ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

A locavore moves from Wisconsin to New Hampshire and rediscovers what "local" means.


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Lye Brook Falls, Manchester, VT

8-Lye Brook Falls

(Note the tiny person shown for scale.)

Effort: Maximum. We hiked for an hour and 20 minutes to get to the falls, then had an hour hike back to the car. It was an OK hike, but the trail was full of cantelope-sized smooth stones, (mountain bikers call them baby heads) making hiking a challenge on the feet and ankles.

Reward: The guidebook I referenced mentioned that we should visit these falls in Spring or early Summer when the water level is high. When we were there, there was a steady trickle of water falling down the rocks. The pools were 1 to 3 inches deep – barely enough for wading, let alone a much-needed swim after a hike in the heat. I think I would also like the hike in the winter to see the falls crusted in ice.

Fun: This hike would have been a lot more fun in the spring when there was more water in the falls. That being said, it was a nice hike.

Pidi and Daisy’s Evaluation: We love hiking. We love to run around in the woods with our jingle bells. One problem – there wasn’t a lot of water to drink along the trail, so we had to keep asking mom for a drink.

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Moss Glen Falls, Granville, VT

7-Moss Glenn Falls Granville

This is the other waterfalls named “Moss Glen” in Vermont. The other one was better. 

Effort: Below minimal. You pull off the side of the road in the Green Mountain National Forest, walk 100 feet on a board walk, and voila! Waterfalls. If you want, you don’t even have to stop – you can just rubberneck while driving past.

Reward: Again, Meh. It’s a very sterile Waterfall experience. More like being presented a painting of a waterfall, rather than actually experiencing the waterfall itself.

Fun: Nope, sorry. There were boardwalks.

Pidi and Daisy’s Evaluation: We got dinner! At a waterfall! This place was awesome because we got dinner. Was there a waterfall too?


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The Falls of Lana, Salisbury, VT

 

5-Falls of Lana

Of all of the falls we saw, the Falls of Lana were the most beautiful, the most relaxing, and the falls that I am most looking forward to returning to visit again. Here’s the rundown:

Effort: Reasonable. There is a nice walk up to the falls and the paths are very well cared for. The path down to the viewpoint for the main body of the falls was difficult, even for the dogs at some points. It’s mostly an A shaped hike, but the path down to the viewing point is downhill.

Reward: Even though there were 15 cars in the parking lot, I wasn’t bothered by the other people at the falls, unlike the day before in Stowe. Who cares about the people? The falls are so absolutely, wonderfully beautiful that the reward is far outweighed by the remote possibility of being bothered by other people.

Fun: The upper part of the falls has many places where you can find pools of water for swimming. The water is cool and refreshing, with a bit of rusty tint. We had a very nice lunch watching fly fishermen and listening to the water cascading over the rocks.

Pidi and Daisy’s Evaluation: Super fun! There were lots of places to run around and nice dogs to play with. We liked running through the water. We didn’t mind too much when mom asked us to laze about for a bit while she had lunch.

 

 


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Bolton Potholes, Bolton, VT

4-Bolton Potholes

Effort: There was basically no hike to get to the falls, so the effort was minimal. However, the neighbors were making every attempt to limit access to parking around the falls. We got a parking spot, but I think that was because we were there after dinner.

Reward: The falls are lovely. The water was clear, but ultimately kind of boring. I think this was because the water levels in northern Vermont were very low, so the water was not rushing around.

Fun: TOP NOTCH! This isn’t so much a “natural area” as a local hangout. We were there with 20 or more high school/college students who were sunning and drinking cold beers and talking and watching the sun set. The pools are deep enough for legit swimming. There is plenty of places to spread out a towel and dry off in the sunshine.

Pidi and Daisy’s Evaluation: Everybody loved us and petted us and gave us treats. We totally loved this place.

As a sidebar, going to Bolton Potholes made me consider the value of these natural places. Waterfalls are unique, remarkable and should be available to the public. The land around the Bolton Potholes has been bought by private individuals, who put up signs to limit parking on the street, and roped off access pathways to the falls. They made it pretty clear that they did not want people to visit the falls.

While I am offended by the self-interest of allowing private ownership of natural areas like these, I am also concerned that the community did little to nothing to help support the community access to the natural area. The community’s response in the 2000s was to put up guard rails along the roadway to block parking on the shoulder of the road. The answer is not to close off access to the Bolton Potholes, but instead for the community to support building a parking lot and public access paths.


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Moss Glen Falls in Stowe, VT

2-Moss Glen Falls Stowe

There are two waterfalls in Vermont named “Moss Glen.” This is the one in Stowe. It’s better than the one in Granville.

Effort: Minimal. There is one steep embankment to go to the top of the falls, but numerous ways to enjoy the falls without climbing up. The hike is pretty flat, but overall, you have to climb up to see the falls-A shaped.

Reward: Meh. The falls were lovely, but there were a lot of other people there. Finding parking was difficult. Plus, it’s the touristy area of Stowe, VT and we were there on a weekend. Maybe it is nicer on a weekday with fewer tourists. Note that I didn’t count us as tourists because we’re from neighboring New Hampshire. We have a bistate agreement between Vermont and New Hampshire not to call each other “Tourists.” Since the water levels were low, many pools had standing water resulting in pesky mosquitos.

Fun: Meh. The pools were never deep enough for an adult to swim, and with the volume of foot traffic, there were muddy spots on the trails and few places to sit and enjoy the falls in peace.

Pidi and Daisy’s Evaluation: There were a TON of other dogs, but they were all on leashes, so we seemed to be naughty dogs running loose. We just tried to have some fun, but their owners wouldn’t let them play with us. There were also lots of small kids that didn’t like dogs either.

 


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Old City Falls, Strafford, VT

1-Old Town Falls

I rate waterfalls based on three different factors: 1) the effort needed to get to the falls, 2) the reward once you get to the falls, and 3) the fun you can have at the falls. All three factors contribute to the memorability of the falls. For some falls, I expended a lot of effort, and got a huge reward and had a lot of fun. I call that a win. Other falls didn’t take any effort at all, but were also not rewarding nor fun. I still call that a win.

There are also two paths to get to a falls, you either climb up to them (an “A” shaped hike) or you climb down to them (A “V” shaped hike). I’ll use this system to evaluate each of the falls in turn.

Effort: A moderate “V” shaped hike into a ravine. The ravine was deep enough that it was almost wholly in the shade, even at 11am when we arrived.

Reward: OK. The falls were lovely and there weren’t too many people around.

Fun: Good! There was plenty of rock scrambling, shallow wading, and flat rocks to sit upon.

Pidi and Daisy’s Assessment: Lots of fun smells and shallow water. People were nice and kids weren’t afraid of us. The rocks weren’t too slippery. Daisy went runnoft and had an adventure.