7am dawned bright and way too early when my alarm clock went off Saturday. I was excited, though, so I didn't mind much and got up without much problem. We set off for the The Strolling of the Heifers parade and festival in Brattleboro, Vermont, an hour north. We got there a little late, and then had a snafu with my new camera (it ran out of batteries the very MINUTE we got to the parade after a 15 minute walk from the car), so we did end up missing most of the parade. But it was fine, because everything in the parade just migrated to the festival anyway. We got my old camera from the car which I had brought just in case so that I could take pictures the rest of the day.
The whole parade and all the parade viewers came together as one and walked together to the festival site. It was a mass of people. There were many, many cows, donkeys, sheep and even a pig to view when we got to the festival.
There were also a potpourri of stands with businesses selling things or promoting themselves. It was kind of laid out in a disorganized manner, and you felt you were going to be literally crushed with people in some parts. So the first part of the festival was not that that great. Fortunately, though, we discovered the majority of the festival, the best part, was at the bottom of the hill, in a much more spacious and organized area.
Once we got to the bottom of the hill - courtesy of golf carts that ran up and down in a loop, a wonderful feature - I felt much more relaxed. The Brattleboro Retreat was a beautiful area. Booths were set up in a big field with a lot more breathing room, in a circular fashion. Lots of eye candy and interesting things.
We walked around the circle, Rob stopping to try various food items and me taking pictures of everything along the way. The booths were much more interesting than the ones at the top of the hill. There was a tent for performers, a big play area for kids, and a giant inflatable ten foot tall cow walking around. There were crafts and cow related things for sale. Of particular interest was the circus arts demonstration. That was pretty amazing to watch!
There was a rock wall and a giant trampoline, and best of all, free water! I have never been to a festival that had free water before, usually they gorge you on it. Free bottles of Vermont Natural spring water.
After we had spent 3 or 4 hours at the festival, we were spent, and retired to a bench to figure out what to do next. As it was still relatively early in the day, I asked someone at the information desk if there was a scenic drive of some sort that we could do to continue our stay in Vermont. He suggested we go up Route 9 about 15 miles, where we would get to the top of a mountain and look-out called Mount Hogback. So we did, and it was beautiful! Trees for miles around.
Now I know why they call it the Green Mountain state!
We saw a sign that said "Molly Stark Trail," which was apparently a scenic byway that went all the way from Brattleboro to Bennington! So Rob said "Why don't we go to Bennington?" and we did. The ride was beautiful, and we passed through lots of interesting small towns, and saw lots of trees.
We walked around downtown Bennington a bit. It was pretty small, but had a downtown that you could walk around. Lots of beautiful buildings. We didn't actually know where we were,
in relation to anything else, so we were surprised to find, upon consulting some maps in the car, that we were actually very close to the New York border.
We did end up accidentally crossing the NY border, which was kind of fun as we totally weren't expecting it. All of a sudden we see a "Welcome to NY" sign, ok, wrong direction, ha.
I got the Albany country station, WGNA I think, so I was happy about that.
We then went through the Berkshires to get back to Springfield. What an unexpectedly BEAUTIFUL trail! We went on something called the Mohawk Trail, from Williamsburg to Greenfield. It was very steep and twisty but beautiful. We even got stuck behind a tractor at one point, lol.
I think this was somewhere in the Berkshires, although I don't exactly remember. It very well could have been Bennington, but I don't think it was. Wherever it was, it sure is pretty!
It took 2 hrs to get home but was all worth it. We were gone 9am-8pm , a long but very satisfying day!
Next... Brattleboro Day 2
3 hours ago