From Vermont

Lake Placid , Cascade Mountain

From Burlington we drove up the West Side of Lake Champlain and onto Grand Isle , a large island in the middle of the lake. From here it was a short ride on a car ferry of about 15 minutes into New York State and the City of Plattsburgh. From there we took route 3 , thinking it to be a scenic route , which it was , but just miles and miles of heavily treed areas interspersed with a few very small towns , and despite heading through the Adirondack Park , no trail heads anywhere . We finally stopped in a park near the small town of Franklin for our packed picnic  lunch . From there it was a relatively short drive to Lake Placid where we went and checked in with our hosts , Charles and Lesley  {who are 65 plus  and have the airbnb as a “retirement job”}for the next 2 nights. In the afternoon we walked  the 5km around “Mirror Lake” which is where the actual town is situated . For dinner we went to an “Italian” restaurant but clearly it was run by a Serb as were all then wait staff. The girl serving us was named Ljiljana! We took in a movie  called “Tammy” before heading back to our accommodation in the evening .
The next day it looked like there would be a turn in the warm clear weather we had been having . We started out early and went on a hike up Cascade Mountain . The Adirondacks are home to 46 peaks ranging from just under 4000ft to Mt Marcy which is a bit under 6000 ft , all varying in their difficulty . Apparently Cascade Mt was a bit “easier” with a grade of 4 out of 7 but still with a 2000ft change in elevation . The Summit was bare rock and the weather was indeed changing , and once out of the shelter of the trees there was a howling gale . We arrived at the same time as a younger couple we had been following , so we snapped photos for each other before clambering down to a more sheltered area .
Driving back to Lake Placid the rain was coming down heavily . After eating our salad lunch  in the car we went to the Olympic Museum ( which was really pretty ordinary) .With it still raining we went to the movies again – this time Jersey Boys – which was good but not as good as the live musical . We walked round the Lake before dinner just as a local triathlon  was starting on a Monday evening.

Burlington and Smugglers Notch

After thunderstorms overnight we woke up to steady rain ; something we have infrequently seen. With hurricane Arthur on its way along the east coast we were at least going to be driving away from the severe weather. Our route to Burlington ,Vermont , took us through the white mountains on the opposite(west) side of Mt Washington . The scenery continues pretty much the same with green covered hills, and as we crossed into Vermont the slogan on the number plates states just that – Green Hill State. As we came up to the capital , Montpelier , we through it before we knew it – gps always takes you on the quickest route- though not surprising seeing the population is only 8000 people . We turned off the freeway toward a town called Middlesex, and happened on a cafe with a very crowded parking area ; guess we happened on the best cafe in town . After a brief bite we continued toward our destination of Burlington , which is the biggest town in Vermont with a population around 40000 ,and sits midway up Lake Champlain which is around 120 miles long . Arriving a bit early for our accommodation we went into town and walked around the mall area which was busy for a weekday as it was the 4th July . Lily spent a fortune on clothes and we went back and checked in to the Days Inn . Later we walked along the shared path at the lakefront and went back to the mall for large bowls of Asian soup.
At breakfast in the morning we met an older couple with their granddaughter travelling from Canada . They gave us some tips on where we might like to visit . First we drove toward Smuggler’s notch – now if this area seems a bit pro UK/France I guess the history of this place explains it . In 1803 the new nation USA placed an embargo on people trading with Britain and France . For the people in this area this a bit of a hardship so goods were smuggled to and from Canada, in the 1920’s during prohibition , alcohol was smuggled across the border , finally during the depression Roosevelt created jobs for men to build the road through it.  Our first stop was at a store selling Maple goods – this being a big area for the production of Maple syrup . As we drove further toward Smuggler’s notch the road narrows and becomes very winding . We didn’t get to the cave and visitors area as there were so many cars parked along the road. Finally we parked in a picnic area and went for a hike – which didn’t  disappoint – climbing 1500ft in 3 miles with awesome views of the notch.
Following this we found our original target – the Von Trapp Family Lodge . So you can walk into the lodge and even have afternoon tea and walk the grounds for free. There has been a few extensions and several villas built . Seems the hills are alive with the sound of the cash register. Tomorrow we cross the border(the Lake) into New York State to Lake Placid .