Friday, February 15, 2019

Middlebury Vermont – First Look and Lunch

…continuing with our August adventures in the northeastern USA.

By the time we’d finished our visit to the University of Vermont Middlebury’s Morgan Horse Farm, it was time for lunch so we headed back into town to find a restaurant and to see what there was to see.


As we approached Middlebury we had to stop to take a photo of this 2-lane covered bridge over Otter Creek.  The Pulp Mill Covered Bridge was built sometime between 1808 and no later than 1853.  Based on local records and the type of construction, the latter date is most likely.

The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is over 195 feet long and, unlike the 2-lane covered bridge at Vermont’s Shelburne Museum, this one still carries regular traffic.  It was refurbished in 2012.  This is one of only 7 two-lane covered bridges remaining in the entire USA.  The separate pedestrian walkway at the right of the bridge was added when the bridge was updated. 



In 1891, the Middlebury Railway Depot was located on the west side of the tracks but in 1911 it was moved to the east side to allow an overpass to be built.  This depot served as a Rutland Railway passenger and freight station until 1953 during a strike by railroad workers. 

All service was discontinued in 1961 after even more bitter strikes.  Much of the Rutland Railroad was abandoned, but this section of the railroad was purchased by the State of Vermont in 1963.  The State subsequently leased the line to a new operator, the Vermont Railway, and freight trains still move up and down the line.

The depot was rehabbed ca. 2011 and it’s now the home of Top Floor Business Computer Solutions and chrismorse.net – Computer Sales and Service.  New tech in a 128 year old building!

I did find an article dated 10/25/18 that was all about plans to build a new passenger rail platform across the tracks from the old depot.  The Vermont Agency of Transportation will design and build the new platform in anticipation of an expanded Ethan Allen Express train route that Amtrak is planning to operate along Vermont’s western rail corridor beginning in 2021 or 2022.  Currently, the Ethan Allen operates from New York City to Rutland.  This plan would extend the route to Burlington VT.


Upon arrival in the downtown Middlebury, we found a parking space at the bottom of the hill below the main street that runs through the central business district.  I took this photo looking back at the parking lot.  I have no idea what that old building’s history is but that clapboard siding and huge stone foundation combine to create an eye-catching structure. 


This is the Frog Hollow Stone Mill and it’s located at 3 Mill Street on the banks of Otter Creek.  It was built in 1840 and it’s a historic reminder of the town’s industrial past.  Industrial use of the mill site began in 1789 when a grist mill was built here.  Later it was converted to cotton textile production and then, in 1835, the Middlebury Manufacturing Company occupied the space.


This striking sculpture of an Elk dominated the grounds on one side of Frog Hollow Stone Mill.  Part of the old mill is occupied by M Gallery.  Its stated goal is to aid the professional development of artistically inclined students at Middlebury College.  The gallery maintains rotating exhibits of art work from a plethora of mediums.  Performing arts productions, lectures and other activities relevant to Middlebury’s arts culture are also held here. 

However, since we visited Middlebury, things have changed.  Middlebury College, the owner of Frog Hollow Stone Mill, has agreed to sell it to a local company for $500,000.  If a deal is made, the new company plans to redevelop the building into “a new daily destination for the greater Middlebury community”.  The college had owned the building for more than a decade.



The first photo is an upstream view of Otter Creek from next to Frog Hollow Mill.  Note the pedestrian bridge.  The second photo is a downstream look at the ‘creek’.  By my standards this is a river…its too dang big to just be a ‘creek’.  In any case, this is a pretty place, that’s for sure. 

Otter Creek is about 112 miles long and it is the primary stream running through both Rutland and Addison Counties.  It is one of the largest streams in the State.  Because it’s called a ‘creek’, an unusual situation exists, with several rivers emptying into a creek several times along its length.    


Laurie and I loved this beautiful Cedar Waxwing who posed for us on the rocks along the banks of Otter Creek. 


