9/19/2012

Ride to Eden and Paradise

153 miles
4 hours, 9 mins
 
Lake Eden, Eden Vermont
Lake Eden, Eden Vermont

One of the best uses of a motorcycle is quickly eliminating negative thoughts. Quickly dropping thoughts of mortgages, jobs, and troubling responsibilities the quicker you go. This ride is designed for that purpose: taking you quickly through the uncluttered roads of Vermont’s north country. A ride to Eden, around Jay Peak, to paradise and back.

To enjoy this ride fully, rise early and begin quickly. Start at the On The Rise Bakery in Richmond, then ride east on US-2 into the rising sun. At VT-100 in Waterbury, take a left and head north.

You will want to travel the section of VT-100 between Waterbury and Stowe early, before the dawdling- waddlers ease their minivans and SUV’s and camping trailers onto the path. This section of VT- 100 is one of the busiest corridors in the state, being the main artery between Interstate 89 and Stowe. On this stretch, you will find the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury and the Cold Hollow Cider Mill (one of my favorites). Stowe is a wonderful town with great attractions, but we won’t be stopping there today.

As you ride through Stowe, mind the speed limit: the speed limit drops to 25 mph as you enter and stays in force through the main village and up VT- 100. It gradually rises to 40 and then 50 as the road opens to straights and sweepers. Keep relaxed. You will have time and space later for a faster pace.

North of Stowe is Morrisville, home of the Rock Art Brewery (left-hand side of the road when heading north). Rock Art has a unique selection of tasty Vermont craft brewed beers. The brewery has a comfortable tasting room and runs tours on Friday and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. with a special tour at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Beware: many of Rock Arts beers pack an extra punch and do not mix with riding. Keep your head clear. Purchase a 22-ounce bomber to bring home to toast completion of your ride.

After the Rock Art factory, continue north on Route 100. At the blinking light in Morrisville (Citgo station on right), take a left to follow VT- 100 north. If you continue straight through this intersection, you will end up on VT- 100C. Turn left to follow VT-100. After one block (one tenth of mile) take a left onto Bridge Street. In another tenth, take a right onto Brooklyn Street to remain on VT-100. In less than a mile, you should see the Northgate Shopping Plaza on your right. There are a variety of stores on this section of VT-100, including auto parts, a supermarket and several gas stations.

Follow VT- 100 to the intersection of VT- 15. At the traffic light, take a left onto VT- 15. VT- 100 North and VT- 15 West are the same road here.

Follow VT- 15 West/ VT-100 North for 1.9 miles, until you come to a traffic circle. Enter the circle and take the first right to follow VT- 100 north. Shift through the gears and enjoy the open straightaway as you accelerate through Hyde Park and head toward Eden.

As you near Eden, you have two options. Option 1 is to take VT-118 north at Eden Corners (cemetery right). This option avoids a gravel section of road and remains on a smooth, high-speed surface. It reunites with our route in Montgomery, at the intersection of VT-118, VT-58 and VT-242.

I choose Option 2 and head toward adventure.

Option 2 follows VT- 100 north towards Eden and Lowell. You will come to a twisty section in Eden. The speed limit drops from 50 to 35 as the road tightens and weaves through camps along Lake Eden. As you travel north past the lake, watch for slow moving pickup trucks towing boats entering. North of the lake, the road opens again into the fast sweepers and straights pattern of Route 100.

Gazebo in Lowell VT
Gazebo in Lowell at VT-58 intersection

Just before Lowell, you will ride up a small hill. Look for VT- 58. VT-58 crosses VT-100, to the left and right. You are looking for a left-hand turn. There is a gazebo on the corner. Turn left onto VT- 58 and wind down a narrow road through a village residential area.

VT-58 twists through the village on good pavement and then opens into a series of higher speed twisty bits. The area is thickly settled: watch for slow moving local traffic and vehicles entering. After two miles, the road surface changes to gravel.

