones! They're not made on site but still really good. We closed the place out, even though we were only there for maybe 15 minutes.
I think one of my favorite things about the Travel Trailer life is getting to talk to other travelers. There are people that have been doing this for years. Either full time, months or weeks on end or just for as long as they can. Everyone has their own way of showing off where they've been too. Some with maps and filling in the states as they go, others with stickers from destinations, others just keep their stories. On a dog walk, I noticed another trailer that had an almost filled map. They just had the Midwest, Massachusetts, and Utah left. When we passed it again and saw a man outside the trailer I asked him how long they've been at it. That question turned into a half hour conversation about his and his wife's travels. His name is Jim Hamilton. Really sweet guy. He told us about his favorite spots, things to watch out for, roads to steer clear of, to definitely go out west, some of the crazy things he's seen, places they went to because another RVer told them about it. The even cooler part about Jim is that after we left and went back to our own trailer, we hear a knock on the door and it was him with even more advice and suggestions on how to make our travels better and safer. Thanks for all your help Jim!
Most of our time on the road is still on the campgrounds, doing work or just relaxing. We're not eating out all the time, however, awesome it would be, that would be completely ridiculous and very unfeasible. I do get plenty of practice cooking in my tiny kitchen though. The Instant Pot is getting much easier to handle and we're not eating mush all the time now. I still have to look up how long to keep things in there but meals are getting much more tasty and have much better consistency and texture. Same thing goes for the skillets. While cleaning them is still a very annoying, time consuming and my new, least favorite chore, they do cook things very nicely. This week I think I cooked the prettiest dinner to date too. Some Mediterranean Salmon with some rice (granted the rice was from the Instant Pot) and sauted peppers. I've even tried experimenting a little bit. We had pancake breakfast sandwiches with turkey bacon this week too. I have officially learned that the little egg pan is 100% just for eggs. Despite it being the perfect shape to cook other things like burgers and pancakes, no! Just make your eggs in it. You will have perfectly cooked sunny-side up or over easy eggs and even scrambled.
Before we left we decide to go on one last bike ride down the road. There was a State Forest park which we though we should check out before leaving. Glad we did. Its very small and the trail around the park is only a quarter of a mile if that through the woods. Serene and pretty quite yet filled with blood-sucking, annoying mosquitoes. Mosquitoes ruin everything!
Thanks for all the memories Vermont! We'll see ya around. Let's take on Massachusetts!