Before we ventured into The Storm Café, our restaurant of choice for lunch, I took this photo of diners having lunch on the deck alongside Otter Creek.  Looks like a popular venue…and it was past the lunch hour too.


Indoor dining wasn’t too popular on this beautiful sunny day!


For my beverage, I chose a Blueberry Lemonade. ($4.00) It just didn’t work for me but my palate isn’t too adventurous either.  Laurie ordered a Sangria and thought that it was pretty good.  I thought that $10.00 for Sangria was a bit much…


For my lunch, I made an exception to my norm…no meat!  Instead, I continued with the blueberry theme, ordering the tall stack (3 pieces) of Challah French Toast with Vermont Maple Syrup plus blueberries. ($12.00) It was a tasty lunch if a little pricey…


Laurie ordered from The Light Lunch options.  This was Combo III, a half sandwich and a cup of soup. ($11.00) For her soup she chose Potato and her half sandwich was The Dude.  It consisted of North Country apple wood smoked bacon, Vermont sharp cheddar cheese, baby spinach and local tomato on toasted ciabatta bread with a zesty chipotle ranch aioli.  She was very happy with her meal!


After lunch we began exploring a bit.  This is a view from the nearby footbridge over Otter Creek.  It shows Frog Hollow Stone Mill and The Storm Café’s outdoor patio dining area where we ate. 

Apparently, The Storm Café has been in its space for quite some time.  That may change soon so check ahead if you’d like to dine here.  As per the owners of the café, as of late last fall, they’ve been unable to extend their lease…
The Storm Café is at 3 Mill Street in Middlebury Vermont.  Phone: 802-388-1063.  Their website is at http://www.thestormcafe.com/.


“Our” Cedar Waxwing decided to fly up and pose for me along the railing of the pedestrian bridge over Otter Creek.  These birds are native to North and Central America, breeding in open wooded areas in southern Canada and wintering in the southern USA as well as parts of Central America and South America.  They do live year around in parts of the center of the USA.

Cedar Waxwings eat cedar cones, fruit and insects.  This is one bird that isn’t endangered.  Their populations are increasing because fields are growing back into forests and shrub lands and a number of fruiting trees are being planted as landscaping. 


This is Middlebury Falls as viewed from the pedestrian bridge shown in an earlier view of Otter Creek.  The Falls are an 18 foot sheer drop just below the VT Hwy. 125 Bridge (built in 1903) in downtown Middlebury.  Note the local fishing at the right of the photo.  He caught something too! 

Next we wandered up into the center of town to see what we could see…but that’s another story.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A Truly American Horse Breed – Plus a Happy Wife!


…continuing with our summer 2018 exploration of New England.

We departed the city of Burlington and headed south along US Hwy. 7.  I had a very specific goal in mind for the day, one that would earn ‘points’ for me with my wife…and I can never have too many points!


As we headed south I spotted this old depot along the highway.  This is the former Rutland and Burlington Railway combination depot from Ferrisburgh Vermont.  It was built in 1862.  It was moved a little south to Old Covered Bridge Farm along the highway.  It looks like it’s in great shape now but I found a photo that showed that it suffered through some ‘hard times’.  At one point it was being used as a store that was named “The Emporium”.  According to the most current information I could find, it was most recently used as a furniture studio.


This is the former Vergennes combination passenger and freight depot.  It was moved from Vergennes to Ferrisburgh next to the tracks at the ‘park and ride lot’ located at the corner of US Hwy. 7 and VT Hwy 22A.  Confused now?  I am! 
In any case, this wooden structure is the oldest known in Vermont that was moved to another location and restored.  This depot began serving passengers in Vergennes back in 1849!  Male passengers entered the depot on the left hand side and females had their own entrance on the right side.

The original plan re: moving this depot involved its restoration and its use as a visitor’s center, provide office space and serve as a location where local history could be displayed.  The park and ride lot was in use and the old depot has been restored, however I didn’t see signs that it was being used.


