Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 7: JFK, Freedom Trail and Cannolis To Die For

Fall Foliage: Day 7

To view ALL trip photos, click on the following link:

Day 7 was a high light for some of our travelers, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Intuition would lead you to believe that JFK's library would be located on the Harvard Campus, but it was actually built across the bay at Columbus Point over looking the water and the Boston skyline, a perfect location for someone who loved to sail.

To learn more about the Presidential Library click on the following link:

After the library we took a quick walk down Hanover Street past the Paul Revere statue (start of the Freedom Trail) to Mike's Pastry to pick up some of Mike's famous cannolis (Vito's favorite). They were absolutely amazing.

The bakery had something for everyone including cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, cakes, cheesecakes, and even some Boston Cream Pie.

After our sweet treats we headed over to an Italian deli to pick up some snacks for the plane ride home. It was identical to a deli you would actually find in Italy....Prosciutto anyone?

We had some extra time until we had to be at the airport so our driver Ron took us around historic Boston to see the parks, churches, courthouses and some famous streets where Margo pointed out where some well known people have homes.
Our flight was not bad at all, unlike the in flight movie they played. Fortunately, we arrived on time and no one lost their luggage. As Katherine always says, it is wonderful to travel but there's nothing like going home to sleep in your own bed.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 6: Tour of The All American Life

Fall Foliage: Day 6

Wow! This was such a great day, filled with different activities, something for everyone. We left Killington and headed over to Rockingham to The Vermont Country Store: Purveryors of the Practical & Hard-To Find. It was a huge store filled with clothes, food, toys, kitchenware and soaps. Entering the store was like passing through a time portal to a time when your grandmother's favorite candy filled the shelves and the best toys were made of wood and NEVER plugged in. We spent an hour and half shopping, but for many, it wasn't enough. (Good thing we took catalogues home).

Next, we pacified our cravings for everything apple at The Apple Barn. Apple Pie a la Mode seemed to be the favorite but others took pleasure in apple pastries, fresh apples, cold apple cider and even some Vermont cheddar cheese. Everything the words of Rachael Ray.....YUMMO!

We stopped for lunch in the town of Stockbridge where Norman Rockwell lived out the later part of his life.

The Norman Rockwell Museum was a wonderful collection of his humorous and moving illustrations. An interesting point brought to our attention was that Rockwell was an illustrator which means that he sold the copyright to his work, never the actual paintings. This was good for us because that meant Rockwell's collection at the time of his death was almost near complete (as complete as one could imagine considering he made over 4000 works of art). They had every cover of The Saturday Evening Post that Rockwell illustrated, all four of the "Four Freedom" paintings and many more. They even had Rockwell's original studio on exhibit. Unfortunately, no photographs were aloud in the museum....too bad.

Our last stop of the day was in Podunk Massachusetts to dine at the Salem Cross Inn. This home held historic value having been built around 1700 and has been a working farm ever since. The name of the inn refers to the symbol on the door that protects the home from evil witches.
It was a delightful dining experience including costumed waitresses, an apple cobbler demonstration, Yankee pot roast and a mountain of home made whip cream for dessert.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 5: Thursday Just Breezed By

Fall Foliage: Day 5

To view ALL tour photos, click the following link:

After sleeping in just a bit, the hotel hosted a lovely breakfast buffet. We've recently recognized that we Californians are pretty spoiled with the fresh fruit we expect with breakfast every morning, that's a little harder to come by in these parts.

Durning our time Proctor Vermont we discovered the beauty and mass of Vermont marble at the world's largest marble museum. Vermont marble was used for several DC monuments, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, the Capital and many more. We watched a short movie, walked through the hall of marble presidents, observed modern marble art, wondered through the show room and then went nuts in the gift shop. Our bags are all a little heavier.

