Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sweet New Ride

Our plan when we left Green Lake NFH in Ellsworth, Maine on October 1st was to arrive at Goose Island State Park in Rockport, Texas on October 31st.  Approximately 2300 miles.  We were going to make several stops along the way for disc golf and sightseeing.

Well, you know what they say about plans …

On October 5th we got a call that the new truck Mark had ordered in early August had been built and delivered.  We had expected it to arrive in November! 

So, we headed back home.

Here it is, our brand new 2019 Ford F350:

This is our first diesel.  Mark ordered the special fifth-wheel hitch package and all the bells and whistles and things I don’t understand.  All I care about are the extended running boards and the heated seats!  

Someone managed to put 14.7 miles on it before we got it!

There is nothing like that new car smell!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Ice Cream and Disc Golf

We decided to give Ben & Jerry’s one more try.  We arrived for the 9:30 tour and were happy to see the parking lot almost empty and no tour buses in sight.

We had read the comments on Trip Advisor so knew what to expect from the tour.  I knew that cameras would not be allowed once we got to the production area observation windows.

We bought tickets - $4 Adult, $3 Senior. 

There were about 25 people on our tour.  Our very polite, young, guide took us to the video room where we watched a 6-minute video.  The first part of the video explained how the company was founded, grew, and was sold to a conglomerate.  The second part of the video was Ben and Jerry giving their thoughts on what is wrong with the world, political views, and asking for donations for their charity.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your views, the video developed problems at the beginning of their talk and we only had sound, no picture.  I pretty much quit listening while sitting in the dark.

After the video we were led up 25 steps to the mezzanine where we were not allowed to take pictures.  Here we can see the production line at work.  They were in full operation on our tour.  There were very few employees on the floor, machines do almost all the work. 

Only one flavor is made at a time.  This day they were making The Tonight Dough.  Our guide explained all the different steps while a tv screen in the back of the room showed a movie of the different steps.  The movie was interesting because it was hard for us to see anything on the floor looking straight down and the movie was taken from down on the floor.

The next step was the tasting room.  Our guide told us we would be tasting one flavor and it was Broccoli Cheddar Chunk.

It sounded disgusting and after a while we were told that they were out of Broccoli Cheddar Chunk and we would be given Milk and Cookies instead.

It was very good.

Apparently, Broccoli Cheddar Chunk is a real flavor that is served on April Fools Day.  That is probably not a good day to take the tour!

After our free sample we walked down the hall of fame to the gift shop.

#1 seller

The Hall of Fame - Most popular flavors.

By the time we finished our tour and arrived at the gift shop the tour buses had started arriving and the line to buy tickets was out the door.

There were a few things to see such as this vintage ice cream scoop collection.

This wall of ice cream flavors didn’t have any information with it.  Since neither of us have eaten very much Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, we thought these just might be the current flavors available.

There is also a “graveyard” up the hill but since it was raining we didn’t bother walking to it.

Magnet worthy?  I’m glad we went.  I don’t know if I would recommend going out of your way to see it and I wouldn’t go again.  But, I did buy a magnet.

The day before was rainy and cold.  Today we were supposed to have a nice, sunny day.  “They” were wrong!   

Mark wanted to play the Brewster Ridge Disc Golf Course at the Smuggler’s Notch Disc Golf Center.  So, we got back on the road.  It was a beautiful drive.

Mark paid his $10 fee in the pro shop and we headed out to one of the courses.

Even with a little rain off and on and a little wind we had a pleasant time.

The sun came out for a little while on the drive home.

Fall colors in Vermont.

Stay tuned - more fun ahead.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Belly-Ache Tour

Before we arrived in Vermont I researched tours in the area and found several interesting places.  When we arrived at the RV campground we were given a map and a list of tours that included most of the ones I had already found.  We appreciated the campground going to all the trouble of printing out a map and the helpful list of places to visit.

We had several stops planned on our first day.  All of them food related!

Maple Grove Farms was our first stop.

There wasn’t an actual “farm” at this area.  There was a very small museum and gift shop.

Outside the museum is this wonderful wooden hand-carved bottle of maple syrup.

Inside the museum was an original candy mold of their maple leaf.

 Maple leaf candy mold.

Maple candy to purchase.

This pan was the original way of turning sap into syrup.

There was a wonderful photograph of women packing up the candies.

We saw these women through a window while walking to the gift shop.

There was another building on site where the pancake mix is packaged.

We headed to the gift shop for a for a few purchases.

Our next stop was the Goodrich’s Maple Farm.

Maple trees are tapped in the spring, so we were not able to see the actual process.

Our guide was Ruth Goodrich.  Her and her husband, Glen, own and operate the sugar house.  Their families settled in this area in the 1830’s.

Ruth is holding a drill used to tap the maple trees.

This machine is used to boil the sap. 

55 gallons of sap are needed to make 1 gallon of syrup.

This is a slab of a 200-year-old tree that was blown over.  You can see the imprints where the tree has been tapped for many years.  It takes a Sugar Maple tree 40-60 years to grow about 12 inches in diameter.  Trees under 12 inches are not tapped.  For each foot in diameter a tree can have one tap.

After the very informative tour with Ruth we visited the gift shop for a few purchases.

We passed up two more sugar houses on the way to our next stop.  We could have spent the whole day visiting different sugar houses, so we decided to limit them to just one today.

Next on our list was Cabot Cheese.  We have been to many cheese factories and watched the entire production through windows.  We were disappointed to learn that Cabot Cheese stopped offering factory tours at the beginning of the year.

We were shown a 9-minute video about the company.

640-pound block of cheese.

They had a wonderful gift shop with lots of samples.

We made a few purchases.

Our next stop was Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream.  We were looking forward to this tour.

We were not prepared for the number of tour buses!  After searching for, and not finding, a parking space, we decided to leave this tour for another day.

After passing up Ben and Jerry’s we headed to our last stop of the day.  Cold Hollow Cider Mill.

The gift shop is at the front of the building and is huge!!

We finally made it to the back of the building where the cider was being pressed.

250 pounds of crushed apples called a pomace (mash) are used to make 25 gallons of apple cider.

The pomace is pressed under 100 tons for 15 minutes.

The liquid is pumped to the pasteurizer then straight to the jugging room. 

The pressed mash is sold to farmers as pig feed and fertilizer.

After sampling the freshly pressed cider we spent some time in the gift shop where we bought a few items including warm maple donuts (the donuts were delicious).

After a full day we headed back home.

*** Just a note - A lot of our purchases were for gifts.  We’re not going to eat all of this!!