Yes indeed!  We did stumble across one more depot on this short drive south. This is the New Haven Junction Depot.  This attractive little depot, built in the early 1850s, is located at US Hwy. 7 and VT Hwy. 17 in New Haven.  It has been fully preserved and it now serves as the offices of Roundtree Construction.  That company has nicely restored this old Italianate style brick depot.

The Rutland and Burlington Railroad was chartered by the State of Vermont in 1843.  By 1867, its name was officially changed to the Rutland Railroad.  In the second half of the 1800s, the railroad was a key transportation artery for Burlington’s lumber industry and Rutland’s marble quarries.



Then we arrived at the most important attraction for the day!  This is the University of Vermont’s Morgan Horse Farm.  In 1905, the United States Department of Agriculture established a Morgan horse breeding program at Burlington Vermont.  The purpose of the program was to produce horses with true Morgan attributes, while increasing their size and retaining the positive virtues of the breed…strength, athletic ability, endurance, versatility, temperament and economy. 

Just 2 years later, Colonel Joseph Battell (first editor of the American Morgan Horse Register), donated his farm near Middlebury and the experiment farm’s breeding stock was relocated.  This was the founding of the United States Morgan Horse Farm… Today, this working farm that dates back to 1878, is home to more than 40 Morgan horses.


This statue in front of that beautiful old working barn was erected in 1921 in commemoration of Justin Morgan.  He was born in Massachusetts but by 1788 he’d settled in Vermont.  In addition to being a horse breeder and farmer, Morgan was a singing teacher and composer.  He also served as town clerk in Randolph Vermont.  

Morgan horses are named after Justin and it all began with a small bay stallion that he owned.  His name was “Figure” and he became the foundation sire of the Morgan horse breed… FYI…Interestingly, Justin Morgan only owned “Figure” from 1792 – 1795 during which time, he advertised him for stud in nearby New Hampshire.

“Figure” is thought to have stood about 14 hands and to have weighed about 1,000 pounds.  He was known for his genetic dominance…his ability to pass on his looks, conformation, temperament and athleticism.  His parentage is unknown although his sire is thought to be an English Thoroughbred stallion. 


This skeleton of a Morgan horse is on display in the barn near the gift shop.  No…it’s not the Skeleton of ‘Figure’, the founding stallion.  This is ‘Blackhawk’, #20 in the Morgan horse registry and #5 in the American Trotting horse registry.  “Blackhawk” lived from 1833 to 1856.  He was 15 hands tall and weighed 1,000 lbs.  He was an undefeated harness racing champion…

The Morgan horse is one of the earliest horse breeds developed in the United States, and the only early breed to survive to the present time.  All Morgans trace back to “Figure” that stallion who was born in West Springfield Massachusetts in 1789.  In 1792 “Figure” and 2 other horses were given to Justin Morgan in payment of a debt.  What a deal that was!  The “Justin Morgan horse” evolved into the name of the breed. 


Throughout the barn there are displays of horse related equipment (included these carriages), plaques, photos, old stud service advertisements, art work, tributes and much more. 

The University of Vermont – Middlebury (UVM) Morgan Horse Farm features seasonal events and educational opportunities, apprenticeships, and of course an interesting attraction for visitors, especially horse lovers.


The first part of our tour included a stroll through the barn where several horses were in their stalls.  Viewed through the mesh, this particular horse is “Otter Brook Xenophon”.  This black chestnut stallion will be twenty-seven years old in April of this year.

Here’s a little more about “Figure”, the breed’s founding stallion.  First of all, he changed owners quite often.  I tried counting them up but it appears that he had at least 15 owners over the years.  Other than standing at stud, “Figure” had many other jobs.  He raced, cleared land, worked in the logging industry, reviewed troops, won a pulling contest, worked on farms, hauled freight, was exhibited at fairs…and he served as parade mount for President James Monroe in 1817.  In 1821 “Figure” died in Vermont after being kicked by another horse.  He was 32 years old… 


Here I’m peering over the tour guide’s shoulder to take a good look at the mare and foal in this stall. 

