Today was both a disappointment and a bonus and a pleasant surprise. I am at the Ransom Bay Inn in Alburgh, VT ready to explore the Richelieu River and its forts and the Chambly Canal tomorrow and the next day if need be (afraid there is too much to see and do – not a problem).
I left home about 9 this morning, and forgot that Burlington is but about two hours away (have to remember that since it is a nice area to visit), and then crossing the northern most Lake Champlain ferry to New York, I was in Plattsburgh, NY in a tad over 3 hours. I had lunch at the marina there right on Lake Champlain. Last year coming back from my Canadian Rideau Canal exploration via Saranac Lake (at a great B&B) I was impressed by Plattsburgh as a place to revisit, but sadly it did not turn out that way. I wanted to start there to finish US 9 up to the Canadian border and see the rest of the historic sights – but there must be “blue laws” in this area since everything is closed Sunday through at least Monday if not Tuesday (I did know beforehand that a few were closed on Sunday) . Downtown was a ghost town, and even in the less than a year since I was last here the town became boarded up – even the fabulous restaurant I had supper in was gone. When the Air Force base closed it had a big impact, and the closing of the Army installation dating from the early 1800s did too. I enjoyed again touring the deserted historic bases, and there is work being accomplished to preserve the buildings and attract new business, but overall Plattsburgh was not as intriguing as I remembered. So off I went up US 9 along Lake Champlain reading historical markers relating journeys by Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen and General Burgoyne. US 9 (now replaced by I-87) used to be the main way into Canada at Rouse Point, NY. I-87 enters Canada at Champlain, NY where US 9 ends. The original US 9 is a right hand turn south of Champlain becoming US 9B to Rouse Point.
My disappointment with Plattsburgh put me ahead of schedule, so I decided to cross the border on I-87 to be able to stop at the information center to gather more literature to help plan my explorations, plus I had time to make one stop at the original blockhouse in
Lacolle. I crossed the border, went to the tourist information bureau, and took the first exit to the Blockhouse at Lacolle where a young man explained the history and showed me the original bullet holes in the exterior walls. I then went into the village to a tiny new museum with artifacts from the War of 1812 skirmish in the area and headed down a back road to cross back into the US for my reservation in Alburgh, VT.
Finding a vacancy in this area was a two day challenge (due to a lack of rooms, and also the popularity of the area for Canadians), but I only needed one room and yesterday morning I lucked out, really well it ended up. From the border I crossed back to Champlain, NY to pick up US 9 South back to US 9B so I can say I was on all of the original route (pretty sure I have now covered all of US 9 now from NY City to the border. Arriving in Rouse Point I then crossed the bridge on US 2 back into Vermont and down to the Ransom Bay Inn and Restaurant (table on website is where I had dinner). Cathy would have loved it, and trust
me, worth the trip from home just for the quaint (and exceptionally clean) room and wonderful meal. Later I will go down to the sitting room where breakfast will be served in the morning, separate from the dining room. I enjoyed my salmon dinner from about 7 to almost 9 PM with chardonnay and my travel brochures, and am peacefully writing in my Victorian room with thick stone and marble walls
Tomorrow I will take back roads up to my northern most starting point in Chambly, Quebec, and work my way south along the Richelieu River and visit Fort Chambly and Fort Lennox at a minimum. The plan is then to follow some back roads along the border heading east (a route I discovered in a great book from my own library, and confirmed with the information I gathered today).
A disappointing start in Plattsburgh, but the plan was to position myself for an early start tomorrow to explore this region in Canada, and I cannot wait. Wish you could join me, but I will try to share, WI-FI access permitting. Good night, as always, RAY