August 22, 2005




Start: Burlington, Vermont
End:
Portland, Maine
Mileage: 257 miles
Route taken: Highway 2 to Highway 302 to Highway 25 exit at
Portland.

 

        This was a good day for highways. There were rain clouds, but they were a safe distance away, at least for the moment, and the cover they provided made the temperature enjoyable.

        The weather provided for optimum riding conditions, so I took advantage of it. The two-lane road of Highway 2 paralleled the interstate, but was lower than the main path chosen by many and offered better access to the scenery of the small towns like Jonesville and Waterbury.

        This country tends to like to rebuild and renovate, the emphasis is on new, not tradition. Go to London and you can eat the same restaurant Charles Dickens lunched at. Here, if there is an eatery of character, local developers claim eminent domain, raze it and put up a strip mall with an Olive Garden restaurant.  

        When I saw the signs for some of the towns and they said they were chartered in 1763 or 1765, it made me smile. I was driving through a little piece of history. Towns that existed before we were a country, founded most likely by people who came over on the Mayflower.

        The ultimate of this experience came at Montpelier, the state capital of Vermont.

        I was rolling slowly through the main street of the town when on my left was the state building. It was magnificent. I immediately stopped to take a picture and read the sign for the building.

       

It is the third structure for the state. The first, apparently was too small. The second, which is similar to this one, was destroyed by fire in 1857. This state house was erected in 1859.

        There are no signs of wear, which truly amazed me. I thought there would be some fading, chipping, cracking, any piece of evidence to show the building’s age, but there was none.

        Route 302 stretches out towards the New Hampshire border and crosses underneath another freeway, Interstate 91.

        As soon as you reach the border there is a bridge that carries you over the Connecticut River and you wind your way toward the White Mountains.

        In the White Mountains is Squam Lake. It is a beautiful body of water that is where the majority of the filming for the movie On Golden Pond took place. Little Squam Lake was also in the movie.

        It is at this lake that I meet my first New Englander. His name was Michael, and he and his toddling son were up from Boston enjoying the private beach.

        I was trespassing, as I am inclined to do, but he didn’t seem to mind. We talked about the Red Sox and this lake and a great route to take to get to Boston. “Very scenic,” he said.

        Usually people from this area aren’t that friendly and I dismissed it to him being on a relaxing vacation. I thanked him for the help and continued on down the road.

        Getting across New Hampshire took no time at all and I was in Maine before I realized it.

        The road to Portland was short as well. I had entered nearly the southernmost part of the state and had about 40 miles to Portland.

        I was coughing a bit and figured the tall pines of Vermont and New Hampshire had flared up my allergies. I was about to be proven wrong.