End of summer outings

Tour de Farms
Tour de Farms is coming to Charlotte on Sunday, Sept. 16. The 11th annual fundraiser supports local agriculture and food-centered poverty programs. Ten- and 30-mile bicycle itineraries begin and end at Vergennes High School and visit six farms along the route.

Stops in Charlotte include Adam’s Berry Farm, Pelkey’s Blueberries and Charlotte Village Winery, and Philo Ridge Farm. Tasting of farm products ranges from organic fruit smoothies to pulled pork to maple scones from 30 local farms, businesses and restaurants. See acornvt.org/tourdefarms.

Kelly Brush Ride
The Kelly Brush Ride takes place this year in Middlebury on Saturday, Sept. 8. Kelly is a Charlotte native and resident who suffered a spinal cord injury while ski racing for Middlebury College. After the accident Kelly and her family established the Kelly Brush Foundation whose mission is to inspire and empower people with spinal chord injuries to lead active and engaged lives. The 810 riders at the 2017 event raised $545,000 for the foundation.

Ride options are 10, 20, 50 or 100 miles through the Champlain Valley. Information and registration at the Kelly Brush Foundation website.

Bike Ferry
The Bike Ferry is open! Start pedaling in Colchester or Burlington and cross the Causeway, the former Rutland Railroad, toward South Hero. The ferry operates across the Cut every day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through Labor Day, Sept. 3. Then the ferry will run through Oct. 8 only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Round-trip fares are $8 for adults, $5 for youth 7–17, and free for age 6 and under.

New York Adventures
Looking for a walk, hike or pedal across the pond? Champlain Area Trails, champlainareatrails.com, has some great ideas, including hamlet-to-hamlet trails, wine trail and a yoga trail. An inclusive map shows 56 hiking, biking and cross-country ski trails in the Central Champlain Valley, from Willsboro to Crown Point. Generally modest outings, many are ideal for families. Several include rewarding views of Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks. 

Poke-O-Moonshine: 2.4-mile round trip (RT) to summit with fire tower and panoramic views.
Coon Mountain: 2-mile RT to fabulous views.
Rattlesnake Mountain: 3.2-mile RT to expansive views.
Split Rock: loops from 2 to 6 miles in New York’s largest protected forest on Lake Champlain with views of the lake and sheltered bays.

Ridge Lines, published by the Burlington Section of the Green Mountain Club, suggests some paddling venues:

  • Winona Lake, also known as Bristol Pond, is a rare place in Vermont where sandhill cranes have nested. The lake is small with marshes to explore.
  • Green River Reservoir, a perennial favorite, is worth the 90-minute journey to the towns of Hyde Park and Eden. With more than 19 miles of undeveloped shoreline, the reservoir and 5,110 acres of conserved land surrounding it are a pristine haven for wildlife. Loons nest and raise their young in the reservoir. Foliage comes early with butterscotch tamaracks, yellow birches and red maples amidst fir, balsam and pine. Don’t forget to stop in Stowe for a maple creemee on the way home.

Raptor Migration
Geese have been flying over Charlotte for several weeks. Migrating raptors cannot be far behind. Mt. Philo is a prime location in Northern Vermont for watching this migration. As many as 10,000 migrating hawks have floated past the lookout in a single September day. Some raptors fly 4,500 miles or more to reach their wintering grounds. In order to conserve energy they ride on updrafts, an upward push of air that results when wind confronts a barrier like a mountain. A confluence of air currents set the stage on Mt. Philo for a fabulous show of migrating raptors. 

Enjoy these last summer days in the outdoors!