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Summer VT/NY Family Trip Report

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Me, my wife, 7yo son, and 7yo niece.

Day one:

Drive from MA to VT.

Did Ben&Jerry's tour and had ice cream for lunch. Try the new "Coconut Seven Layer Cake" flavor, only at parlors, not sold in pints at stores; it's awesome.

Went to Cold Hollow Cider. It's a nice country store with lots of food stuff. Bought some jam and BBQ sauce. The fresh donuts are absolutely to die for.

Drove through Smugglers Notch. Checked out the base area at Smuggs, not that impressed. Stopped in the Notch on the way back. Ran around with the kids on the rocks. Wicked cool. The kids loved it. It's like stacked up boulders the size of school buses.

The summit of Mansfield was socked in earlier in the day but it was clearing so we took the drive up. Definitely worth the drive up. Even if you ski there it's worth it as it's completely different view of the mountain. Yeah it would be better to hike it but two 7yos ain't climbing the highest peak in VT. Once at the top, we hiked the ridge with the kids for a bit. It was absolutely breathtaking. The air tasted like heaven. My niece comment that VT is way way prettier in real life than in the movies. You know what was real cool. I have a GPS and the tool road in on the map. There's a lot of hairpin switchbacks and with the GPS, you could know exactly what was coming two or three turns ahead.

Checked into a place called the Golden Eagle Lodge. It was nice. There was a little pond out back and we were watching a Great Blue Heron feed. Would stay there again.

Went out to dinner a place called Gracie's. It was named after the owners dog and everything had a dog theme. The food was really good and it was a friendly place. You can even bring your pet dog and eat out on the porch. Health regs won't let dogs inside.

I don't know what to make of the huge devo at Spruce base. I supposed if I was rich enough to afford it, maybe I'd like it. I can't help thinking skiing is getting even more elitist and less egalitarian. A place like Stowe has some of the best terrain in NE and it would be a shame if only rich people ever get to ski it.

I forgot how much I like Stowe even when I'm not skiing. I wish we had planned another day there and spent the time just bumming around, like maybe renting bikes and riding the rec path.
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
Day two:

Drove to the Shelburne Museum. What a gem. The place is an amazing collection of Americana and art. We spent most of the day there and only did about 2/3rds of it. Too much walking to do in one day with kids. If you are ever in the area, do take this place in, especially on a nice day when it's pleasant to walk around outside. Really this place is a treasure. I won't bother to list all the points of interest there as they're on the web site. http://www.shelburnemuseum.org/

Had lunch in the cafe there and the food was very good. Got a turkey and sour apple grilled sandwich and some Israeli couscous salad. Both were great.

After the Shelburne, drove to Vermont Teddy Bear. My kid forget to bring a snuggly to sleep with so we figured we'd buy one. Didn't bother with the tour. Son, niece, and wife each did the thing where you pick a teddy bear and they stuff it there. Like Build-A-Bear.

We then set the GPS for Lake George Village and hit the road. I trusted the GPS and it took us on a variety of country roads on the way down. Nice drive though the Champlain valley. Arrived in Lake George and checked into model called "Surfside". Lake George Village is very hokey-tonk touristy, like the Jersery shore if you've ever stayed there. But, it's fun for kids and we figured we'd do day trips from there.

The best thing about the motel is we had a "cabin" room that overlooked the lake. Also, overlooked the playground and pool so we could just let the kids play and sit on the deck and read or have a sip of something to drink.

Went to dinner at this place on the dock call the "Broadway". Kinda of a burger and fry joint; only okay at best. There are many restaurants and tacky tourist shops in walking distance. There's a little bandstand and amphitheater and they have free entertainment at night. We caught a bit of a magic show and some music before heading back to the motel.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Day three:

Got muffins and coffee for breakfast and then drove to Six Flags Great Escape, about a ten minute drive. Figured after a cultural day the kids deserved some hedonistic fun. Now, if you've every done Disney World, and we've done it a few times, other amusements parks can seem pretty low class. Still, the kids had fun and we like some of the stuff. The shows all suck except this one pirate show we thought was kinda fun. It was a high dive show with this pool where the divers where made up to look like pirates have a battle over treasure. Myself, I like roller coaster and that's about it for rides. The kids and wife won't do the big coasters. I did this little one with my son. He said he kinda liked it but was also scared and didn't want to do any more. So, we did mostly the intermediate kiddie rides which were fun for the kids and we just watched. The place was $28 a day when we bought coupons at the motel which we thought was a pretty good deal. The food sucks and is expensive. If you have time to pack, sneak your own in.

