Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Autumn in New England: Part 6

Our last few hours at Foxcreek Inn and my ITC and I had a pre-breakfast walk up the neighbouring road. Quiet and plenty of leaves to see. A moderate appetite was worked up for breakfast which, rather bizarrely to a UK palate, started with coffee cake and cream cheese. It tasted good and was followed by a sort of frittata. I say 'sort of frittata' as this is the nearest I could come to a taxonomic classification for it. It was egg-based and had asparagus, peas, cheese, potatoes, tomatoes, bread, herbs and pepper. Savoury and very tasty. Overall, mine hostess's cooking was excellent but I did feel that some of her combinations veered close to the style of Mrs Cropley from the Vicar of Dibley. I'll miss the element of surprise when I next sit down for breakfast! It's amazing how quickly your taste buds can get accustomed to being ambushed in the morning.

Our 'normal' guide Mary-Lou had had an accident at her home and could not make today's jaunt but another guide, Sue, stepped into the breach at the last moment. She proved to be very knowledgable and equally enthusiastic. Our drive to our starting point for the day's walk took us through some rolling farmland until we reached the Mount Independance National Memorial Park. This was the location of many skirmishes between the revolutionaries and the British before and during the War of Independence.There was a very informative exhibition in the visitor's centre (which was in the shape of one of the boats that sailed on the nearby Lake Champlain).

Our walk took us along paths through the woods on a promontory jutting out into the lake so we had some lakeside panoramas as well as woodland scenes as we strolled around. Our guide came into her own as she pointed out various plants, fungi, birds and animals to us. In the latter category, although we did not see one she told us about, the Vermont beaver
(Castor Canadensis stihlii). This is a local variant of the more common North American beaver and has made a fascinating adaptation to its environment. It has developed six lateral incisors to enable it to cope with the hardness of the maples it feeds on. Although there were none to be seen, we could find plenty of evidence for the unique marks they leave when they gnaw through a tree (see photograph below. It left me wondering if there wasn't a commercial use for these mammals.

I've got to come clean and admit that we visited the Vermont Soap Museum on our way to our next B & B, the Shoreham Inn at, would you believe, Shoreham. Built in 1799, it is a very pleasant and comfortable wooden clad building. Our evening meal was less-Dibleyesque than the previous night and it went down very well with all of us - possibly our best meal so far?  The bottom photograph says all that needs to be said about it.

The characteristic gnawing pattern of the Vermont Beaver (Castor Canadensis stihlii)

A blue fungus that captured my attention
Shoreham Inn in Shoreham (spot the palindrome)

'Nuff said!

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