Tag Archives: mountains

Random Vermont

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Vermont really is a beautiful state and even after most of the leaves had fallen in late autumn we enjoyed our scenic drives.

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Since we live on the Maine coast, we always love to see the mountains.

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Lake Champlain has a bit of both.

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This is the Old Round Church in Richmond, Vermont.

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Built in 1812, it’s a rare, well-preserved sixteen-sided meeting house. Sadly it’s never open when we’re in the area, but maybe someday.

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Oh… the horror! As if the government isn’t squirrelly enough.

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I love barren, scraggly trees against a clear blue sky.

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This colorful moose was on a restaurant we tried called Piecasso. It was always packed when we drove by so I figured it would be great.

I was wrong. It wasn’t. Just an overpriced pizza joint.

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And while I’ve tipped kitchen staff in the past, I didn’t hear any cowbell this time around.

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Something tells me it’s time for a few repairs here.

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Cow!

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Creative wood stacking. You have to love that…

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The sky was too perfect here, I had to snap a picture.

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Yes.

Of course we took that road!

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The journey home.

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Since we weren’t in a huge hurry to get home, we took the longer scenic route back and that meant driving through the Northeast Kingdom.

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It’s a rural and mountainous region of Vermont, similar to areas in northern Maine with its low population density and differing political views.

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Unspoiled and undisturbed.

Beautiful? You betcha!

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This region takes their designation seriously so you’ll find “Kingdom” gas stations and “Kingdom” diners scattered throughout the area.

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There’s even a covered bridge staircase.

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While the majority of Vermont is an environmentally friendly, liberal, churn your own butter, Birkenstock type of place… the Kingdom is a bit wilder and leans much farther right. It’s often said there are two Maines, southern and northern.. I find that’s true of Vermont as well.

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And if you’re wondering how far north we were?

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I could see Canada from my window.

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And though we didn’t cross the border, Verizon let us know we might as well have.

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Another scenic drive.

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Fortified with a wonderful meal, we continued our aimless wandering through Vermont.

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It’s hard to take a bad photo there, especially in the fall. Mountains, trees, and cows.

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Mountains, cows, and farms.

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Every once in a while you’ll pass through a town.

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Then it’s back to mountains, trees, and cows.

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And a very serious porch lover.

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Also, there were fish.

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I have no explanation for random fish, but they were delightful all the same.

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Robert Frost was right.

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Seeing that we were in Robert Frost country, we followed his example and took the road less traveled.

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In Vermont that means one minute you’re passing open fields and meadows…

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And the next you’re driving a road cut through a mountain.

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My car was straining on some of the inclines, I can’t imagine bicycling up it.

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Or down it in the drizzle and fog.

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That pretty much describes the way we travel. I pick a spot of interest and we explore at will along the way.

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You never know what you’ll find.

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Like this sweet little riverfront park in the middle of nowhere.

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With a touching memorial rock.

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And some funky flora.

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Required selfie.

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And more heartfelt rocks.

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Rock snot!

Proof positive you really do learn something new every day.

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The resort.

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As you know, the husband and I have a timeshare and it’s through that we do most of our traveling. In the six years we’ve owned it we’ve been to some fabulous resorts…. Sedona, Williamsburg, Palm Coast… all wonderful. Killington, not so much. Our choice this trip was Smugglers Notch, a ski resort in Jeffersonville Vermont we’ve visited twice before. Our first stay was marvelous, our second less so. It’s a bit of a crap shoot which unit and community you’ll be assigned, and seeing that this was a last minute booking at peak leaf peeping season, there wasn’t any wiggle room.

The resort is tucked away on the side of a mountain and is quite large.

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We like peace and quiet and prefer the condos on the edges, away from the center village’s restaurants and shops. So naturally they booked us into Evergreen, right behind the main office.

Pro – we got the top floor and could see the mountain from our balcony.

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Con – we were right next to the chair lift.

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Pro – the unit was large. Two bedrooms, 2 baths, fireplace and full kitchen. Solidly built, we never heard doors closing or noisy neighbors.

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Con- the decor hadn’t been updated for decades and was extremely plain.

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Pro- the king size bed was very comfortable.

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And there was a free box of maple cookies to munch while reclining.

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Con- there was a jacuzzi tub in bedroom. I’ve seen this at a quite a few other resorts and it never fails to surprise me. Tubs belong in bathrooms, period.

