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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Vermont Rocks!

Lots to do today so we get started a little earlier. We have a load of the "touristy" stuff on our list for today and tomorrow. All the usual things: Ben & Jerrys Icecream Factory, Cider Mill, Maple Syrup farm or "Sugar House" as they call it. And maybe some things that are still touristy but not quite so well known, like the Granite Quarry.

Granite Quarry you say? Yep, Granite Quarry. Vermont as it turns out, is one of the premier producers of granite in the world. The history of quarries in Vermont is almost as old as the state itself. We head up the mountains to a place called Graniteville (duh!!!) and see what it is all about. On arrival we find a hugh visitors center with a large parking lot right next to the manufacturing facility. Inside the visitors center is the history of granite in Vermont and a lot of interseting facts and displays. We get our ticket for the quarry tour and wait on the bus to arrive.

The old school bus takes us and a busload of others around the plant and up a mountain road littered with giant blocks of granite. Up top we stop and get out to view the 600 foot deep pit from the top down. This is an operation conducted on a massive scale. Granite here is wholesaled to many companies for various applications. The manufacturing plant here is primarily in the business of producing memorial stones....as in cemetary headstones. They have highly skilled artist that can create all types of artwork on the memorials.

The company Rock Of Ages - has several quarrys in the United States producing specific kinds of granite depending on the area. And what a surprise, one of their quarries is located just up the road from our home. Located in Salisbury NC, is the production facility for Pink Granite. You can read all about Rock of Ages at their great website www.RockofAges.com.

For all you powertool lovers I have to through in this picture of the biggest circular saw I have ever seen.

Now for something a little quieter, we head south back into the mountains down Route 14. This road parallells I-89 through the central Vermont mountains. After a failed attempt to locate the famous floating bridge in Brookfield (another case for getting that GPS I'v been wanting.) we stop in Randolph VT for lunch at Patricks. Sandwiches and a big choclate brownie call for a walk around the village. It is mid afternoon and the weather couldn't be more perfect.

By the time we get back to Waterbury just before returning to Stowe, we decide to stop at Ben & Jerrys. But this place is packed with people. The tours are sold out for the rest of the day (it's about 4:30 PM), so we decide it would be better to drop back by here tomorrow when we'll have more time. Arriving in Stowe, it looks like a nice time to just walk around the shops and galleries for an hour or two before going to dinner. Then the rain starts again, out come the umbrellas, and we keep walking and looking. This IS vacation, and a little rain - OK, a lot of rain - is not going to stop us. Dinner tonight is at the Partridge Inn just up Mountain Road a few blocks from the center of Stowe. This was a restaurant that Pam picked and it was very good. Their specialty is seafood and the crab cakes and mountain trout were perfect. Good seafood and great atmosphere. Gee...it is hard to believe that tomorrow is our last day in Vermont! Time flies when you are having fun.

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