Little Surprises

Sunday morning was the perfect day for traveling around the beautiful Northeast Kingdom taking photographs. I had my heart set on seeing a moose standing in front of a delicious backdrop of fall colors. I should know by now, that life rarely gives us exactly what we think we want, but sometimes provides us with things that we never expected.

On a back road, somewhere in the vicinity of Newark Pond, Bald Hill Pond, and Long Pond we found a library. I have to say, this is the sweetest little library I’ve ever been to. I think you’ll agree when you see the photos.

Nature's Library - Copy

Seriously? You must agree that this is one sweet little library! And you would NEVER expect to come across something like this in the middle of the backwoods of the northeast.

Needless to say, I was delighted. Inside the library cabinet, in addition to an eclectic mix of books available for borrowing, there was a little notebook and some writing implements.

Library notes 2 - Copy

It was such fun to read what others thought when coming across this library hidden in the woods. As you can see, everyone thought it was super. There were several pages of notes from passersby. . .

Library notes 3 - Copy

I especially enjoyed the recommendation that the library include more modern/mystery books. 🙂

I spent a few minutes looking over the selection and selected a Jeffrey Archer book for my husband.

The sign said the library was closing October 15 for the season and would reopen in May. I didn’t want to miss my chance for a good read.

Nature's Library 3 - Copy

I read through the notes and most reflected the writer’s appreciation for this act of kindness and generosity. One person mentioned that she and another had done a tandem bike trip and created 25 little libraries along the way! How awesome is that?

Library notes 4 - Copy

So there you have it. Nature’s library.

Just goes to show, you never know what you will discover when you head out for a day of adventure.

By the way – I did get some great shots of the foliage as well.

Bald Hill Pond 7 - Copy

Jobs Pond Adventure

Saturday was an all around perfect day.

It began with meeting up with good friends Jackie and Del for a round of golf. I received a belated birthday gift from Jackie, which is too cute not to share!

Check our my new flip flops:
birthday flops (2)
Are they not the cutest things you’ve seen in awhile? And perfect for pre and post-golf fun!
Thank you Jackie!

I earned my lowest score ever for the front nine at Barton, so already it was the perfect day. But, it got even better when we packed a picnic and headed to Jobs Pond in Westmore for a kayaking adventure.

jobs pond map

Before we paddled we had the best picnic ever! It included Mexican Chicken Salad, Fresh Potato Salad, Amazing Fruit Salad (with whipped cream!), Delicious Zucchini Bread, Fresh Garden Veggies, Chips, Beers, and Wine!

When we hit the water it was great fun. I’ll let the pictures speak to the good time we had:

There were brothers out kayaking and the elder one became my loon guide of sorts. He chatted about the loons in general and offered to help herd them for my photography shoot. How sweet is that? He was very helpful!

My loon guides

My loon guides

The young man seemed to have a way with the loons and they were not the least bit afraid of the kayaks.cohabitating 2 - Copy

Loon Family

Loon Family

I know that the young of Loons are called chicks, but I prefer to call them Loonlings (like ducklings and goslings, right?)



It wasn’t hard to know where the loons were as one of the adults was having a very rigorous preening session.



They are just spectacular to watch – so peaceful.

Loon 6

Loon 6

Hi, Mom.

Hi, Mom.

There are only a few camps on the pond, but they had some distinct character.

jobs pond camp wc - Copy
jobs pond stone camp 2 - Copy

And here are my good friends enjoying their time on the pond.

kayaking friends - Copy

Thanks to all for a wonderful day! And thanks again to Asa and Kattie for the use of the kayaks! We sure are enjoying them 🙂

The Radar Base

There’s an abandoned radar base in The Northeast Kingdom. I’m not going to go into its history here, but if you want to read a bit more click this link to an article from the Bangor Daily News written about it in 2000.

Today, my contribution about the radar base is a poem I wrote from a prompt. . . write about a landmark. Below the poem I’ve included photos from our last visit to this landmark. You never know where you’ll find something interesting.

The Radar Base

What did the cold war have to do with
a little mountain in the north of Vermont?
Where we feared the weather more than the Russians.
Yet, following the media frenzy and government paranoia
we built this tin town,
and housed more residents at the peak
than lived in the valleys.
Shivering in the cold, they waited.

View from East Haven

View from East Haven

It seems to go on forever

It seems to go on forever

Huffin' and a puffin'

Huffin’ and a puffin’

What a view!

What a view!

200 Miles, There and Back

You don’t have to travel far to feel like you are a long way from home. Earlier this summer my husband suggested we take a weekend to explore the Magog region at the northernmost point of Lake Memphremagog.

Previous summers found us boating on the lake, crossing the border and cruising as far as Georgeville and exploring Fitch Bay, but we had never been to Magog.

I booked a room for us at The Manoir des Sables in Orford, about four miles north of Magog.

It proved to be the ideal spot. It had all the things we enjoy – proximity to the Lake; bike trails; hiking at nearby Mont Orford; an outdoor swimming pool; a small lake with kayaks, canoes and paddle boats; a spa with indoor pool, hot tub and various other Nordic type spas; a golf course (actually two); and a gourmet restaurant on site.

As we traveled from Jay Peak, where we spent the first night of this long weekend, we went through Newport in the midst of ground breaking news and got some shots of the devastation from moments before.

