Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Great spot in Vermont

Wednesday June 19 & Thursday June 20, 2013
site #27, Winhall Brook COE Campground
South Londonderry, Vermont


Really nice campground


We say our good bye to New York.  Very short stay.  If you have any great suggestions for where we should go as destinations spots when in New York, please send them along for next time.

The drive in Vermont is lovely There are lots of hills and mountains and great looking clouds on the way.


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Nearly half of our 150 mile drive is on I 88, a very nice road.  The rest is on Vermont Country roads.  Narrow and windy; slow is the word.

But the best part is after we arrived at the campground.  The electric sites are all across the bridge below.   Going in you make a sharp right turn onto the bridge so if you are 35’ long you have to overshoot and back up and straighten up.  Of course no dolly and no toad.   I am too busy spotting to get a picture of David masterfully driving Winnona through here but I’ll take one on our way out for you to see.   That will be equally interesting, making a left hand turn off of this bridge without smashing Winnona’s butt as she swings it out.


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Here’s a picture of Ruby coming across on our way kayaking on Thursday.  Pretty narrow bridge.  I’d say forget it if you are any longer than 35’ and I’m not sure a very long 5th wheel could do that turn since it can’t back up on an angle and then go straight across.   On their Reserve America site they say vehicles must be less than 42’ and weigh less than 16 tons to cross.  I believe the weight but I sure wouldn’t want to try anything longer than Winnona even though we really like the campground.  But maybe they know what they are talking about better than I do.  Just a word to the wise.


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Our campsite is #27.  I usually have amazingly good luck in picking a campsite from an online map but this time, while ours is quite fine, there are a number that I would have preferred.  Of course they may have been booked already.  I can’t remember what the situation was at the time I made this reservation.   We’re parked in the middle of a lawn, in full sun with other rigs close on both sides of us. 


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David likes to add those new state stickers to the map.  On goes Vermont.

Later I take a walk around the circle looking at the other sites on the electric loop.  Most of them, like us, are right on the road but there a few tucked back into the trees with shade and privacy.




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I see this one which is a beauty and then I notice who is in it.   Winnona’s cousin.   Nobody home.  Hope we can catch up with them later.



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We spend the evening getting set up and taking a look at the rest of the campground.  There are two sets of sites.  One on the North side of the river (they call this a brook) and ours on the south.   The electric loop is at the top end of the southern side and is not on the water.  All the other campsites on both sides are along the river itself.  But none of those have water or electric.  Still, they are lovely sites.



Great bike/hike


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There is a West River Trail on each side of the river.  The one on the north side has two arms, one wide like an old rail road bed and up from the river.  The other one is more narrow and right along the river.  The trail goes down to the dam which is not accessible from the campground any other way but you can bike the upper trail the entire way.   At the end of the trail the road goes to the dam.  You can of course drive around to the dam if you don’t want to hike or bike that far.


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The West River trail on our side, the south, also appears to be an old rail road bed for about 2 miles.  This one too is right above the river for most of the way only veering away occasionally.  A portion of the trail goes to the town of South Londonderry and passes Angel Falls on the way. 

Falls did you say???  I’m in.  


We bike down the trail for the first 2 miles where the bikeable part ends.  From this point on the trail is a footpath.  It is then another mile or so to the falls and another mile further to South Londonderry.


At the end of our two miles there is a short spur hike straight ahead which leads to a river overlook with a lovely bench.  It is surrounded by Rosa Rugosa and they are all in bloom.  None of my pictures of them came out.  Too sunny.  Too bad.  It’s a lovely spot I hope to return to just to sit and watch the water and listen to ripple over the rocks.


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We walk back down the spur and start up the trail to the falls and South Londonderry.  It is a gorgeous woodland trail.  Beautiful hemlocks shade the path.  The first stretch is straight up but then it levels out for most of the way.


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Giant trees need hugs.   We need hugs from giant trees.

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This hike in dappled shade is just wonderful on a warm It provides a cool leafy bower under which to walk.


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Just before we start to hear the falls there is this window through the trees to overlook the river and the mountain beyond.

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That’s one thing about falls.  They can never sneak up on you.  You can hear their magnificent sound before you get there.  It makes me so excited.

Angel Falls

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Just beyond the foot of the falls is this great stone bridge taking you on along the trail to South Londonderry.

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After some time at the falls just enjoying it, I go across the bridge to check out the trail further on. 

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The trail starts out like this.  You can barely see the river on my left.  I can see it much better actually walking the path.

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Soon, it gives me a great view of a horseshoe bend in the river.

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But in a very short time it turns into this and continues this way for too long before it turns back into a regular hiking trail.  Can you see the trail here?  I can follow it but the grasses are up above my knees.  David is in shorts.  He can’t take the tick chances on this tail so I turn around and go back to give my report.

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On the way back, I get my second reward for walking this grassy path, these lovely forget-me-nots.  They can be sure I won’t forget this Angel Falls hike.


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When I return we have our lunch.  What an atmosphere.

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David picked his lunch spot behind the stone walk path so he takes today’s lunch pictures from behind me.

