From June 10th-14th I headed out on a road trip thru NY, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Montreal, Canada. Over the last two months, I’ve talked about most of the places I visited. Here is a full recap of the trip.
I headed out on the road, for the most mileage of any day (and the most time spent sitting in the car).
Brooklyn–>Cooperstown — 200 Miles
Cooperstown, NY. Home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. I parked in one of their free lots, located 1/2-3/4 of a mile away from building, and walked on over. There is a trolley that makes its way around town that could be taken, and I also walked by LOTS of street parking that I could’ve stopped in instead, which I guess is an offseason perk to keep in mind.
When I walked in I was faced with a long line to buy tickets, so I did the modern day thing and logged in to their website, bought tickets there, and skipped right past the line.
The Hall is a great place to spend a few hours, and I particularly enjoyed the team lockers with more recent memorabilia.
Cooperstown–>Saranac Lake — 200 Miles
I headed to Saranac Lake for the night, a nice little town just outside of Lake Placid, and stayed at the Best Western.
Before I settled in for the night I drove around town and stopped by the Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage, just for an outside look as it was after-hours, and took some time to enjoy the views of the lake.
I always like sleeping in the city where I’ll be the next morning, even when it means driving those extra hours the night before…and this was no exception as I woke up just minutes from Lake Placid and was able to head to the Lake Placid Sports Complex as they opened up for the day.
Driving into the complex you drive past the ski jumps and are treated to views of the biathlon course as you turn into the facility.
Walking into the gift shop you purchase your tickets for the bobsled run and get to view a nice little museum as you wait for the tour bus to take you to the top. On the way up we had a few stops, showing the former track, and some good vantage points to take picturesque mountain views.
Once at the top, they gave me the option of walking down within the run or taking the bus back down…naturally I chose to walk down, and take in the Olympic course.
When I made it back to the bottom I headed into town and the Lake Placid Olympic Center. The Center has a tour, but having gotten there just after one started, I decided it wasn’t worth waiting around for the next one. Instead, I wandered around the building on my own. From the Herb Brooks Arena to the outdoor speed skating track, there’s a lot of history in this quaint town.
After that I made my first audible of the trip. When I had been at the top of the bobsled run the tour guide had pointed out all the sites from the games, including Whiteface Mountain, where skiing had occurred.
I headed to the mountain and drove to the top, a nice 5 mile drive up a decently steep road, with multiple stops available along the way for great scenics. But what you forget is, that when you get to the top (after a final few hundred foot climb), you’ll have even nicer views, especially when the weather is nice and clear…because it can get awfully cold at the top most of the year.
Whiteface Mountain–>Montreal — 110 Miles
After I finished at Whiteface Mountain I headed on the road to Canada, with an easy border crossing and headed into Montreal. And despite climbing Whiteface earlier in the day, I decided to do the double and went up Mount Royal.
I faced my first French snafu, as I couldn’t read any of the parking signs to figure out if and what I would need to pay at the mountain lot.
I spoke to one of the locals, with a lot of hand gestures and bartering, we came to a mutual agreement of money as he gave me the remainder of his day pass.
Once I was done at the mountain I went and checked in to my hotel, the Best Western Brossard.
As I headed into town, I faced rush hour traffic and accidents, and double-thought taking a hotel outside of town, just for the lower rates and free parking.
Parking was simple, with a few lots open throughout the day around the compound, and I started off at the Montreal Tower. The tallest inclined building in the world, taking the elevator to the top, which then provides nice views in all directions around the city.
After coming back down I took a very enjoyable tour around the Olympic Stadium, going behind the scenes of the swimming pool, polo pool, the tunnels beneath it all, and the actual venue.
I had originally planned on visiting the Observatory, but I quickly realized after visiting Mount Royal and the Tower, that I didn’t need yet another view within a couple of miles, of the same skyline.
As such, I had parked in the area of the Observatory when I drove downtown, which quickly became a mistake as it was nowhere near where I really wanted to be.
Where did I want to be? The historic stuff. City Hall, the markets, Notre Dame, and the Old Port.
The clock tower was a great little find at the end of the port, with a door tucked away in the back, and no charge to head in and go to the top.
Wednesday was supposed to be a closely timed day, as I headed from Montreal down to Vermont.
The problem in Vermont is that things are spread out, with each thing about a half-hour from the next, and when only open for a few hours a day, it needs to be timed right, or else you can’t make it to all of them in one day.
But it started with a flat tire as I pulled out of my hotel, and I quickly went to Google to find a place to get it patched.
I found a Mr. Lube in a local Walmart, and despite pulling in at 8AM, the time listed as their “Open Time”, I quickly found out that times are fluid in Canada. The first mechanic didn’t roll in until around 8:15-8:20, and you had one person come every hour after…meaning that me, fourth in line, didn’t get out of there with a tire patch until 10:30AM, to head to my first destination two hours away.
Montreal–>Vermont Teddy Bear Factory — 95 Miles
As I passed back over the border into the US, I presented the US Border Agent with my Passport and Global Entry card. He promptly handed the Global Entry card back to me, saying “that just confuses my system…and then proceeded to pull my car over and do a full head-to-toe inspection.
After clearing that I was back on my way.
My first stop in Vermont was the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory. While it’s mostly geared towards kids, taking a tour here gives a good insight on how the bears are cut and stuffed, and a little history into the company.
After the Teddy Bears I hightailed it over to the Quarry to try and catch their last tour of the day.
Vermont Teddy Bear Factory–>Rock of Ages Quarry — 55 Miles
The Rock of Ages Quarry had been an add the day before to my itinerary, and I’m super glad I did. Rocks aren’t usually a big interest of mine, but being able to see them cut it out of the mountain, and the factory where they turn it into monuments and other uses, was very cool.
Rock of Ages Quarry–>Ben & Jerry’s — 20 Miles
I drove a half hour back to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, having passed it earlier to make closing at RoA, and instantly regretted making the journey.
They are open until later in the day than some of the other stuff, which allowed me to travel there after hours, but one of the things I had missed, due to the flat tire, was the Lake Champlain Chocolates tour.
But that didn’t deter me as I headed back on the road, for an almost three-hour trip down to Springfield, Mass.
Ben & Jerry’s–>Springfield — 180 Miles
In Springfield I booked a last minute Priceline hotel, staying at the La Quinta Inn & Suites.
Springfield was a last minute addition to my trip, as I ended up a day early after Montreal became a Monday/Tuesday trip, instead of Tuesday/Wednesday. But despite that, thanks to Google Trips, I was able to plan out stuff to do.
But that couldn’t stop me from being a real New Yorker, and assuming there wasn’t parking at anything this day…walking a few miles throughout town, to locations that all had ample parking. Oh well! I’ve never turned down a walk before, so no reason to start then.
My first stop of the day was the Springfield Museums.
Located around the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, this is a grouping of five museums, in which the lady at the front desk was nice enough to count me as a college student for a little discount.
These five museums are a Science Museum, a Local History Museum, two art museums (Art and Fine Art), and one focused just on Dr. Seuss!
There was a school group on the grounds that day, and I based which building I went to with wherever they weren’t, and I did a good job avoiding people!
Afterwards, I headed thru town to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, where I surprisingly had a good time, despite it not even being one of the Top 5 sports that I follow.
Following that long day, I headed back to my car to go home…quickly discovering that New York City is the root of all evil when it comes to traffic, as my final 55 miles took two and a half hours to get thru.
Springfield–>Brooklyn — 150 Miles