Monday, December 5, 2016

Not for the Lactose Intolerant-Ice cream for breakfast and cheese for lunch!

Breakfast of Champions!
Maybe we arrived a little early...
We woke early and due to the close proximity of our campsite to Waterbury, Vermont we arrived just a little bit early at the Ben and Jerry's Factory. We wandered around aimlessly trying to use up about thirty minutes before the doors opened and had a very nice visit with several of the onsite milk cows that came up to check us out from across their fence. Finally the doors opened at 9:00am and we hustled in and joined a small crowd of about twelve other early risers.
Ben and Jerry's Factory
We were led on a very nice and informative thirty minute tour of the facility which ended in...wait for it...FREE ICE CREAM SAMPLES! Ok they're actually not free as we had to pay $4 each for the tour. Yes, there's nothing like starting the day off with a sample cup filled with Chunky Monkey, followed by a helping of Cherry Garcia. Obviously feeling a little bit guilty about eating ice cream for breakfast we strolled into the "Scoop Shop" and each ordered a full size waffle cone to go! We ordered some kind of coffee flavor in honor of it being in the morning.

Just up the road Cabot Vermont is the home to the Cabot Creamery and feeling as if we hadn't met our lactose requirements we made our way inside the visitor's center where they have a plethora of cheeses just waiting to be sampled. Now we come from TILLAMOOK cheese country and we are pretty darn proud of our Northwest Cheeses, but I gotta say, Cabot makes some mighty fine tasting cheese. We particularly enjoyed the Chipotle and White Oak Cheddar. After indulging ourselves on a reasonable amount of little cubes of the stuff (we worked hard not to ingest any of the toothpicks), we purchased several small blocks of cheese in assorted flavors for the road and bid adieu to Cabot, Vermont.
Cabot Cheese Creamery Samples!
After retracing our steps somewhat we came upon a beautiful and classically "New England" village named Stowe, Vermont.  It looked fetching with it's white steepled church and quaint little shops, but before we could take a look around Erley insisted on a little walkabout of his own. We found a place to park on the outskirts of town and leashed up the the pets and headed down the sidewalk towards the village. After about twenty yards Erley cut to his left and headed towards a wooded area up a landscaped bank covered in bark-dust. Thinking he was answering natures call we followed him up the steep bank towards the tree line. Suddenly to our amazement a trail appeared and he led the rest of us on a very nice twenty minute walk on a nice little trail that included several small boardwalks and meandered up above the village. There was no way we would have ever found this delightful trail without the help of Erley's skilled tracking abilities.
Erley blazes a trail. We think he smells the trails.

 After Erley's walk we ambled into town still feeling a little full from our dairy diet. We passed several cute cafes but the idea of lunch didn't seem too inviting. We stopped in a pleasant business selling a wide variety of "Made in Vermont" items. We purchased a summer sausage, cookies and some interesting crackers to compliment the "Cabot Cheese". After completing our self guided tour of Stowe we headed out of town towards Elmore State Park.
Quintessential New England
The road passed through a beautifully scenic area of mostly forested and agricultural land and just below Elmore Mountain, in what locals refer to as "The Beauty Spot of Vermont", sits Elmore State Park and sparkling Lake Elmore.
Vermont was lovely!
 As we drove up to the Ranger Station we noticed that we had just arrived at Vermont's "Park of the Year"! How serendipitous of us. It was if we had some sort of idea as to where we were heading instead of just driving blindly to the next park with camping on the map. We'll say we planned it...
Can't do much better than "Park of the Year"
We found a nice albeit somewhat dark site sort of away from the several campsites that were occupied and got out to have a look around. It occurred to us that once again we had run into a world of signs. There were about a million of them telling us a litany of things we could not do. "Dogs on leash ONLY. No gathering of FIREWOOD. Please stay on trail. Please observe quiet hours. No tanning lotion below the waist." Well I may have made that last one up but you get the point. It's not so much that we had entertained the thought of doing any of the before mentioned activities, but it was more the idea that you had to be brow beaten with these socially constructive signs no matter which way you chose to look. There were just about more signs than trees. So just to buck the system we retired to our RV and revved up the generator and went about cooking ourselves one tasty teriyaki pork loin.
After a fine dinner we "leashed" up the dog and quietly as church mice stayed on the path, restrained ourselves from littering and took an early evening stroll down to the lake, where we were informed "to swim at our own risk" and to "recycle our trash". Not to mention "No Dogs on Beach or anywhere remotely near the beach". So we lingered looking wistfully at the empty beach and then turned around and headed back to the RV. This park was pretty militant about rules and we knew we weren't going to get away with bending them.
They just couldn't help themselves

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