"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lake Champlain Islands

We left the Saint Lawrence River and veered a little south to visit the Almanzo Wilder homestead in Malone, NY. Those who enjoyed the Little House on the Prairie series will remember Laura Ingalls Wilder describing this place in her book, "Farmer Boy."
This is my second visit here when it was not open for tours, so we just toured the grounds.
Then we continued east over the bridge to Vermont.
We stopped at the Visitor Center in Alburg.
Where we were reminded who the lake was named for.
My college friend (University of VT), Abby, still lives on the family farm in North Hero. Her father bought the property in the 1940s, but it was in the family long before that. Nan had a nice RV spot by the old barn (no longer being used).
I had a shady spot in what remained of the driveway. Recent and historic record-breaking floods washed out most of the once circular drive.
You can see some of the rocks, logs, and other debris that piled up in the yard.
These two barns were flooded when waves washed out the road and flowed into the other side. A photo was published in the news with the caption: "Covered bridge flooded in North Hero." That gave Abby a laugh.
Abby's front lawn used to extend beyond this tree. Waves and 60 mph winds eroded the soil from around it's roots.
Yet even with all the damage, Abby still has a view to die for. We spent the 4th of July weekend away from the crowds enjoying it.
Afternoon sun
 A place to relax or play.
 Nan and Abby visiting.
 Sunset over Lake Champlain
 A flurry of Tiger Lilies on the bank.
 Roe takes a swim.
 Drying off in the sun.
 Waiting for the red squirrels.
 We watched the sailboats tack back and forth.
 Farm art
 I borrowed Abby's kayak rather than inflate my own.
 Abby's house as seen from the kayak.
 I paddled past this point of land and back.
 Abby, her daughter, and Nan chatting on the beach.
 Sailboat in the mist.
 A little ways up the road from the farm is a natural area with trails. Abby was instrumental in getting the town to preserve this land as a public natural area instead of selling it to developers.
The first part of the trail winds through this field of tall grass and wild flowers.
 Then into the cool woods.
 These blue tubes are for collecting maple sap. They are tapped into all the maple trees in these woods.
 The maple trees don't grow in a straight line, so there is a maze of criss-crossing blue tubes along our trail.
 An old (no longer used) sugaring house, where collected sap was once boiled into syrup.
 There are interpretive signs along the trail.
 All the blue tubes lead to the container on the right where the sap is collected. It is then apparently pumped into a vehicle that comes along the dirt road and carries it to a more modern sugaring house to be processed into maple syrup. There was no sign here, so I made this up.
A sign about the Shagbark Hickory Tree and the rare Indiana bat.
 Want to see if there's a rare bat under the bark?
 Well, there's something in there, but it looks more like an insect cocoon than a bat.
 The trail continues on to the other side of the island, but Roe and I came to a muddy place, it was getting hot, and we had brought no water with us (I know, dumb), so we turned around.
 You can see the Adirondack Mountains across the lake from the trailhead.
Later that afternoon Nan tried out the kayak. There she goes...
 And she made it back.
 Then we spent some time skipping stones. Abby's stony beach is covered with little flat stones, perfect for this activity.
 Abby and her sister-in-law swim in the lake a lot. I found it a little too cool for my thinned out blood.
 Well you see what a hectic stressful time we had here. You could see the local fireworks at night...no need to go anywhere, but of course the fiery red sun was the best finale for the day.
 And we'll carry the afterglow of our visit with us. Thank you, Abby.
 On our way to the Bluegrass Festival we stopped to tour the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.
 Where they will custom-make most any kind of bear...even camping bears!
 We watched them being made.
 VT Teddy Bears are guaranteed for life. If one is damaged or destroyed, even if it's your fault, just send it back to their Teddy Bear Hospital.
 And they will either fix it or replace it...free!
 Ahead we see the Green Mountains of Vermont. 
 See you at the Bluegrass festival!


  1. Oh my what great pictures... my favorite is of Roe drying that is one to be framed!! thank Liz for sharing your great trip...

  2. Awesome, as usual! Thanks Liz for taking the time to take us with you!