This past weekend, as it was Damien's 2nd birthday, we decided to do some camping on our way to Ontario. Instead of driving through Montreal and continuing west as we had done a million and one times before, I suggested to Marie we take a different route - through Vermont and New York and visit some places we had never been before. The forecast was for sunny, warm days but cool nights so taking a few fall clothes with us we set out. We crossed into Vermont at Derby Line, following I-91 to Orleans where we took state road 58 and 100 south through typical northern Vermont scenery along the Green Mountain Byway - ski resorts, lakes and winding rivers, wineries and near Stowe the Von Trapp Family Lodge. We picked up I-89 in Waterbury and half an hour later arrived in Burlington where we would catch the ferry to New York state. After some delays because of the town's annual Pride Parade we eventually made it to the ferry terminal to catch the 3 PM crossing. Lots of time to explore and have lunch on the waterfront at the Spot on the Dock restaurant while we waited for the almost 90 year old MV "Champlain" to arrive.
|Burlington, Vermont waterfront|
|Spot on the Dock restaurant, Burlington, VT|
|Green Mountain Railroad Dinner Train, Burlington, VT|
|camper on board ferry MV Champlain leaving Burlington to NY|
The MV "Champlain", previously the "City of Hampton" which ran from Hampton Roads to Norfolk, Virginia, has been a fixture on the lake since 1957 and where we crossed was at one of the widest points on Lake Champlain. The ride across was an hour with views of the Green Mountains to the east and the Adirondacks in the west behind Port Kent, our destination in New York. There is not much to do on the ferry except enjoy the view, take pictures and try not to lose your hat in the strong breeze but we made it across without incident and debarked in a few minutes, passed the Ausable Chasm (note to self this is a place to visit one day) and arrived at the North Pole campground in Wilmington for supper. This resort is huge and has everything one needs while camping - clean washrooms and showers, a general store with a killer craft beer selection, an awesome games room, dog walks through the woods, and access to the Ausable River a few minutes walk away. It was unfortunate we were only there for the night as we had to get up early the next morning to make Embrun before noon but highly recommend this place if you are exploring this area of the Adirondacks. We were only a few miles from Lake Placid and Saranac Lake which we drove through the next morning. Known as the Olympic Region it is close to Whiteface Mountain and the sites of the 1980 Winter Games that will forever be remembered for the "Miracle on Ice" hockey game between the US and the Soviets. The US eventually went on to win the gold medal and, as they say, the rest is history.
|the Champlain in Port Kent, NY|
|our campground at North Pole Resort - quiet and private|
|North Pole Resorts, Wilmington, NY|
|early morning mist, Ausable River, near Wilmington, NY|
It was a three hour drive north to Ontario with very little traffic on the mostly well kept roads. We left the Adirondacks park just a few miles south of Malone and crossed over the St Lawrence into Cornwall and were at Christina's in time for hot dogs and cake. Damien is growing up fast - he is going to be a big fellow and since we last saw him has changed considerably - talking, running and laughing more. Hopefully he can start sleeping through the night soon and give his parents a much needed break! Christina made the cake - her first she admitted - and big enough to have enough left over for Damien's third birthday! We set up a pinata - a must have for any birthday party nowadays! then opened Damien's gifts. I helped set up his favourite one we had got him and then we said goodbye to all his guests.
|birthday boy Damien cruising around the neighbourhood|
|Christina showing Damien how to hit the pinata|
|blowing out the candles|
|playing on the trampoline|