The UVM Morgan Horse Farm is dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the Morgan Horse through breeding and selection.  The farm itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  For over 60 years the farm has provided educational experiences and training for students and visitors.  The farm is responsible for perpetuating 3 different Morgan horse bloodlines that can be traced back to “Figure”.


Here our guide shows us both of the horses in that stall.  The mare was quite patient with her curious youngster!

Morgan horses served many roles in the 1800s.  They were used as coach horses, harness racing, riding for pleasure and work and as cavalry horses during the Civil War on both sides of the conflict.  Morgans have also influenced other major American breeds including the American Quarter Horse, Tennessee Walking Horse and the Standardbred.  They have also been exported to other countries.  In England, a Morgan stallion influenced the breeding of the Hackney Horse. 


Then we watched these 2 young ladies grooming this handsome stallion.  There were about 2 dozen people in our tour group.


Then, one or two at a time, visitors were able to approach the horse and pet him.  He was very patient… In this case, I think that the mom and daughter were really into the experience!


After departing the big barn we were free to wander the grounds.  We strolled over to the old “Remount Barn”.  It was built in 1914 for use as a stallion barn.  During this period of time, the farm was supplying the US Cavalry with breeding stock for remounts.  The barn is now serving as a maternity ward for up to 10 foaling mares.



This mare and her foal were fascinated by some workers in their paddock who were trimming trees and working on the fence.  Nice pose, don’t you think?  There aren’t too many things more striking and fun to watch than a young foal!

The farm actually supplied Morgan’s until the 1950s for cavalry mounts.  The line termed the “Government Morgans”, (there are 4 lines in total), are regarded as substantial in bone/structure and they’re considered superbly athletic.  The UVM Morgans are superior broodstock, they’re very versatile and they make great family horses.
 
If you’d be interested in buying a Morgan horse or two for your farm or children, they are available for sale at the UVM farm.  Check it out at https://www.uvm.edu/cals/morganhorsefarm/horses-sale.


Our next to last stop at UVM’s Morgan Horse Farm was the Colt Shed.  There were several juveniles just lounging around like most juveniles around the world. 

The Farm also offers stallions to the public for stud services.  Currently, “Abington”, “Equity”, “Jubilant” and “Unchallenged” are offered at stud.  Back in 2005, there was an estimated population of 175,000 Morgan horses worldwide…

To learn more about Morgan horses and their history, you can go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgan_horse.



Considering Vermont’s climate, it wasn’t surprising to find that they have a large indoor riding rink.  The young lady on the horse (both inside and outside of the riding rink) may be part of the Apprentice Program at UVM.  The program offers an intensive experience.  Apprentices spend a year living, working and learning at the farm.  They are involved in a wide variety of the farm’s overall operations. 

We both considered the UVM Morgan Horse Farm one of our favorite experiences during our 3 week adventure.  The Farm is open to visitors daily from May 1 through October 31.  The price is right.  Admission is only $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for teens and $2.00 for kids 5 or older. 

The University of Vermont at Middlebury is located at 74 Battell Drive in Weybridge Vermont.  Phone: 802-388-2011.  You can visit their website at https://www.uvm.edu/cals/morganhorsefarm/about-us.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, February 11, 2019

North to Canada…Almost!


…continuing with our summertime adventures in New England.

Following our brunch and a quick look around Shelburne Farms and its Inn, we still had daylight left.  I consulted my map (yes, a real map!) to see where we might explore.  What the heck…let’s head up toward the United States-Canada border to see what that area is like!

Since we like backroads, we avoided I-89 north and stuck to US Hwy 7 and VT Hwy. 36 north.  We had no idea what we might see along the way…


Along our way north, we came to the town of St. Albans Vermont.  One of the first things I spotted was the fact that St. Albans has an active Amtrak Railway station/platform.  The 2-story brick building on the right down the tracks serves at the passenger station.  Formerly a switch house, it was built ca. 1900.

