The very last weekend in September and summer kept hanging on. Oh, how great it was to have the car windows open, and the sun gleamed, as Jeff and I set our sights North to find fall foliage! We headed up I-93, then scooted over to Vermont and up to Derby Line.
On the US Canadian border next to the Haskell Free Library and Opera House
Our destination was the Haskell Free Library and Opera House which was intentionally built right on the US-Canadian border by the benefactor, Martha Stewart Haskell. (the original Martha Stewart!)
When arriving in Derby Line, you might find it odd that the border runs right down the middle of the towns of Derby Line, VT and Stanstead, QC (Quebec). Way back when, the communities were seamless, people coming and going about their business, with little mind to the imaginary line. You can imagine that now, things are a little different. Residential streets are blocked off to prohibit travel, and if you take a wrong turn, border patrol agents seem to appear out of nowhere to reprimand the unknowing. (believe me, it happened to us!)
Standing with one foot in US and one in Canada
The “border” in the Ladies Dressing Room in the Opera House
But inside the Library, things are just the same as they always were.
Citizens of the US and Canada use the library and opera house, with only the black tape line on the floor to remind you that you are straddling an international boundary.
And the interior of the building is much as it was back when it was built, with original woodwork, fireplaces, and the opera house is one of the few around with the original carvings, moldings, and painted backdrops. Tours are given about every half hour, some in English, some in French, so you can learn the history of the building.
Interior of the Opera House
Ciderhouse Bar and Grill
Afterwards, we headed down Route 5 to Newport VT, one of my favorite towns, and stopped for lunch at a farm-to -table restaurant, the Newport Ciderhouse Bar & Grill, located in the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center at 150 Main Street.
Fresh and Tasty!
We had some awesome burgers made with local beef, bakery made rolls, fresh sides and cider.
Besides the restaurant, the building houses a tasting area and local farm products like maple products, honey, cheese, wine, cider, baked goods, and also local artists’ work.
We then set out on Route 100 south and ended up in Montpelier, tucking in for the night at the Econolodge. Ok, it is not anything to write home about, a very overdue updating is needed, but it was clean.
Jeff’s pick on the left, Lisa’s pick on the right
We had dinner downtown at Positive Pie and sampled some local HARD ciders, Citizen Cider and Champlain Orchards. We liked the Champlain McIntosh & Maple so much we bought some at the liquor store.
On the way to do some family stuff, like birthdays, up in northern Vermont, we stopped in at the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington, VT.
Ethan Allen Homestead
Growing up in Vermont, every child learned about Ethan Allen. His actions brought about the formation of the 14th state of the Union so it didn’t become a part of New York or New Hampshire, and for a short while, was it’s own country.
The last two years of his life were spent at this location, built to Ethan’s specifications, and has been refurbished to be historically accurate. This is a great little hidden gem, and even if you’re not into the historical aspect, this is a peaceful place for a picnic or just to stretch your legs. Admission is not required to stroll the grounds.
Interior of the Ethan Allen Homestead
After our family obligations, we were on the road again. We traveled cross country, taking Route 15 and then back onto I-93 and onto Route 3 and then 110, working our way to Stark NH where we had reservations at the Stark Village Inn.
Check out Part 2 of this trip in my next blog post where I will tell you all about where we stayed and the lunar eclipse..
Thanks for reading! ~Lisa