🥴

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And by the way…

The eighties called, they want their wallpaper back.

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Mirrors?

Oh yeah, there were plenty of those.

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Damn. That was a whole lotta me to wake up to every morning.

😳

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The Notch and a (boozy) meal.

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Since resort check in wasn’t until 4:00pm we had some time to kill. And when you have time to kill in this area of Vermont? You drive through The Notch.

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It’s basically a road cut right through the mountain and it’s one of my absolute favorite drives.

Twisty, turny and littered with glacial granite boulders…. it’s a rock lovers dream.

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Not that it’s the easiest road to navigate mind you. The switchbacks are breath taking, the proximity to boulders cringe worthy. In places you’re absolutely blind and are left crossing everything you have that nothing is coming the other way when the road narrows so tightly only one car can pass.

My husband drives it like sport.

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On the other side of The Notch? Stowe… a lovely village I’ll highlight later. And in Stowe?

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An amazing local brewery.

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We had to stand in line half an hour to get in, on a Tuesday, at 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s that good. I was willing to wait longer to sit in one of the artfully decorated dining rooms (the giant velvet cow print couch was calling my name) but the husband snatched two seats at the bar as soon as they became available.

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One flight in…. on an amazing polished copper bar, we were already loving this place.

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The Kolsch was delightful, the Pink and Pale seriously puckering.

And since we were at a brewery….

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I had to try the monster soft pretzel. Not only does Idletyme brew their own beer, they make their own beer cheese and grind their own mustard. A win win.

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As was this hot spiced cider with rum. Hey, when in Rome…

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My chargrilled mushroom Swiss burger with crispy onions and Caesar salad was good, but my husband’s choice?

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Ooh la la! So beyond the normal pub fare … we might have drooled. Butternut squash ravioli with maple cream sauce, sliced almonds and a hint of cayenne for bite. It was utterly fabulous.

Too stuffed for dessert, we headed back through The Notch and it’s amazing selection of rocks.

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And mini waterfalls breaking through at random intervals.

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And by then, it was time to check in.

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Yes, the resort is named after The Notch… which was originally used by smugglers and bootleggers. Yet another reason to love it.

A little history if you’re interested…

With cliffs on either side that sometimes reach a height of 1,000 feet, it’s also easy to see how very few people would have been caught on their way to and from one country to another. The landscape looked completely different in the early 1800s and there were far fewer people – and towns – meaning this region was even more remote. After former president Thomas Jefferson passed the Embargo Act in 1807, the restriction of trade between countries had a drastically negative impact on the state of Vermont. As the state shares a border with Canada, this trade route was by far the easiest to use, and once that was cut off there were many citizens and businesses that suffered in the northern part of the state.

This route was not only used for trading. Fugitive slaves would also utilize the route to make their way through Vermont and into Canada, which gave it another historic purpose.

The use of Smugglers’ Notch didn’t just end there, though. As Vermont progressed into the 20th century, they would be subject to yet another restriction – this time, on alcohol. When Prohibition came about in 1922, the state was lucky enough to have opened Smugglers’ Notch to automobile traffic. This meant that those using the route would no longer need to cross on foot or horseback, which opened up even more illegal trade route options. In this case, it was Vermont’s loophole during the time when it was legally a dry state.

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*Not my photo , but it gives you a better idea of the scope*

The Notch is closed to tractor trailer trucks due to the precarious turns, and though there are ample signs warning them not to enter, a few idiots try it every year, getting stuck and causing horrible traffic jams and back ups.

The entire road is closed for the season starting in mid October so we were lucky and slipped in right before the gates came down.

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The journey.

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We set off early Tuesday morning and it was a perfectly beautiful day. Sunny, with a delightful bite of crisp fall air.

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We hit the western Maine mountains before 10….

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And the New Hampshire White Mountains shortly after. Leaves were just beginning to turn and it was wonderful.

At 1:00?

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Hello Vermont! We’ve missed you.

And you’re welcome, though I’m not sure what we did to deserve your thanks.

If you’ve never been to Vermont? I have one word for you… go!

Verdant green fields and barn red barns. Gentle rolling hills and well tended farms. Picturesque mountain villages and of course, cows.

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It’s gloriously scenic, delightfully quirky, and utterly addicting.

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We were sad to see The Farmer’s Daughter gift shop had lost its daughter. There used to be a large sign out front of a farm girl with her skirt blown up… but all that’s left now are the hands, hanging disembodied and more than a little creepy.