St. Albans is the northern USA terminus for Amtrak’s ‘Vermonter’.  Since 1995, the ‘Vermonter’ has operated 1 train every day to and from St. Albans to Washington D.C.  This route is primarily financed by the Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut Departments of Transportation.  This train used to be called the ‘Montrealer’ as it continued north into Quebec Canada to the city of Montreal.  That service was discontinued... 

St. Albans and St. Albans Town (latter surrounds St. Albans) have a total population of about 12,900, with about 49,000 in the County.

Note
  • If you enlarge it and look closely at this photo, the old locomotive ‘roundhouse’ can be seen along the tracks to the upper left.  I just missed it when I was there…



Service to St. Albans on the Vermont Central Railway began in 1851.  A new station and this adjacent office building were completed in 1867.  It was part of a major construction project of the railroad’s main shops.  Service under the Central Vermont Railway, later part of the Grand Trunk Railway and the Canadian National Railway ceased in 1966.  The old station was razed in 1963…

The New England Central Railroad began operations in 1995.  It is a subsidiary of Genesee and Wyoming.  It operates from New London Connecticut to Alburgh Vermont at the Canadian border…a distance of 366 miles.  The St. Albans rail yard is the largest railyard in Vermont, handling up to 40,000 cars a year.  Back in 1902, Vermont Central Railway had 1,700 employees in St. Albans alone…


St. Albans House at 60 Lake Street was built ca. 1840.  Originally it was built as a 2-story hotel in the Greek revival style.  It was intended to lodge travelers from the stage road.  But, with the increased number of travelers that the railroad brought to town, the 2 upper stories with that Mansard roof were added in the 1870s.  From what I could determine, it is now an apartment building.

Note:

·       On 10/19/1864, St. Albans was the site of the St. Albans Raid.  This was the northernmost Confederate land action in the Civil War.  A total of 21 Confederate cavalrymen came south across the Canadian border (then part of the British Empire) and carried out a raid, robbing 3 banks in the process.  They killed one armed civilian and wounded 2 others, returning to Canada with a total of $208,000 ($3,330,000 in 2019 dollars).  To read more about this incident, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Albans_Raid.


This 2-story corner building at 1 Federal Street was originally occupied by the St. Albans Foundry and Implement Company.  The Foundry greatly contributed to early industry in the area.  It made castings for the railroad, silage cutters, fodder shredders, threshing machines, circular saws and many other products.  It was established in 1840 and it ceased operation in 1911.  It was then turned into a cigar making shop.  

Today, both this building and the adjacent structure have been converted into a restaurant.  The Old Foundry Restaurant can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheOldFoundryatOneFed/about/?ref=page_internal.   


As the signs indicate, this Romanesque revival beauty was recently occupied by Vermont State Offices and as well as the District Court.  If my research is correct, the employees who worked here have moved nearby to a new building.  Originally this structure was built in 1895 as the US Customs House and Post Office.  It had almost been completed in that year when it was gutted by the ‘great fire of 1895’.  The historic value of the building is being discussed by local government…

Regarding the ‘great fire of 1895’, a woman was heating her curling iron over a kerosene lamp near the lumber yard.  The lamp exploded, scattering the flames.  Before the fire could be extinguished, the fire burned over 50 acres sweeping the heart of the business district, wiping out 50 business places and 75 houses in only 3 hours!  A hundred homeless families were sheltered in local churches and schools…  


My timing was good… New England Central Railroad’s locomotive 1750 is an EMD SD9 and it was built by Electro-Motive Diesel in 1959.  EMD built 515 of these 1,750 HP locomotives between 1954 and 1959.  This locomotive will be 60 years old in April of this year.

FYI… Electro-Motive Diesel is an American manufacturer of diesel-electric locomotives and related parts.  It used to be a division of General Motors but now it’s owned by Progress Rail Services.  I was surprised to learn that Progress Rail Services is a subsidiary of Caterpillar!


