A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Vermont Wrap Up Part 1: Appalachian Trail & Montpelier

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This past Thursday, Paul and I headed to Vermont for vacation! We stayed until Sunday. Three nights for us is the perfect amount of time to be away from our cats. Any longer and we start talking to insects as if they are our kitties. (When we're gone for three nights, we only get to the point where we end up talking to squirrels, chipmunks, and birds!)

Our reason for going to Vermont was threefold. First, it is a beautiful state and we wanted to visit it properly. (We were there briefly in 2007 for me to run the Keybank Vermont City Marathon in Burlington.) Second, I wanted to run a trail race in Stowe (recap here). Third, our best friends just moved to Montpelier and we wanted to visit them!

After being in Vermont for four days, we noticed some things about the state. We are not experts at all, but here are some things we have gathered...

1. Solar panels are everywhere. Roofs, fields, construction sites... Vermont loves their solar energy!

2. People are very friendly.

3. Vermont drivers are good drivers. They don't speed. They use their turn signals. They don't ride your ass.

4. It truly is the GREEN MOUNTAIN STATE! As soon as you cross the border into Vermont, everything opens up and it is green and mountainous as far as the eyes can see.

5. Vermont loves their doggies! Doggies everywhere. They're even allowed in some stores and breweries. It reminds us of Colorado!

6. Vermont is environmentally conscious. I didn't see many plastic bags, plastic straws, etc. There were recycling cans everywhere.

7. Billboards are BANNED in Vermont! Have you ever driven down a highway without billboards? It's so much prettier!

8. Vermont loves to get their food locally. There are lots of farms and mom and pop stores in which to shop. I didn't see a single Wal Mart or Target. I did see one grocery store and the occasional Dollar General.

Okay, no our trip!

We left our home at 5:09am on Thursday morning. We wanted to have plenty of time to stop and hike on the way to Montpelier. However, the trip took longer than expected. I was having some bathroom issues, so we had to stop several times before we were even out of PA! Also, my right front tire looked pretty low, so we had to fill that up. This was the spark that caused me to be worried about my tires the entire trip! Then, we hit a decent amount of traffic as we left PA and headed into NJ. It was frustrating, but I didn't flip my shit. (That was later.)

I really wished Paul could drive so we could split up the trip, but that's just not in the cards right now. I miss looking out the window at the scenery but I am glad he gets to. He deserves it. Once we got on Route 7 in upstate New York, the landscape started to get more rural and fun to look at. Then of course everything just opened up into gorgeous green mountains when we crossed into Vermont!

We had hoped to eat our packed lunch at a picnic table somewhere, but we were approaching shut down mode so we just pulled off the road by some trees. We shoved sandwiches and pasta salad in our mouths, peed in the woods, and drove the last little bit to Green Mountain National Forest to the White Rocks Cliffs Trail.

I often get asked how I find the hikes we do on vacation. I just go to Google and search things like "Best hikes in Vermont" or something like that. Or, if I am looking to find a hike that is along a specific route we are taking, I use Google Maps to look for parks or recreation areas along the route, and then use Google to see what trails are there. Luckily Vermont has lots of organized information about their trails, as you can see from my link above!

We started on the Keewaydin Trail, which took us up to the Appalachian Trail. I actually had no idea we were going to get to hike on the AT, so I guess I didn't read the hike description very well! We were tickled to get to experience some of the AT in Vermont!

While on the AT, we passed two older gentleman. They told us if we were heading up to the cliffs, we were going to see some naked hikers.

"Naked hikers!?" I exclaimed.

"Yeah, it's National Hike Naked Day," one of the men told us.

"And they're up on the cliffs?" I asked them. I was giddy. We were going to get to see naked hikers!

"Yup!" he replied.

"Let's go, Paul!"

Spoiler Alert: We saw ZERO naked hikers that day! I was so bummed!

The hike was 1.8 miles up. It was relentless. I'm one of those hikers that doesn't like to take a lot of breaks, so we pushed and pushed. It was very pretty though, and the forests looked different from the forests in PA. Different vegetation, thicker trees, and probably a whole host of other things I don't know how to describe. Sometimes I worry that when I hike, I don't take my time enough. I'm focused on the destination. But that's my nature.

Soon, we got to the short spur that would take us to the vista. It was marked by a sign and lots of rock cairns. I built a couple cairns myself while we were there!

