The story of the United States Navy begins on Lake Champlain. The year was 1776, and the fledgling American Revolution seemed doomed to failure almost before it began after a naval retreat to the town known today as Whitehall, New York. Then the Continental Congress issued a command on June 17 of 1776 "to build, with all expedition, as many galleys and armed vessels as ... shall be sufficient to make us indisputably masters of the lakes Champlain and George." By August, eight new gunboats were afloat on the lake—just in time to face the British in the Battle of Valcour.
That story and hundreds more come to life in the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum's collection of more than 15,000 artifacts, images, and documents. Visitors can marvel at the massive 10' x 8' rudder of the steamboat Champlain II, and explore her shipwreck in real time using a remote-operated vehicle. In the Hazelett Watercraft Center, the 111-year-old ice yacht Storm King towers over 90 dugouts, bark canoes, kayaks, rowing skiffs, and sailboats. But the core of the museum is the Key to Liberty exhibit, where visitors can read eyewitness accounts of the Battle of Valcour and marvel at a 9-foot scale model of a gunboat. On fair days, the full-size gunboat replica Philadelphia II sets sail, giving passengers a glimpse of a distant era without the bother of going though a time machine broker first.
Explore the Escape Pour la vie (Space for Life) museum in Montreal to learn fascinating facts about nature and see its beauty up-close. Visit the Montreal Biodome, Insectarium, Botanical Garden and Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium for an unforgettable experience with nature. These four remarkable museums are in Montreal’s museum district. Each museum offers a unique chance to view and learn about animals, plants and their ecosystems. At the Biodome you can travel through replicas of the four ecosystems found in the Americas. The Insectarium is where you can view insects from all over the world. Visit the Botanical Garden where you’ll awaken you senses with the fragrant scent of flowers and lush greenery. Set your eyes towards the sky as you learn more about space and astronomy at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium.
Parc du Mont-Royal is a 200-hectare park located right in the middle or Montreal Island. They feature the highest vantage point in the entire city at 770 feet above sea level. Designated as a park in 1876 to preserve this scenic stretch of wildness from the rampant deforestation of the time, it was landscaped by none other than Frederick Law Olmsted, famous for designing and executing New York City’s Central Park. Some of the relics of a world-class sculpture show that was hosted in the park in 1964 can still be seen to this day. Other interesting locations worth visiting in the park include the Beaver Lake pavilion, which provides summer visitors with a sliver of shade and winter sports enthusiasts with shelter from the brisk winds.
Astride their trusty snowmobiles, the knowledgeable guides at Jay Snowmobile Adventures help visiting adventurers conquer the winter landscape during tours of picturesque Vermont snowscapes. One- and two-person tour packages begin at the outfitter’s home base, located 3 miles from the entrance of Jay Peak Resort. From there, groups wind through the wilderness of Jay, Vermont and parts of Westfield for up to two hours, exploring the snowy nooks and frost-covered crannies of Jay State Forest and the nearby countryside. They rarely make the trip alone, though; moose and white-tailed deer often dot the secluded paths, ready to pose for snapshots in their most photogenic outfits.
No matter what direction their houses might actually be facing, most of the roofs in the United States point toward Slate Valley, a 24-mile-long stretch between New York and Vermont. That region not only produces most of the nation's roofing slate, but also has an intricate history that reaches all the way back to the 1800s.
Eye Catcher: a worn-down and beat-up 1951 LJT Mack Truck, which once hauled finished slate?and then blocks and rubbish?for the Tatko Bros. Slate Company
When dusk falls, the opening credits roll at Randall Drive-In Theatre. Families and family pets pull into parking spots, rain or shine, to enjoy double or triple features of current blockbusters. The films play Friday through Sunday, and a single ticket, which is free for kids younger than 5, grants patrons admission to the entire double or triple feature.