Wednesday, August 31, 2022

D.A.R. State Park

D.A.R. sounds like a strange name for a state park but it's named after the Daughters of the American Revolution organization that bought the land in 1934 to preserve the house and property of  John Strong who served in the Revolutionary War and held political offices after the war. The house is open to tour on weekends in the summer. In 1955 the D.A.R. donated 95 acres to the state to be used for the state park.

The park has three loops with 51 sites. We wanted a site in the wooded loops for shade and privacy but found them to be too small or sloped so we chose a site in open grassy section. Most of these sites have trees for shade and are level but they lack privacy. This park does not fill during the week so reservations are not necessary. Even though it's on the shore of Lake Champlain a steep bluff makes lake access difficult and there isn't a beach or boat ramp. Park amenities include restrooms, pay showers, and a dump station.

The campground doesn't have any designated accessible sites but many are usable. The house wasn't opened when we visited. Campground  44.05586, -73.41342

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Dead Creek WMA Trails

Much of the wildlife management area is closed to access because it's primarily a refuge for waterfowl. Hunting, fishing, trapping, and hiking are permitted on the portions that are opened. The closed sections are well marked but pay attention to the signs and don't accidentally stray into a closed area.

There's only one area open to hiking. Go south on the dirt road located off of Route 17, just west of the bridge that crosses the creek. There's a small lot about 3/4 of a mile in. The dirt road trail that branches off to the right starts after the gate. It's about two miles out and back. We did not take the road to the left but it appears to follow the lake shoreline for about a mile to the end of the WMA area. We didn't see much wildlife probably because of the time of year, the time of day, and the hot temperatures.

There's an opening on the left side of the gate for access. It's wide enough for most wheelchairs. The trail is a mixture of hard packed dirt and rough grass. Most wheelchair user will need assistance.

The road to the lot is in good condition but there are low hanging branches. The parking area is large enough for any RV,

We spent the night in the boat ramp parking lot on the Route 17 at the east side of the bridge. I found the spot on freecampsites and didn't  read the read the regulations until the next morning. It looks like we were camping illegally but nobody bothered us.  WMA  44.07574, -73.35136

Monday, August 29, 2022

Rokeby Museum

Four generations of Robinsons lived on the farm that they named Rokeby. Thomas and Jemima Robinson, the first generation, were industrious Quakers and established saw, grist, and fulling mills with Lewis Creek providing power. They also raised Merino sheep on the farm but it was the second generation, Rowland and, and his wife, Rachel, who made history. As outspoken abolitionists they opened their farm to people fleeing slavery as they made their way to their final destinations. Vermont was a free state so the farm was not a place to hide. Instead, it was a place to rest, work to earn funds, and plan their next move. Some stayed for several months.
Elizabeth Donoway Robinson, the wife of Rowland Robinson was the last member of the family to live in the house. Her death in 1961 ended 168 years of Robinson occupation. Elizabeth willed the entire property and its contents to a non-profit to be managed as in museum.

The property includes a museum, the family house, eight outbuildings, and hiking trails. Museum displays focus on slavery and the role of the Robinson family. The house is opened for tours on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The house contains original furnishings from all family members.

The museum is accessible but getting to it is difficult. The parking lot is slanted and surfaced with loose gravel. The path to the entrance is loose gravel. The property and the outbuildings are not accessible due to uneven, hilly terrain and steps into the buildings. The trails are rough, grassy ground with steep hills. The museum has a ramp in the rear and a parking area that is fairly level. It was not open for tours when we visited.

 The parking lot is large enough for any RV. Museum  44.22232, -73.23784


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Ethan Allen Homestead

After Britain won the French and Indian War the land that is now Vermont became British territory. The bordering territories of New York and New Hampshire both claimed the right to grant land in the new territory but in1764 King George III extended the New York border to New Hampshire and the Vermont land became part of New York. The landowners who had grants from New Hampshire were required to buy the land a second time from New York.

Of course this was not a popular move with all of the people from New Hampshire who had land grants and led to the formation of the Green Mountain Boys by Ethan Allen and his brothers. The Green Mountain Boys drove away surveyors and incoming tenants and in 1777 delegates from twenty eight Vermont towns met and declared independence from Britain and also from neighboring states, New York and New Hampshire. The Green Mountain Boy fought on the side of the patriots in the Revolutionary War but Vermont was an independent state until 1791 when it joined the United States.

The Ethan Allen Homestead has a small, two room museum with one room representing a tavern where a short film is shown. The original Allen house is open for guided tours four times a day. There are wooden walkways under the windows so that people can peek in when tour are not being conducted. Examples of an Abenaki dwelling and other structures that would be found in a village have been recreated on the grounds.

The museum is accessible. The trail to the Abenaski dwelling is hard packed gravel and dirt but there's a short drop from the museum's concrete patio to the trail. The grass at the Abenaski site is hard to push through.The trail to the house is hard packed dirt and gravel but it doesn't go all the way to the house. The last section is grass and difficult to push along. There's a ramp at the rear entrance of the house but our tour guide did not have a key.
The parking lot is large enough for RVs. Museum  44.50836, -73.23193

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Farm Craft VT

We're enjoying the variety of the Harvest Hosts in the northeast. This one is located by a field of sunflowers and we arrived at peak blossom time. Our window view was goldfinches hopping from flower to flower as they ate the seeds.

 This is also a Hipcamp site with three bell tents and one bring your own tent site for rent. The route to the Harvest Hosts site is not well sign but just keep following the campsite signs until you come to the sunflowers. There is a sign at the gravel RV parking pad

The small store is self serve and the products for sale are made from over 50 varieties of herbs, flowers, fruits and other botanicals grown on the property. The farm owners, Becca and Tim Lindenmeyr, handcraft the products which include soaps, candles, lotions, creams, and honey. We bought a jar of honey. 

The campsite, store, and trails are not accessible. The campsite parking pad is surfaced with loose gravel. The store does not have a ramp. The trails are mowed grass through the meadows.
The campsite is back-in and large enough for any RV. The road in is narrow but I think it's doable with most RVs. Farm  44.38137, -73.13991

Friday, August 26, 2022

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center

As is typical this science center is geared toward children but there are still exhibits that are interesting for adults. The center is located on the shore of Lake Champlain and includes displays on human history, the animals and fish that live in and around the lake, and invasive species.
Everything is accessible.

RVs are not permitted in the parking lot near the museum but the they may be parked 1/3 mile away. Go north on Lake Street (narrow but doable), turn left on Penny Lane, and right into the first lot. There are spaces along the right side, parallel to the curb, where any RV will fit. The lot is a dead end so it may be difficult to turn around RVs with a towed car. It's an easy walk/roll to the science center along the Island Line Trail.   Center  44.47669, -73.22095