Kent and Carol - Mobile travel blog

Cabot Cheese being made.

Vat for boiling sap to make Maple Syrup. Some of the buckets...

Granite Quary - The zig-zag line on the wall are stairs. Now...

Finish work at Rock of Ages Granite Co.

Ben & Jerry's was decorated like this through out the plant.

Lake Champlain Chocolate factory - All the wrokers were gone to lunch...

Burlington , VT as seen from the Lake Champlain cruise boat.

Friday, September 4, 2009, another pretty drive from New Hampshire into Vermont. We parked the RV at the Groton Forest Road RV Park, another Passport America park, which means half price per night. It was also about the only park I could find that was not booked for the Labor Day weekend. Saturday morning we drove the Jeep a short distance to a very small town of Cabot, which is the home of Cabot Creamery. It is a farmer’s creamery cooperative that has grown to a very large and well-known producer of cheese and dairy products. We were shown a video about the company and then a tour of the factory where we saw them making cheese. I wondered why they were working on Saturday but the guide said they couldn’t stop production for more than one day because the milk keeps arriving at their door. They were going to close on Sunday but would be back in production on Monday, Labor Day. After the tour we were able to sample all their products and cheese flavors in the visitors center/gift shop. Of course, we made some purchases of some flavored cheeses and butter. We then drove on down the road to the Bragg Farm Sugarhouse and Gift Shop. There we learned how Maple Syrup and other Maple products were made. This is a working farm and late in the winter they hang 2500 buckets on their maple trees. The weather must be so that it freezes at night and warms to above freezing during the day, that is the only time the maple tree will give sap. The sap is then immediately taken to the sugarhouse where it is boiled on a wood fire to evaporate the water leaving pure maple syrup. Depending on the weather they will work almost around the clock for 3 to 10 days emptying buckets and boiling. When it stops freezing at nights they are through for the season. We tasted samples of the various syrups and products and made some purchases. We then drove into the capital city, Montpelier, for some lunch and then south of town to visit the Rock of Ages granite quarry. There we watched a video and were given a tour of their huge quarry. We learned how they remove huge slabs of granite, cut them to size and then polish them into beautiful slabs of granite. I thought we would see them making things such as counter tops but no this company only makes grave headstones, vaults and statues. They do some beautiful work here, but at this factory tour we decided not to make any purchases.

Monday, Labor Day, we drove the RV to the South Hero, VT, which is an island in the center of Lake Champlain. On our way there we stopped at Waterbury, VT the home of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. Thankfully they had a large RV parking lot. We had a fun tour and consumed some samples of Ice Cream. We then drove a couple miles up Stowe Road to the Cold Hallow Cider Mill to see cider being made and try some samples of the cider. We bought a jar of spiced apple butter to consume later. The purpose of going to South Hero, VT, was to meet again, a couple we met at Life on Wheels seminar at Bowling Green, KY, back in May of 2006. We had just started the full time RV adventure and they were planning to become full time RVers soon. We have kept in contact via e-mail but this was the first opportunity where we were in the same part of the US at the same time. So, we had a good time catching up on what we both have been doing the last few years. Tuesday they had plans to head to Ohio and Carol and I drove the Jeep into Burlington, VT. We visited the factory of the Lake Champlain Chocolates. We saw a video about the company and then a window view of the factory floor. This is relative small plant so the majority of the work was handwork. Again, some samples and some purchases. I promise, this is the last of the factory tours, at least for now. There is some nice scenery in Vermont with its low tree-covered mountains but we found a lot of food producers there. We had lunch at a waterfront restaurant and then an hour and a half cruise of Lake Champlain. Wednesday, September 9, 2009 we headed into the State of New York.

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