founder church of jesus Christ latter-day saints

Day 24 – Vermont’s Quiet Corner

Day 24 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

Pillsbury State Park

Despite no amenities, Pillsbury State Park may have been one of my most favorite campgrounds.  Trees covered in fall foliage surrounded three different tranquil ponds while a babbling brook passed my campsite.  I awoke to intermittent rain, or so I thought. On occasion I think I mistook the peaceful sounds of the babbling brook as rain.  I had a busy itinerary planned for the day, so it probably wasn’t the best time to sleep in, but I was kind of tired of being soaked to the bone and needed to catch up on some zzz’s from the very beginning of my journey.

pillsbury state park in vermont

Before we left, Scout, Petey, and I took a 30 minute hike just to soak in the magnificent color and the relaxing views of the ponds as well as a nearby waterfall.  I definitely could have spent another day here walking the trails.  

pillsbury state park in vermont

On the way out, I waved goodbye to the friendly ranger, Tracy, a proud mother of a 7 week old baby boy named Tucker.  Amazingly, she came back to work at the park 6 days after having a C-section.  While not much maternity leave for her, at least she could have Tucker with her!

Quechee Gorge

On my way to my first stop, Quechee Gorge, I took a slight detour to Hanover to get a quick glimpse of Dartmouth.  While the campus encompasses countless red brick buildings, for some reason, I expected it to have more presence than it did Sorry to any Dartmouth graduates out there.  Just as Killington, VT displayed hay bale sculptures, this area of Vermont displayed scarecrows.  I’m already looking forward to Halloween.

scarecrows in vermont

Having been to Quechee Gorge previously, my stop here was like a park-n-grab cache…stop, look, and photograph.  The bridge from which the picture is taken is 165 feet above the chasm created by Ottauquechee River.  The area offers other hiking, but is extremely commercialized, so I kept going as I prefer “off the beaten path” type places.

Quechee Gorge

Boyhood Home of Joseph Smith

My next stop on Highway 14 in Vermont’s quiet corner, was the boyhood home of Joseph Smith born in 1805 and founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is here where I met Sister “Smith” who provided me with The Book of Mormon.   Furthermore, she informed me that the granite obelisk, erected in ­1905 as a memorial to Smith, is 38 ½ feet tall, one foot for every year of Joseph Smith’s life.  Christian music resonated through the cold air providing a feeling of worship.  In addition to learning about the history of the Mormons, I logged another cache, as the Home of Joseph Smith is virtual cache.

boyhood home of Joseph Smith

Justin Smith Morrill Homestead

Detouring a few miles off of Highway 14 toward Strafford, led me to the Justin Smith Morrill Homestead.  According to the Reader’s Digest book, Morrill, a three-term U.S. congressman and longtime senator, introduced the “1862 Morrill Act which granted states federal lands in order for the establishments of colleges”.  The pink mansion made me wonder if the senator ever worked with Mary Kay…just kidding.  Actually, I thought I may have missed the homestead, but quickly realized that would have been impossible as long as I was on the correct road.  It definitely stood out!

Justin Smith Morrill Homestead

Covered Bridges in Turnbridge

Veering back toward Highway 14, I drove through Turnbridge, VT , known for its covered bridges. According to my travel guide there were five. I only saw two.  I guess I’m not very observant.  Howe Bridge, on the south of town, dates back to 1879 and is almost as old as Tunbridge’s self-proclaimed World’s Fair, a festival that has been held every fall since 1860.  For a small town, the fair grounds were quite large.  I got the impression the festival is quite an attraction for New Englanders.

howe bridge in Vermont

Sunset Lake

From Turnbridge, I returned to Highway 14 in Vermont’s quiet corner. Along the way, white churches lined the roadside like cattle grazing on ranchlands in Texas.  I hope I never get directions from a local saying turn at the white church. The one on the hill, the one by the pond, the one with the clock?  I couldn’t count how many I passed before arriving at Sunset Lake in Brookfield. 

