On Day 11 of the Summer of Schnyder, we rented bicycles to ride the Island Line Trail that unites the Burlington Bike Path, the Colchester Causeway and the island community on South Hero into a 14-mile trail that travels along and over Lake Champlain. It was the perfect way to get a flavor of Vermont – we saw the lake, the coastline and the Appalachians in the distance; we stopped at a few beaches and rode through several neighborhoods, including farmland on the island; we also got to eat some local food while having lunch at an apple farm on the island.
We made great time – one hour – riding the 10 miles from the bike shop to the end of causeway. From there, we took a short – like five minutes – bike ferry that gets bicyclists across the gap in the Colchester Causeway (allow boats through). We spent a couple of hours on the island riding the roads and stopping for lunch at Allenholm Farm, where The Accidental Farmer fed us a yummy grass-fed burger and mac & cheese made with Vermont cheeses.
We shared lunch so that we didn’t eat too much, since we had a good 14 miles to ride back to the bike shop. Still, the return didn’t go quite as quickly. After we got off the return bike ferry and rode for about five minutes, it felt like I was riding through mud even though this is a rails-to-trails flat, easy path. The back tire was flat. Since we were 10 miles from the shop and close to the ferry, the bike shop had us go to the ferry for a fix. The guy there fixed it but after about 10 minutes of riding it was clear he didn’t do it right. We had to call the bike shop again and they sent a mechanic out on his bike to take care of it. That did the trick but by now we’d been out much longer than expected and were pretty wiped out. It was overcast most of the day but it seemed like the sun popped out when we were stranded!
We finished up the ride about six hours after we started! We cycled a little more than 30 miles. It was steady terrain except on the island so it wouldn’t have been as tiring without the long delays with the bike tire issue.
That night we met Gray, a Vermonter I met at TBEX travel writer/blogger conference, for a well-deserved local beer at Vermont Pub & Brewery in downtown Burlington. She showed us Church Street – a cool pedestrian area full of art, shops and restaurants with lots of outdoor seating – and then we had pizza at American Flatbread. The restaurant is right next to a parking lot that used to be home to the original gas station building where Ben & Jerry’s got their start scooping ice cream. We also checked out a new place called Tilt, a bar/restaurant with a collection of pinball machines and old video games.
Day 12: Burlington, Vermont, to Franconia, New Hampshire
We made sure our route to New Hampshire took us through Waterbury, home to one of the Ben & Jerry factories … the one with the tour. It was $4 for a short video about the history of the company and a tour of the operations area (since it was Saturday, there was no ice cream being produced while we were there). The final stop on the tour was the tasting room, where we tried a Sweet Cream & Cookies flavor. Then we walked through the outdoor flavor graveyard, which honors fallen mixtures that are not longer offered. It was a fun stop and well-organized.
From there, we visited a local apple cider mill, bought some maple syrup and went for a drive up the auto toll road to see the views of Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont, and the Stowe township. We drove through Smugglers’ Notch before heading east toward New Hampshire.
Views from our time in Vermont:
#Schummer14 – Lee & MeLinda Schnyder are turning their home in Wichita, Kan., over to a friend and taking a month-long road trip. They’ll travel from Kansas to Ontario and Quebec, Canada; then through Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The trip home will include stops in Ohio and Missouri. Beyond the blog, you can follow #Schummer14 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Lee has now had pizza in every state where we’ve overnighted during the trip except Michigan.