Tue 11 Jun - Manchester, VT

We had a "true" Vermont experience today... And it was not good at all.

Di hit a deer whilst driving our car - apparently a common experience we found out after the event.

Well, let us start from the beginning of the day...

All started well - with a plan to see some local towns as rain and thunderstorms were predicted all day throughout New England. First off we went to Bennington VT, about 50 minutes south of Manchester. This is quite a nice town and was famous for a revolutionary war battle (The Battle of Bennington) in 1777. Bennington even have their own version of the Stars and Stripes flag, named after the town.

The most obvious feature of this town is the monument of the Battle. It stands on top of a hill called Monument Square and is 306 feet (about 100 meters) tall. You can see it for miles.

Here are some of the stats about the monument - impressively it's more than 120 years old.

You pay $3 per person to catch a lift to the observation windows about 200 feet up and of course we had to see it. In the earlier photo you can see the observation deck windows.

Fantastic views in each direction - looking west you can always see New York State as it is only 15 miles away. Looking south on a clear day you can see Mt Greylock, the highest mountain in Massachusetts, but not today due to rain and clouds.

There was a guide, a funny guy called Mike Chapman who gave us a lot of the story. Di was reading up further.

Some of the windows were open so you can lean out a bit and get a real sense of height (or vertigo, whichever takes your fancy!)
Looking down and west - The distant hills are in New York State.

Looking south, no sight of Mt Greylock today, but would have been visible to the far right on a clear day.

Looking north further into Vermont.

Mike provided a bit of information about why this Battle was so important in the fight against the British. Two smart colonels, Colonel Stark and Colonel Seth Warner (leading his Green Mountain Boys), withheld the British forces and pushed them back from this area, which meant the British could not get access to the supplies they needed. In hindsight, this action was considered the turning point of the Revolutionary War and a key step towards the ultimate surrender of the British at Saratoga, NY.
The cauldron hanging here was captured from the British and was used for cooking to feed the troops.

Hans got into the spirit...

Ahh, yes, we thought this moose was charming... then... until we hit his cousin later with our car!

Very horny...

A statue of Colonel Stark.

After our monumental fun, we drove back into downtown Bennington and found a nice coffee shop for a mid morning break on South Street called... South Street Cafe.

This was a new one. If you buy a mug of coffee for consumption inside, you get 2 free refills. Hans didn't mind this at all as the coffee was really good.

While we sat there, checking the weather forecast and finding out that the predicted thunderstorms with possible hail had been pushed back to later in the day, we decided to go to Saratoga Springs across the border from Vermont in New York State.

The upstate New York landscape was beautiful and given the overcast conditions, it certainly looked a lot like the pictures from the Woodstock festival in 1969 minus the rain which had not yet arrived (Woodstock took place in White Lake outside Bethel which is a couple of hours further south).

We arrive at Saratoga Springs looking for the therapeutic baths and the mineral springs (think of it like Lourdes). We didn't have a map with us and therefore relied on memory from our research as we drove around town.

We found the historic Lincoln Baths. That is, we found the building, but the baths were closed and most of the building was used by the Saratoga Springs police force and courts.

Still, it was possible to walk into the Lincoln Baths building, so we did that. Looked glamorous.

But no baths at this time. We spoke to a Corrective Services guy at the back of the building who supervised a bunch of minimum security prisoners for gardening and odd jobs. He thought that the baths may be open end June or early July, but apart from text above entrances, we could see no sign of that.
We drove around a bit more before stopping at Lillian's on Broadway for lunch. It just started to rain when we walked in and then it rained a bit more... And...

View from inside of restaurant...

We had our lunch in a nice setting, but as time was around 2pm, the local lunch crowd started to thin out and we almost had the place to ourselves.
Hans had a "Gourmet burger with chips". The burger was big and chunky (1/2 pound or about 225gms) and one of the tastiest burgers he has had in the US. Served with portabello mushrooms and mozzarella (delish!) However, warning here, chips are... Chips as in crisps. Hmmm...
Di had half a Reuben sandwich and a bowl of French onion soup. For those who don't know, a Reuben is warm thinly sliced corned beef, warm sauerkraut, melted swiss cheese and russian dressing, all served on rye bread. Yummy.
We were both full when we dashed through the rain back to our car after lunch to drive back to Manchester, VT. Di wanted to drive because the bendy mountain roads make her feel a bit queasy as a passenger.
The rain was really coming down and all is uneventful until we get onto road 313 after Cambridge, getting closer to Arlington VT, when suddenly... a deer sprints, seemingly from nowhere, (but actually must have been from the forest on the left of the road) and in one leap landed just in front of our car! Despite urgent braking we hit it with the hood, bumper, front grille and the front right hand side of the car. We pulled over quickly to calm down.
We are shaken but fine. No injuries. Not so the deer - it ran away but we can see bits of fur (and sorry to say) some flesh stuck in parts of our now bent rental car. For a while Di sat quietly crying over the "poor deer" while Hans went to see the damage and also walked back to see if he could find the wounded animal. A fair bit of cosmetic damage, but no sign of the deer.
The car drives ok but is no longer pretty. Hans drove it gently home and wisely made no wise cracks (yet) about Di's killer instincts (Hans!!!)
Here are a few "location shots"...

Our host, Diane, at the Casablanca Motel was an angel and very sympathetic. She said the stretch of road we were on was notorious for car accidents with deer and congratulated us on having a "true Vermont experience".

With Diane's support we make phone calls (using her phone) - she calls the Game Warden about a wounded deer and also the state troopers to report the incident. Di calls Alamo to seek instructions, Diane calls Alamo at Burlington to find out about availability for a car swap, and Hans emails our travel insurance company with the details.

About 20 minutes later a Vermont state trooper comes to our cabin to capture the details of the incident for a report. What an experience for us! And what service!

State Trooper David Ferencik was a lovely young man who explained that we were his first "deer accident call out" but he did make us feel a bit a little less unlucky by pointing out that at least we did not hit a bear. Somebody in the area apparently did just that last week on state road 7. Sounded really nasty.

Hans just had to ask our friendly trooper whether he could take a photo of him with his State Trooper car and he was all good with that. However, he said that needed to have his hat on, otherwise he may end up in trouble. Good sport, State Trooper :-)

Di continues to be a bit shaken (not stirred) but she soon finds the cure - a glass of wine and a long hot bath. Much better now.

Dinner in the room, as it is raining and we really don't feel like driving our "substandard" car more than necessary until we get it replaced. Knäckebröd for Hans, crackers for Di. Salami and cheese and red wine for both of us.

Footnote... Warning: Insensitive "jokes"...

Di, the Deer Hunter. Deer me... HANS, my deer... Stop now...

More wine helped Di but not the tacky jokes (really Hans...he had no eye-deer!)

Good night. Oh deer...


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