Woodstock VT (not to be confused with the woodstock in N.H. or N.Y.) We strolled through the town of Woodstock browsing the shops and dining at some very special restaurants. We checked out the Mountain Creamery (home of the "Mile High Apple Pie), the cafe at the Woodstock Inn or Bentley's Restaurant. Thankfully, Woodstock had very unique boutiques to satisfy our shipping urges.

The Quechee Gorge is also known as New England's Grand Canyon. Half of the group appreciated the view of the gorge from a bridge over looking the canyon while the other half took a short hike down to the damn at the start of the river. The sights were all spectacular.
Margo, out tour guide, continues to remind us what good timing we've had to see the bright colors of the foliage. However, we are experiencing December temperatures which Margo calls a "cold snap" because they are very unusual for this time of year. If we didn't come with gloves, hats and scarfs, then we have certainly bought some by now...burr..

The evening was spent at leisure at the hotel.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 4: What does it take to be a true Vermonter?

Fall Foliage: Day 4

There's one thing we learned that is for certain: no matter how long a migrant from "away" has been leaving here, they will never be true Vermonters in the eyes of the natives. Fortunately we got to learn what some of the "true" Vermonters do up here in the Green Mountain State.

After a scenic drive over the Connecticut river and into the state of Vermont we visited the Morse Maple Sugar Farm. We were entertained with a witty presentation by Berr Morse, the 7Th generation sugar farmer and author. Afterwards we got to try a little "Sugar-On-Ice"...very simple but very yummy.

The afternoon was spent in the state capital, Montpelier. Our group dined at a variety of restaurants for lunch, The Main Street Grill, The Skinny Pancake or the Cafe in the capital building.The capital was large compared to the other towns we've been in but still small in our eyes.

What is the difference between apple cider and apple juice? Cider has NO additives at all, just pure juice from the apple press then heated to 178 degrees and then cooled down while juice has sugar and several other ingredient. The fresh cider we tasted at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill was fantastic, hot or cold. We saw the workers running the press machine. The batch of apples in the machine in the photo can produce 300 gallons of cider and 800 lbs of feed for local farmers at once The cider mill sold an assortment of gifts and scrumpcious snacks including hot apple doughnuts, apple pie, apple cookies and fresh apples for only 10 cents a piece.

After a relaxed day of touring and driving through the mountains we had dinner at the Countryman's Pleasure Restaurant where we tried traditional German dishes including Sauerbraten and stuffed apricot chicken.

We are now staying at the Holiday Inn in the town of Killington, where we actually found a McDonalds (fast food is rare in this state).
To see ALL tour photos, click on the following link:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 3: Leaf Peeping

Fall Foliage: Day 3

To see All trip photos, please click on the following link

The day started out a little gloomy but a little bit of bad weather brought a lovely surprise to us later in the day...but I'll get to that later.
First was a lake cruise across New Hampshire's largest lake, Lake Winnipesaukee. A few travelers enjoyed a morning bloody mary during the easy one hour voyage. We disembarked at Wolfeboro where we wondered around the charming little town.

The motorcoach picked us up and we departed for the Kancamagus Highway, a national scenic drive. There was an array of extrodinary fall colors. The views reminded me of images Bob Ross would have painted on the Joy of Painting show, only better. Our first stop was at a classic New England covered bridge.

Our second stop was a fantastic scenic view from a foot bridge. It crossed over a river with several waterfalls and rapids.

The storm that caused us to bring out our umbrellas also brought a light snow fall at the higher elevations. The snow fall was just heavy enough to leave an angelic layer of white all over the tree tops. The snow was so irresistible that a handful our our travelers just had to play in it, including throwing snow balls at me, an innocent bystander just trying to take photos .

We made a few more stops: Lincoln, Flume, and Woodstock, New Hampshire.

Unfortunately, we did not encounter any real moose, just a few stuffed ones

However some patrons enjoyed a pint of beer from the local Woodstock brewery

The night ended with dinner at Mames, a cozy restaurant that was once a barn. We enjoyed either beef medallions or baked haddock and topped it off with a traditional carrot cake.