Last stops in Vermont then Montreal–ready to fly!

21 Jun

Nestled in the mountains of central north Vermont in the small town of Montgomery Centre, we visited Mountain Fibre Folk – a yarn Co Operative. I had hoped we would arrive on Thursday but due to haRVeys little tricks we had been way laid in Swanton at the Ford garage for repairs. I had made contact with Carol at the cooperative through the on line social network for knitters and yarn enthusiasts Ravelry. Carol was away at a fibre gathering on Saturday and Ruth was the co op member manning the store when we did arrive. After introductions we got around to the serious business of discussing all things woolly!

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A goldmine of a store was waiting for me to discover, lots of hand spun yarns, fibre and P1170790beautifully made items for sale. Most of the things for sale are produced by the 10 members of the co op (or their animals). Along with various sheep breeds, angora and mohair are also offered as fibre, hand dyed and spun yarn and made up garments. So much to take in I am now looking at the picture and seeing things I wish I had taken a closer look at.

 

 

 

 

 

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The cooperative members who all live and work on their farms in the locality set up the store as an outlet for their products but they can also be purchased on line and more information about the cooperative can be found at

www.mtfibrefolk.com

Of course I made some purchases….

 

As we have travelled through Vermont  I had grown to realise this State has a very different feel to it, as I have mentioned before most of the towns are small, very few large multiple stores to be found on the main streets, the business’s being local and mainly independent. For example Walmart has only 4 stores in the whole of the State, elsewhere there are places that have 4 stores in one town. The four which do exist are not Superstores, which means they mainly sell dry goods, some frozen and tinned and packet foods. There are a few other large supermarkets but local produce is sold small scale at Country Stores, roadside farms and stands and farmers markets. We have seen few large industrial business or evidence of major employers.

What we have observed are lots and lots of small business. Family business which have been going for many years or new small business set up from necessity.  Its obviously not easy for these people to make a living in this way, they work hard and long. The geography of the State which is sparsely populated and spread out  means it needs small business, because the national stores are not there the small scale business are surviving. While this is of benefit to the local areas it also makes for a great tourist destination if like us you enjoy this kind of environment.

From Montgomery Centre we took the small State road 242 to one of the highest areas in Vermont, Jay. Jay Peak stands nearly 4000 ft above sea level, in winter it becomes a winter sports destination, near its base we had chosen to stay at Peaks View Campground for the next two nights. Its early season here, a few seasonal campers were staying in their allocated sites behind the main building, this houses a restaurant and overnight accommodation. The recently set up touring area was totally empty and we had the pick of the sites to enjoy the pleasant view and the weather.

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The winter has taken its toll on many of the roads we have been travelling lately, the 242 had been very bumpy with large potholes so when we left Jay we decided to use the 105 to take us to the Interstate for our journey north into Quebec. This proved to be in an even worse condition than the previous road, until… we arrived at the point where the resurfacing was taking place. We were able to enjoy perhaps 2 miles of new hard top, bliss! Unfortunately it was then back to pot holes and bumps.

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The views were amazing however. You get very few distant vista type views as the roads tend to run in the valleys between the higher ground. Also where there are views they are glimpsed between the many many trees which clad the landscape, making photo opportunities limited. We took a last look at this green and pleasant land as we headed for the Canadian border crossing.

We are always nervous crossing the border, we know we have everything in order and are very strict with ourselves about keeping within the rules and guidelines for entry however, we still get concerned we may have forgotten something! We were questioned by the Canadian border officer as to where we were going, why and when we would leave Canada. He seemed OK with everything until he realised we were not a rental RV, we own haRVey who is registered in British Columbia, but are UK citizens. We were asked to step inside to talk with the Immigration Officer. A few more questions helped make our situation clear and we were sent on our way. The whole procedure took 20 minutes.

So, here we were, back in Canada. What a change in scenery, it was hard to believe we had only a few miles back been high in the hills and now all around us was a flat, flat landscape! We needed to drive right through Montreal to reach our campground. We used the major highways but they were very busy, construction delaying the traffic it had built up into a big tail back. When it was moving it was fast and furious. My head was considering the prospect of having to drive myself through this tomorrow when we collect the hire car…. I will be looking for the quieter route if there is one.

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We finally arrived at Lac Lafontaine camp ground, this being Quebec our greetings were in French…. ours is very rusty so thankfully the check in staff had enough English to be able to converse with us. Considering the Urban area we are in the campground has a pleasant rural feel to it the sites split into small areas surrounded by trees, a small lake and stream are at the heart of the camp ground making it a little oasis in a busy world. We now will spend our time cleaning, packing and readying haRVey for his storage. We fly to the UK on Thursday for our summer stay. We are excited at the prospect of seeing everyone back home and spending time with them. When we return here in August we will be beginning our sixth tour, this time taking us west…. and who knows where in between!

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One Response to “Last stops in Vermont then Montreal–ready to fly!”

  1. Susan June 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    wow, time flies! Can’t believe you are back in Canada already!! Glad the border crossing went well. we just came back into the land of internet (still just tethered to my cell though, but at least its something!)

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