We woke up on what we thought was just another day in September to cloudy skies and scattered showers. With stocking hats and light jackets in hand, we headed out the door to explore Vermont. Life couldn't be much better because we began our day with fresh, warm cider donuts and hot apple cider, a combination that can't be beat.
The cooler weather didn't cause disappointment or concern because the whole point of traveling to Vermont was to see the fall colors. We acknowledged the deep shades of red, vibrant oranges, brilliant yellows, and various hues of brown would not plaster the surrounding slopes for another couple weeks but a spattering of color was beginning to emerge.
Our first stop of the day, second if you count the donuts, was the granite quarry where we witnessed the art of nature collide with the science of man. The tour of Rock of Ages granite mining company, fascinated us. How did the inventive mind calculate the potential of rock? What was the person thinking when he first chipped away at the mountain? Who developed the system to retrieve giant slabs from the earth to create art, countertops and other products used daily around the world? The tour guide answered these questions and more.
Our tour began with a short video that traced the history of the Rock of Ages mine, progressed to a discussion with a guide, moved up the mountain to view the mining site, and ended at the facility plant. In the manufacturing center, we walked the catwalk to overlook the workers as they cut, carved, etched, sandblasted, and packaged everything from headstones to monuments.
Notice in this picture the three bodies of water. The color is different in each because mining increases the PH level. The walls of the quarry are 10 miles deep and at the present pace of mining will continue to produce for 400 years. The facts amazed our senses, but you will need to plan to visit for a up-close and personal experience.
Looking down on the manufacturing, I noticed inventory in every stage of production. The workers often worked independently on a project as artists rather than an assembly line with a shared product. Our tour guide mentioned two sites we felt compelled to explore when finished with this part of the tour.
Years earlier a cruise line had explored the idea of installing granite bowling lanes. The ideas failed because when the ball repeatedly hit the rock it eventually chipped the lane. However the original prototype invited visitor to play with a rubber ball and pins.
Directly from this location, we headed to Hope Cemetery where all the headstones are created from granite from this mine. Many are pieces of art.
By this time in the day, the donuts were getting thin so we drove around Barre to find a restaurant only to be confronted with the remains of the devastating flooding for several weeks earlier. The positive we noticed was the community and teamwork that was occurring.
We found an Irish pub, a local establishment. We attempt to patronize small businesses when we travel to offer financial support and experience the culture of the area. The sandwiches were good, the beer was great, the company was enlightening because the waitress directed us to our next stop.
Just outside of town, we entered a small house that had been converted to a gift shop and in the back was a large vat where the maple from the farm's trees is boiled and reduced to pure maple. Following a short video and explanation, the owner provided four samples of fresh maple syrup. Did you know the majority of bottles labeled maple syrup on the store shelves have 0% maple syrup? Needless to say, we left with several bottles in hand.
Our experience didn't end there as we followed the advice of the waitress from the pub and enjoyed creemies, maple ice cream. Hopefully, not our last.
When we returned to the motorhome, the dogs craved attention so we went on a walk, then sat by the campfire until bedtime. A perfect way to end a perfect day.
A thought woke just before midnight. I have never understood how the brain works, but I abruptly woke Randy. He sat upright quickly wondering what could be wrong. I assured him all was right with the world, kissed him on the cheek and said, "I love you. Thank you for a wonderful 42nd wedding anniversary."
Wide-eyed, he smirked and replied, "That was today, wasn't it?" As we curled up to ward o
ff the crisp night air, I thought that I would always remember our anniversary in Vermont fondly.
Follow us as we travel across the US in our motorhome. We might not know what day it is but we are having a great time!