Pulling up to the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters looks a bit like a woodsy Disneyland; crowds of excited people and well lit plastic. Standing in a crowd of people waiting to push and shove their way through a tour we were confronted with a sign that telling us this tour was about to cost way too much, and right beneath that was another bit of information telling us they don’t actually make any ice cream on Saturdays. We turned and swam like salmon against the stream of people and left.
The blurb said come see maple syrup being made. It turned out to be a gift shop with some sort of stil set up in the back.
There once was a time, back before cowboys and Indians, when it was French and Indians. We drove through the real world that James Fennimore Cooper wrote into fantasy. The land of the Mahican, Iroquois, and the Seven Years’ War. Before we could get to Ticonderoga, and before the British of the 1730’s could get to the same place, we all had to pass Crown Point.
Here once stood a French fort, an English stronghold, and three wandering mancationers. Today there is very little there, yet what remains constitutes much more than the American collective memory of the place. Grass has grown over the walls and chimneys are all that remain of the barracks. We lingered till, like the British before us, we pressed on for Ticonderoga.
Once we got to Ticonderoga, we found ourselves unable to enter. Unlike General Abercrombie who was beat back by French forces, and bad PR, we were repelled by a steep admission price. So, learning from General Burgoyne who came before us, and playing on the word steep, we headed for Mt. Defiance.
Burgoyne hauled cannon to the top of Mt. Defiance to capture Ticonderoga, we only hauled our own behinds to the summit and nearly collapsed from exhaustion in the process. I use the word “we” a little loosely. What I should say is a little old lady smiled at us nicely as she strolled past us on her way down, and while Kaleo and I huffed and puffed trying to stay alive, Preston was standing on a ridge shouting “I defy you!” off into the universe as loud as he could.
Just like the British defeat at Ticonderoga and the American desertion of the same place, our departure lacked drama.
The sun was setting and we were headed for Sharon Vermont.