As I sat with Jon, our 6 year old, on St Joseph Bay, Florida, listening to the red-throated loons calling, I was reminded of the last place we listened to loons calling; Grand Isle State Park, Vermont. It was such a beautiful place, and it was not crowded at all when we were there, which made it even nicer. With our RV safely parked at our friends’ in Danby, we even decided to forego our tent for the lovely Adirondack shelter overlooking the lake. With our bellies full of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and after a fun ferry ride across Lake Champlain, we were all thrilled to be sleeping outside, even though it was a bit chilly!
As the sun rose on us in the morning, I peeked my head out of my sleeping bag to see Jon sitting up, quietly watching the light come to the morning. The loons were calling. It was a magical moment for both of us. He still remembers that morning, and recently, while reading The Secret Garden, we found the perfect description of those magical moments…
“One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands alone and throws one’s head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one’s heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun – which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so.”
The Park Manager told us this is the most visited state park in Vermont during the camping season, May 8 – October 18. Surprisingly, when we were there midweek in September, we had our choice of campsites. After looking around the 121 campsites and lean-to’s, we thought that the prime lean-to named Maple afforded the best view of the lake as well as access down a short, rocky bank to the lakeshore for the kids and dog to play.
While we highly recommend Grand Isle State park and we thoroughly enjoyed our lean-to and the views of Lake Champlain, we also used it as a point from which to take a day trip into the Adirondacks of New York, during which we visited the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid, Whiteface Mountain and surrounding areas. The gondola ride to the top of the ski area was fun and afforded the best views!