Posted by: RasmaSandra | February 3, 2019

Vermont Off the Beaten Path

vermont St_Annes_Shrine1

St. Anne Shrine at Isle La Motte. Vermont’s oldest white settlement was founded here at the water’s edge in 1666, when a French officer, Capt. Pierre La Motte built Fort St. Anne. It was built to be a bastion against the Mohawk Indians. Since the fort was needed for only a short time afterward Jesuit priests built the first Christian chapel on the site.

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In the small chapel is a simple wooden altar with the figures of St. Anne and the Virgin Mary. To the left another altar is dedicated to St. Anne. As evidence of the healings that used to take place here abandoned crutches and plaster casts hang from the walls.

vermont saint anne outdoor-grotto

A rustic grotto near the chapel shelters a figure of the Virgin Mary and close by is an A-framed shrine housing a marble statue of St. Anne. On the hill behind the chapel are other shrines that are dedicated to Sts. Anthony and Francis.

vermont champlain

The Gethsemane Garden is in a grove of pine trees on the site of the old stockade. Here stations of the cross are inscribed on copper tablets. Beyond the garden stands a granite statue of Samuel de Champlain, in a canoe with an Indian companion marking the site of his landfall at Isle La Motte in 1609.

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Isle La Motte lighthouse


St. Anne’s Shrine has been maintained for the past 100 years by the Society of Saint Edmund in Vermont’s scenic Champlain Islands. Each season, thousands of religious pilgrims, vacationers, and tourists visit the popular waterfront site in Isle La Motte for devotion and recreation. The Shrine lies along the shores of Lake Champlain and overlooks the Adirondack Mountains.

vermont missisquoi-national-wildlife

Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge is located in Swanton was established in 1943. Missisquoi is an Indian name which means “much waterfowl” and “much grass”. Large numbers of migratory waterfowl traveling the Atlantic Flyway stop here to rest and feed on some 5,000 acres of marsh, open water, and woodland. May into June and mid-September are the best months to see the waterfowl – black ducks, mallards, wood ducks, Canadian geese, and many other species. Among the nearly 200 species of birds observed here are great egrets, bald eagles, and pileated woodpeckers.

vermont miss creek

Two nature trails the Black Creek and Maquam Creek follow the course of two woodland creeks whose waters are darkened by decaying vegetation. Along the way, one can see muskrat burrows, woodpecker feeding stations and duck “loafing sites”.

vermont miss animal

Beavers are in abundance here and signs of their activities can be seen such as felled birch trees, wood chips, scent mounds and many bone white birch limbs floating on the black water. Other animals in residence are white-tailed deer, red fox, raccoon, otter, and mink. Among fish, there are northern pike, walleye, bass, salmon and carp.

Refuge lands also protect the Shad Island great blue heron rookery which is the largest colony in Vermont.

           vermont groton

Groton State Forest provides nine recreation areas for a variety of outdoor activities in summer and winter. The forest is a mix of hemlocks, birches, maples, and other hardwoods. There are many trails for hiking, snowmobiling and nature study.

A summer day at Boulder Beach State Park by Jenny Montagne

The Boulder Beach Day Use Area is on Lake Groton, the largest body of water in the forest. Here the dense forest has retreated to give way to a small, sandy beach studded with large boulders deposited by a glacier thousands of years ago. Fishermen may be interested in boating on the Noyes Pond in the Seyon Fly-Fishing Area where one can fish for trout.

vermont floatingbridge

The Floating Bridge at Brookfield. Brookfield is a charming village on Sunset Lake. In 1820 Luther Adams built a floating bridge across Sunset Lake. The present bridge was built in 1978 by the Vermont Agency of Transportation and is the seventh at the site. The bridge is made of pressure treated timber and the roadway is supported by 380 floating polyethylene drums filled with polyurethane foam. Driving across the lake gives one the feeling that they are not in a car but on a boat because of the closeness of the water.

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At each end is a hinged ramp and at these points, the water may be as much as five inches deep. There are walkways on both sides for pedestrians.

vermont petro 2

Indian Petroglyphs at Bellows Falls.

vermont Vilas-Bridge

The best vantage point is about 50 feet downstream from the Vilas Bridge on the west side of the Connecticut River. Looking over the riverbank, just beyond a white fence, there is a boulder with yellow paint marks and several petroglyphs deeply incised in the rock. They cover a surface of about 15 feet in breadth and 6 feet in height. Most likely carved by the Pennacook Indians.

The petroglyphs represent heads – probably human, but maybe not. Several of them have a pair of horns or feathers, projecting from the crown and two are connected by a kind of cord. The most prominent one is a head adorned by six horns and supported by a neck and shoulders.

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