It was a short downhill trek to the vista. And boy, was it worth it!

 Those are the Adirondacks in the distance!

The hike down wasn't too bad, but even downhills get tough after awhile! Paul and I sang (yes, sang!) and chatted the whole way down. He really is a good hiking partner! I'm so glad we got to try a section of the AT in Vermont. I love the AT!

After our hike, things got... dark. I had been driving for so long (due to the fact that we hit traffic in PA/NJ) and I was just reaching shut down mode. I was tired, hungry, and had a hard time focusing. But there were about two hours to go. It wasn't pretty. It felt like I hit "the wall" in a marathon. 

Finally, finally, FINALLY we made it to the Econo Lodge, Montpelier. The check in was friendly and quick but the room was old and dirty. I mean, I think it was the dirtiest room we were ever in, NOT COUNTING THE STINSON BEACH INCIDENT OF 2017. 

Here are some pictures of the room. Note: This was AFTER I reported to the front desk that it was dirty and they cleaned up coffee splatter off the bathroom door and the layer of dust and debris on the electrical box.

 Dust on the molding.

 More molding dust and dirt.


What is dripping down the side of the bottom of the door!?

 More dust.

 Dirty floor.


 Corner of the bathroom.

 Toothpaste spatter on the wall by the sink?

 Light switch in the bathroom.

Oh look, the security lock is broke. Perfect.

Yes, I have already left a review and pictures on Hotels.com and TripAdvisor. What I have discovered is that Hotels.com generally displays good reviews but TripAdvisor had the "real" reviews. Time to research our hotel in the Finger Lakes for next week....

After a shower (in which I still felt dirty, thanks to the room), Paul and I headed to Bob and Rachel's house! Remember our friends who moved to Vermont!? We got to hang out with them! It was a joyous reunion. We went out for dinner and drinks. Paul was loving the fact that he could get many beers that he couldn't get in Pennsylvania. That night, he had two from the Alchemist (Heady Topper and Focal Banger), First Drop from Upper Pass Brewery, and one from Hill Farmstead Brewery. I had a margarita. You know, because Vermont = Margaritas!?

Rachel and I called it an early night but Paul and Bob went out later. I was EXHAUSTED and couldn't wait to go sleep in that dirty, crappy hotel!
Have you ever been to Vermont?
What's the longest you can drive before things get dark?
How do you find good hikes while you're on vacation?
Would you hike naked?


  1. I think 3-4 hours is my max and I have to switch. I could make the drive from Dallas to Houston, and then I'd be really tired. It takes a lot of focus.
    If you want to see naked guys, you can do the Bay to Breakers. I couldn't get away from them!

    1. I had to Google where Dallas and Houston were so I could see how far apart they are!

  2. I once drove all the way from Virginia to Florida but I left early enough in the morning that I got to Florida before it was dark. Plus it was summer so that helped. Eeek on that hotel room. I hope you found another hotel for the duration of your stay.

    That is really cool that you got to hike part of the AT in Vermont. I know how much you love the AT and I think you should make it a goal to hike a little bit of it on each state.

    1. Wow that had to have been a long drive! Were you with anyone?

      No, unfortunately we were stuck at that hotel.

      I would love to hike a little bit in each state! A long term goal of mine is to do all of PA. I have done a little over half at this point.

  3. I would LOVE to visit Vermont. So beautiful. Sounds like my kind of place (besides the hotel...UGH!). Last Friday I drove by myself from Loveland to Craig (just west of Steamboat). It was almost 250 miles and by the time I got there, I was really ready to be out of the car -- going over the mountains it took me almost 4 1/2 hours. I was happy to have Rick drive us back home on Sunday so I could look out the window and zone out. I love your trip recaps -- feels like I go on your adventure with you! Why did Bob and Rachel move to Vermont? Do they like it so far? I wonder how much different the weather is there than PA.

    1. Yes, you guys would love Vermont and Burlington! Perhaps you should take a trip!

      I think Bob and Rachel needed a change and Bob got a good job opportunity. They also love the state. Rachel read the blog and all the comments so perhaps she can respond to your comment! They love it so far!

  4. What? No naked hikers? What a disappointment!

    I visited Vermont once and have good memories. It's a nice place... and obviously has great hikes and views! So glad you were able to hang out with your friends, too.