19119
Craftsbury Common
Vermont Up Close: Explore the Hiking Trails & Waterways of the Northeast Kingdom
Learn the story of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom through expert-led walks, a canoe adventure along the Northern Canoe Trail and excursions to a sugar house and working dairy farm.
Program No. 19119RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
649
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Craftsbury Common
D
Craftsbury Outdoor Center

Activity note: Time to settle in and rest after your day of travel to the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Take time to explore the campus and meet the other Road Scholar participants.

Afternoon: CHECK-In: You may check in between 2:30 - 5:00 pm at the front desk in the office, located in the white farmhouse. You will receive your room assignment, room key and arrival packet with the most up-to-date schedule that we'll review during orientation this evening. You are free to explore the grounds and facilities until dinner.

Dinner: Join us in our rustic dining hall for a buffet of home cooked local food. Each evening you will be treated to a hot main course with an vegetarian option, salad bar, homemade breads, fresh fruit and desserts. Family-style meals help to create a relaxed and causal mealtime to get better acquainted with your group.

Evening: ORIENTATION: We'll have our orientation session in new Activity Center after dinner. You'll meet the course instructor and review the content of the arrival packet that contains the updated schedule of activities for the program, a map of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, information about the facility and a roster of participants. In this program, you'll be surrounded by the beautiful Fall colors as you learn about the natural world as well as the food systems of the Northeast Kingdom. We'll hike on the trails of the Barr Hill Nature preserve, Nature Conservancy lands, farm roads and trails of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Other highlights include improving your canoeing-paddling techniques on Big Hosmer Lake and expanding your knowledge of Loons with the State Loon Biologist (yes, Vermont has one!), and learn to press fresh apple cider. Please be aware that weather conditions or other local circumstances could require adjusting the schedule. If any changes need to be made, we will notify you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

DAY
2
Craftsbury Village, Sterling College Farm, Canoeing, Social
Craftsbury Common
B,L,D
Craftsbury Outdoor Center

Activity note: Explore the village of Craftsbury and Craftsbury Commons. Relaxed walk back to the Craftsbury Outdoor Center along paved and dirt roads and woodland trails, approximately 2 1/2 miles. Explore 140 acre Big Hosmer Lake with expert instruction from the experienced course instructor.

Breakfast: Breakfast is a hearty offering of hot entrées, homemade bread and muffins, homemade granola, cereals, local yogurt and fresh fruits. Freshly-brewed coffee, herbal teas and juice are always available.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: We will hop aboard the Center's vans for a ride to Craftsbury Village for a chance to explore 2 general stores! A guided tour of Sterling College Farm, a mixed vegetable and grass fed meat initiative focusing on feeding and educating the students at this unique, environmentally based college. We will walk back to the Center along the King Farm Road and wooded trails exploring old mill sites and dams from the early 1800's that started the town and kept it going. The rich character of the area will come to light as we learn about the relationship of people to the land. Enjoy the beautiful Fall foliage of the woodlands, see meandering rivers, open fields and investigate wildlife habitats and plant life with our resident naturalist.

Lunch: Lunch buffet with hot entree, homemade breads, soups, salad, fresh fruit and dessert.

Afternoon: PRESENTATION: Introduction to Northern Forest Ecology. Forests are in constant change - types of trees, growth, human and natural disturbances. We will investigate the many different types of forests in northern Vermont, the wildlife in these habitats and how people have influenced what we see today. All plants and animals have had to adapt to survive given environmental factors such as cold winters, soil types, population pressures, predators and herbivores, disease, pests and more. The interactions are fascinating and complex as we move from northern hardwoods and spruce/fir patches to cedar swamps and the Black River lowlands. CANOE PADDLING INSTRUCTION: Beginners will learn the basics from safety and paddle strokes to keeping a canoe in a straight line and balanced. Then we'll glide onto Big Hosmer Lake in canoes, surrounded by the breathtaking Fall colors, as you learn how and why the trees turn color and why some are red, others yellow or orange. WINE, CIDER & CHEESE SOCIAL: Relax with a glass of wine (or cider) on the porch overlooking Big Hosmer Lake and sample some exceptional, locally made cheeses.

Dinner: Join us in our rustic dining hall for a buffet of home cooked local food. Each evening you will be treated to a hot main course with an vegetarian option, salad bar, homemade breads, fresh fruit and desserts.

Evening: SOCIAL TIME: Games and/or time on your own.

DAY
3
Greensboro, Caspian Lake, Highland Lodge
Craftsbury Common
B,L,D
Craftsbury Outdoor Center

Activity note: Hike, with a gentle rise in elevation, approximately 1.5 miles to the summit of Barr Hill Nature Preserve. Hike the 1/3 mile summit loop for 360 degree vista over well worn forest trail. Explore the beautiful Village of Greensboro on the shores of Caspian Lake. Search for resident loons with the VT Center for Ecostudies Loon Biologist, take a dip in the crystal waters, shop for odds and ends in a wonderful general store and maybe stop for some locally made gelato. Bring your swim suit today!

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the dining hall.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Hop aboard the vans for a drive to the nearby village of Greensboro, VT. Hike the nature trails of Barr Hill Nature Preserve, a Nature Conservancy parcel. Learn how forests are in a state of constant change, including types of trees, growth, human and natural aspects. We will investigate the many different types of forest in northern Vermont as we hike from the maple/beech forest of Caspian Lake wetlands to the Upland Conifer/boreal forest of the Barr Hill Nature Preserve. As we did yesterday, learn about the different types of animals and plants in these habitats and how they have had to adapt to cold winters, soil types, population pressures, predators and herbivores, disease, pests and more.

