Vermont, New Hampshire & Massachusetts

Who knew Vermont and New Hampshire were so beautiful and that Massachusetts had a super fun baseball stadium? We do now!

20150429_151236ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Burlington, Vermont– This little gem showed up on our ASTC member list, and it happened to be on our way through Vermont, so we tried to stop in on our last day of school. Notice I said TRIED. I called the center before we arrived to make sure they still honored our ASTC membership and to ask about parking with our RV, to which the lady replied, “Oh, with an RV you’ll need to park towards the back of the parking lot.” Sounded pretty easy, right? We also checked on Google Maps satellite images just to be sure there was room, but parking turned out to be impossible. Evidently this little town is a college town full of people who love to park downtown and walk around on a random Wednesday afternoon. Also, the roads in Vermont have not recovered from this past harsh winter, so between the cars parked everywhere, millions of deep potholes, unpaved lots, and tight turns, we couldn’t make it work. We just had to wave goodbye as we drove away. Maybe next time!

20150429_162046Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, Waterbury, Vermont – I had to make up for the ECHO Lake blunder somehow. We couldn’t simply let the last day of school pass us by without doing something fun and semi-educational (reading and writing in the truck just wasn’t cutting it)! So, we stopped by Ben and Jerry’s to learn how to make ice cream and ended up learning about how a couple of real social changemakers turned a little homemade ice cream business into a worldwide conglomerate. Vermonters are very proud of Ben and Jerry’s (Did you know they were called Vermonters?!), and now we are too. It really is a cool story of how it all came about and how they continue to be socially responsible. We had a wonderful time. The kids loved it. We all learned something, and we ate way, way too much super-rich ice cream! The cowmobile re-creation and flavor graveyard were pretty awesome too.

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Prohibition Pig, Waterbury, Vermont – Still trying to make up for the aquarium disappointment, I asked the kids to pick a prize for all their hard work this school year. The choice was a small toy of their choice at Toys R Us or a nice dinner. Malachi chose the toy, and Elijah chose the dinner, which is completely predictable if you know our boys at all. Pair that conversation with the fact that we were desperate to find a Laundromat, and you have the perfect storm way that we happened upon Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, Vermont. Silly me, I thought we were in a small town. It was cute, and the Laundromat was really nice in a quaint sort of way, so I hopped onto Google Maps to find out what kind of restaurants were around, and I found the Pig. Elijah loves barbeque, so of course he was excited. It was a Wednesday night, so we didn’t expect a long wait for a table, but as it turns out, the place was buzzing, and we had to wait a good 30 minutes. The atmosphere was really special, and the food was some of the best we’ve had. All locally-sourced and super fresh, we had a couple of different types of barbeque, all different from our normal Georgia type, and we loved them all. Overall we spent over 2 hours there, and Elijah said over and over, “BEST end of school day ever!” So I think we may have made up for the aquarium thing after all, even if we did have to scrounge around for water that night and park in a Wal-mart parking lot. (Don’t worry, we all still had showers and brushed our teeth, but it was definitely a close call!)

20150430_123228Granite Capitol of the USA, Vermont and New Hampshire – Did you know that Vermont and New Hampshire are known for having heaps of granite? Well, they are, and we found a granite quarry tour online. Unfortunately, they were closed this month, as is everything around here it seems since warm weather hasn’t found its way here yet. So we went for the next best thing – a local cemetery full of beautiful headstones that really look more like monuments. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea to roam around in a graveyard wondering about the lives represented there, we really enjoyed it. Some of our favorites were the racecar, airplane, soccer ball, and armchair. How did we get the idea to tour a graveyard, you may ask. Well, kudos for that one (and many other fun things we’ve found along the way) goes to Matthew (he uses a couple of websites to help.)

Boondockers Welcome Host Family, Randolph, Vermont – Finding a place to park overnight in Vermont and New Hampshire has proven to be pretty challenging. To keep costs down, we don’t mind staying at a friendly Cabela’s and Wal-mart from time to time, but since we have some time before we need to be in Maine, ideally we would like to find a campground or state park every now and then as well. However, camping season hasn’t found its way to northern New England yet, and everything is closed. Like really closed, even to the point that the voicemail for many places says, “The gates are closed, and there is no access to dumps or fresh water.” So we are extremely thankful for Harvest Host and Boondockers Welcome, although these are pretty sparse right now as well. Thankfully we found a Boondockers Welcome host family pretty close to the Vermont/New Hampshire line, and again this turned out to be way more than just a place to stay for the night. This couple happened to be Airstreamers who had spent 10 years full-timing, so we were instantly friends. They showed us their rig, and we showed them ours. Then we ate dinner together and had a nice Tim Tam Slam desert with heaps of stories about good and bad times on the road. They were so welcoming and full of hospitality, and we were so thankful for a relief from our road-weariness. We hope to run into them again soon!

20150503_163707Salisbury Beach State Reservation, Salisbury, Massachusetts – While getting ready to leave Vermont, I looked over at Matthew and declared, “I’m so tired of traipsing around every day. Can we find a campground just for a little bit?” and being the amazing husband he is, he replied, “Sure, I’ll find something.” As I’ve mentioned before, camping season hasn’t begun in the north, probably due to how cold it still is up here, so the only campground we could find anywhere close to our path to Maine was Salisbury Beach in Massachusetts, and they just happened to be hosting a couple of get-togethers, one of which was the Chilly Man Airstream Rally. Not being a part of the club, we arrived right at check-in and grabbed an out-of-the-way spot, and it was so fun to watch all of the beautiful riveted rigs roll in! There were 20150501_155358new ones, old ones, shiny and dull ones, but my absolute favorite were the Bambis – I just can’t take how cute they are! Unfortunately the weekend turned out to be cold and windy, so there weren’t a lot of opportunities to meet people, but when it warmed up, the beach was beautiful, the playground was super fun, and we found heaps of gorgeous sea glass along the shore. We ended up staying for 4 nights, getting plenty of rest, and even seeing an 80 degree day and taking the opportunity to leave our rig and get to a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Such a great rest! But if you plan to go, you should know something: Don’t touch the trees or you’ll get scolded.

IMG_20150504_190250Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts – Our family loves baseball, so we couldn’t pass up a chance to visit the famous Fenway Park for the first time ever. We had so much fun cheering on the Red Sox, buying Sox caps and acting like locals, especially since the day we visited was May the Fourth, Star Wars Day (“may the fourth be with you” and all that). The game ended late, so everyone was completely wiped out the next day, but it was completely worth it. Now we can’t wait to see other stadiums across the country!

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