Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lake Champlain Expedition

Lake Champlain was named after Samuel de Champlain, the French explorer who in 1609 visited what is now Vermont, and called it "les verts mont" which means "green mountains". The three-word French phrase was later shortened to just one word----Vermont. Lake Champlain extends southward from Canada for 120 miles, varying in width from one-fourth mile across to 12 miles across, at its widest point. A great way to experience the grandeur of Lake Champlain is aboard a cruise on the luxury cruise ship, the Spirit of Ethan Allen III. It is a 424-passenger, triple deck ship that offers both scenic and dinner cruises from April through October (http://www.soea.com/). The top photos of this collage show the bow of the ship, while the middle photo shows a view from aboard the ship, looking westward toward the Adirondack Mountains of New York. The lower photo is taken from aboard the ship, looking eastward towards the harbor of Burlington, Vermont, where the Ethan Allen is docked.

The narration on board the Ethan Allen pointed out landmarks of the cruise, such as the Lake Champlain Islands (top photo). The great thing about the brunch cruise my group enjoyed, was that we could savor the delicious food from the buffet, and still see the gorgeous scenery through the large, (and clean!) windows of the ship (bottom two photos of collage).

There are other ways to experience the beauty of Lake Champlain. The top left photo shows sailboats (some of which can be rented) or one can simply enjoy picnicking beside the lake (upper right photo) at one of the state parks along the shoreline ( Knight Point State Park http://www.vtstateparks.com/ ). However, if just enjoying views of the lake from the comfort of your hotel room is more your style (bottom photo), check out lodging properties located on the harbor at the Vermont Tourism Network website( http://www.vermonttourismnetwork.com/ )

As far as public transportation to get across Lake Champlain, there are ferries (top photo), or various bridges (middle photo). When I made my crossing, I chose to take a bridge that led to U.S. Highway 2, and drove north on this route through the Lake Champlain Islands (bottom photo). It was such a feast for the eyes to be driving on a ribbon of highway, surrounded by water; then looking to the east and seeing the Green Mountains; alternately looking to the west and seeing the equally beautiful Adirondack Mountains. As I was thanking God for this visual blessing, I was reminded of this verse from Psalm 121:1 "I lift up my eyes to the hills---where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." So many miles---so many smiles! We are indeed blessed to live in such a wonderful country!! Get out there and SEE it! Tricia
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