From Basin Harbor (Vermont) to Amherst (Massachusetts)

The main reason for us going on this trip was a conference being held in Vermont - but if you're going to go that far - you might as well tag on a few days and go visit the grandkids and check out the fall colors.

Accordingly, mid-October found us flying to Montreal. Instead of flying to Boston (and having to change planes in Chicago) and then driving a long way North, flying non-stop to Montreal and then driving south seemed like a good idea at the time. But that's another story...

All you need to know is that the conference was to be held at a resort in Vermont located on a bay of Lake Champlain. First you drive to Burlington then you drive south into sparsely populated territory looking for a small place called Vergennes, then you turn right heading for the lake through even more deserted territory, looking for a place called Basin Harbor.

You should know that the conference was the annual get-together for an organization of volunteer pilots who fly missions in support of conservation causes. So it will be no surprise to learn that many attendees flew there directly in their own aircraft and landed on a swath of green grass between some golf links and a soccer field.

Basin Harbor


Entrance to the Main Lodge. Accommodations are spread over a number of buildings scattered over the grounds.


The next morning, this was the view from the table where we had breakfast. The "Adirondack Chairs" in various bright colors are the iconic symbol associated with this resort. Notice the granite cliffs on the other side of the bay.


Sitting there having breakfast, one of the members arrives in a seaplane, landing directly on the lake.


Other members landed on the grass field just up the road


Two rows of aircraft representing a motley collection of types and vintages


Sharing space with the local soccer field - the golf course is a little further over thatta way...


The scene across the road from the airfield, just your basic little house in suburbia somewhere


Rooms at the resort range from small one-room cabins to multi-bedroom bungalows.


Halloween is next week, so pumpkins are prominent as decorations


Amenities on the grounds include a fire-pit for evening gatherings


... or for those who might prefer a game of chess...


And of course there is the harbor if you prefer to go boating


On to St. Johnsbury


After the conference, we head South to spend the next night in St Johnsbury before going on to Amherst.

The Fall colors get better the further South we go. They start to show earlier in the North, and the peak color display moves South over time and starts to fade from the North as well.




Clearly we have arrived in Bernie country


This "round" barn is apparently an early example of efficiency by design


Colored hills interspersed with vegetable farming


Clearly we are in a place where, granite can be found in abundance, its uses are apparent everywhere


Near downtown St Johnsbury we went looking for a certain office building


We found it... There is a sign announcing the office of a local Senator is in this building. The entrance is apparently in the rear so we have to explore downhill behind the building...


...and there we find it - a modest doorway. He's not in the office today - but mission accomplished!


Exploring The Back Roads


We set out from St Johnsbury to check out some back roads that we had once visited many years ago - heading for spots on the map called Wheelock and Burke. Our plan was to spend the morning exploring small back roads and eventualy return to larger roads and head towards Amherst in the afternoon.



In the distance is Mt Burke - a ski destination in winter





Red is the preferred color for barns










Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home...


... and then there are bigger and more elaborate homes as well.


We finally managed to find Wheelock Town Hall - and were we glad to find it!

The roads we had been travelling had been getting steadily narrower until we would end up on a muddy cart track heading through thick woods... so we would turn around and retrace our steps to the previous road junction and try another one - only to have to repeat the process as that one also petered out. We were lost deep in the woods trying to get back to civilization - and getting ever more lost. Our GPS was of no help as it merrily directed us via ever rougher cart tracks in an attempt to reach "the big road".

Finally we came across a retired gent riding a lawn tractor collecting leaves off the grass in front of his farmhouse at a small clearing in the woods.. He seemed glad to have somebody interrupt his isolation and was happy to give us somewhat vague directions. "Down the hill till you see the schoolhouse - oh a mile or two I reckon - then turn left and up over the hill and through the next valley and then bear left at the split in the road - but not too early lest you be led off back the way ye came. Can't miss it - look for Town Hall".

Very comforting!


There were three construction workers repairing to roof on Town Hall. Those were the only people we saw in a "town" of just a few houses.


We could now navigate with some confidence down a road that would lead us to the highway. Unexpectedly we came across a classic "covered bridge" which is still in use - traffic can only go in one direction at a time as there isn't room for two cars side-by-side.



Heading for Amherst


Finally back on the big road and head for Amherst.


As we drop further south, the colors get better.


And we are continualy reminded that this is granite country


Destination achieved!


The driveway entering the college campus where Daughter Jane works - one of the best displays of color we have seen so far.

Jane is going to take us on a sightseeing tour of the local area.


More color in front of a field where Butternut Squash was recently harvested - some rejected gourds still litter the field and will return to fertilize the soil.



A classic New England church - the tree confirms that the "fall" of leaves is nearly at an end.


The best pumpkins have been taken for next week's Halloween...


And so we loop back to Hampshire College...


... where Jane leads us back to the building where her office is. Even here - the colors are spectacular!


We are going to the office of The Dean of The School of Cognitive Science


And this is The Dean herself... Jane uses a laptop (seen here on her lap - where else?) but we can't help notice an older device up on the top bookshelf just above her head.


In answer to your question. I spotted this posted on a bulletin board in the main lobby of the building.


A parting medley of colors on the college campus.