Thurs. June 28, 2012- Quebec to Vermont:
All that food led to a semi-sleepless night but I awoke in a good mood regardless. There were the prospects of breakfast (also in the Main Dining room), and a fancy coffee maker in room. The coffee maker was limited however, each guest was allowed on coffee per day and a cost of $3 per each one after. It was those little packets of coffee for individual cups and I had no idea what I was doing but it all worked out. And afterwards I found the instructions. Flipping through the channels, there was not a lot on offer, the combination of a tonne of French channels and it being early morning and my options were: French shows or Matthew McCounnaghey interview, not a difficult choice at all. Breakfast consisted of a buffet of cereals, pastries, bread, cheeses, fruits and coffee as well as ordering a hot item off the menu. I went for the pancakes because there is nothing better for breakfast, and ham on the side (Brent’s recommendation). We did the usual, swap plates halfway through, so now I had pecan French toast. The French toast sounded better than it tasted, while the pancakes were hands-down the best I have ever had. EVER. We quickly traded back, both insisting that the other was nuts, arguing that our own plate was in fact the better of the two. The weather had cleared up a bit so we went for a dip in the pool, but that did not last very long it was too cold. And there was a giant dead green moth; it was the size of my palm. We checked out and started back towards Vermont. We ended up in the slowest line at the border, but even still it was faster than most of our crossing in Niagara Falls. Right after we crossed however, there was another sign overhead saying Canadian vehicles must pass inspection at the border, after a moment of confusion and seeing that no one else was going there, we realized it was a historic site, and old border. Embarrassment was averted thankfully. Weirder still was a house we passed by that had a reindeer pen beside it, who keeps reindeer?! It only adds to the Christmas-crazy character of small towns.
As we neared our destination the clouds started to gather and the rain started up again. Worse still we could not find the parking lot for the trail head to climb Mt. Pisgah, we were about to give up and back track to another one we had seen along the road but just then we found it. The hike started out easy, save for the tip-toe dance we had to around a million (at least tens of thousands) tiny little frogs hopping all over the entrance to the trail. It was unbelievable how many of them there were, and they blended in with the ground. The hike started out fairly easy but got progressively more difficult, but not unbearably so. It even started to clear up a bit as well as warm up, and then it got hotter. Towards the end I was complaining that I should have worn a tank top. There was a lookout point along the way from which we could see some birds soaring down below, we spent days debating what kind of birds they were (Black vultures? Peregrine falcons? Red tail hawks? We still don’t know), and there was an adorable little snake sleeping on the rock. From the perch we also had a gorgeous view of Lake Willoughby and the mountains across the lake. From the top however the lake was not visible as had been promised, so we walked a little bit further, for about 5 minutes but the trail started heading back down so we turned back. In total we saw: 3 woodpeckers (one was hiding inside a hole in the tree and pecking from in there), 1 snake, 4 soaring birds (possibly birds of prey), a million little frogs, a bird of prey soared over us along the trail, Brent claimed he startled a deer that took off running, a bear poo, a trapdoor in the ground and we possibly heard a rattlesnake attacking a squirrel. We also met three weirdoes on our way back down. The first guy muttered something but was too hell bent on getting to the top, the second was trailing behind him, amused by everything and barefoot. The third guy was slowly lumbering along, trying to catch his breath, soaked with sweat. Our conclusion was that these three friends all took different drugs (speed, mushrooms, and pot) and decided to climb a mountain. To amuse ourselves on our way back to the car we thought up fun headlines that would appear in the evening news about them. Getting back to the car took forever as we tiptoed around the tiny frogs, which were still all over the beginning of the trail. Brent would sidestep around them; they would jump out of his way… and right into my path. It was agonizing because I had to pee really badly.
Thankfully we were not on the road for very long before those wonderful golden arches appeared on the horizon. This McDonald’s was very well designed with a side door that first led to the bathrooms, so I did not even have to pass by the counter. I came back to the car only to be informed that next door the gas station was also a Dunkin’ Donuts, I took off running and almost fell down a small hill. I finally got my first Dunkin’ Donuts fix of the trip. I also found out that the latest donut is an Oreo donut with cream in the middle and cookie crumbs on top, and they also list the caloric info on the tray label. Talk about a deterrent. We drove to St. Johnsbury, the main town in North-Eastern Vermont. Once again it was McDonald’s to the rescue with their wonderful parking lot. We wandered around town a bit, bought some candy from the Hobo Candy Shoppe for a quick late lunch. We also stopped at the pharmacy for a soda chaser only I was shocked to see that they had no Cherry Coke Zero! I had to resort to drinking Cherry Pepsi, it was awful. On our way out of town we passed by House of Pizza, which would have made for a better lunch, instead we made jokes about the walls being made of pizza. We passed by a gas station with really creepy advertisements for iced drinks featuring David Hasselhoff. We arrived at the Rabbit Hill Inn just after 5pm and were given a grand tour of the place. After that we settled in and went for a walk along the road. There was a lot of noise coming out a tree so went to look and it was a chipmunk. We thought he might be stuck so we threw something near it, and it moved. On our way back he was still there, making a racket. Only this time there was another chipmunk nearby also making noise and they started chasing each other. It was a weird noisy courtship apparently.
Another fancy multi-course meal awaited us that evening. Before dinner we sat around in the lounge and started working on a puzzle before they came to get us. The amuse bouche consisted of goat, coconut and mushrooms, which tasted much better than it sounds. For the main I had the rabbit pasta, it only seemed fitting given we were staying at the Rabbit Hill Inn. There was confusion however because our orders got mixed up with the table next to us (the girl there had also ordered the rabbit though). We pretended we didn’t know what happened, it was awkward. Not as awkward however as when the newly engaged waitress asked the other couple how long they had been together and if they were engaged. The girl of the couple laughed awkwardly and said rather aggressively that he had not asked her yet. It was just awful. For dessert Brent had lemon meringue ice cream, only he was so full he could barely eat it. Before dessert we were again served an amuse bouche dessert (mini cheesecake garnished with oatmeal). I was given dinner and a show as he desperately tried to eat it. He gave up and because it was being billed to our room, he got up to leave. I was still finishing my water and the waitress came over with caramels as an after-dessert and said I could have his because he left, everyone laughed. At dinner we also found out that we had not in fact made it to the top of Mt. Pisgah, we had fallen prey to the fake summit (that almost got us a few times in previous hikes such as Bear Mountain, CT) and that there is in fact a view of the lake from the summit.
We sat back down at our puzzle and finished it. There being no television set in the room, we opted for another puzzle. Brent chose a baseball one in a large box. Before we even started it, the owner came over, saw and warned us we had chosen the hardest puzzle they had. Scared by this, we grabbed a medium sized box and got to it. An hour later we barely had anything done, the puzzle had us beat. Why? These puzzles we not like regular puzzles where all the pieces are somewhat the same. The pieces were all really awkward shapes, the harder ones even more so.
We returned to our room to find chocolates in little envelopes that said Sweet Dreams on the bed. There was also a guest book with a stuffed bunny rabbit on the bed, it was unbearably cute.