Tuesday, August 10, 2010


So last week, Aviva and I headed north for some much needed and much wanted vacation. I have not seen all that much of New England since I moved out here a couple years ago, and this trip was our first to this area. What made the trip especially exciting (beyond the fact that we were getting to spend time with Aviva's family, and that we got to do lots of hiking and camping and cheese tasting and photography and waterfall hunting) was that this vacation was tri-partite, starting with some camping in the Adirondacks, then a week on the Lake Champlain Islands, then a romantic night in Brattleboro before heading home.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip. Rachel, Larry and the kids on got here on Friday night, and on Saturday we all headed up to the Adirondacks and set-up camp at the Wilmington Notch campground along the Ausable river near White Face mountain. The camp was great, cheap, showers and most importantly, right next to an incredible waterfall that I was able to take pictures of in the evening during the good light. The next day we took a wonderful hike up two of the Adirondack peaks, Cascade and Porter Mountains, bringing up Dylan and Joey in Ergos ... although Dylan did a good amount of the uphill by himself. The peak was beautiful, a large rocky outcropping set atop a gorgeous 4,000 foot peak covered in thick green trees and brambles. The views were wonderful, clear, bright skies with distinct, sharp clouds. From the top of Cascade we could see almost all the other high peaks, Algonquin loomed particularly large just to the south. After the leaving the peak we made our way across the saddle to nearby Porter mountain, and then down and back to camp. The next day was a quick jaunt up Mt. Jo, a smaller peak overlooking Heart Lake in the center of the high peaks region, before we just missed a thunderstorm as we headed up to the house on Grand Isle.

We had to take a ferry, very cool, from Plattsburgh to Grand Isle to get to North Hero, where the house was located at the end of a remote road right next to a YMCA camp. The house was great, with a large screened in front porch overlooking our dock and our essentially private bay. Over the course of the week, a number of people swam in the lake, which was apparently teeming with fish, Aviva painted the barn, I took tons of pictures, we BBQed and walked and played soccer, read and just relaxed. It was wonderful ... I finished an entire book, Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherford. Not the best historical fiction I have ever read, but pretty good.

Not that we stayed at the house all week. We went walking at the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge a couple times, spent some time in Burlington, had a picnic at Shelburne farms after feeding the animals (you can see me here helping Dylan pick up a chicken) and tasting their cheese, mustard and relishes. We drove through a bunch of tiny, incredible cute towns searching out small, family owned cheeseries (Goat Cheese from Blue Ledge Farms,Vermont Ayr Cheese from Crawford Family Farms and fresh cream cheese from Champlain Valley Creamery). We also went kayaking with Marley on Lake Champlain ... got our asses kicked by the wind ... went out to a fabulous dinner at the Blue Paddle (my pork loin was extraordinary, soft and savory with a like crunchy nut crust, awesome), ate copious amounts of ice cream at Shebbs, drank excellent wine (some nice Pomards, 06' Groth reserve and Cakebread Cellars) from Bucky's wine cellar and generally had a marvelous time.

We closed out the week with a wonderful Shabbat dinner at the house, then Aviva and I spent the next day hunting waterfalls in the Green Mountains. We stopped at Bingham and both Moss Glen Falls (the one near Stowe and the one near Granville), and my incredibly patient, wonderful wife read and relaxed for an hour at each place while I took about 600 pictures.
The falls were really incredible, supposed to be some of the best in the Northeast. Bingham was a classic punchbowl fall, about 30 feet tall.

The Moss Glen Falls at Stowe was my favorite, a beautiful 125 foot tall cascade falls in a shaded glen, the approach was the trickiest, requiring some fancy footwork and a lot of precarious balance to get all the shots I wanted. The shot below is only the top half of the falls, but its my favorite (and this is my blog) so ...

The Moss Glen Falls near Granville was the easiest, right of the side of the road, and the most picturesque, you could call it either a veil or a cascade, although it felt light and delicate, almost ethereal, so I prefer a veil.

After hunting falls all day, we spent an uber-cute night at Forty Putney Road, a B&B in Brattleboro, wandered the streets (Brattleboro is a super granola town, the food co-op there is awesome) and treated ourselves to dinner at the most adorable restaurant we had
ever been to, T.J. Buckleys, a small quiet bistro converted from a tiny diner. The ambiance was fantastic and the food pretty good, particularly the trout tart and Aviva's scallops. I have to say my rabbit was not bad either. After a wonderful dinner and a good nights rest, we hunted down one more falls, Hamilton Falls in Jamaica (it was not running well enough to merit its own picture), stopped to gawk at a beautiful covered bridge and pick up some roadside berries, and then headed home from a wonderful vacation. All in all, absolutely fantastic!!!!!

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