10.11.23 — Travel

Jay Peak

With my first couple of days in Vermont done, it was time for the leaf peeping (find our what that means in my last post) to really begin. With Megan at work, Mallory came over and joined me and Maureen what was to become one of the most picturesque days of the whole trip. Keep on reading for some cool views!

The three of us hopped into Maureen’s car and began our journey up to the north of Vermont, where the leaves were supposedly at ‘peak’, meaning the peak of their colourfulness. Maureen had decided we should head up to Jay Peak, a mountain found tucked just below the Canadian border.

Before we arrived, we’d some errands to run. Our first stop was to an unassuming roadside shop where we grabbed what both Maureen and Mallory agreed were the best maple syrup ice creams in the whole state. The locals call these ‘maple creemees’, a name I still find hilarious.

I’m no maple expert, but this was one good ice cream!

Heading further on down the road, we eventually stopped for some lunch at another roadside café. Having fallen in love with the amazing sandwiches that they have around the area last year, I grabbed myself a turkey and bacon concoction. I enjoyed this on a park bench below the hills just round the back of the café, where Maureen got chatting to some cyclists who were off to bike around the area. What a great spot for a bike ride!

Lunch over, we hit the road once more, determined to make it to Jay Peak in good time. That was until we passed by what looked to be a fabulous spot to take a photo of the mountains, so we parked up and inadvertently stumbled across a stone merchants specialising in outdoor construction. Whilst Maureen got chatting to the owner, me and Mallory snuck off to take some photos of the gorgeous surroundings…

I soon found that I’d walked quite a way off course, discovering first this cool chrome truck and then some abandoned farm hardware framed by the gorgeous autumnal forest on the mountainside. I headed back to the car and then we set off once more.

This wasn’t to be the last of our stops, though, as after driving for a while longer we suddenly found ourselves approaching a lake set amongst the hills and curves of the country roads. This was an opportunity we couldn’t let pass us by, and so once again we parked up and stepped out to find ourselves surrounded by one of the most impressive sights I’ve ever seen.

All around the lake could be seen the warm colours of the dense forest.

Naturally we weren’t the only people that had stopped to admire the views. We got chatting to some other people who’d stopped by, although I was particularly jealous of a couple of kayakers who had chosen the perfect spot to have a paddle around at this time of year.

You can just about see the two kayaks in this picture.

As we hopped back in the car and continued up the winding lanes between the foliage, all I could think of was the country classic ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads‘ by John Denver. I know he was from pretty much the other side of the US, but the sentiment of the song felt like a perfect fit as we trundled along without seeing another soul.

We eventually made it to Jay Peak, taking the car as far up the mountain as we could before we’d to park up and take a cable car for the rest of the journey. This was very much like me and Megan’s trip up Mount Mansfield last year, but this time we were blessed with much better weather – even if it was pretty chilly!

The colours in these photos look almost fake, but I promise they’re not.

After buying tickets for the tram ride (which is their name for the arial cable car) we waited for the next trip to the summit, which were running every half hour until 5pm. It was already 4pm when we hopped into one of the gondolas, so we were cutting it pretty fine!

The trip up was amazing. From our cabin we could see right across Vermont and were even able to get up close to the colourful treetops as we flew over them. Whilst not gawking at the sights, we got chatting to the operator who was aboard the huge gondola with us. He told us about the history of the tram and pointed out some of the key sights as we ascended into the heavens. I’d tell you all about them if I could, but with my memory there’s no chance!

Our gondola rumbled past the other one on its way down, our ears popped, and before we knew it we were at the top. We stepped back onto terra firma and followed the signs to the peak of Jay Peak, which opened out to some amazing views from the other side of the mountain.

I wish the guy who took this photo for us would have told me that I’d left my bag in shot…

After me and Mallory had a good snoop around, we came back to find Maureen chatting to the lad who’d offered to take the photo of the three of us. We then also got talking to a guy who’d been sat on his own admiring the views. He explained what we were seeing from our vantage point atop the mountain, which even included a thin white line which was the reflection from the waters of the Great Lakes. Pretty cool.

When we asked him how he knew so much, it turned out that he had worked on the mountain’s resort and even running the tram for many years. I couldn’t resist then asking him what would happen if we missed the last trip down the mountainside. He said that there was always one more trip after the advertised final one, just in case, which put all of our minds at ease.

He did also tell us the story of a group that missed even this last journey and got completely stranded, though. He’d volunteered to help this group, coordinating with local authorities to help guide the beleaguered tourists back to civilisation. I thought that the rescue would have involved a helicopter or something, but no: the poor souls had to make the hours-long trek down the mountain in the dark and on foot!

Sufficiently spooked by this story, we were very sure to be back on the tram for the 4:30pm descent, just thirty minutes after we’d arrived at the top. The descent was even more impressive, even if the tram operator this time said that the peak time for leaf peeping had been a week before our trip.

Once back at the car, we began our journey back to Williston. On the way, Maureen wanted to pay a visit to a relative’s grave, so me and Mallory allowed her some space as we went for a walk around the rest of the yard. I do love spending time in graveyards, for although they are a naturally sad space, I find them to be calm, pretty, and peaceful.

This cemetery was a particularly stunning place to be laid to rest.

Now back at Maureen and Terry’s place in Williston, Mallory headed back home and I settled down on the sofa to watch The Great British Bake Off with Maureen. It was a lovely relaxing end to a busy day of exploring the best that autumnal Vermont has to offer. Many thanks again to Maureen for taking me out to make some lovely memories and take some equally lovely photos!