Vermont Covered Bridges, Cog Railway and Easternmost Town

July 1-7, 2019 — During the first week of July we continued on our eastern journey, going as far east as the United States would take us and then even a little farther as we crossed into New Brunswick, Canada while out on a day trip. 

When looking at a map the distance to far eastern Maine and New Brunswick, Canada from our starting point in Wisconsin seems a bit overwhelming and like it would take forever to get there. However, once we started rolling, the miles melted away day by day and within three weeks we were there. 

We realize that many travelers could cover this same distance of 1,600 miles in two or three days but reaching a specific destination is not our goal or how we choose to travel. Instead, it’s all about the journey and discovering new things every inch along the way. 

When planning the segment of our route for this week, many of the activities we did and places we visited weren’t on the initial list. Instead, we discovered them along the way from road signs, other travelers and from the local residents, especially the Boondockers Welcome hosts we stayed with. Google and social media are also great resources for travel and sightseeing ideas. 

Follow along below for a pictorial of many of the fun activities we did and amazing places we traveled to. 

All nights this week were free stays with three nights at a Boondockers Welcome host site, one night each at two Harvest Hosts locations and one night each at two Walmart stores. 

Mile Driven - RV
Miles Driven - Car

“The Silo Project” is a two-part mural using two old concrete silos as canvas. The silos are beside the roundabout formed by routes 15 and 108 in rural Jeffersonville, Vermont. The south silo depicts the face of a young child and represents the state’s present and future. The north silo pictured below is of an aging farmer which honors Vermont’s past. Each silo is 36 feet tall and covers 5,000 square feet total making it the largest outdoor mural in Vermont. The silos previously belonged to the Bell-Gates Lumber Corporation and were used to kiln dry lumber and for storing sawdust. 

Rock of Ages in Graniteville, Vermont has been extracting granite slabs from its quarries since 1885 which have been used in monuments, memorials, construction, and decorative architecture. The company has a visitor center and offers tours of the finishing factory and the 600 foot deep Smith Quarry, the largest deep-hole, dimension granite quarry in the world. Of special interest to our fellow Wisconsinites, Rock of Ages premium grade Bethel White granite covers the exterior of the Wisconsin State Capitol building. 

The Vermont State House in Montpelier serves as the state capitol of Vermont. With a population estimate of 7,436, Montpelier is the least populous state capital in the United States and has the distinction of being the only state capital that does not have a McDonald’s within its city limits. 

The Coburn Covered Bridge in East Montpelier is one of 100 covered bridges remaining in Vermont. The bridges were popular builds from the 1820s to the early 1900s and many have perished due to expanding highway systems, commercial development and physical neglect. Even with the declining numbers, Vermont still has more covered bridges remaining per square mile than any other state. Laws are now in place to protect all remaining bridges and none can be town down without the permission of the Governor and the Board of Historic Sites. 

It’s hard to beat spending a quiet night parked on top of a Vermont hill with mountain views in the distance, especially when just a short walk away you can sink your teeth into a yummy “creemee” (maple flavored ice cream) cone from Bragg Farm Sugarhouse. Yum! This Harvest Hosts location in East Montpelier, VT offers tours of their syrup processing facility, four grades of syrup, maple sugar candy and much more. We highly recommend stopping by when in the area!

Mount Washington Cog Railway in Bretton Woods, NH takes visitors on a scenic train ride to the 6,293 foot summit of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. Depending on fog and cloud cover, the views at the mountain top can span to five states, Canada and the Atlantic Ocean. The train takes approximately one hour to climb the mountain inclines that reach up to 37 degrees. The total time for a trip up and down the mountain along with exploration of the summit is three hours. It is definitely an interesting trip when in the New Hampshire area. Mount Washington Cog Railway also participates in the Harvest Hosts program offering member RVers a nice mountain site, complete with dramatic sunsets, to dry camp at before or after their train ride. 

Wow we sure know how to party on the 4th of July. Instead of sparklers we bought a new hand held vacuum for the RV. Watching the dust and crud flying into the dirt chamber was almost as good as seeing the fireworks. 

This barn belonging to our Boondockers Welcome hosts is a good example of coastal Maine architecture. The siding is made from traditional wood shakes that are left in the natural state to weather. 

Understanding the differences in the landscape with low and hide tide is difficult until you can visualize it. The photos below were taken on the same day in Milbridge, ME of a dock on Narraguagus Bay with the first one at 8:35 am during low tide and the second photo at 4:12 pm as the tide was rising. The water levels would continue to raise much higher until reaching the peak of high tide at 8:53 pm. 

The Bold Coast Scenic Byway in Maine takes travelers 125 miles from Milbridge to Eastport through historic towns, blueberry barrens, forest, farms, and along the rugged coastline with harbors filled with lobster, scallop, and ground-fishing boats. It’s a great route to explore the culture, history, and beauty of “Downeast” Maine. We spent a relaxing day driving half the byway and just skimmed the surface of all the area has to offer. 

Evidently we were serious when we said we were traveling east this summer. Lubec, Maine, located on a peninsula in Passamaquoddy Bay, is the easternmost town in the contiguous United States. A short distance away is West Quoddy Head which is the easternmost point. It is home to the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse which has been guiding ships into the bay since 1808. 

The Roosevelt “cottage” is the centerpiece of Roosevelt Campobello International Park located on Campobello Island in New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy just across the US/Canada border by Lubec, Maine. It was the summer home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and family for many years. Built in 1897, the home contains 34 rooms including 18 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, 76 windows and 7 fireplaces. The home is preserved as a memorial as well as a symbol of friendship between Canada and the US. Free guided tours of the home are offered daily during the summer months. Other points of interest at the park include a visitor center, scenic drives, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, etc. It’s well-worth a stop when in the area. 

East Quoddy Head Lightstation on Head Harbour Island just off Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada was built in 1829 to help guide ships through the Bay of Fundy which is notorious for fog and high tides and away from the rocky cliff edges of Campobello Island. The lighthouse is only accessible by foot during a short window before and after low tide, and even then reaching the lighthouse is dangerous as it requires navigating steep stairs and slippery rocks. The tide was in during our visit so we enjoyed the view from afar. 

The Atlantic coast of Maine is frequently thick with fog as it was during our visit to the Schoodic District of Acadia National Park. Despite the limited views in the park, it is still a sight to see. 

Another great week has come and gone. Follow along next week as we continue to explore the Atlantic coast of Maine and head south to Massachusetts. See you then!

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