Traveling north around the eastern side of Lake Memphremagog, passing over Fitch Bay, we viewed this ‘castle’ from afar and vowed to learn more about it before returning home.

After a grueling day of traveling across foreign borders and driving for over an HOUR we checked in and headed for the pool to relax.

Ahh, such relaxation!

That night we splurged on a lovely dinner at the hotel restaurant, Les Jardins. It was scrumptious.

Our room looked over the small lake in the back and gorgeous sunrises.

The next morning we biked into the city of Magog. We went in on the main route, 141, and headed for the nearest information center. There we discovered there were extensive cycling trails in the area and we could access them all the way back to Manoir des Sables. We explored the city of Magog a bit, planning to come back in the evening for dinner. In my mind I’d been expecting Magog to be a quaint french village, but it felt more like a Hampton Beach to me. I did enjoy the park area built along the lake for walkers and cyclists, with it’s scenic places to sit and enjoy the peacefulness of the lake.

We ended up going into Magog twice more during our stay. Friday night we ate at The Liquor Store, downtown. I picked it because I liked the classic rock music the live band was playing. There was no wait because this place has ‘getting them in and out fast’ down to a fine art. Dave had a nice salmon dinner and I enjoyed a spicy honey chicken breast sandwich. It was good, but too noisy for us to talk.

Saturday night we dined at L’Ancrage on the terrace. It is located on the Route Verte cyling trail overlooking the lake. I was thrilled to see mussels on the menu, so that’s what I ordered, provençale. They were DELICIOUS! Our meal was served with a full basket of bread, including herb bread sliced thin and baked to a yummy crunchiness, which was perfect to dip in the musselly provençale juices.

At the hotel there are actually two golf courses. A little par 3 where you can play as much as you want for $7.00 and the 18 hole professional course, which was busy, busy, busy.

One day we visited the public beach in Magog. The view of Owls Head more than 20 miles away was perfect.

The beach – not so much. The ‘sand’ was dirty, the water milfoily, and the bottom mucky, mucky, mucky. The swimming area is roped off, only allowing you to go to a depth waist-high.

Another day we traveled to Parc National du Mont-Orford. It cost us $22.00 to enter the park where we could swim at a small beach that was part of the campground there. We did access the bike trails, covering about 7 km. One stop was La Sarracenie, a cabin where hikers can spend a night. The cabin was complete with multiple bunk beds, a gas stove, kerosene lanterns, running water and an outhouse.

Oh, and this peaceful setting.

We left Sunday, traveling toward Owls Head to check out the ski area and golf courses there. Along the way we did stop at that ‘castle’ seen earlier from the other side of the Lake.

It isn’t actually a castle, but the Abbey of Saint Benoit du Lac.

Being Sunday the monks were in the midst of mass. We were allowed to stroll through and observe. It was a peaceful visit.

Owls Head was our last stop. The ski area was totally abandoned with no available information for hiking in the area. We stopped briefly at the golf course for information. It’s another gorgeous northeast course.

Soon we were over the border and home again. All this done in about 200 miles, round trip. Though we were so close to home it felt like, well, like being in a foreign country.

Okay, we were in a foreign country. One where I think we’ll spend more time in the future.

Bonjour, por maintenant!

Celebrating with a Pro!

Last Thursday was our anniversary. Because we like to celebrate important occasions such as this (truth is we like to celebrate any occasion), we decided to treat ourselves. We had already planned a long weekend trip around Lake Memphremagog – a new adventure.

We drove to Jay Peak mid morning and hiked the mountain before checking in at the new Tram Haus Lodge. This was a beautiful place to stay!

By chance we saw an advertisement for a golf lesson at the Jay Peak course. It included a 9 hole lesson with the pro, AND a cart! Woohoo! This sounded like fun, and something we both really needed. 🙂 The cart made it especially celebratory.

Never having played at Jay it was something new and we’re always excited about something new. So I booked it. Happy Anniversary to us!

Now let me share the experience with you.

David Jankowski was our instructor and we found him to be very amenable. It had to be a bit challenging to instruct two of us at once, but he rose to the challenge and devoted equal time to each of us.

We began with a bag of balls on the driving range – warming up on our own. David joined us and observed quietly for a few moments before we headed to the first tee. We teed off and the pro started right in with advice. Though we’ve been playing for a few years, he covered some of the basics – stance, alignment, swing – with new information for us.

Here he is modeling the swing.

We continued to play 6 holes before he suggested we head back to the driving range where he would do some videos of us and offer suggestions for things to practice once we were on our own.

Before I continue I want to share some of the beauty of this course.

I loved that no matter where we were on the course we had a view of the mountain. Gorgeous.

Back at the driving range the pro shot videos of us with his ipad. Then he could drag a line showing our starting position and as the video played in slow motion we could see where we were going ‘out of alignment’. It wasn’t a pretty picture, but it was a very telling one. It was clear – Dave needs to stop moving up and down, and I need to stop swinging my hips all over the place. That’s just for starters.

In that two hour lesson we learned a ton and left with a list of things to focus on. Some of my ‘things to remember’ include widening my stance, standing closer to the ball, and maintaining a taller stance through my swing. Oh, and “keep the Y” when I putt. That has already proven helpful.

All around, from the lodging, the views, and the quality of the instruction, Jay Peak is all Pro. We would definitely celebrate there again.