Lunch: Enjoy a hearty bag lunch in the high meadow on Barr Hill with a beautiful view of the Green Mountains.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Explore Highland Lodge Resort and Nature Trails on Caspian Lake. Here we'll hike the Highland Lodge Nature trail along the shores of Caspian Lake. Whether you are a botanist, angler, birder, or just enjoy the outdoors, these northern lakes are jewels. Learn about the varied life forms in the fresh water and on the banks of this glacial lake, and how they survive the winter covered with ice and snow. We will conclude our afternoon with a stop at an exceptional general store in the village of Greensboro.

Dinner: Dinner buffet in the dining hall.

Evening: PRESENTATION: Join instructor , Eric Hanson, Vermont State Biologist for the Vermont Loon Recovery Project, for a fascinating slide show and talk on the status of the Common Loon in Northern Vermont. The haunting calls of the loon captivate all who hear them. Learn how scientists have unlocked the mysteries of a bird that has survived for 60 million years.

DAY
4
Explore deep into the Northeast Kingdom!
Craftsbury Common
B,L,D
Craftsbury Outdoor Center

Activity note: Explore Rural Vermont at it's best. Wildlife refuges, wild rivers, bogs and conservation initiatives to keep Vermont clean and green! Bring your swim suit!

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the dining hall.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: We will climb aboard the vans today and head to the NorthWoods Stewardship Center in West Charleston, VT. NorthWoods is a non-profit 501(c) 3 educational, research and conservation service organization serving the communities of Northern Vermont and New Hampshire since 1989. Their unique combination of programs seeks to enhance understanding and appreciation of the role of the natural world, and to take direct and positive action in the restoration and conservation of our region's natural resources. We will explore by canoe a section of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail on the Upper Clyde River. This trail was established in 2000, based on traditional East-West water routes used by Native Americans and early settlers. Enjoy the simplicity and grace of canoe travel as you explore tranquil marshes and open waterways. Learn about the wildlife, plants and geology of this unspoiled environment- all in the splendor of Autumn colors.

Lunch: Lunch

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP CONTINUES: Explore Moose Bog, a northern ecological gem. Explore Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge was designed to include the entire Connecticut River watershed because legislators realized that, in order to protect migratory fish and other aquatic species, there was a need to protect the whole river system and its watershed; the health of any aquatic ecosystem is linked to the health of the whole watershed upstream. This is one of only three refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System that has Fish in its title. Travel back to Craftsbury Outdoor Center via dirt roads with amazing Vermont landscape! Stop at Lake Willoughby. This beautiful lake was created by glacial action and is over 300' deep in places, making it the deepest lake entirely contained in the state. It resembles a Norwegian fjord. This special lake is visually striking and always freezing cold!

Dinner: Dinner buffet in the dining hall.

Evening: SOCIAL TIME: Music with local musicians or free time.

DAY
5
Canoe, hike, breathe!
Craftsbury Common
B,L,D
Craftsbury Outdoor Center

Activity note: Hike 2-4 miles along the Craftsbury Outdoor Center mowed trails, moderate. Canoe 1.5 miles to the Hosmer Point Camp. Hike 1 miles to the beaver dam over woodland trails.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the dining hall.

Morning: Big Hosmer Lake: Exploring by canoe and on foot, we will experience the riparian and littoral zones on this lake here at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Learn about ecological impacts of new invasive species, such as Eurasian Milfoil, and steps being taken to mitigate this threat. Explore Hosmer Point and hike to Max's Pond beaver dam.

Lunch: Lunch buffet in the dining hall.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Explore yet another small, inventive farm in Northern Vermont. You have to be creative to farm here! While we are out we will notice conserved land with the Nature Conservancy, Vermont Land Trust and State of Vermont. We will explore another beautiful, secluded body of water in Zack Woods to search for the resident loon.

Dinner: Dinner buffet in the dining hall.

Evening: PRESENTATION: Nahanni River and Cirque of the Unclimbables. Eric Hanson narrates a slide show and gives you a first-person account of his trip to this river in the Nahanni National Park Reserve (a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Northwest Territories, Canada) and the cluster of mammoth peaks and cliffs known as Cirque of the Unclimbables. The Nahanni is one of the most spectacular wild rivers in North America. This reserve contains deep canyons, huge waterfalls, and a unique limestone cave system. It is also home to animals of the northern boreal forest, such as mountain goat, Dall sheep, wolf, grizzly and caribou.

DAY
6
Apple Cider Pressing, Free Time, Program Concludes
Craftsbury Common
B

Activity note: Take a turn throwing apples into the grinder and turning the crank to press the apple pulp into fresh, delicious cider !

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the dining hall.

Morning: Pleanty of time this morning to hike on the nature trails, tour the Outdoor Center's gardens, which will supply many of the items you ate during your stay, or relax. Apple Cider Pressing Demo: Taste and discuss local varieties of wild apples. Participate in hand-grinding the apples and take your turn cranking the press to extract the apple cider. Enjoy this labor intensive New England tradition! Sample and enjoy !