After our month with family in Connecticut, we headed north to revisit one of our favorite states, Vermont. We returned to two campgrounds we’d previously visited – one near Woodstock and the other near Stowe – and enjoyed some downtime after all the family activity.
We made sure to hit all our favorite Vermont stops like:
and we confirmed that it is actually possible to take a corner on just two wheels when we saw a sign for “fresh garlic” as we were driving down a busy road.
After replenishing our stores of Vermont goodness, we headed off to explore Burlington. Located on the shores of peaceful Lake Champlain, the city is the largest in Vermont. It is home to the University of Vermont as well as a thriving downtown. Burlington has done an excellent job making use of its waterfront property with an impressive series of interconnected bike trails, lots of community green space, and a couple marinas. It’s the perfect place to stroll and people-watch on a warm summer day.
Just up the street from the lake is the Church Street pedestrian area. Full of shops, restaurants, and outdoor performers, the area is a magnet for locals and visitors alike. Day and night, it’s a lively, energetic, entertaining place to wander.
Burlington is our kind of place – a college town with a good deal of energy, a plethora of independent shops and restaurants, and lots of outdoor activities. It’s just one more fantastic locale in a state full of highlights.
The Shelburne Museum
I first heard of this spectacular museum from our friends, the Lowes. Of all the many interesting and significant places they’ve visited, Mona Liza took the time to write a separate post about this place on their blog. I took that as high praise and added it to our list.
The Shelburne, located just a few miles south of Burlington, is no ordinary museum. 150,000 objects are spread out among 39 structures, many of which are historic in and of themselves. And all of it is located on a beautiful 45 acre campus full of rolling green lawns, peaceful gardens, and inviting sitting areas.
To say ‘there’s a lot to see’ would be an understatement….
From a one room schoolhouse, circa 1840:
to a gorgeous round barn, circa 1901…
To a two-lane covered bridge built in 1845….
the structures are unique and rare.
There’s a light house that stood on the shore of Lake Champlain from 1871 to 1952…
a meeting house built in Charlotte, Vermont in 1840….
And a stone house built in 1790…
Inside these and other structures are an astonishing collection of Americana. From a large collection of horse drawn carriages:
to a building full of textile processing equipment:
to a fully stocked general store and apothecary….
to multiple buildings full of paintings, pottery, sculptures, and furniture, there is a little bit of everything.
Of all the fascinating bits of history located at the Shelburne, arguably the most unique and impressive is the Ticonderoga, a 220 foot steamship built in 1906. The boat traversed Lake Champlain for almost 50 years before it was decommissioned in 1953. It would have been torn to scrap if not for the forethought of this museum.
Now, visitors can examine the entire boat from top to bottom, observe all parts of it as they would have appeared on a particular day in 1923, and get answers to all their questions from the friendly and knowledgeable docents.
The Shelburne was created by Electra Havemeyer Webb in 1947. She wanted to preserve hers and her family’s extensive collections of Americana. The museum continued to grow throughout her lifetime and after her death. In fact, after she passed away in 1960, her children had an additional building built on the museum campus to house several rooms from their mother’s New York City apartment. Similar to our art collection, she owned several Monets, Manets and a Degas or two.
You know, the usual.
Museum tickets are good for two days and one could easily spend that long here and not even scratch the surface of what’s available. If you find yourself in the Burlington area, this place is absolutely worth a stop.
When we were in Connecticut in June, we brought Barney in to Connecticut Motorcars – an excellent facility for Tiffin repair work – for his yearly oil change and engine service.
While there, the techs noticed that our front cap was coming unsealed. While we’d noticed a tiny bit of space in the seam many months ago, it was barely noticeable and we didn’t think much of it.
However, somewhere along the line (*cough* – Indiana roads – *cough*), the cap began to completely separate.
The service manager told us that Tiffin considers front cap separation a warranty-covered structural issue, but they were booked in June and we would need to come back to get on their schedule. Hence, why we returned to Connecticut after our trip to Vermont.
While there, we also pointed out the black spots we’d noticed appearing all over the silicone sealant on the outside of the rig.
The service manager surmised the spots were mold – the result of someone at the manufacturing plant grabbing the wrong type of silicone (for indoor use, rather than outdoor use) when our RV was coming down the line. Again, he expected Tiffin would cover the correction of this issue, and, thankfully, he was right.
Again and again, we’ve been thankful we bought the coach we bought. Not only have our problems been few, but other than time, we’ve had to part with little else to get these issues corrected. Tiffin is known for standing behind their products and, for us, they have. And Connecticut Motor Cars made the whole process easy – getting us on their schedule, completing the work in a timely manner, and – most importantly – dealing directly with the Tiffin check-writers, so we didn’t have to chase anyone around. All in all, it was a completely painless process.
A Solution to the Connecticut Camping Problem
I knew about this campground before, but (a) it’s really expensive and I had been trying to avoid paying $45 per night weekdays and $60 per night weekends for electric/water only, (b) you can only stay for a week or two and I had been looking for a month-long stay for our June visit, and (c) I was concerned about some reviews that noted a particularly small dump station. But, given our experiences at Portland Riverside Campground, I went ahead and booked this place. It ended up working out really well. Yes, it was overpriced, but if you stay more than 5 nights, they give you a discount, and at least the 50 amp was actually 50 amp and water actually came out of our faucets, so… Success!!
Plus, as commercial campgrounds attached to amusement parks go, it was pretty nice – with big spacious sites and some reasonable greenery!
We checked out but did not utilize the dump station. It is tight, but it can be done with any size RV.
The campground is only open seasonally, so it won’t help you during the colder months, but if you find yourself in central Connecticut and you’re desperate for a place to stay, it’s a decent spot (and, to tie it in to the previous subject, it’s just about 10 minutes down the road from Connecticut Motorcars).
We head through upstate New York, Thor decides he loves lake-living, and we visit the incomparable Niagara Falls….
Where we stayed:
Crown Point Camping Area, Perkinsville, Vermont
Maplewoods Campground, Johnson, Vermont (updated review)
Shelburne Camping Area, Shelburne, Vermont (No review. Campendium link)
Bear Creek Campground, Bristol, Connecticut