We entered Vermont from New York by crossing the Lake Champlain Bridge. This bridge, completed in 2011, was built using a “modified network tied arch design”, also known as a “basket handle”. The recently completed Eggners Ferry Bridge (that we crossed in May to get to Kenlake State Resort Park near Murray, KY), was built using a similar design. The Lake Champlain Bridge replaced the Champlain Bridge after state inspectors determined that it was structurally unsafe.
Lake Champlain is a very long lake that runs north and south with the Canadian province of Quebec to the north and the states of New York and Vermont bordering its western and eastern shores. It has 587 miles of shoreline. After crossing the bridge we headed north to the city of Burlington, VT. There we parked at the North Beach Campground, a city park on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain just to the north of downtown Burlington.
Burlington is a town with about 43,000 residents that is the most populous town in the state of Vermont and it is home to the University of Vermont. It has a very appealing downtown featuring the Church Street Marketplace, a four block long outdoor pedestrian shopping and dining mall.
We made a day trip drive to the towns of Montpelier and Stowe. Montpelier is the state capital of Vermont and with approximately 8,000 residents it is the least populous state capital in the United States. The state of Vermont was initially founded in 1777 as a sovereign state and remained independent until it became the 14th state in 1791. We took a guided tour of the capitol building, this being the third building, first occupied in 1859. The first one was deemed to be too small and a larger building was constructed on a nearby site. This second building was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1857. Oddly, there is no rotunda underneath the dome as you would generally find in a building of this nature.
The town of Stowe benefits from its location near to the ski resorts of the Green Mountains. It is an attractive small village that also hosts arts and crafts events as well as a balloon festival. If you take highway 108 north from Stowe, you will drive past the ski resorts and then reach Smugglers Notch, a mountain pass that separates Mount Mansfield from Spruce Peak. It’s a very dramatic spot with Mount Mansfield towering above to the west. During the Napoleonic Wars, there was an embargo between 1807 and 1809 preventing American trade with Britain or Canada. Many Vermonters engaged in illegal trade with Canada carrying goods and herding livestock through the Notch. Nearby caves were used as temporary storage for some of these goods.
Next stop: Gorham, NH