A Travellerspoint blog

Day 37 (10.8.07) - Burlington to Stowe, Vermont

We started heading back east across Vermont. Sometimes we just don't move very fast.

rain 55 °F
View (Re) Discovering America on jl98584's travel map.

Miles Driven: 54
Weather: Heavy Overcast, occasional light rain, Cool (mid to high 50's F)

You might be wondering how we could travel only 54 miles today (and some of that was a loop!) We did get up at a reasonable hour, but didn't leave the campground very early because I had some chores to do (bills to pay, etc.). Also, we walked down to the beach at the campground to see Lake Champlain. I'm not sure the official geography, but Mom had heard that Lake Champlain is sometimes considered one of the Great Lakes, so she really wanted to visit it. This was the main reason we drove up to Burlington.


As you can see, the weather has (finally?) turned colder and wetter. According to the locals, this is more normal for Vermont in October. Perhaps, but we enjoyed the warm sunshine while it lasted! Maybe the cooler weather will help bring out the fall colors a little more? Some tree's have already lost their leaves (Uncle Bob read that there had been a bad storm earlier), but there are still a lot of green tree's - so I'm hopeful.

A short distance away from the Campground was the Ethan Allen Homestead. Unfortunately, the museum was closed but a 'self guided' tour of the homestead was allowed. Ethan Allen built the home in 1784 after he returned from his exploits in the Revolutionary War. He and Benedict Arnold had lead early Vermont settlers, the 'Green Mountain Boy's' against the British at Fort Ticonderoga and succeeded in capturing it as well as several other forts. The huge stores of cannon and powder seized at Ticonderoga allowed the American rebels to break the stalemate at the siege of Boston, which caused the British to evacuate the city in March 1776.

In spite of these early successes, Ethan Allen wasn't as clearly an early American patriot as it may seem. He was a fervant Vermont patriot and quite a few of his contemporaries would just as soon have had him strung up as honored. The British colonies of New Hampshire and New York both claimed the area between Lake Champlain and the Conneticut river (present day New Hampshire's western boundry). Although he didn't have a clear claim on the territory, the New Hampshire governor sold land grants to working class people such as the Allen family who moved into the area and started farming it. New York's governor also sold land grants to the same area later, but mostly to wealthy land owners who did not actually settle on the land. So many of those who settled Vermont would side with whichever government would recognize their land claims. New York fought this for many years, so Vermont declared itself a republic and didn't join the United States until 1791 - the first state to join the union after the original 13 colonies.

So for the people of Vermont, Ethan Allen was a hero (if a little profane) - to the people of New York - not so much. However his homestead is now a National Historic Site and used for many school programs and activities. Although the house was closed when I was there, I was able to take a couple of decent photographs through the windows.


On the road again, we got just outside of Burlington and I remembered the Rest Area had advertised Wi-Fi, so I pulled in. Mom may have been a little frustrated at the long delay, but I took advantage of the 54MB internet speed to try and get some things caught up. So we didn't really leave the Burlington area until about 2 PM (sorry Mom).

Mom really wanted to visit the Bird Museum outside of Richmond, just a few more miles down I-89 (which I also wanted to visit). So off we (finally) headed, but as we drove through Richmond - she saw a Bakery and thought it would be a good idea to get some bread (we were low). Outside they had a garden with a lot of different pepper plants and some yard art - this might inspire some of you to put your old yard tools to creative use:


Just a few blocks further (in Richmond), we saw a sign for parking for the Round Church. We missed the parking lot, but there was an empty parking spot on the little side road right in front of the Church so we stopped. This was something we had see in the tourist brochure and we both thought it would be interesting, but neither of us had bothered to figure out where it was or plot it on the map. So here it was right in front of us!

A very nice volunteer, Patricia, met us at the door and showed us around. The church was built between 1812 and 1814 for a cost of about $3,000 under the direction of William Rhodes. Pew's were sold to local families for about $500 and could be customized by them. People who couldn't afford a pew (or a nice one anyway) sat around the outside (colder) or up in the balcony. The building was designed to be used as both a town meeting hall and a place of worship. It remained in use for 130 years, at which time it seriously needed restoration work.


There is also a web site (of course) with more information and pictures:


After learning about the church, we finally got back on the road to the Bird Museum, arriving two minutes before they closed. However the young woman that greated us had a meeting going on and said we could stay a little longer. She also mentioned that the man who carved all the birds was working upstairs if we wanted to meet him (I did). The museum has over 470 birds carved by Bob Spear. He has been working on this turkey for over a year. He said he used to work with hand tools, but now does most of his carving with power tools and is also teaching a student how to carve the birds. I noticed these "How To" cards in his work area and thought maybe one of the woodworkers in the family might be interested.


He started carving birds as a retirement hobby twenty seven years ago! The carvings are beautiful and very realistic. Most are set up in exhibits that reflect the birds in their natural environment. There is also a viewing area set up with a large window to outside bird feeders. While we were there a small woodpecker and very large blue jay were competing for position at the feeder (the woodpecker seemed to have the advantage, despite being much smaller). While the museum staff was being very lenient and allowing us to stay past closing time, somehow I was worried about the time and failed to take any more pictures of the bird carvings themselves! (Mom's back was hurting also so she didn't want to stay any longer). Fortunately, they have pictures on their web site as well as a live webcam of the bird feeders:


I take SO many pictures it would seem like way too many, however when I go to update the blog - don't seem to have enough (in this case, at least some pictures of the birds Mr. Spear carved). Maybe I was just a little tired.

We got back on I-89 and started southeast again only to turn off at the exit for Stowe, Vermont. There are quite a few things to see in this area but of course now it is too late to be sightseeing tonight. We found an RV park a few miles from the Von Trapp lodge, so are parked for the night. Mom was probably getting a little bored spending every evening reading while I updated the blog, so we played a couple of games of Rummy Cubes after dinner (split winners), by which time she was ready to call it a night. I have to use the data card (no wi-fi here), but it seems to be adequate for tonight.

Posted by jl98584 18:34 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Very nice birds and I really like the round church. You are on quite an adventure..

by rllomas

Thanks! We liked the round church also, and the birds.

by jl98584

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