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October 12th 2009
Published: October 27th 2009
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Fall ColorsFall ColorsFall Colors

The drive through western Massachusetts
With a long travel day ahead of us, we set out early in the morning for our drive across Massachusetts and into Vermont. Up until today, we really had not seen much of the changing fall colors. The drive through Massachusetts changed all that once we started driving through the western part of the state. Closer to the coast, most of the trees along the highway had still not changed colors. As we drove further inland, this started to change. Once we hit western Massachusetts; bright yellows, golden oranges, and deep reds became the norm. While driving along Massachusetts Route 2 near the towns of Erving and Gill, we crossed a bridge with the best fall foliage scenery we had seen thus far. The bridge is called French King Bridge and crossed the Connecticut River. I pulled the car over so we can walk across the bridge and enjoy this view. Quite a few other people had this same idea as there were about 20 other vehicles parked there. I guess we weren't the only leaf-peepers out today. We spent about 15 minutes here taking photos and admiring our first taste of New England fall foliage. From here Kevin took over
Fall ColorsFall ColorsFall Colors

The drive through western Massachusetts
the driving duties as we entered Vermont. Driving through Vermont was absolutely beautiful. The small towns set amongst hillsides ablaze with color made the drive absolutely enjoyable. One of the first things I noticed was the lack of billboards along the interstate. In fact, I later learned that Vermont was the first state to completely ban roadside advertising. After switching drivers near the town of Rockingham, I veered off the interstate and headed through the mountains along Highway 12. The congestion along this one-way road began to increase as we neared the town of Woodstock. Viewed by many as being the quintessential New England town, Woodstock is filled with typical Americana icons such as a covered bridge, a central green surrounded by restored homes, and a town crier. Today being Columbus Day, many people flocked to Woodstock to enjoy their day off. We walked along with the crowds along the main street passing by local boutiques and shops. There wasn't really anything out of the ordinary here just establishments you would normally find in small towns that cater to tourism. We passed a town crier which I found to be really neat. Not the typical town crier, which is a
View From French King BridgeView From French King BridgeView From French King Bridge

Driving along Massachusetts Route 2
person who yells out the day's news but a board were local events, yard sales, and auctions are posted. After strolling through the central green, we concluded that there wasn't really much to do here if you weren't interested in antiques or art galleries so we returned to our car and continued on with the journey. From here we drove up to the ski resort town of Killington. The town was pretty dead but I'm sure the activity will increase once the first snow falls in a couple weeks. The fall colors here were even more vibrant probably due to the higher elevation. We stopped to have a late lunch at the Grist Mill where I had a great Turkey Pot Pie. The service was rather slow and there were flies that seemed to annoy all the patrons but the atmosphere was relaxed. It probably would have been a nice place to relax after a day of snowboarding on the local slopes. From Killington, we made our way to the number one tourist attraction in all of Vermont, The Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory. This is one of my favorite companies as it is a company with a social
Fall Foliage in Western MassachusettsFall Foliage in Western MassachusettsFall Foliage in Western Massachusetts

Shea on French King Bridge
conscience. It was a quick tour, only about 45 minutes and cost 3 dollars. The tour began with a quick film about the history of the company and it's goals. Then we moved to a room overlooking the factory floor where the guide explained the entire process from the beginning to the packaging. Then we moved over to a sampling room where we all had a small sample cup. Once the tour was over, we wandered around the gift shop and purchased a few trinkets. I thought about getting some ice cream but it was a bit cold and it's not like I can't buy Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream at home. It had been a long day of driving so we decided to check into our hotel, The Hilltop Inn in Montpelier. The GPS which had been really accurate the past few days, was totally off when it gave us directions to the hotel. We were stopped at a light when I saw the hotel on the corner. However, the GPS was instructing us to go straight on the road. Thinking that the GPS was taking us to some hidden entrance, I followed it's directions. This thing lead us
Fall Foliage Along the Connecticut RiverFall Foliage Along the Connecticut RiverFall Foliage Along the Connecticut River

Kevin on French King Bridge
back onto a highway towards the town of Barre for about 5 miles with no place to U-turn. Realizing something was wrong, I took the first U-turn I could find and made our way back to the hotel we saw on the corner. The weather had changed quickly since Waterbury. Clouds had rolled in, the temperature dropped, and it started to sporadically rain. We wanted to quickly get inside the hotel and warm up. The hotel looked quite run-down from the outside but once we got inside, our perceptions changed. It was actually quite charming. The staff was friendly and there was a restaurant, computer room, an indoor pool, and a game room with tea, coffee, and complimentary cheese cubes. By no means was this place anywhere close to being fancy but it turned out to be very good despite the exterior. The rooms had also seen better days but they were spacious so we really couldn't complain. After relaxing and freshening up, we decided to head out and see what we could of Montpelier, America's smallest capital city. First we hit up a local grocery store called Shaw's to pick up some snacks and some drinks. Just like in
French King BridgeFrench King BridgeFrench King Bridge

Kevin, me, and Shea enjoying the beautiful fall colors
Massachusetts, alcohol is not sold in grocery stores but only in liquor stores. They really regulate their alcohol in this part of the country! Once we got into Montpelier, it was already dark. It didn't take us long to drive around the downtown area but since it was dark, we couldn't see anything anyways. We ended up stopping at a liquor/souvenir store to pick up a few things before heading back towards the hotel to have dinner to a nearby Applebee's. From what I've seen driving around Vermont, I leave quite impressed. The lifestyle here is so easygoing and laid back. Most of the state is very rural and traditional but with a liberal twist. Driving around seeing organic farms, rainbow flags in the middle of nowhere, a large number of Obama bumper stickers, and of course the liberal icon Ben and Jerry's; gives you the sense that this state is definitely left of center. My kind of state!


Additional photos below
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Fall Colors Along the Connecticut RiverFall Colors Along the Connecticut River
Fall Colors Along the Connecticut River

Seen from French King Bridge
Off of French King BridgeOff of French King Bridge
Off of French King Bridge

Awesome burnt orange color!
The View Along Interstate 91The View Along Interstate 91
The View Along Interstate 91

Somewhere in southern Vermont
Vermont ColorsVermont Colors
Vermont Colors

Driving along Interstate 91 in Vermont
The View From A Gas StationThe View From A Gas Station
The View From A Gas Station

Somewhere near the town of Rockingham
Relaxing in WoodstockRelaxing in Woodstock
Relaxing in Woodstock

Kevin taking a break from walking around the town
Street Scene in WoodstockStreet Scene in Woodstock
Street Scene in Woodstock

Quite a busy day here in town as leaf peepers descended upon the town
Awesome ColorsAwesome Colors
Awesome Colors

Outside the Ben and Jerry's Factory in Waterbury
Awesome Fall ColorsAwesome Fall Colors
Awesome Fall Colors

Outside the Ben and Jerry's Factory in Waterbury
Awesome Fall ColorsAwesome Fall Colors
Awesome Fall Colors

Outside the Ben and Jerry's Factory in Waterbury


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