We woke up early, anxious riddled and excited for our day’s adventure. We packed the car in such a rush, that we collectively checked the room 14 times to make sure we didn’t leave anything behind (to be completely fair, I think I checked 11 times and Joe checked 3). We pointed Hefe in the direction of Lincoln, New Hampshire’s Best Attraction – Alpine Adventures Ziplining. We got lost going to the park, which made us even more nervous because now we were thinking we would miss our preferred time, so now we’re hastily calling the place, getting the right directions, arriving at the place and! We were 30 minutes early. So, with plenty of time to spare we got ourselves signed up, and chose the midrange course package. More experience than the beginners course and a little less terrifying than the super course.
We were called into the equipment room, where we were sized for harnesses and helmets, and introduced to our new found flying partners. We were grouped up with about 9 other people for the day, and said hello. Four of our members instead said “Hallo” back. It was a family from Holland, the two parents spoke perfect English, and the two girls (14 and 16) didn’t speak any. The other group members were a Father and his group of 4; son, daughter, and their 2 friends, they were from New Jersey, and were there on vacation. As we finished our introductions, the first fun part of the day’s adventure arrived. In order to get to the top of the Zipline Course, we needed to climb there, in a 6 wheel truck. We buckled in and held on for our lives as we climbed up the craggy mountain path, laughing through the rest of our introductions.
After surviving the road to the top, we climbed out of the back and hit the course. Our guides were wonderful, funny, and engaging. They breezed through the course and kept it interesting with races, and bets. Everyone knows I’m not competitive – not at all. Nope.
After flying through the air with the greatest of ease, we were positively famished. Lucky for us there was an awesome little delicatessen styled supermarket called the Purple Tomato nearby. We had the Jumbalaya, and were amazed at how unbelievably flavorful it was, and dense. Bellies brimming with food, we waddled back into the car to make our way to our next stop, and another state – Rockefeller Marsh Billings National Park in Vermont.
The day itself was very rainy for most part, not lending itself to anything particularly fun or beautiful about our travels, but it felt comfortable for us. We knew the foliage, and the winding roadways, we mused about how out West so many of the roads went straight on for what seemed like infinity. We made good time to the park, and drove around it for a while. We landed at the visitor center, where we tried some raw milk cheese, and read about early small farming practices. Fortunately for us, the rain had let up enough where we felt comfortable pitching for the night, and we headed to Quechee State Park, where we pitched in a cozy little spot for the night.
As we settled into bed, it began to rain softly on our wind cover. We reminisced again about our time out West, and the different campgrounds within the South, and the North. We looked forward to our time in Vermont, as both of us had been here before around the time of our engagement. The best part about the campground we had chosen was the clean bathrooms and showers that were in close proximity to our site.
We woke in the morning, put our money in the shower machine, and enjoyed the hot water. After spending a quality $4.00 worth of time scrubbing in hot water, we went back, got dressed, and packed up Hefe. Our first stop was Knight’s Spider Web Farm where we received an education about spiders and collecting spider webs. Our host was all too happy to have some company in the early morning hours. Originally a surveyor for the state of Vermont, when the work dried up he started making furniture with his wife to support their family. At his wife’s suggestion they started collecting spider’s webs on scraps of wood which then quickly became his best seller. After several short TV segments about his unique business they were able to make ends meet and provide for their children. We happily purchased a unique web on a small black plaque, just as our bellies began to growl and beckon us to our next stop at the Ladder 1 Grill, an awesome restaurant that also serves as a hotel. We enjoyed a great meal, and explored around upstairs in the rooms. After our exploration through the reinvented firehouse, we got back in the car to travel to our dessert – Ben and Jerry’s! Of course, we had to go on the tour, we made some spin-art, and we waited on the insanely long line for ice cream. We also bought a faux melted ice cream statue to torture our parents with, and with our absurdly childish souvenir in tow, we drove off to our next tour.
But what do you tour after an ice cream factory? Why, an Apple Cider Mill and Distillery, obviously. Cold Hollow Cider Mill is an upstart in the world of Hard Cider, but what a great start it is! We happened to come on the day where they had just finished filming a news piece on the company for their recent success with their brew. While they were not supposed to be open, they invited us in anyway. We had a drink with the two bartenders, and talked about their company. They asked about our trip, and before we knew it our glasses were empty. We started to say goodbye to let them go home, and instead we were invited to stay a bit longer and meet a few of the cooks in the back for a drink at the bar. We spent more time laughing, and socializing, and bought a growler for when we eventually left. Before we left the kind staff members gave us a coupon for a free lunch, since we had missed the chance to try the food they had. We thanked them for their hospitality and immediately were grateful our campsite was 2 miles down a straight road, and an easy access place. The weather was beautiful, and we backed Hefe up to right in front of a stream, pitched the tent and honestly? Drank the night away watching movies cuddled up in our tent. (Jealous? I am. I’m nostalgic just reading it.)
We woke up the next morning, mildly hungover but raring to go. We had both been to Smuggler’s Notch as children, and we both wanted to see what it looked like as adults. I had seen it in the winter time during a ski trip, Joe had seen it as a kid while on vacation during the summer, and apparently had loved it so much that his parents thought he had been brainwashed. So, we drove the extremely harrowing and narrow road up the mountain to Smuggler’s Notch, took a picture with the sign, drove briefly through the grounds, and then made our way back down the mountain to try our luck at lunch at Cold Hollow Cider Mill Creek. We got there in just the nick of time too, because they were hopping! We ordered our food, took a seat in the back and looked out the window at the bustling Cider Mill that the restaurant shared a parking lot with.
After eating our fill, we bought another growler to bring to Aunt Jean’s and Uncle Bill’s, and then drove off to our next destination. Which was… another cidery. We agreed that we were not really ready to start drinking this early in the day, so, we backed out of the parking lot and drove down into Burlington instead to stop and get some coffee at Maglianero Café. Beverages in hand, we took a leisurely stroll down to the docks on Burlington Bay. We admired the boats on the water, and the view, while walking along the train tracks talking about how both of our families had an affinity for old train sets. After a nice walk and a great conversation, we were finished stretching our legs, but we took our time driving down the road, enjoying the Northerly parts of our 48 State adventure. Admittedly, we drove slowly for another reason; our next stop was – Surprise! Another Cidery! (Mom, I swear I’m not an alcoholic.)
However, this cidery is special. It’s Woodchuck Cider, where we spent the day celebrating our engagement, and the opening of their new facility, almost 2 years to the day of our visit. We made use of the self-guided tour, finishing at the bar for a tasting. Afterwards, we drove to a local campground named Riverbend, where we backed up to huge, lazy, river to set up camp. Fortuitously, in perfect time for us to watch the sunset while sitting in amazing little fold up chairs, listening to the sounds of the world in the fading sunlight.