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2 girls on a chair lift in front of a I heart NY sign

This post is a continuation from “So Much For Lake Pleasant“. Once we found our path on the major roads, the going got much easier. We found ourselves on a relaxing road trip through the Allegheny Mountains. The start of the route through the mountains was a really nice rest area. We found a lot of information and some quirky photo opportunities here.

The drive as we entered the mountains was beautiful. Well, what we could see of it anyway. There was a lot of fog and some precipitation in the air so there was limited visibility. This was Brandee’s first time seeing the mountains and my first time seeing this particular range. I may prefer the water if given a choice but there’s no denying that the mountains are spectacular.

The fog and light snow didn’t stop us from exploring along the way. There were a few places that caught our attention before we reached Burlington. We indulged our curiosity and stopped at these places to check them out.

Vergennes, Vermont and Falls Park

Vergennes Falls Park Sign

My home (and Brandee’s) is Sioux Falls, SD and the namesake of the city is Falls Park. I tell you this because Brandee and I drove through Vergennes, VT and found Falls Park. Vergennes is a town of about 2,500 people that isn’t much of a getaway destination. When we saw the sign for Falls Park it caught our attention. We felt it fitting to stop and take a few photos. There was nothing super spectacular about the park, but when in Rome, right? We didn’t stay long. There wasn’t much reason to, but we did take a look at it from both sides of the river before continuing on.

Dakin Farm

Brandee and I share a lot of interests. She is my best friend and we can always find something to do together or to talk about. While this is true, we don’t share all interests. If I haven’t mentioned it before, Brandee has an unparalleled love for shopping. I do not. Shopping has never been my thing. There are some good points to having a friend that enjoys shopping even though I don’t. It often leads us to interesting places and I get the benefits when she spots a good deal.

Although we there’s a strict budget in place and we and wouldn’t be spending much money, I correctly anticipated there would be plenty of shopping stops along the way. Today, her love of shopping led us to a little store called Dakin Farm.

This was a cute little shop that featured syrup. Real maple syrup from Vermont. Lucky for me, they had samples. Lots of samples. Yum!! We did make a purchase from the store. The purchase consisted of a box of small jars of jams, 3 tins of blueberries from Maine and 2 sample size tubes of syrup. The jams and blueberry tins were for host gifts along our route.

If I haven’t mentioned it yet, it is customary to do something for your Couchsurfing host when you stay. One idea is to leave a small gift behind so I like having these types of items in the arsenal.
At this point we are less than an hour from our destination so we slow down even more. We want to see the sights and explore what’s close to us.

Shelburne Museum in Shelburne Vermont

The next place that caught our interest was Shelburne. It turns out that Shelburne has a museum that is ginormous. Even better, this ginormous museum has a large pirate ship. It looks like fun! Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the museum.

Sometimes planning is a good idea. I didn’t know what to look for so the museum didn’t fit in our schedule. It was close to closing time when we got to Shelburne. We considered going back the next morning but we didn’t want to backtrack. It’s good that we didn’t because we woke up to snow and slick roads. You’ll have to read the next post to hear more about that.

It is noteworthy to say that the Shelburne Museum is a destination sport for tourists. If you’re the museum visiting type, the locals say it’s a must see. Also noteworthy, the entrance fee during the peak season is $25 per person. The benefits to traveling in the off-season show up here again. From November 1 to April 30 the admission fee is only $10.

I say this because on the budget we’re keeping, $10 per person works. Twenty-five dollars per person wouldn’t have fit into the budget unless it was a bucket list item. It’s also worth noting that active military members are always free.

Finally in Burlington, Vermont

Continuing on the few minutes to Burlington we got to town quite a bit earlier than we told Katie, our hostess for the evening, we’d be there. First order of business is always finding our “home” for the evening if we have the address at that point. It much easier to find places when it’s still light out.

Once we found her place, we headed down to a shopping strip that was about 3(ish) blocks away from her place. It was a cute little area. We walked around checking out the main street like shops and boutiques to kill some time.

An Exceptional Couchsurfing Hostess

3 girls taking a selfie

I had texted Katie to let her know that we had arrived early. She was gracious enough to grant us access to her place before she got home and gave us permission to do laundry. This was so awesome of her. It saved us from having to find a laundromat and saved us money because we didn’t have to pay to wash. We had packed our own laundry supplies because we knew we’d be doing laundry on the road.

This was our first chance to do laundry on the trip. It was so nice to be able to do it comfortably where we were staying. Now that I realize how awesome it is, I now offer my guests the use of my machines without them asking. Thanks again Katie!

Laundry started and leftovers eaten, Brandee and I were hanging out waiting for Katie to get home. We didn’t have to wait long. Once she got home and introductions were out of the way, she wanted to take us out and show us around her town. This was fantastic. I was already in love with Burlington. Getting a tour of the best places from someone who lives there is what couchsurfing is all about.

Downtown Burlington

The downtown area that she took us to was brightly lit and really beautiful. Sadly, my pictures came out blurry so I don’t have any to share. I would never have guessed that I would love Burlington as much as I did. Highlights from our time downtown were the speakeasy and the best place in town to get poutine. Is it sad to say that until this visit, I didn’t know what poutine actually was? The things you learn when traveling right?

Laundry done, sights seen, and conversations successful we headed to bed with an agreement to have breakfast together in the morning.

We woke up to a layer of white on the ground. Blueberry pancakes, bananas and real maple syrup for breakfast gave us an energy filled start to the day. A few hugs later, Katie was off to work while Brandee and I packed up to head off to our next destination and great adventure.

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