We did see a giant hammer wind mill down the road…

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But it doesn’t bring the same smile to your face as that saucy wind blown wench.

When we headed north and west towards our resort, the weather took a turn.

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Eerie, ominous skies dominated the rest of the way and by the time we arrived in the little town of Jeffersonville?

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Rain. And so much high fog you couldn’t see the mountains.

To be continued….

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Resort hopping Part 3… The Eagle Mountain House.

 

Last on our list of resorts that day was an old and well known establishment.

 

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New England is full of quirky places like this.

 

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With a nice big porch…

 

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And a nice big view…

 

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It was a pleasant spot to end the day.

 

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Charming…

 

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Cozy…

 

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And full of antiques….

 

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It was instantly welcoming.

 

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I can’t say it any better than that.

 

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The bar.

 

 

Oh, stuff it Dorothy.

You know us better by now.

 

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But amusing sign aside…

 

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The mushroom risotto cake appetizer left a lot to be desired, as did the cranberry gin fizz.

A definite meh.

 

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We only stayed for one round and then headed into the gift shop… where I saw a wine tag that made me laugh.

 

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As well as…

Are you ready for this?

A bucket of ducks!

 

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Christ on a cracker….enough with the rubber ducks.

This was getting creepy.

 

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Bidding farewell to the hotel, and the ducks….

 

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It took all I could do to convince the husband he could not go rummage in the establishment’s old slate roofed barn.

 

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The mere thought of not being able to gather up all the unloved tools and rusted treasures that must be stored in there? Practically ruined his night…

 

 

Resort hopping Part 2. The Mountain View Grand.

 

Hidden away in tiny Whitefield, New Hampshire is a gem.

 

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A sprawling hotel…

 

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Packed with old world charm.

Sadly they were renovating the front entrance when we visited so we had to sneak in the side.

 

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Look at those doors!

 

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Chess anyone?

 

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I’m a sucker for a good porch.

 

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And this one did not disappoint.

 

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I could happily plop here with a good book….

 

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A pitcher of margaritas…

 

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And never leave.

 

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Back inside, I checked out the wall of history…

 

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And some great old photographs…

 

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While the husband continued his “I shall pee everywhere I can in Western Maine and New Hampshire” challenge with an upscale rest room this time.

And speaking of rest rooms…

 

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Even I had to check out the pink marble in theirs.

But ooh la la…

 

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There were private sinks inside the ladies room stalls.

Is that some chic shit or what?

 

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Moving on through the lounge…

 

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We found a dining room… and the place where we would spend the next two hours.

 

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The bar.

 

 

Don’t look surprised, you knew it was coming.

 

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One Lemonflower Martini…

 

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One Cranberry Orange Margarita…

 

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And one Melon Margarita later…

 

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(Don’t judge me.

They had a 6 page cocktail list and tequila soaked cranberries…. I had to.)

 

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There were some crab cakes.

Some smiley face crab cakes… and yes, that was on purpose.

 

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Crab cakes weren’t supposed to be served that time of day, or at all in the tavern for that matter….. but when you make friends with the bartender?

Anything is possible.

 

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An afternoon well spent, we poured ourselves out the door.

 

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And lamented the fact we wouldn’t be back anytime soon.

 

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Even mid facelift..

She’s an elegant old broad.

Cathedral Ledge Part 2.

 

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Mountain views.

 

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Valley views.

 

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Vibrant autumn color.

 

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And love locks… Cathedral ledge has it all.

 

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Even lovers with a sense of humor.

 

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It was glorious… and that was only the front half.

 

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Walking along the sides, we made friends.

 

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Took 100 more pictures….

 

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And simply marveled at the beauty of nature.

 

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Even the husband was quiet.

 

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Honestly, there’s only so many times you can say wow.

 

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It really was a special spot.

 

 

This way?

 

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Beautiful.

 

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That way?

Fabulous.

 

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Gaze in wonder.

Take picture.

Repeat.

 

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There were rocks!

 

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And trees!

 

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And they made me realize how blessed I am to live in a truly wonderful part of the world.

 

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We made one final lap along the fence line…

 

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And strolled a few final steps across those marvelous rocks…

 

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I tried again…. unsuccessfully… to get a double selfie where the husband actually looks at the camera.

 

 

But no matter.

 

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We took one last look and bid goodbye to a place I’d revisit in a heartbeat next time we’re in the area.