This building is part of the Central Vermont Railroad Headquarters listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  This complex of railroad-related buildings and infrastructure was developed between the 1860s and 1920s by the Central Vermont Railroad (CVR).  The 12 buildings listed are the largest grouping of railroad related building in Vermont. 

I’m unsure what this building was but the grouping includes the general offices, a freight station, platforms, a passenger depot, roundhouse and various maintenance shops and repair sheds.  As you can see, this old structure is occupied by Mylan Technologies.  That company designs, develops and manufactures transdermal drug delivery systems as well as a variety of other products.


It’s only 15 miles from St. Alban Vermont before you come to the border with Canada.  No surprise to see the Border Patrol cruising along the road.   


As we rolled along the shore of the northern segment of Lake Champlain Laurie took this photo of Ospreys on their nest…


This is the US Hwy. 11 border crossing (USA facility) at the Canadian border.  It’s just north of Rouses Point New York.  
   
US Hwy. 11 is 1,645 miles long.  Its southern terminus is at US Hwy. 90 in the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in the eastern part of New Orleans Louisiana.  This is the northern terminus…the Rouses Point – Lacolle 223 Border Crossing.

We use US Hwy. 11 all the time.  It runs right through Loudon County and Knox County Tennessee.  In Knox County it’s named Kingston Pike and in this area of the country it’s referred to as the Lee Highway.  Given the current political climate, it’s just a matter of time before this ‘southern’ name is changed… 



Rouses Point’s Delaware and Hudson Railway terminal was built in 1889 and later abandoned.  In October 2009, it was reported that Senator Hillary Clinton had secured $750,000 for the village to restore it.  So the Village of Rouses Point and the Rouses Point-Champlain Historical Society restored this Romanesque brick and stone train station at 68 Pratt Street.  It now serves as the Rouses Point History and Welcome Center.

Although Amtrak serves Rouses Point along its Adirondack Route between New York City and Montreal Quebec Canada, this stop offers no shelter…just the boarding platform next to the old depot.  


Rouses Point New York was named after Jacques Roux, a French Canadian soldier who fought alongside the American forces during our War for Independence.  The village is only a mile from the Canadian border.  It was first settled ca. 1783 by Canadian refugees who were granted tracts of land as a reward for their services with the American Army during the Revolutionary War. 
   
The proximity of the Village to the Canadian border has greatly influenced its history.  Before and during the Civil War, it was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, which many former slaves used to escape to freedom.  During Prohibition (1923 – 1933), the town was popular with smugglers who transported illegal alcohol into the USA.  Three speakeasies, one named the “Bucket of Blood”, operated nightly and the forces of organized crime came to the area. 



As we drove across the US Hwy. 2 Bridge from Grand Isle County Vermont to Clinton County New York we noticed a lot of police and first responder watercraft activity…as well as scuba operations.  Later we learned that a Vermont resident had jumped off the bridge, committing suicide. 


This is Fort Montgomery.  It is the second of 2 American forts built at the northern end of Lake Champlain.  The first fort is commonly referred to as ‘Fort Blunder’.  Construction began on the first fort in 1816.  It was an octagonal structure with 30 foot high walls and its mission was to protect against an attack from British Canada.  Then it was discovered that the fort had actually been built on the Canadian side of the border…hence, ‘Fort Blunder’!

Fort Montgomery, a massive stone fortification, was built over the years between 1844 and 1871.  It was actually built on Island Point, the same location as the first fort.  The difference was that the border had been adjusted in favor of the USA after the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.  The fort was named after Revolutionary War hero, General Richard Montgomery.  He was killed at Quebec City in Canada during the American invasion of Canada.   The peak of the construction effort was during the American Civil War due to rumors that Britain might intervene on behalf of the Confederacy. 

Fort Montgomery has a long and complex history both during its time as a fort as well as following its abandonment.  To learn more, just go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Montgomery_(Lake_Champlain). 

