I know I don’t normally blog about short weekend trips in New England, but today was a perfect fall day and it feels blog-worthy. I’m in northern New Hampshire and Vermont this weekend, where the leaves are close to peak color, with a lot of yellows and oranges dotting the hillsides and a few reds sprinkled in here and there for good measure. Not the most vibrant foliage I’ve ever seen, but still pretty and worth the drive. We can dispense with the fact that I sat in traffic for (literally) hours last night to get here and quickly get on with the highlights of the day, of which there were many (and none of them involved being stuck in traffic).
Peacham Café: I have been to Peacham, Vermont many times before, but had not ventured into the Peacham Café until today. It was a chilly morning (30 degrees and “scrape the window” cold) so a hot chocolate and breakfast croissant in the small upstairs loft of the old farmhouse really hit the spot. I decided this would be a weekend to seek out new places to visit, and the Peacham Café was a good place to start!
Devil’s Hill: I pretty much stumbled upon Devil’s Hill. I had actually skimmed a short blog post about it last week, but didn’t give it much thought until I saw a sign for the single lane dirt road leading to the trailhead. Why not? I was the only car in the trailhead lot and had no idea how long the hike would be (it turns out it’s about a mile to the summit overlook.) Imagine my surprise to run into a couple at the top! The gentleman grew up in Peacham and knew the area inside and out. He spent about 15 minutes regaling me with stories about the area and pointing out all the landmarks. How could I resist asking about the hill’s name? Legend has it that a bolt of lightning struck nearby many years ago and looked just like the devil. With my head full of local knowledge and lore, I headed back to my car and onto the next adventure.
Groton State Forest: I can’t claim that Groton State Forest was a new adventure, but it captivates me every time. Vermont Rt 232 cuts north/south through the forest, which is filled with several ponds, lakes, and trails. First stop: Kettle Pond, a small undeveloped pond that I have visited many times. I started on the trail around the pond, but several muddy areas made me rethink that plan. I headed instead to Owls Head overlook, a short climb to a beautiful vista overlooking the Green Mountains and beyond. Could the view be more perfect?
Maple creemee: I must confess, I’ve visited Vermont many a time without indulging in a maple creemee. Though they are practically synonymous with Vermont, they aren’t always easy to find and it’s definitely been a while since my last indulgence. So when I saw the sign for maple creemees outside the Marshfield Village Store, I knew what my lunch would be. Never had a maple creemee? It’s basically rich soft serve ice cream infused with maple syrup. And this one was delicious. Sitting on the front porch of the store licking that creamy goodness and watching the world go by made me thankful once again for living in such a beautiful part of the world.
Cabot Cheese Factory: Would a visit to Vermont be complete without a stop for some cheese samples? I think not. There’s not much to say except… yum!
Greenbank’s Hollow: This was another place I stumbled upon today that was both unexpected and fascinating. Greenbank’s Hollow was a small hamlet in the town of Danville that sprung up around Benjamin Greenbank’s woolen mill factory in the mid 1800s. Most of the mill workers lived in the hamlet and it was a thriving community until fire tore through the mill and surrounding buildings in 1885. Today, all that remains are the foundations of a few homes and the schoolhouse along with the (rebuilt) covered bridge. There is a trail and interpretive brochure that you can follow around the site. I was fascinated by the history and amazed that I hadn’t happened upon it until now.
Kingdom Taproom: Another new find for me, the Kingdom Taproom is a fun little pub/tavern with drinks aplenty in historic downtown St. Johnsbury. The dark paneled walls, community tables and pillow cushioned tables and booths was the perfect ending to the day. Fun fact: I’m not a big ginger fan. I ordered a ginger infused cider and was reminded again that the flavor of ginger is a bit too strong for my taste.
Since it’s supposed to turn cloudy quickly tomorrow, my early morning pancake stop will likely be the last hoorah before heading home.