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Thursday 25 July 2013

Our last day at the Marriott and I was determined to have waffles for breakfast. I learnt how to use it the first morning but already had enough to eat; there was too big a queue on the second morning,  but today was my chance. Pour the ready made mix into the waffle maker, turn the whole pan over on the spindle and wait 2 minutes until it beeped. Easy. Unfortunately it didn’t live up to expectations, a bit thick, a bit dry, but if I hadn’t already had scrambled egg and sausages, maybe I would have enjoyed it more. Never mind, we were due to visit a maple syrup sugar house later. I’d go to town there.

First stop of the day was a double span covered bridge.We’d had a few to choose from but this one was more on route. It was very pretty, white, open criss-cross sides and a bright orange roof, over a fast flowing pretty river. Then we went to find where the first self-propelled vehicle was produced, a small town called Hinsdale, but there wasn’t much there bar a sign. Obligatory photo taken, we moved on. Brattleboro was where we filled the car up for the first time. Less than £30 to buy us 500 miles of travel.

A quick detour past an elementary school revealed the world’s largest chair, a wooden ladder back. Another photo later we headed to the French King Gorge, travelling all the way down to the river to take a photo of the new bridge across the gorge from the old one. The new bridge saves the local residents 45 mins in travelling time

The Connecticut River took us to Shelburne Falls, a lovely little town that had three things to interest us: a bridge of flowers, glacial potholes and a glass artist’s studio. The studio was in fact a gallery showcasing work of artist’s living within 50 miles with everything from textiles to ceramics. The glass artist in question, Josh, creates planets including a 100 lb one commisioned by the Corning Museum of Glass.

The glacial potholes can be seen right in the centre of town, next to the road bridge. But the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly the bridge of flowers. Crossing the river alongside the roadbridge is an old trolley bus bridge, decommissioned and planted with an array of beautiful blooms. Visitors can walk its length free of charge, which we did, and took no end of photos. There were some curious bugs crawling around on a lot of them. To my untrained eye they looked similar to grasshoppers, black and brown ones. Another flower teemed with bees.

Lunch was in the West End Pub, a misnomer if ever ther was one, being light and airy. Rachel, our waitress, was very patient with my inability to understand the menu fully. I heartily recommend the broccoli slaw. Delicious!

We continued along the Mohawk Trail. Trees, nothing but trees. The only time we could see any distance was at the Eastern summit. There was a shop there, selling all sorts of goods, run by a very grumpy woman. The shop was smelly..

After that there was more trees, even after dropping down into North Adams. This a mill town. Whether or not the mills are still active, we weren’t sure. They didn’t look it. I felt I was back in Lancashire, the mill buildings were identical in design, and looked as much in use. We visited the root of the mills, the Natural Bridge State Park, where marble was mined for many years and has a marble waterfall and bridge.

Then the long drive, over 100 miles into New York state, to Syracuse. Dinner was at an Italian restaurant, 20 mins walk from the hotel. Lovely food, starter & main course for $20. The waitress tried to relieve us of $10 when she short-changed us but it was sorted when we pointed out her ‘mistake’. Of course we still had to leave her a tip so she got her $10 back, such is American culture!

The hotel was lovely, a suite with lounge area and kitchenette, complimentary tea, coffee, cerreal bar and … popcorn. Breakfast was scrambled eggs and sausages, again, think I’m going to get fed up of that.