Friday, July 3, 2015

Orwell, VT

Our first stop in beautiful Lake Champlain was Chipman’s Point Marina in Orwell, VT on Saturday, June 27.  It was only a two hour cruise from Whitehall and our first time on Lake Champlain.  What an amazingly beautiful body of water! It is a long (north/south) lake and the sixth largest body of water in the U.S. after the five great lakes.  On the west is New York State and on the east is Vermont.  As we go further up the lake we see the Adirondacks in the distance in the west and the Green Mountains in the east. Both appear to be bluish grey outlines of varying heights and distances against the horizon.
Orwell Vermont signWestport mountains
Chipman’s Point Marina had been recommended to us by fellow cruisers and it proved to be a great stop. It is located at a point on the eastern shore of the lake.  Two four-story stone buildings from 1810 and 1812   prominently mark the point and are the marina’s office and ship store.  During the colonial period, the buildings were used as storehouses for the commerce that occurred along the waterway.  Chipman Point is owned by a mother-son team (Chip – no relation to the historic name of the point and his mother Pat).  Interestingly, Pat grew up in the same town as Lynn (Fairfield, Conn.) so they had fun recalling what is was like to grow up there.  More on Chip in a later blog….
Orwell marina stone buildingOrwell marina
In the afternoon, we took a walk to check out our surroundings.  Just up the hill from the marina, we began to see the beautiful Vermont countryside and met a couple of these contented creatures.
Orwell cows
That evening, we were invited for cocktails with fellow cruisers Floyd and Linda on Tumbleweed who had arrived earlier in the day. We met them at the Rendezvous and have seen them in passing at a couple of marinas.  This was the first time we were really able to chat and get to know each other. They are from Wichita and this is their second time doing the Great Loop so they had lots to share with us and it was a very pleasant evening.  When we returned to Zendo,  we had a late but delicious dinner of one of Lynn’s new favorite recipes called Nona’s chicken and pasta with zucchini and anchovies – yum!
It rained the next day and Jonny had pulled out his back so we gave ourselves the day off and had a cozy day reading and relaxing. That night we watched The Last of the Mohegans which we had been wanting to see again since we are in the historical  land of the Mohegans.  When watching the  closing credits we discovered that the movie was actually filmed in North Carolina! 
One of the benefits of staying at Chipman Point Marina was the use of the courtesy car which we borrowed to go to Fort Ticonderoga the next day.  The countryside in this part of Vermont is a classic rural landscape  - just what you would picture with rolling hills, dairy farms with inviting farmhouses and lots of cows.
Orwell gothicOrwell cow
Fort Ticonderoga was just a short ferry ride across the lake on the New York side.
Orwell ferry buildingOrwell ferry
The grounds  included beautiful flower and vegetable gardens that were planted by the Pell family who purchased the land that the fort was built on and build a hotel and home  there.  They were also instrumental in leading the entire effort to reconstruct the fort itself.   
Orwell flowers at Fort TiOrwell gardens at Fort TiOrwell Home at Fort Ti
Touring the fort was fascinating.  High school and college-aged kids were dressed in period costumes and going about the business of running a fort.  They were making shoes in the cobbler’s shop, cooking pea soup over an open fire to feed the “troops”, providing musket demonstrations, etc.  They were even required to sleep in the barracks on the mattresses made of matted straw!  Each of them was enthusiastically portraying their role whiled educating the visitors on the history of the fort and their town.  We were very impressed by the quality of the restoration especially since it was done through private donations. 
Orwell Fort Ti 1Orwell fort ti 2Orwell Fort Ti 3Orwell Fort Ti 4
When we returned to Chipman’s, it was time to leave for our next stop on the lake, Westport, NY.
Orwell lake view

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