Sunset Lake, while home to an annual Ice Festival every January, is home to a floating bridge year round.  The lake was too deep to build a conventional bridge, thus the first floating bridge was constructed in 1820.  The current bridge, the 7th, was assembled in 1978 and is closed to traffic.  The dogs and I took a short stroll across it as a winter breeze erased any warmth from the rays of the sun.

sunset lake floating bridge

Rock of Ages in Graniteville

From Sunset Lake, I headed northeast on Highway 14 to Graniteville. Here, I visited Rock of Ages, a company that has been mining stones since 1885.  It is positioned next to the deepest granite quarry in the world and produces one-third of the nation’s memorial stones.  In addition to the factory being on display by a self-guided tour, outside a granite bowling lane was available to anyone who wanted to set the pins up and then bowl to knock them down.  Apparently, the company experimented with bowling lanes for commercial use in the 1950s.  Finally, for anyone who has seen the last Star Trek, I’m told the guy leaping off the ledge was filmed at the quarry. 

graniteville in Vermont

Ben & Jerry’s Headquarters

Another tourist attraction that cannot be missed on visit to Vermont is the Ben & Jerry’s Headquarters in Waterbury.  Ben & Jerry’s original ice cream shop was located in a converted gas station in Burlington, VT.  The ice cream was so good, they sold out in 10 days!  In two years, the company began shipping ice cream to local stores, and by 1985, they moved for a third time to the current headquarters. 

The headquarters offers fresh Ben & Jerry’s and a tour of the factory.  The briefly improved weather attracted the masses. It was a 30 minute wait just to tour the ice cream factory.  Being late in the day and being one not known for patience, I skipped the tour. The scoop of Half-Baked satisfied me.  I was surprised to find out which flavor was Ben & Jerry’s pint size best seller at the supermarkets. Take a guess and tune in tomorrow for an answer. PS – no googling.

Ben & Jerry's headquarters

Elmore State Park

Before I continued north to camp at Elmore State Park, I stopped for a good dinner at Foxfire.  It was fine Italian dining.  I was just craving something green, so I ordered a spinach salad with mandarin oranges, almond slices, and gorgonzola with a hot vinaigrette and mussels in white wine sauce.  It was nice to have a good meal! ETB

Map of My Road Trip Across the USA

For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.

Other Articles About Vermont You May Like


Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.

photographic note card, colorful canoes in vermont
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Day 22 – Green Mountain Highway Part 2

Day 22 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

Gifford Woods State Park

After a lovely night at Gifford Woods State Park, I spent the morning hiking on a relatively flat trail around the campgrounds through a forest of maple, beech, yellow birch, white ash and hemlock.  I had to rely heavily on the trail markers as the ground was covered with fallen leaves.  The path led me across several narrow streams, along a river, and past many moss covered rocks and trees. 

Middlebury Gap

Day 21 – Green Mountain Highway

Day 21 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

My drive today took me south on the Green Mountain Highway to Killington, Vermont.  In order to connect to the scenic route 100 from the campgrounds, I took 17 east over the mountain and through the woods of fabulous fall foliage to Waitsfield instead of grandmother’s house. 


Day 20 – Lake Champlain Loop and the Adirondacks

Day 20 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

Button Bay State Park

Picking up where I left off last night, I didn’t watch the sunset with Kord, as he was putting his kids down.  It wasn’t the best view for a sunset anyway.  We did end up sitting by the campfire until late.  He’s an ex tennis pro, who coached tennis at William and Mary.  The women’s tennis team was 8th in the country.  He has written an unpublished children’s book about Ollie the Camel and Goat the Sheep.   And at one point he was planning on running for Congress on the Republican ticket, but I didn’t get the details on that.

sunset at button bay state park

Today I finished the southwestern part of the loop around Lake Champlain.  I drove through Port Henry, Westport, and Essex, though I don’t have much to report.  I planned to stop in Essex at one of the “harbor’s charming cafes” for coffee, but I didn’t see one.  There were about 5 buildings and a ferry.  Perhaps I missed something.  As a result, I continued on to Willsboro Point.

