Tuesday: After yesterday’s hike, we planned for non-hike activities.
The first stop (after breakfast) was a local hardware store. One of my car’s brake lights was out, and while it was due for an annual inspection (in New York), I felt that both for safety reasons and also to avoid a ticket I should fix the light before the inspection. I didn’t have any tools with me, so I bought a small but expensive wrench and a replacement bulb. I cut my index finger while changing the bulb and was able to put the first aid kit in my backpack to good use, as I had a bandage in there.
We then drove to Danville in the eastern part of Vermont, to visit the Great Vermont Corn Maze, regarded as one of the best in America. (Days later, we discovered there was a corn maze right in Stowe, but I don’t regret our trip to Danville.) We entered the maze to find different paths, labeled Eeny, Meeny, Miney, and Moe, and finally sorted out which way to go.
The maze was on a hill, so in some places one could see over the stalks and see the beautiful surrounding countryside:
Elsewhere, it was flat, and as you can see, the stalks were tall enough:
The corn maze included a few interesting features, including a boat! Before entering the maze, we had visited an exhibit (with aerial photos) that showed that the layout of the maze was changed every year. I think that the boat was a recurring feature.
A broader panorama:
We had thought we would spend 2-3 hours there, finding our way through the maze (with or without help) and then we would visit a small petting zoo that the facility also had. I don’t know if I have any proficiency at escaping mazes. At first we were traveling in a pretty straight line, parallel to the northern border of the maze, and I wondered if we were going to solve it too quickly. I therefore decided to turn left and try a different direction, and in fact wanted to visit the boat. We never even got to the boat, though. We ended up heading back in the direction of the entrance, and passed under a bridge upon which one of the employees was keeping watch over where the visitors were.
He said that they were monitoring the weather, as they had a concern of thundershowers and especially worried about lightning. (The admission booth had included employees watching a radar image on a computer screen, so they were paying serious attention to the weather!) Therefore he said that he didn’t yet want to give us any hints, as we hadn’t been there so long, but that he wanted to let us know that we might need to evacuate. He also said that it was good to keep in mind that if someone passed a landmark and explored all the routes in that area without finding a way out, that he should remember it in the future. I think he was saying that the direction we were going was a dead end, and in fact we returned to him after a few minutes. I suppose the hint was helpful if one were going under the bridge again, but in most cases we didn’t see that many recognizable landmarks such as the bridge or the boat, but only saw corn. Thus, I don’t know if we would have been able to logically find our way out or not.
As it turned out, when we returned again to the bridge for a third time, the man said that they were going to evacuate the maze and see what happened with the weather. He told us how to enter the emergency exit lane, which we did. I should note that we did have raingear this day, having at least learned a bit from the disaster of the day before. We were able to make it back to the car before it began pouring though. We were sitting in the back seat of the car eating lunch when the employee from the bridge tapped on the window, said the weather was such that they were going to close for the day (even though it was only around 1:00 p.m.), and insisted on refunding our money, even though I tried to decline. While we had only been there 45 minutes, and hadn’t spent hours (or got to play with the animals at the petting zoo), I still felt badly that we had at least 45 minutes of fun without paying anything. So if you’re in Danville during growing season, visit this place!
Driving back to Stowe, we visited Moss Glen Falls, a 125′ waterfall that is one of the highest in the state. It was only a short walk from the parking lot at 44.4853, -72.6273, and included pretty surroundings:
The waterfall itself was very nice, and we enjoyed the sound of the water for several minutes:
On the walk out, we noticed a red-legged grasshopper (Melanoplus femurrubrum) laying eggs:
It was around 3:30 p.m. by this point, so we drove to Waterbury, home of Vermont’s top tourist attraction, Ben & Jerry’s, where we battled through the crowds to sign up for the factory tour:
While waiting, we admired the flavors presently available. I don’t think we’ve tasted a high percentage of them:
Photography was not allowed on the tour (though as an engineer, I’m not sure what an industrial spy could gain from taking a photograph that he couldn’t discern just as easily with his eyes). The tour ended with a small but tasty sample of ice cream.
Afterward, we visited the “flavor graveyard,” which is perhaps sacrilegious, but interesting:
Driving the short distance from Waterbury back to Stowe, we detoured a bit before returning to our hotel, to check out the famous Trapp Family Lodge, where the famous family of Sound of Music fame settled. The parking lot featured a nice view of a pasture with cows, with a background of trees and a low mountain range:
The lodge itself was pleasant, and we visited the lobby and went downstairs to see an exhibit of photographs. Sadly, the gift store closed before we could visit: