We woke up around 6 am to start the 431 mile drive from Sargentville, ME to Button Bay state park on Lake Champlain in Vermont. Looking at a map of this route shows an almost completely due west drive on Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont backroads/highways. Some of the Maine cities we drove through were Belfast, Palermo, South China and West Paris. Didn’t know Maine was so international? We didn’t either. In New Hampshire we drove on the north boundary of White Mountain National Forest for more than half of the state. It was beautiful. We continued across Vermont where the sky was so bright and blue and the lush, working farms stretched over rolling hills in every direction. If I were a cow in Vermont I would certainly produce the happiest, tastiest cheese, ice cream and yogurt in the world too. I am going to post pictures from the car ride below, but please forgive shake and smeared bug remains. There is no way Will would have stopped to let me take pictures everywhere I would have liked
. (Which is a good thing on a seven and a half hour drive with 2 small children.) One thing that we noticed on our drive were all of the awesome road signs in NH and Vermont. “Moose” was probably the most prevalent, but there were a bunch that cracked us up. See pics. I never was fast enough to capture our favorites, which were a series of drunk driving signs. The first one was a picture of a car and a wine bottle and a big line through the middle of them with the caption “think” underneath. The next one was a car and a martini glass with a diagonal line across them. We thought, "Of course you don't drink Martinis in the car. Duh!" We drove into Burlington, VT and headed south along the east side of Lake Champlain, just getting a glance or two between houses, stores and farms of the Lake and the Adirondacks on the opposite shore. There are so many farms and they are so beautiful. Big farms with multiple silos, huge barns and vast green fields of crops. There were cartoonish, fluffy, white clouds in the sky and clean air that smelled like freshly cut grass. The countryside felt wide and sweeping.....hilly but not at all mountainous. But we felt so high in elevation, so close to the sky. (Just looked it up - 194 feet above sea level. I would have totally gotten that wrong in travel Jeopardy.) I could completely picture the Huffs happily living there and running a farm, and that’s something I would NEVER say I’ve thought while driving through the country in Georgia.
We drove up to Button Bay State Park and pulled into a huge field with a driveway down the middle sparsely lined with evergreens. We checked in and drove to our site. We had a phenomenal view of the lake and the mountains, access to the water by means of a wooden staircase about 100 feet away and, while there weren’t a lot of trees in the middle of the campground area, we were on the perimeter of the wide open loop which felt pretty private. There really weren’t a whole lot of other campers there either. The wind was blowing off of the lake and the sun felt so hot on our skin. In the shade it was lovely and it was just hot in the sun. We got the camper set up and the windows zipped down to let in the strong breezes and I think all four of us thought we had died and gone to heaven. Will said at that moment that he thought he never wanted to leave. Interestingly enough, Button Bay state park was our most inexpensive campsite of the whole trip at $46.00 for two nights. We had no water or electricity hook-ups, but the farther along we get in our trip (and the farther north) the less and less that seems to matter. We aren’t carrying a lot of food with us, but we have a supply of snacks I bought at Fresh Market in Atlanta, and a cooler with cold beer and wine that we buy new ice for every two days or so. We have a shallow and wide tupperware that we can put food in to keep it on the ice without getting it wet (so far, only cheese and grapes). We haven’t had many “camp” meals to cook and we haven’t yet used the fridge
. This first night at Button Bay, though, I cooked our first campy meal on the gas stove consisting of spaghetti and zucchini (see pics). Before dinner we walked over to the park pool that surprisingly had a lifeguard on duty. I read some pretty rave reviews about their pool situation online. They had a big tubular water slide that the kids were crazy about. Some child had just thrown up on the pool deck and that had cleared out all of the other swimmers, so they had it all to themselves. (It takes more than some puke to scare us Huffs away from a pool.) While Will and the kids were at the pool I went to find the nearest store. I felt compelled to buy some Vermont maple syrup because I had just-add-water pancake mix for the next morning (when in Rome, right? I bought white cheddar too.). I found the most authentic old general store down the road (see pics). That night I discovered the first thing that I am really not so crazy about when it comes to camping. And that would be washing the dirty pots, pans and dishes in a plastic bucket. It was a different and challenging experience, and I found that if I pictured myself as a little more domestic and L.I. Wilder than I really am, it helped calm the inner complaining long enough to get the job done. I will be thinking of a way to make this easier in our camping future. More buckets? After dinner we made some s’mores and turned in to bed, excited that we really had no agenda for the next day besides hanging out - the four of us - in the park. Will and I found this coming day of no plans at all was extremely refreshing between all of our fun, but exhausting, activities and went to bed more than completely content and ready to sleep in.