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David also finds this white admiral  flitting all around.  He must enjoy the moist humid air from the falls.  It’s interesting that he has small blue spots on the bottom of his wings but when he closes his wings there are red rust markings on the outsides.   David couldn’t get a good shot of that unfortunately but I’ve included the the one he did get just so you can see the color.


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Too soon it’s time to head back down the trail to the bikes and pedal home.  What a great bike/hike this has been.   We agree that before Winhall we haven’t seen a COE with trails and specific bike paths within the park.  Most of the ones we’ve been to are built around the lake created by the Corps’ dam.  If there is a trail it’s usually around the lake.   Biking is on the campground roads.

I’d love to know what and where are your favorite COE campgrounds and why you like them.



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  1. Absolutely lovely, Sherry! Glad you are able to such beautiful spots. We loved New England and hope to go back some day. Glad David is watching out for ticks. Everybody says they are really bad this year.

  2. Love, love, love the COE. You can add the National Forrest to that list as well. Our favorite is Buck Hall because it is small, quiet and on the intercoastal waterway. But we have never been to a COE we didn't like!! You sure found a nice one!!

  3. Beautiful, beautiful. I've been in many COE and National Forrest Parks, but I never remember the names and don't think to describe them as you do, Sherry. I'd have everyone going in circles. LOL We tent camped in the New England States years ago when we lived in New York. I just remember how beautiful they were--not as many campers as today, that's for sure. I do remember one park in NH--White Mountain, I believe it was. At that time camping was camping--sites so large you didn't know you had neighbors. Enjoy your stay. :)

  4. Our favorite spots to visit in New York are the Thousand Islands region and the Finger Lakes. Lots to see and do in both.

  5. I'd like to ask how you transport your bikes. Mine has been sitting at my son's house for three years and is going in for a much needed overhaul. With this rig, I can't put it on the ladder in back. what do you use?

    Great COE place you found, but sounds like I'd have a challenge getting in there.

    1. Judy,
      We used to transport our bikes on the back of the motorhome, between it and the toad. We had a specially built bracket that held the bikes and also the toad.

      When we got a new and heavier toad we had to change so we bought a bike rack that fits into a trailer hitch receiver on the back of the truck. So now that's where the bikes ride.

  6. I backpacked a portion of the Appalachian Trail in Vermont - started about 50 miles south (trail miles) of Rutland and then hiked to Rutland. I loved it, and i remember the most beautiful isolated shelter where we listened to coyotes serenading us for quite a while. We also met a couple of other backpackers we knew - who would figure you would run into people you know in the mountains. I love Vermont and would love to do some camping there, and in fact throughout the whole Northeast. I keep thinking I'll do it but other places seem to take precedence. Maybe next year.

  7. Great spot indeed--once David masterfully guided Winnona to her site. I always want to try a COE but we rarely do reservations ahead, so the best ones in good weather are usually booked. May have to change our ways. Hope you have a longer time to enjoy this special place. I am yearning for a picnic by a waterfall.

  8. For sure, you picked a winner in this campground. Hope we can visit again and stay longer next time.

  9. What a terrific place. Will put it on our list, tho I'd doubt we'd get Harvey over that bridge! We loved the COE at Lake Carlyle, IL.

  10. We camped at Winhall last October and agree, a beautiful spot. I think we were in space #26 which was on the end, so we only had company on one side. It was busy on the weekend, but very quiet during the week. We have a 36' fifth wheel and a long bed truck but my driver managed the entry and exit on that bridge very well. Our only concern was lack of cell service in our spot. We spent one day in Woodstock and another day down in the Berkshires in Mass. We have found that we can camp in many COE parks without reservations except in Florida. Enjoy Vermont

    Dione and Dave

  11. Not sure I'd want to tow over that bridge but the waterfall is enticing.

  12. I guess this one might be out for us then. too bad; looks lovely.

  13. Love the shot of the rock with the fern hair. It makes me smile.

  14. Beautiful campground and great pictures. Looks like a terrific spot for riding bikes.

  15. Everything is so nice and green! Once again you've found fantastic hikes and discovered wonderful things. Just wondering, have you found any maple syrup and cheddar cheese? ;c)

  16. Isn't Vermont beautiful? We have rarely met a COE park we didn't like :) If I could just go from one to the next, I'd be happy.

  17. LOVE Vermont ... just loved it... great seeing these pictures. I wish I had blogged in 2007 ... blast it all. As much you like ice cream... y'all going to Stowe and that area ... Ben & Jerry's place and the Von Trapp Lodge? gorgeous

    well that Pennsylvania and all the country you've been through ... just gorgeous...

  18. What a beautiful hike & falls! I'm jealous! Great pictures, but I'm sure they don't capture what it really feels like to actually be there. Gorgeous butterfly and blue flowers - it's those little details that really spruce up your posts :)

  19. I don't think that bridge/campground is in our future, but it sure is pretty.

    I love seeing all the green. It looks just like the Georgia mountains...which we are really missing.

    You're right about waterfalls. You always know if you're going in the correct direction, don't you?

    If you get a chance on the way back, you would probably love north Georgia. Hopefully, we will be there!

  20. Beautiful scenery and hiking. Hoping we can make a trek up to Vermont in August for a few days.


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