Alternatively, you could just purchase the fort along with the 260 acre property for only $1,400,000.  Check it out along with a couple of photos at https://www.denisonyachtsales.com/2018/08/fort-montgomery-an-island-steeped-in-history/.



For our drive back to Burlington, I decided to take US Hwy. 2 down the Lake Champlain Islands.  This was a view of Lake Champlain and the low mountains in the distance.  It was taken toward the northern end of our route south.

Grand Isle County has a population of about 7,000.  It is the second-least populous and the smallest county in the State of Vermont.  It consists of a peninsula (an enclave known as the Alburgh Tongue) and a number of islands.  The 3 major islands are La Motte, North Hero and South Hero.   


This old single room schoolhouse is referred to as Grand Isle School #4.  It was built in 1814.  It’s more complex than it appears.  It was constructed of 12” thick squared off logs which were filled in with lime and sand mortar.  Then 1.5” thick planks were nailed to the outside of the logs…and clapboards were nailed over the planks.

Note:

·       When the Revolutionary War officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, Vermont’s border with Quebec Canada was established at 45 degrees north latitude.  This explains the “Alburgh Tongue” and why Grand Isle County lacks a dry-land connection to the rest of the United States.


The Hyde Log Cabin is situated along US Hwy. 2 near the one-room school shown above.  This cabin was built in 1783 by Jedediah Hyde, Jr.  He surveyed the Grand Isle area for Ira and Ethan Allen.  Hyde and his wife raised 19 children in this cabin and it was owned and occupied by the Hyde family for 150 years.  

It’s significant to note that this is believed to be the oldest log cabin in the United States!  The cabin is owned and operated as a historic house museum by the Grand Isle Historical Society.


Back to our Hampton Inn in Colchester near Burlington!  It had been a long day and we 1) didn’t want to explore anymore, 2) wanted something simple for dinner and 3) we didn’t want to drive very far.  So we stayed in Colchester and headed over to City Sports Grill which is attached to an operation named Spare Time Entertainment.




Inside City Sports Grill there was a cacophony of HDTV screens, sports memorabilia, beer signs, lots of wood, a couple of hunting trophies and even a race car dangling from the ceiling… It was sports craze meets north woods ambiance tempered by a ceiling that was pure industrial design.

The overall complex isn’t called Spare Time Entertainment for no reason!  This brightly and colorfully lighted bowling alley was right through the doors from the Sports Grill.  In addition to bowling, this complex also features laser tag and around 50 arcade games…


For her evening repast, Laurie went for a double Tito’s Vodka and Tonic with 2 slices of lime. ($7.75) We shared an order of Crispy Pickles, 6 slices of hearty dill pickles, battered and fried, then served with a nice Sriracha aioli. ($6.00) The pickles were pretty good.

Her ‘entrée’ in the photo was a Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich…with both Swiss and American cheese. ($7.00) The sandwich was cheesy and satisfying too.  

A number of sides can be ordered with your sandwiches/entrees.  They include French Fries, Crisp Golden Tots, Seasoned Broccoli, Mac and Cheese, Fresh Seasonal Vegetables, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Coleslaw.  We both opted for the relatively healthy coleslaw...


I started out with my usual Miller Lite and shared those fried pickles with my bride.  Then I ordered the Firecracker Burger. ($13.00) This medium rare 8 oz. burger is topped with jalapeno honey bacon, Sriracha aioli, pepper jack cheese, lettuce and sliced tomato.  I left the onions off…

For a restaurant/grill attached to a bowling alley the food was better than I would have imagined.  It was all good and the menu was wide ranging too.  The City Sports Grill offered pizza, salads, a variety of sandwiches, fried fish, salmon and shrimp, a steak and more.

Spare Time Entertainment is a small New England based chain with 17 locations in 10 states.  This even includes 2 in Tennessee!  Besides the locations in Vermont and Tennessee, family owned Spare Time Entertainment has operations in Alabama, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina.  Their website is at http://www.sparetimeentertainment.com/.

…and so ended the thirteenth day of our August 2018 adventure!


Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave