Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Lake Champlain Islands and Farms

I took a tour of Vermont's Islands and Farms yesterday, for work, but what an experience. I know the importance of "being a tourist in your own backyard" and being familiar with what your local area has to offer, and I thought I was doing a pretty good job of that... until yesterday. I went to 6 places that I have never been before and I cannot wait to go back.
First we stopped at Carman Brook Farm, a small working farm in Highgate Springs and were able to see a calf just born hours before after her first bath, three new kittens, twin baby goats (kids...:)) and all of their cows. This particular barn is a tie-stall which means that their milking cows are tied all of the time in their stalls. At first I was a little put-off by this approach, but after learning more about it, it's pretty good for the cows. They all actually have their own waterbeds to stand/sleep in. (I know, that's crazy, right?) You should see this place.

We stopped at the Mississquoi Natural Wildlife Preserve and walked out through the bogs and lake on a 1.2 mile trail then headed to Saint Anne's Shrine in Isle La Motte.The lakeshore in front of the chapel is marked as the location of a landing by Samuel de Champlain in 1609. He was the first European to visit the lake and islands that bear his name. A seventeen-ton statue of the explorer identifies the spot. It was sculpted by F. L. Weber in the Vermont pavilion at Montreal's Expo '67.

The property also encompasses the location of Fort Saint Anne, Vermont's oldest settlement. It was the fourth in a series of forts built by the French as they moved south from their base in Montreal. Soldiers under the command of Captain Pierre de St. Paul, Sieur de La Motte, built the fort in 1666. That same year a chapel was built within the fort. It was the first chapel in Vermont, one of the first chapels in New England, and the first Church of St. Anne in the United States.

We stopped at Knight State Park for lunch, then headed to Snowfarm Vineyard in South Hero for a wine tasting. Taste we did. :) I went home with three bottles of wine, two very special ones. The first was an apple dessert wine made with apples from an orchard in South Hero and the second was Ice Wine. For those of you unfamiliar with Ice Wine, I'll post about it later, it's deserving of it's own post!

Our last stop of the day was Allenholm Farm where we visited their petting zoo and had the best apple pie I've ever had- - warm, out of the oven with a swirl of maple creemee on top. Mmmmm.
Farm owner Ray Allen gives their donkey a kiss.



Blogger Sarah M said...

I don't know if you can help me but do you know of any vineyards in Southern Vermont. We are headed up to Manchester in June and if possible we would love to go for a wine tasting. Thanks.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

Great, so now I need to also find a way to fit "visit Vermont" into my ever growing list of destinations I want to hit before year's end (sigh).

12:19 PM  

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