Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Drive: Cooperstown NY to Burlington VT

“Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides.” ~Rita Mae Brown

Hello I’m back! Hope you enjoyed catching up on old blogs or exploring my website Here’s what happened…

August 2: Drove from Cooperstown, New York to Burlington, Vermont. I did not take the scenic drive along Lake George as that would have extended my driving time considerably. Vermont’s highway 20A is lined with lovely mounded green shrubs, purple heather, yellow wildflowers and healthy-looking native forests. There is more plant diversity here than I’ve seen beside the road yet. Along most highways you’ll see farm after farm punctuated with strips of trees or forest. In Vermont I saw individual farms tentatively carved out of acres of wild native grasses and deep woods. The farms I observed were either small and quaint or huge factory farms. I would guess that Vermont has had a difficult economic history devoid of boom times. That would explain the fact that Vermont’s most populous town, Burlington, has a population of only 47,000 people, in spite of there being three universities there.

Met up with my host, Greg Noonan, Brewmaster/Owner of the Vermont Pub & Brewery, at his cabin on Lake Champlain outside Burlington. Greg’s house has a casual charm about it. Casual because its sloping floors have been cosmetically “fixed” so they are “level enough,” and Greg won’t shore up the foundation because there is none. Charmed because the house hasn’t slid down the slope to the lake yet, thus saving Greg the expense of rebuilding until it is absolutely necessary. I call Greg’s small house a cabin because it is a thinking man’s bachelor pad. The shelves are lined with books on Irish history and novels by Irish authors, the walls adorned with Greg’s own paintings, other original art, and oil replicas of Renaissance masters. The property has a great sunset view and lake access for Greg to jump the waves on his jet ski on windy days. Which he did one day I was there, when the crazy wind blew from Canada and across Lake Champlain as if it was possessed.

Parked my trailer in Greg’s yard where it will stay for the next two weeks, and unhooked the Astro Van. Then Greg took me on a driving tour of Burlington and down to The Alchemist Brewpub in Waterbury, Vermont. I had a full line up of the beers there. The Alchemist is owned by husband and wife team John and Jennifer Kimmich. They were gone so I didn’t meet them. In spite of Waterbury being a small town of 5,300 people, The Alchemist was packed. They only open each day from 4:00-10:00 pm. Greg says Waterbury is at the crossroads of several other towns, and that it’s a great central place for people to meet. I tell you I think The Alchemist will put Waterbury on the map. There’s hardly anything else in this town.

P.S. The above logo is obviously from Vermont Pub & Brewery, but did you know that the classy bird pictured is "Geezem Crow?" He is Vermont's unofficial state bird, and is a local New England euphemism for cursing. Out west I have heard people say, "Cheese and rice," for the same euphemism.

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