Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vermont Part III

... picking up where I left off ...

After we stayed the night in the cabin on the lake, it was off for a day of sightseeing. We decided early to take as much time as we wanted in the morning and afternoon so that we wouldn't hit New York City until after midnight. We decided we'd prefer to get into the city in the middle of the night than sit in the parking lot of I-95 after a holiday weekend. One of the taxes of living in New York is the time tax for entry and exit - the city does not let go of its prey easily.

After a few wrong turns in the back roads of Vermont, we crested a little hill heading towards the town of Cabot, VT. On the way there, we stopped so I could take a photo of this random little shack in the middle of a field.

Little House


Cabot Creamery, one of the oldest farmer-owned cooperatives, was the first stop on our vermont tour largely meant to torture my lactose intolerant boyfriend. The tour was $2.00, which was approximately what the tour was worth. We watched a little movie about the history of the creamery, learned a few factoids (Cheddar cheese is naturally lactose free! Gloves are less sanitary than bare hands! Mechanizing the plant didn't push people out of jobs, oh no it didn't!), and then we got to see cheese being made. Great blocks of cheese, and great vats of cheese curds, and cranes patterned like a Holstein cow (no, I am not kidding).

Makin' Cheese

After the tour, we got to taste all of the cheeses. Good God they were delicious. The boyfriend was tempted into taking some of his moo pills by the habenero and the chipotle cheese and the sounds of my lips smacking. I walked out of there with about two pounds of cheese and it is delicious. In fact, I'm eating a little piece right now - aren't you jealous?

After that, it was a trip to a roadside attraction that my boyfriend found. Turns out there is a man in Vermont. And that man makes art out of spiderwebs. He is likely the only "spider web farmer" in the United States. When one is so close to something so bizarre, the only possible thing to do is to take a look. After a quick detour for some good eating at Ed's Barr-B-Que in Barre, we were there.

Ed's Barr-B-Q -- I took this quick shot as we were leaving the restaurant to post on the interwebs. The food here really was delicious, the beer selection excellent and the service was fantastic. If you happen to be in Barre or heading through Barre, I can't recommend it enough.

We met Will Knight, owner and proprietor of the spider web farm. Sadly he had already harvested earlier that morning, but we got a chance to paw through his most recent pieces. Will Knight is the kind of guy you could probably talk to for hours and seemed to have many stories to tell. While we were there, we saw two cars pull up Spiderweb Farm Road (yes, that's the road he lives on), take a spin around, and drive away. This message goes out to all of those who do that - if you've made it up the road, why not stop for a minute? Take a photos? Chat with the proprietor? You might actually like something. B ended up bringing home two larger piece, while I settled for a very small piece of web memorabilia. I should have worked up the courage to ask him to pose for a picture, but instead I settled for asking him to sign the back of my spiderart (the smaller pieces were unsigned).

Spiderweb Farm II
The sign says "Spiders at Work". And yes, you can buy those in the shop too.

Spiderweb Farm I

Having come this far through Vermont, we decided to make one last tour stop in Waterbury, VT - the home of Ben and Jerry's. This tour was slightly more expensive than the Cabot Creamery Tour at $3.00, but we got to see another movie and we got to watch ice cream being made. At th end of the tour, we all got a scoop of Ben and Jerry's Mint Chocolate Chip (their flavor of the day) and I watched B take approximately 20 of his moo pills to get the whole thing down. I told him I was happy to take the terrible burden of finishing his scoop, but he declined. We weren't allowed to take photos in the factory, but we were allowed to photograph the end of the tour.

Top flavor hallway
hallway featuring the top 10 flavors - (in order) Cherry Garcia, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chunky Monkey, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Half Baked, New York Super Fudge Chunk, Phish Food, Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, Peanut Butter Cup and Vanilla Sorry Stephen Colbert but Americone Dream was not up there - but not yet in the flavor graveyard either.

We also walked around the grounds to the "Flavor Graveyard" where all of the fallen flavors are memorialized. B and I were both shocked and saddened to see that our beloved coffee,coffee buzzbuzzbuzz! was among the dearly departed. Its tombstone read: Its heady buzz made us zoomzoomzoom! / Bounce off the walls like a rubber room / Now this zippy flavor's gone / But caffeine headache goes on and on.. Disregarding the fact that I'm not sure a rubber room bounces and the possibly improper use of the apostrophe, it is a fitting tribute to one of my favorite flavors.

Flavor Graveyard
Flavor Graveyard

Silo Diptych

Ben and Jerry's Industrial
Factory Building Exterior

We thought that this was going to be our last stop, but on our way out of Vermont we saw a sign on the side of the road for the Morrill Historic Homestead. Never one to pass up a brown sign, we headed off in search of this place. We figured it would be closed, but we might be able to take a look at the grounds or at least see what it was. Apparently it is Vermont's first national historic landmark and the grounds were totally open for us to tromp around in, and peer in through the windows of the various houses. I wanted to take a walk up a pretty path, but once more the squelchiness of the water soaked ground prevented my efforts. I haven't finished all of the photos of this area, but I'll leave you with one two of the pretty little creek tumbling along the property line.

On our way out of Vermont, the almost full moon was rising and it looked far closer than normal. And this seems the right note to end on, so that will have to be that.

The moon is closer than it appears

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