David and Evelyn’s Big Adventure on Connecticut River
David and I had a great day canoeing on the Connecticut River yesterday. That sounds funny to me, since we were in Vermont and New Hampshire, but the Connecticut River is actually the biggest river in New England. It runs south from the Connecticut Lakes in New Hampshire, along the border between Vermont and New Hampshire, into western Massachusetts, then Connecticut and finally into the sea. The kind folks at North Star Canoe Rentals invited us to be their guests, which we did yesterday.
Before we started our canoe trip, we stopped by to visit Jake Henne. He’s the owner of Green Mountain Smokehouse, which is just down the road a bit from North Star Canoe. In our world, all things pork come from Jake – hickory smoked bacon, Vermont maple breakfast sausage, and maple cured ham. In addition to the things that we use for breakfast, he makes many other kinds of sausages, beer brats for Long Trail Ale and Harpoon Brewery, smoked pork chops, corned beef, smoked turkey and chicken, and several other goodies. Always on the lookout for new things to serve at our Vermont Bed and Breakfast, we discovered that Jake makes his own corned beef. This was great news to us, since we made our own last fall, unaware that Jake could spare us from ourselves. It was also great to hear that Harpoon Brewery is a big supporter of Jake, using his turkey, ham, bacon and corned beef (more on that later).
Our time to start our trip had arrived, so off we went to meet the nice folks at North Star Canoe Rental.
Once there, you sign a liability waiver, then they help you select the correct size paddle, provide you with a life jacket, and then drive you to your start point. We chose the shorter trip, which is 4 miles long, and takes about 1.5 to 2 hours – unless you are with my over-achiever husband – and then it takes only 1 hour and 15 minutes, with a pretty decent head wind. In any event, the trip is just beautiful. The scenic stretch of moving “flat water” is beautiful, taking you under the Cornish-Windsor bridge, which has a 449’5″ span, making it the longest covered bridge in the country. Once we were safely back at North Star, we were a little bit thirsty from the
speedy paddling that we did.
Luckily, Harpoon Brewery just happens to be on the way back home to the Inn. What a great time – we started off with a UFO Hefeweizen beer, enjoyed the company of Jo the awesome bartender, and then had some great food – beer battered onion rings, the good fat kind where you can taste the onion (we’re not going to talk about the great greasy feeling on your lips). We followed up the onion rings with a Rueben . How nice to have great bar food done just right – Green Mountain Smokehouse corned beef, layered with homemade sauerkraut, Swiss cheese
and thousand island dressing. And all served on fresh onion rye from Stone Arch Bakery in nearby Claremont, NH. This confirmed our suspicions about the corned beef from Green Mountain Smokehouse – no need to make our own. Jake is the master. Tender, tasty, just enough fat, excellent.
With just a bit of time to spare, we went off to visit the Simon Pearce factory that is just a few hundred yards from Harpoon Brewery. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit the Path of Life Sculpture Garden, which is a public sculpture garden whose eighteen works of art symbolize the circle of life. We’ll have to make a return visit, and perhaps check out Great River Outfitters, located right next door, for another canoe trip. In any event, I highly recommend visiting these sights when you visit us at our Woodstock, Vermont Bed and Breakfast, it was a great way to spend the day.