It was a long and rainy drive from New Jersey to Northern Vermont. We didn’t take into account that we left on Friday afternoon on Memorial Day weekend, and the traffic in the East is horrible! What was expected to be a 6 hour drive, became almost 11. First, we had a hard time adjusting to the toll booths on the turnpikes. There are express card lanes and there are cash-only lanes. Of course we were on the far left lane, when the cash lane was on the far right. Just try merging through 8 lanes of heavy traffic to get far right! People were hitting our cars with their mirrors, our bikes were getting bumped on the back of the car, and we had a few panic attacks. Luckily Nic was driving through all of this while I navigated. Once we got into Connecticut, traffic came to a halt. It was bumper to bumper as far as the eye could see….for over 2 hours. I literally could have walked faster than the rate we were moving on the highway. I promise that I will never complain about lunch hour traffic in Marquette again! We ducked off the highway at the only exit we could get off, and redirected North into the backroads of Connecticut and Massachusetts. We didn’t care if we were going out of the way, as long we were MOVING! Driving through the countryside of Connecticut and into Massachusetts was beautiful. We stopped and had dinner to go at a nice cafe. Nic wanted to get out on the mountain bikes because we saw some trails there, but I was eager to just get to Vermont. We were already behind schedule. Once we reached Vermont, it was rain rain rain. It was raining so hard that you couldn’t see more than 50 feet ahead. I was getting nervous about hitting a deer or a moose in the dark. We did see one of each on the side of the road.
Brighton State Park is located in the Northeastern part of Vermont, which the locals fondly call the Kingdom region. We got there late at night and set up camp in the rain. Luckily, we had a lean-to, so we didn’t have to get anything wet! We quickly found out how awesome lean-to’s are! You can put your tent and gear inside, but still be open to the wilderness. We sat inside on camp chairs and fired up dinner on the Coleman stove. I will be looking for them at every campground that I go to in the future. I haven’t seen any in Michigan before.
The next morning, Nic and I woke up and it was 34 degrees and raining…..We opted out of cooking breakfast and went into Island Pond for a hot meal. It was a very cute little town right on a lake. After breakfast, we braved the now sleet and geared up for some biking. The Kingdom Trails in East Burke were a lot of fun. It reminded us a lot of biking in the UP. Lots of roots and riding through pine forests. Nic and I both agreed that it was one of the more miserable rides that we have ever done though, because of the weather. It was snowing/raining and around 30 degrees….not desirable for doing anything outside.
Although the weather was bad, the area was pretty. Nic and I drove around and took pictures of the old churches, farmhouses and barns in the hills. We also drove out to the ski hill, which still had snow in May.