Despite being gravel, VT- 58 (Hazen’s Notch Road) is a major local road and kept in good condition. Mid-summer, I had no problem riding the road on sporting rubber. The road passes through Hazen’s Notch State Park. The park is several thousand acres of “largely forested land” on either side of the road. The Long-Trail, Catamount Trail and VAST trails cross the road. Hazen’s Notch Road is the north terminus of the Bayley-Hazen Military Road.

Constructed during the American Revolutionary war as a highway for invading Quebec, the Bayley-Hazen Military Road suffered from two-way traffic. While the road was a fine path for reaching Quebec, the British found the road equally suitable for launching raiding parties in the other direction: from Quebec to Vermont.

 Hazens Notch Road
Hazen's Notch Road

Hazen’s Notch Road twists through this forest on a road that conveys its remoteness. At its west end, the road returns to pavement and meets VT -118 and VT-242 in Montgomery. Turn left onto VT-118 (South Main Street) and head into Montgomery.

At the junction in Montgomery, there is a small grocery store and a gas station. Continue north on VT-118 and head out of Montgomery. Approximately 3.5 miles outside town, on the left, you will pass one of six covered bridges in Montgomery. Montgomery has the most covered bridges of any town in the country.

VT-118 intersects VT-105 12 miles north of Montgomery. Take a right on VT-105 and head north towards Richford. The road is open, flat, farm country. Fast and straight. The Pinnacle Peddler, just outside of Richford, has gas, a deli with good sandwiches and fresh baked goods.

In Richford, VT-105 takes a right and heads east, toward Jay Peak. The speed limit is 25 mph here and stays 25 until you see the sign thanking you for visiting Richford and driving safely. After the sign, the speed limit rises to 50 mph. The pavement is smooth and the road is dominated by fast straights and sweeping turns that are a joy to ride.

As 105 climbs, the turns become tighter and the pavement quality declines. At the highest point, the road becomes quite bumpy. Stop and enjoy the beautiful valley view, looking toward Jay Peak.

View from VT-105
View from VT-105

Ride VT-105 down to VT-100. Turn right and head south on VT-100 for 1.2 miles. Take a right onto VT-242. As you turn onto VT-242 there are open views of Jay Peak dominating the flat valley.

Jay Peak from VT-242
Jay Peak from the east, VT-242

Ahead on VT-242, the Jay Country Store has gas, food and Vermont souvenirs. Past the store, the pavement is good and the road is twisty. Enjoy the turns as you power up the hill toward the resort.

Jay Peak is a four-season resort. During the summer, the indoor water park and the Ice House skating rink operate. After passing the resort, the pavement quality deteriorates and the road becomes unfortunately bumpy down into Montgomery. When the State repaves this is section, it will rise to greatness. Until then, watch out for the holes.

You have now completed the circle around Jay Peak. Proceed across the four-way intersection onto VT-118 south. VT-118 South is 8 miles of sweet, fast, goodness over smooth pavement. Just south of Montgomery, there is a nice, clean roadside rest area with picnic tables, shade and a small stream. The rest area makes a great spot for a picnic lunch.

Picnic table at rest area on VT-118
Picnic table at rest area on VT-118

When you reach VT-109, take a right and head south. Ride VT-109, 14.7 miles of curvy, smoothness, through Belvidere and Waterville to Cambridge. At the intersection of VT-108, take a left to head south on VT-108. You will cross a bridge. Take a right to follow VT-108. The Cupboard Deli, on your right, has great deli sandwiches. You can purchase gas at The Cupboard or at the Mobil station across the street.

View on VT-109
View on VT-109

Take a left after the Mobil station to follow VT-108 south. In .2 miles, take a right onto Upper Pleasant Valley Rd.

It is easy to see how Pleasant Valley got it’s name. The road twists through a farm-filled, high mountain valley on the western flank of Mount Mansfield. This pretty motorcycle road rises and falls, banks and turns, through farm fields at first then tightly settled, wooded countryside, demanding your attention. The pavement isn’t always perfect, but the road has been riding well recently. Enjoy the flow of the road. It’s a perfect end to a great ride.

  Brady Callahan Vermont Attorneys