Hopping off Vermont Rte 7 to 22A for a road trip to paradise!
One of Northwest Vermont’s most scenic road trips with Burlington as a starting point, heading south towards Shelburne, is never boring. Even if you make the trip every day, the ride is a pleasure. Half the fun of getting to a destination is the ride along the way!
Whether it’s a beautiful summer day or a cool autumn breeze heralding things to come in the autumn months, a drive down Route 7 and 22a is the perfect way to enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon (or any other time).
Shelburne Museum is a must and worth multiple visits from the time it fully opens in the Spring right through Summer and Fall. Autumn is an especially great time to enjoy the museum.
In the autumn months, an essential stop on this journey is the Shelburne Orchards where apples are ripe for the picking and views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks are stunning. The aroma of cider doughnuts in the air are a tour de force to contend with, if you’re watching your weight. Jump on a hay wagon for a ride down into the orchard. Make sure to grab some cider and a bag of apples that you pick yourself. After that, it’s time to get back on Rte. 7 and continue the trek.
With Lake Champlain off in the distance, the views are simply spectacular as you leave Shelburne Village and cross over to the Charlotte town line.
Farms and vast, green Vermont meadows and fields abound in every direction. Majestic Lake Champlain and Adirondack mountain views on the right, as you head south along Rte 7, are awe inspiring to say the least.
Ollie the Camel
Passing through Charlotte and into Ferrisburgh, you’ll notice a farm on the right that used to be the home of Ollie the Camel, a familiar though unusual sight along Rte. 7. After many years of seeing Ollie walking around, enjoying the attention, it’s very hard to believe he’s gone. RIP to a local icon and thanks for the memories!
Turning on to Rte. 22a into Vergennes, you’ll want to be careful and obey the speed limits.
The town police are quite vigilant, particularly coming in and leaving town, so slow down. Rightfully so as there have been a number of serious accidents along Rte 22a, as you go farther south.
Passing through Shoreham and stop by the only mini-mart in town to grab a coffee, snack or fill up the gas tank. As a note just outside of town, going south at 22a, there is a house that looks very familiar if you’ve ever visited Shelburne Museum.
On the way to the town of Orwell and Mount Independence
Just another mile or so down the road, you will see a couple abandoned houses on the left.
This home was probably the remnants of a family farm that long ago faded into obscurity. As a matter of fact, I made a point of photographing both homes, wondering whether my friend Chad at Obscure Vermont had ever investigated either of them. I always wonder what the “story” is behind these homes and why the families left them behind to decay into oblivion.
This home was literally falling down and seemed a particularly dangerous location. It was odd that there was a newer home right next to it. Why it hadn’t been torn down for safety reasons was a question that was both intriguing and surprising.
Arriving at Mount Independence, one of the nation’s most significant Revolutionary War sites
The visitor’s center at Mount Independence is your first stop to purchase tickets, browse through the books and gift shop and enjoy an animated presentation. This historic destination is one of the nation’s most significant Revolutionary War sites, offering six miles of trails along the archaeological remains of the fortification.
From July 1776 to July 1777, the fate of the newly independent United States of America rested on this rocky peninsula on the east side of Lake Champlain, located in what is today Orwell, Vermont. Read more about the history at the official State of Vermont website.
If you visit the site and walk along the trails, you will see a number of informational signs about Mount Independence, the people and events that took place there and the remnants of what they left behind.
Although, there isn’t much left to see other than the remainders of stone foundations, the walking trails are both easy and enjoyable. It’s difficult to imagine what Mount Independence must have looked like back in the 1700’s when battles were fought and people did their best to live there.
One of the most impressive things to see when visiting Mt Independence are the views of Fort Ticonderoga. During the 1700’s there was actually a bridge made of logs, that connected Mount Independence to access to Fort Ticonderoga but that too, is now lost to time.
The trip to Mount Independence has become somewhat of an annual tradition. It simply is a great place to visit and enjoy any time of year but late summer and fall are my favorite times to visit this special place. With that said, I will probably be going back for one more visit when fall foliage is at it’s peak and before a long, cold Vermont winter sets in.
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