Went back to the motel and let the kids play in the pool later in the day. Had a 'rita on the deck and then went out for pizza.

Why is it that the pizza in NY is just so freakin' good? We went out to some pizza place that looked only okay and the pizza was great. Why does New England pizza suck?
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Day four:

Another cultural day, drove about 35-40 minutes north on rt 9 to Fort Ticonderoga. This is another gem. The restored fort with the stone walls is impressive. The do a nice quick tour which explains the history of the battles that took place there. They do a fife and drum show and a musket and cannon demonstration. There's an excellent collection of cannon and a lot of other exhibits. There's also the King's Garden there which is from an old resort that used to be there but still needs to be restored. The kids liked running around in the garden and checking out the frog pond. The whole site is very scenic and it's nice just walking around the grounds.

A short drive of a couple miles is Mt. Defiance which overlooks the fort and was the lookout for it. It's definitely worth the few minute drive up. The GPS made it easy to find the route. From the top, you can see how Ft. T sits right in the choke point between Lake Champlain and Lake George. You can also see a good chunk of NY start and VT including Mt. Mansfield. I pointed to Mt. M and told the kids that's where they were two days ago.

Went back to Lake George Village and had some Italian food. There were several Italian places right in a row and I forget which one. It had lot's of flowers out front. My wife had risotto and I had Veal Marsala and good were very good.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Day Five:

We wanted to take the kids to a water slide park. There was this place called Water Slide World but it looked really lame and was not that much less than Six Flags which had a water park. So, we ended up going back to Six Flags even though I didn't like it all that much the first time. This time, I liked it more. I really like water slides and so do the kids. There's this one called the Tornado where you get in a big tube and ride down this steep drop into a huge funnel shaped thing. That was way cool.

I was disappointed I didn't get to do any cool roller coaster the first time but one was right next to the water park and didn't have a line. It's called the Comet but it's an old Coney Island style wood Cyclone coaster. While the wife was watching the kids, I threw a T-shirt on and ran over and rode it. I lucked out and ended up getting the first car. Made my day getting that ride.

We did a couple rides on the way out and then headed back up rt9.

When we were driving to Ft. T a couple days ago we noticed this town called Bolton Landing about 10 miles north of Lake George. It had shops but was smaller and much less honkey-tonk than LG. So we drove up there and did some walking around and had dinner. They had this cool antique store with all kinds of old boating and fishing stuff. Also, a little historical society in an old church building with a bunch of all Adirondack memorabilia.

That was Thursday and they have fireworks back at LG. We let the kids play on the playground until the fireworks and watch them from the beach at our motel.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Day Six:

Time to drive home but didn't want to rush. Left LG and drove 1/2 hour to Saratoga Springs. Walked around Main St. for a while and looked at some shops. Went to the park and watched the ducks with the kids. Had lunch at a place called the Circus Cafe. Then programmed home in MA in the GPS and took off.
post #7 of 10
Good stuff.
I missed that museum. Sounds good. Must have driven right by it on the way to Shelburne Farm when I was there a few weeks ago.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Pix are up on shutterly--


The reason I posted it here is it's sort of a summer trip to ski country. See if anything is familiar in the pix.

Hey, from one of the rides at Six Flags Great Escape I could see a ski area. I looked it up and it's some place in Glen Falls, NY forget the name.
post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by learn2turn View Post
Hey, from one of the rides at Six Flags Great Escape I could see a ski area. I looked it up and it's some place in Glen Falls, NY forget the name.
It's probably West Mountain. You can see it from I-81 easily.

BTW, did you stop at Reliable Racing store? You must have driven right by it. The store has a different name and it is called Inside Edge and Bike Shop. It's between Lake George and Great Escape, right on the main stretch in Queensbury. There is also another good ski shop just around the corner from it (forgot the name).
post #10 of 10
Originally Posted by learn2turn View Post
Drove through Smugglers Notch. Checked out the base area at Smuggs, not that impressed.
Just curious, besides the shops and lifts, what do you look for in a ski area that would impress you in off-season?

BTW, very nice pics. Hopping those boulders at the notch is one of our favorite things to do during warmer seasons. Definitely a must do for a family who want to adventure some. Those big cracks and caves were what gave Smugglers' Notch its name. Smugglers used to store the booze during the prohibition days. Via those rocks, did you guys reach the bottom of the rock cliff? On a nice day, you can also see lots of climbers bouldering the individual big rocks along the road.
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