Willsboro Point

Willsboro Point  is home to New York State’s first fish ladder that “affords migrating salmon a chance to overleap Willsboro Dam”.  I must have arrived after spawning season, as I didn’t see any fish swimming upstream.  None the less, I wanted to see a fish ladder as I had never before seen one.

fish ladder in Willsboro Point

With extra time on my hands due to my planned stops being shorter than expected, so I drove back to Lake Placid.  I spent part of the afternoon in the deli snacking on a chicken sandwich and charging my computer because I shorted out the 12 volt battery system in the back of the van. As a result, I can only charge my devices when I’m camped on electric, which is lacking at Vermont’s state parks. 

High Peaks Wilderness

After lunch Scout, Petey, and I went for a hike in the High Peaks Wilderness near Lake Placid. Judging by the cars, the 4.4 mile roundtrip Cascade Mountain Trail is very popular. Too long for my dogs, we just hiked for an hour through the waterfall beds. While the trails in the Adirondacks are active waterfalls in the spring with the snowmelt, they are dry in the summer and fall, unless of course it rains.

With all the rain over the last week, the rocks were slick and the mud was deep. Some people sunk up to their ankles in it. Along the rocky and muddy track, I met Eric and Patty who were from Saratoga. Eric has an app on his phone that provided him score updates. Since I’ve been in the dark recently without television and little internet service, Eric updated me.

The Texas Rangers are still in first place and the Cowboy’s didn’t play. Of course, he updated me on his New York teams as well. Being from Saratoga, he didn’t like the Cowboys. He confirmed Bill Parcells was beloved in New York. Unfortunately, he didn’t last long as a coach with the Cowboys. Good old Jerry Jones interfered again. I gave them three years to unravel after his departure. We’ll find out this season. I hope I’m wrong.


Well, enough talk about football. After our hike, we turned around and crossed back over Lake Champlain to Vermont via ferry.  It’s weird to see the picture of your car on the GPS in the middle of the lake!  Back in Vermont, I met up with Kord again.  He knew of a private campground on the river not far from the direction I was heading in the morning.  We enjoyed a nice dinner of chicken and mushroom ravioli!  I plan on meeting up with him tomorrow night too. ETB


Map of My Road Trip Across the USA

For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.

Other Articles About Vermont You May Like


Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.

photographic note card, belize sunset
Best Adventure Travel Blog
Mt. Philo State Park, Vermont

Day 19 – Lake Champlain Loop Part 2

Day 19 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

Burlington, Vermont

Ahhh…the sun!  I’d almost forgotten what it looked like after a week on the road in soggy weather.  I had to spend a few minutes hunting for my sunglasses! Today, I continued my drive south along the east side of Lake Champlain in Vermont.  My first stop was in Burlington.  Bundled up in jeans, a fleece and windbreaker, I wandered the pedestrian-only streets and browsed the farmers market.


Day 18 – Lake Champlain Loop

Day 18 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

What a surprise…I awoke to rain, albeit a sprinkle relative to the last 24 hours.  Today I planned to complete a portion of the Lake Champlain Loop, driving from Whiteface Mountain all the way to the Canadian/New York/Vermont border and then south through some of Vermont’s islands in the lake.

Whiteface Mountain

Beginning at Whiteface Mountain, I hoped to take the gondola ride for an overhead view of Lake Placid.  The chalkboard at the desk indicated a temperature of 46 degrees and visibility of 100 feet.  While visibility of 100 feet I great for SCUBA diving, it is far from ideal for mountain top.  As a result, I didn’t go. Instead, I snapped a photo of the falls nearby the ski center and navigated north along the Lake Champlain loop to Ausable Chasm.