Thursday, October 6, 2016

Green Mountains of Vermont–Visiting with Pam & Carl Manganaro

 

Monday (Sep 26) to Friday (Sep 30):

Monday morning we left The Bluffs campground and headed to Vermont. We had to go south in New Hampshire to Concord before we could head north into Vermont because there were no roads directly across the mountains that would accommodate our rig. We saw some colors in the leaves as we drove but most of the trees are still green. We pulled into our campground, Lake Dunmore Kampersville located in central Vermont south of the town of Middlebury. There were several sites available, so we unhooked the Jeep and drove around the campground before deciding on Site 154. It was a back-in site that was located under some large trees (no DirecTV this week). We only have 30 amp electrical service but the weather has turned cool so we don’t have to run our A/C very much. This campground is like most of the one’s in New England with a quite a few seasonal campers located in the park. We got the motorhome set up and then headed down the road a couple of miles to meet Pam and Carl Manganaro who are currently serving as park hosts at the Branbury State Park.

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We spent the evening getting caught up on our lives since we had seen them at the Escapees Rally in July. Pam had prepared a great chili that we enjoyed on a cool evening and then Carl started a campfire that we sat around until late in the evening. Pam and Carl have been here in Vermont park hosting since the spring and will be here until mid-October. It has been an adjustment for them since there is no cell-phone signal in the park and there is only a slow internet connection at the ranger station (nothing in the park). So they have to go into Middlebury (about 10 miles north) to pick up an AT&T cellular signal. They have used the local library’s wifi to access the internet while they are in town. Since there are no over the air TV stations in the park they have also used the library to check out DVD’s to watch in the evenings inside their rig. We forgot to get any photos of their site in the park but it is a nice location near a stream that flows into Lake Dunmore. Their site is the only one with full hookups in this park (the rest of the sites are dry camping).

Pam & Carl have to work 15 hours each week as park hosts. Most weeks they work for 5 hours on 3 days and then have 4 days off. They have cleaned camping sites, cleaned a “cabin” that is rented at the park, worked in the office and occasionally had to clean bathrooms among other associated duties at the park. We got a tour of their renovated Montana 5th wheel. They have had the flooring replaced, bought all new dining/living room furniture, painted the walls, hung pictures and curtains and even put a new backsplash in their kitchen. The updates made the RV look great and I’m sure it makes it more “livable” than the way it was when they bought it.

Tuesday afternoon Pam & Carl took us on a tour of the Green Mountains. We stopped at several waterfalls, a shop where the owner was blowing glass and then ate dinner in Bristol CT.

Our first stop was at the Texas Falls in Hancock VT. I never did find out why it is called “Texas”. It is a series of three falls that are along the Hancock Brook. There is a walking bridge that overlooks the falls and a hiking trail that goes along the brook.

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Our second stop was at the Moss Glen Falls in Granville VT. This is a single waterfall where the water drops more than 30 feet into a pool. There is a short walking path along with a view platform at the bottom of the falls. We met two couples from Ohio who asked us about the “full time RV lifestyle” while we were on the platform.

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Our last stop was at the Warren Falls in Warren VT. This is a series of small falls with deep pools at the bottom of the falls. There are boulders located along the water that people in the summer jump from into the deeper pools. Carl and I worked our way across the rocks to one of the boulders used for jumping.

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The water at all of the falls was crystal clear. Even at the deeper pools (10-12 feet) you can see all the way to the bottom. There are no fish in any of the waters due to a hurricane that pass through this part of New England in 2011. The hurricane washed all of the fish out the rivers and the state is now in the process of trying to re-introduce them to creeks, brooks and rivers in the Green Mountains.

We stopped at the Blue Moose Bend Glassblowing in Waterbury Center VT. The owner was blowing glass which we watched for a couple of minutes. Pam bought a couple of wine glasses that she had seen at an earlier visit. A lot of beautiful glass in the shop but not something Connie & I would ever RV with.

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By this time we were all getting hungry so we stopped at The Bobcat Cafe in Bristol VT. The owner of the glass shop recommended it and it had a high rating on Trip Advisor. They had a “stuffed” bobcat in the back of the restaurant by the restrooms.

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As it was getting dark, we returned to our campgrounds and called it a night.

Wednesday Connie fixed dinner for Carl & Pam at our campsite. Carl brought over firewood and we had a campfire (he gets free firewood at the park). It took a while to get the fire started but once it caught we enjoyed the warmth of the flames.

Thursday afternoon all of us went into Middlebury. We started out by visiting the Woodchuck Hard Cider brewery. They have a self-guided tour of the process that we took and then between the four of us sampled 8 of the products. It was better than Connie and I expected and we ended up buying a six-pack of their Private Reserve that is aged 6 months in bourbon barrels.

Hard Cider is an old product that was brought the USA by the Europeans. It was made in various locations from colonial days until Prohibition started in 1919 and ended legal alcohol production. The process died out until in was revived in the 1980’s and has continued to expand over the years since then.

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From there we stopped at the Otter Creek Brewery. They also had samples from the Shed Brewing Company and Carl, Connie and I shared two samplers from each of the breweries. Pam doesn’t like the taste of beer so she skipped the samplers.  After finishing up at the brewery, we placed our orders at a local Italian market/restaurant that Pam & Carl had eaten at before and then walked around Middlebury for a while before returning to the market to pick up our order. We sat at a picnic table looking at the river and downtown Middlebury while eating our dinner with some wines that each of us had brought.

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We said our good-byes that evening since we will be headed to New York and then Pennsylvania over the next few days. We appreciate the fact that Carl and Pam were gracious hosts for our time in the area and took the time to show us some of the sights in this part of the Green Mountains. It is a beautiful part of our country and we are glad we were able to spend a few days here with them. We talked with Pam and Carl about everyone’s plans for next year and how we  both may be headed out west in 2017.