Gorge & Hawks: Exit And Explore Quechee VT, Near I-89
We’re puttering around Quechee VT today, right off I-89 and close to I-91. Got your cooler all ready to go? Filled it with lunch stuff, treats, and chilled water? This will be a busy day: lots of picnic opportunities. Cute diners? Not so much. Budget-friendly atmospheric hole-in-the-walls? Naaah. Not a whole lot with Vermontish appeal and good food of the penny-pinching variety.
The day at Quechee VT starts
With a minor focus on Quechee Gorge. Get yourself to the bridge and gape down the canyon like a tourist. Really, it’s impressive even at Muddy Boots’ most blasé. In season, i.e. when cars aren’t splattering gorge gawkers with salty muddy slush, you’ll be elbowing your way through a crowd of picture-takers. Going with the general drift, you take a photo or two yourself.
On the way
You’ve noticed a sign for the Cabot Cheese Factory outlet. Stinge-craving adventurers are notoriously attracted to the outlet concept (not least when it involves free food), so you spend 10-15-45 minutes sampling Vermont’s iconic dairy product. All 23 varieties.
Okay, we’re dawdling
And we haven’t got around even to soft-core exercise yet. Unless you outdid yourself by braving the path down into the gorge and back. No matter: the real objective lies ahead.
The Cabot Cheese Outlet to get back to adventuring. Drive across the Quechee Gorge bridge, bypass the generously-proffered picnic area unless you’re genuinely starving, and watch for a sign to the Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences (VINS), aka raptor center and bird hospital.
[Parenthetical reassurance. Before unnecessary feathers get ruffled, the only birds which stay at VINS long-term are disabled and cannot survive in the wild. And, they have adaptive features in their dens.]
Pay for the worth-it-on-a-budget senior admission ticket: you might spend a few hours here and you’ve scrimped today by doing a picnic instead of a diner.
Now that you’ve planned out your VINS visit with must-see highlights…
Get real and get exercise.
Meander briskly along VINS woody trails. Your trekking poles may be a wise companion. If you’re feeling super-briskish, hike to Quechee VT Gorge on the marked route. If a healthy feel is more your style today, wander hither and yon or down to the river and back. Use a wheelchair? One trail is groomed disabled-compatible.
Have a little sit and breathe in woods. And, gosh, if you happen to be at VINS when there’s snow on the ground, pay the small fee to rent snowshoes on-site.
Feeling substantially more virtuous after your little out-and-about
Do the all-out VINS thing.
The Raptor Meet and Greet? Feeding time? The Rehab Center? All you’re up for. Especially, don’t miss the indoor presentation where hawks fly around or raptor feeding time. There’s nothing quite like listening to golden eagles rip in to their mousey dinner.
You leave VINS entertained, educated, and smugly exercised.
Scour skies and branches
Since hawks, vultures, owls, and falcons are now on your radar. You glow with knowing nonchalance when on tomorrow’s drive along I-91 you get the eagle eye.
Never mind the frisson…
At the moment, you feel for a swim. Pop into Queechee. Note an informal parking lot at the covered bridge. By all means, take a photo or two, but in doing so, observe a signed scramble that will get you down to a swimming hole, aka Quechee VT “town beach”.
And if it’s too cold and miserable for dipping? Make a beeline for the basement of Simon Pearce, where you can watch glass blowers at work. No charge.
If you’d like to see owls in their native habitat, route yourself through this post: Insomnia? Look In On A Great Gray Owl Family (Webcam)
Camping at Quechee State Park.
Go to the FREE Balloon Festival in late May at not-too-far-away and less pretentious Post Mills VT. This one is something to behold.
Photo credits. Featured image and top… Bridge at Quechee Gorge: ©DustyCarMuddyBoots.com, All Rights Reserved. Cabot Cheese Store: Flagrant snitch from Cabot Cheese Website. VINS Hawk Handler: CC BY 2.0 by Liz West. Barred Owls: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Matthew Bellemare. All others, ©DustyCarMuddyBoots.com, All Rights Reserved.