Saturday, November 2, 2013

A province & five states

I could have easily driven from Montreal to Boston in a day, but where's the fun in sitting on the freeway all day when there hills & different New England states to explore?

I watched the sun rise across fields of wheat as I left Quebec & then wished I'd cleaned the lens.
Getting off the Interstate to cross the border makes it all very easy & quick - in no time & six dollars later I was in New York.  My stay was short lived as I quickly moved into the north-west of Vermont driving down a series of islands that sit in Lake Champlain.  Vermont has the second smallest population of any of the states (only Wyoming has less than its 625000 people) and I was fast approaching the largest city in the state - Burlington, booming with just over forty thousand people.  So there wasn't a lot of traffic around and the morning drive continued in its pleasantness.

There was, an odd round church:

A capitol building in Montpelier, a town not really much bigger than the one I grew up in in New Zealand.  At less than eight thousand people its claim to fame is being the smallest state capital & the only one without a McDonald's.

Big old houses:

Covered bridges galore:

Whitewashed churches

A little covered bridge:

I was at my airbnb stay before lunch - my hosts were lovely & had a big old house & an almost-bigger attached barn.  Even though I was only paying for the bed & possibly breakfast, somehow I ended up being fed lunch, dinner & breakfast.  Jim was quite the chef, so the food & local amber ale was excellent for sharing many travel stories over.  Generally I find that those that host airbnb have travelled quite a bit themselves and always enjoy talking about far off places - this trip in the north-east USA consolidated that thought.

After a bit of a nap to sleep off the early start & large lunch, it was time to wander around the village.  In the next village I found the oldest military college, Norwich, in the country - which seemed a little out of the way.  But as they have a lot of winter training, it made sense as one could tell as fall progressed the whole area was preparing for another huge winter of snowfall.  I walked up a big hill on walking & biking trails that the college had built - the whole time views were promised by sneaking glances of an extraordinary vista; but as the light faded, they never really eventuated.  Apparently I had a few more miles to go back into the hills before reaching the fire tower.

All rather serene looking to be a military college.

Within an hour of driving the next morning I was in New Hampshire.  A state whose motto is Live Free or Die they are all for minimal interference from government.  As such there is no state sales or income tax & incredibly, if you are over eighteen years old, there is no legal requirement to wear a seatbelt.  That just seems a bit nuts, but I suppose it helps natural selection.
I continued to take poor photos while driving slowly through villages
My rather loose route of day was to avoid major highways again & aim towards an interesting-looking group of lakes in central New Hampshire.  The largest of which is Lake Winnipesaukee - I got out to stretch my legs & walked up & back down a hill for the best part of an hour.  I'm getting a tired of saying everything was pretty, even in the gloom, but it was and a good break from the rather easy driving.

Maine wasn't far away - so why not? Although I definitely got the feeling pretty much everything on the south coast had closed for the season. Shock, horror I stopped & bought some new clothes because I had the spare time & they were much needed - after a summer of riding, having to remove my belt for security screening now brings with it a much increased risk of finding jeans at my ankles. Soon I was following plenty of Massachusetts number plates & the spelling of the state was ingrained in my head.

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