Today saw us rising fairly early again, no, not at 04:30hrs, it was a little more civilised at around 07:00hrs, but the hotel room did not include breakfast, so there was a need for an intake of food, which for Sharon, was easy enough with a bowl(or better said plastic container) of breakfast cereal, whereas me on the other hand, I decided a short trip to the local McDonald’s was in order, it was strange to see the McDonald’s car park had a river running through it, and some eerie morning mist, but quite cool really.


Please note you can click on any of the photos for an expanded view in a new window.

After breakfast it was time to pack the car and hit the road again. Today’s journey would see us heading westward, out of New Hampshire (NH), through Vermont (VT) and into New York (NY) state for our scheduled night in Plattsburgh, NY.

So, it was time to head off through Moose country (unfortunately we didn’t see any though, which was rather disappointing!), it wasn’t too long though before we found ourselves heading downhill into some weather, or to be more precise FOG!!! and this was our welcome to the 6th smallest state in area, and the 2nd least populated state in the USA.

We encountered the strangest sight in St Johnsbury (VT), where we made an impromptu fuel stop and found the entire town to be a giant road works, where it seemed like every street had been dug up, it was certainly quite a strange sight, but we soon found a suitable “Gas” station and after refuelling we were soon on our way again, and surprisingly after another 20 miles or so the fog cleared and we were treated to a return of gorgeous, clear blue skies, making the remainder of the trip all the more pleasant.

Our first scheduled stop of the day was to be in a town called Barre, VT, the self-proclaimed “Granite Capital of the World”, and it wasn’t the town that we were heading for, but rather the cemetery, which we had discovered was a sight not to be missed, and it was truly moving, with the most amazing array of incredible granite headstones and memorials, located in a beautiful site and immaculately tended. Our cemeteries in the UK could certainly learn a thing or two from our American cousins.

The sheer scale and precision of the stone masonry involved in creating some of these memorials was enough to take the breath away, and the experience, although some may think of it as a little morose, was totally moving and not to be missed, we were both glad that we had taken the time to visit, and it wouldn’t be the last cemetery that we visited during our trip, so stay tuned.

After the moving experience of Barre, it was time to head for Montpelier VT, which is the home of the smallest State Capitol building in the USA. Yes, for those of you familiar with the Washington Capitol building that we so often associate with news broadcasts from Washington DC, it is NOT the only Capitol building in the USA, I believe that EVERY state in the USA has one. I am sure that if I am incorrect in this statement then somebody will let me know.

It was also an important time of the day… you guessed it, it was lunchtime and that means “time for food” and we opted for pancakes again, although personally I went for the savoury option of pulled pork, which was served wrapped in a pancake, with a side order of coleslaw and some tasty dipping sauce and the entire experience was entirely scrumptious …mmmmmm!!!!

It was then time for some mooching, and although it might be the Capital of Vermont, trust me whan I say that Montpelier is certainly no bustling metropolis, with a population of less than 8000 people, it is the least populous state capitol in the United States. However, Montpelier did offer us a short respite from our travelling, and we took the opportunity for a free guided tour of the Capitol Building, which I must say yielded up some interesting facts about the “Green Mountain State”. It is the only state in the country that does not have any building taller than 124 feet, it was originally occupied by the French and it is thought that the state’s name stems from the words Verts Mont meaning the “Green Mountains”. The edifice of the state building is made entirely from Barre Granite, yes the very same as can be found in the cemetery…

The statue that sits on the top of the gilded dome is not the original, which was destroyed, but rather it is a replacement that was carved by the then 87-year-old Dwight Dwinell, Sergeant-at-Arms for the State of Vermont.

The Governors official desk, can be found in the Governors Office, and you can sit in any of the chairs excluding the Governors chair which is carved from an original oak timber from the “U.S. Frigate Constitution”

The building is adorned with paintings, including those of all previous Governors, who, should they wish a portrait hung on the walls must commission the painting themselves, and most are pretty standard portraiture, regal paintings of men in suits, except for that of  Howard Dean, which shows him  in an idiosyncratic pose in his canoe on Lake Champlain, although our favourite painting was the one of the “The Mounted Sentry” by Julian Scott.

It was now time to leave Montpelier behind and make our way further westward, but not without taking a minor detour to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, VT, well it just had to be done. Then it was time for a coffee and there was no better place that the Green Mountain Coffee Visitor Centre and Cafe, also in Waterbury, situated in the old railway station. After the ice cream and coffee stops it was time to head towards Lake Champlain, where we would be taking a short car ferry trip across Lake Champlain, something that I had spotted when we were planning our trip. The ferry was a simple drive on / drive off ferry as seen in many movies that we just felt the need to experience. The ferry took us from Grand Isle to Plattsburgh leaving Vermont behind us and sailing into the state of New York (NY), towards out final destination for the day at the Days Inn Hotel in Plattsburgh, NY.

Wait a minute, I hear you say, there must be something missing from todays trip, yes you guessed it, it was time to round the day off with some much-needed sustenance and where better than in the Texas Roadhouse, where we we greeted most happily and treated to some of the best hospitality that we encountered on our entire trip. The waitress was extremely helpful and explained everything to us, and we were treated to a bucket of freshly roasted peanuts in their shells, and their home-baked sweet bread rolls, which were superb and still hot. Combine that with hand-cut steaks cooked just the way you like them and all fresh local ingredients for their salads and side orders, and not forgetting the ICE cold beer served in frozen glasses, it was truly a great eating experience and one we will never forget. All that remained then was to get back to the hotel and a good nights sleep to prepare us for our next days, arduous journey to Toronto in Canada, hopefully we will see you all again tomorrow for the next thrilling installment.