The dairy itself doesn't have great parking for an RV. They do have a couple of spots across the road, but instead we found a convenient spot beside a church in town and took the little car over to the dairy.
They wanted $2 each for the tour, which is reasonable I suppose. You do get pretty much all you can eat of tasting different cheeses, although I don't think we ate $2 worth. The tour itself isn't great. You don't get a very good view of the production process, and the 10 minute video is about how the farmers got together to form the co-op in the first place, not really about the cheese making process. The question and answer session was informative though, our tour guide was really knowledgeable.
Of course they have a store there. You would think that buying direct from the factory would offer some bargains. Nope. The block of cheese we buy is the Cabot "Extra Sharp" cheddar. We normally buy it for between $6.79 and $8.98 depending on which state we happen to be in. (Not available in Canada!) At the factory store, it was "on sale" this week for $8.99, regular price $10.99. So needless to say, we didn't buy any. I think they price things like that to take advantage of the tourists in their shop, because I can't think of any other logical reason.
After the tour, we headed back to Sherman and had some lunch. Then, we kind of went in a round about way to a Maple Syrup farm called Goodrich's Maple Farm. We had checked several farms in the area for the best price because we wanted to stock up. A gallon of the stuff ranged from $49.99 to $64.99 and Goodrich's had the $49.99 price.
They let us taste test it first. We like the full bodied maple flavour of the dark "Grade B" stuff, and sure enough it was great. We picked up a gallon and chatted with Jean and her brother for a while. This is a family business that has been in the family for seven generations! They produce approximately 16,000 gallons of maple syrup per season. We asked if we could stay overnight in their parking lot, and they said "sure!"
Jean suggested we take a drive a few miles south in the little car to the Groton State Forest. She said there's a nice hike up Owls Head Trail to a beautiful viewpoint. So we drove over there. It's a really pretty forest and they have three different campgrounds. No serviced hookups, and they want $18.95 for non VT residents. Too bad we're already over budget for campground fees this month.
There is supposed to be a $3 per person day use fee. The ranger was a super nice guy and we explained that all we wanted to do was hike up the trail and it was already after 4:00pm. He let us in for free and said to enjoy the park!
The paperwork said that the trail was 1.5 miles (2.5 kms) but it didn't say if that was one way or return. We decided to take Whiskey with us, and she did really well. It did turn out to be 1.5 miles each way, so Whiskey did a 3 mile (5 km) hike with us! Not bad for a 15 year old pup.
Sure enough, there was a beautiful view at the top.
The hike took us two hours, and was a nice enough distance to get the muscles working again after our big hike last Sunday. My calves are still a little sore, but my knees seem to be fine. Ruth says she is completely recovered and not sore at all.
Slept fine at the Maple Syrup place and are now off to explore the city of Montpelier, Vermont.
Our roundabout drive from Saint Johnsbury to the Cabot Dairy to the Goodrich's Maple Farm
About 30 miles (50 kms) total.