Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vermont/NH: Day 3 - Montpelier and Lyndonville

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The original plan was to head to New Hampshire today, but based on the weather forecast (cloudy with a slight chance of rain today, partly cloudy with no chance of rain tomorrow), we changed it up. Instead, we headed back west and started our day at the Vermont State House (the capitol) in Montpelier. (Map key: Point B - the Vermont State House; Point C - Morse Farm; Point D - the Vermont Corn Maze; point E - a covered bridge near Lyndonville; Point F - the cabin.)

This is the second state capitol building we've visited together, the first being Missouri. Technically, we've never actually "toured" the North Carolina capitol. Might be worth doing on some random Saturday, hmm? Although it'll be hard to beat the scenery here in Vermont.

Out in front of the capitol is a statue of the guy who effectively eliminated the name "Ethan" from consideration, if we ever have a boy:

The state legislature was out of session, which meant we got to check out where the Senate and House meet. Hooray! The Senate room seemed quite small, as in, "They do state government in here? Really? That's so cute!" But Vermont is a small state, of course; they rank 49th in population, only ahead of Wyoming.

Obligatory dumb statistics - the relative size of state legislatures: The House room, or whatever you call it, was much larger. Vermont only has 30 state Senators, but they have 150 representatives in the House, or one representative per ~4,000 residents. By comparison, North Carolina only has 120 representatives, or one representative per ~80,000 residents. Florida also has 120 representatives in its House, which comes out to one representative per ~150,000 residents. Only New Hampshire has a higher ratio of representatives to residents than Vermont; New Hampshire has a 400-person House (!), for a ratio of one represenative per ~3,300 residents (source).

Meanwhile, they always seem to have the upstairs roped off at these state capitol buildings. What's up there, anyway? Marla was certainly curious.

(Side comment: Since Vermont is not a swing state, I didn't expect to see many political ads on local television. Wrong! The Burlington stations carry into New Hampshire, which is a swing state, so there were still plenty of Obama and Romney ads. And there were also quite a few ads for local races, including that for Governor of Vermont.)

That's from the steps of the capitol back towards State Street.

Our next stop after the capitol building was a maple syrup farm. Because if you're going to go to Vermont, it only seems appropriate to do something maple syruppy. This particular from is located just north of Montpelier.

We indeed bought some maple syrup, not for ourselves, but as gifts.

It never actually occurred to me that most store-bought "maple syrup" isn't actually maple syrup at all. The stuff you see at your neighborhood Food Lion is usually just "pancake syrup", and makes no mention of "maple" at all, because as pointed out to us in the farm store, most name brand syrup, in fact, contains 0% maple. The more you know! Perhaps, real maple syrup is prohibitively expensive to make in large quantities, and that the fake stuff like Aunt Jemima tastes "good enough" in comparison.

While I didn't get any maple syrup for myself, I did get some maple ice cream. It was quite good. Take that, Ben and Jerry's! (Marla had some, too.)

Our next stop after that was going to be the Great Vermont Corn Maze...but they were closed, and I'm not sure why. Their website said they would be open! Instead, we went to the nearby town of Lyndonville and found a token covered bridge:

Covered bridges are everywhere in New England, and from what I understand, they're a pretty big "thing". As in, people tour the region looking specifically for these things. I would imagine that there's likely a club out there (at least one!) for those obsessed with covered bridges, visiting all of the ones that exist, debating which ones are the best, and so on. As someone who obsesses over lots of other things, I can relate to that.

In downtown Lyndonville, we found a nice little park to hang out in for a while. This is what Fall in New England is all about.

We then drove through the Lyndon State College campus, just because. Lyndon State College is notable to me because they produce more than their share of meteorologists. If you're a meteorologist, you may know someone who went there.

Next up: New Hampshire, easily the highlight of the trip.

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