Upstate New York: Back to Hamilton!

It’s official:  we can now say that the bus has had its first stab at water travel!  Leaving Burlington, Vermont (which we were only able to explore for a quick hour-bummer!), we decided to check one item off of the Locavaux bus bucket list and take a ferry from Charlotte, Vermont to Essex, New York.  We loaded the bus onto the ferry and enjoyed some beautiful views of Lake Champlain while munching on some homemade organic cookies that a fellow ferry passenger/sweetest older lady ever fed us.  After making landfall in good ol’ New York State, Hallie and I insisted that Chase drive the bus straight to Keane Valley in the Adirondacks, home to the most delicious and tasty pies at NoonMark Diner.  Having tasted the infamous pies four years prior while on our Wilderness Adventure trips during Colgate’s pre-orientation, we two foodies were excited to clue Chase in on how amazing Noon Mark’s baking was.  **Spoiler alert:  the blueberry pie purchased that afternoon at said diner was devoured by approximately ten o’clock p.m. that evening.  No prisoners remained.  We enjoyed spending the afternoon driving through the winding highway roads of New York’s Adirondack State Park, cruising through Lake Placid and the Winter Olympic buildings and taking in the striking scenes of lake and pines. On a whim, we decided to scout out a lake-access road outside of the Tupper Lake area for a potential campsite—we ended up driving right into a spacious parking lot that was home to an AmeriCorp student training center!  We made friends with not only the students (who were all around the same age as ourselves and recently finished with their backcountry training) but also their leaders, all of whom were incredibly welcoming to the Locavaux crew and insistent on giving them gift for the road (Carhart overalls, bug spray, flannels oh my!).  After an evening spent relaxing with our new friends and making dinner on our yet-to-be-used Grill-Cooler, a.k.a the “Grooler” (thank you Frantzen family!), we woke up the next morning for a quick dip in Tupper Lake and an early departure to Hamilton. We made it back to our old stomping ground of Colgate University in Hamilton that afternoon, excited to see some familiar faces and attend our launch party at Good Nature Brewing’s new storefront on Broad Street.  The evening was a major success—by seven o’clock crowds were pouring into the tap room, asking questions left and right of the Locavaux crew regarding our project, the bus and our plans for the future.  Chase managed to parrallel park the bus outside of the storefront, and so bus tours were in high demand during the event.  Needless to say people were extremely impressed with his handiwork so far.  Our three good friends from Colgate, Sam Freccia, Jeff Gordon and Nora Edmunds, proved they are the Locavaux Project’s number one fans by driving all of the way up from Portland, Maine and New York City! The evening was perfect, filled with great beer (I personally recommend the Rabbit in the Rye IPA) and wonderful music provided by the talented “jam machine” from Syracuse, Master Thieves!  The four band members were extremely fun to interview, not to mention excellent providers of some great dancing vibes.  So thank you to Matt and Carrie of Good Nature Brewing for promoting our project and allowing us to use your space to officially celebrate the end of our Kickstarter funding period and thank all of our supporters for their love and support!

At midnight, we celebrated even more great Locavaux related shenanigans with a personalized happy birthday sung by Master Thieves and the entire audience at Good Nature in honor of Locavaux co-founder, Hallie Kohler’s, 22nd birthday!  Happy birthday Hallie!—the Locavaux Project would not be as fun, adventurous nor as artistic in spirit if it weren’t for you!  The remainder of the evening was spent with friends, new and old, at some of our favorite Hamilton late-night hot spots (Hourglass, it had been far too long…).  The rest of our stay in Hamilton was everything a weekend in summer-time central New York should be—a pancake brunch at our good friend Joe Mettler’s picturesque cabin in the woods, some paddle-boating and swimming in Lake Moraine, a late Sunday night BBQ dinner at Joe’s in honor of Hallie’s birthday (with banana bread birthday cake, of course!), and the Locavaux crew’s favorite evening activity:  a bonfire jam session (followed by a quick midnight dip in the lake behind Joe’s cabin!).  We left early Monday morning just a little heartbroken to leave the upstate New York landscape we’ve come to love so much over the past four years but ready and excited for the coming days of filming and travel.  Thank you, all you wonderful friends and family of Hamilton and Colgate, for giving us the best send off we could have asked for!  Next up:  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!