Summer in Vermont: Biking the Mississquoi Valley Rail Trail

The good weather is so limited in these northern climates that everyone is overly excited about all good weather days and making the most of every outdoor activity, whether it be strolling down the block, picnicking at the park, or going for a bike ride. The Mississquoi Valley Rail Trail stretches 26.4 miles from St. Albans to Richford, and is a perfect example of Vermont’s outdoor recreational resources. The 10′ wide gravel trail traverses the rural agriculture lands of Franklin County, passing through a few towns along the way. The trail crosses highways a few times and rural dirt roads, but mostly it’s purely bicycles and pedestrians. You can access the trail in a few locations between St. Albans and Richford.

All aboard!

All aboard!

Mississquoi Valley Rail trail across Franklin County.

Mississquoi Valley Rail trail across Franklin County.

On our way, practicing my in-motion iphone photography.

On our way, practicing my in-motion iPhone photography.

Much of the views are open expanses of farmland.

Much of the views are open expanses of farmland, with mountains in the distance.

More farm. The corn has not reached the "knee-high by 4th of July" point yet.

More farm. The corn has not reached the “knee-high by 4th of July” point yet.

Peaceful scenery on the way.

Peaceful scenery on the way.

Historic bridges en route.

Historic bridges en route.

We made it to Richford!

We made it to Richford!

On the way back to St. Albans, afternoon sun still high in the sky.

On the way back to St. Albans, afternoon sun still high in the sky.

Because it’s a former rail line, the trail is mostly flat (at most a 3% grade). It makes biking the full 52,8 miles feel manageable. Somehow my friends convinced me to bike the entire route. On a perfect sunny summer day, how could I resist? If you’re in northern Vermont, it’s definitely worth a day trip. Rail trails are the best kinds of bike trails! Any favorites by you?

Westmount Conservatory

An answer and a follow up to the most recent Preservation Pop Quiz

In the Westmount neighborhood of Montreal, this 1927 conservatory (also called a Victorian greenhouse) sits adjacent to the Westmount Public Library. It’s open year-round to the public and is filled with plants, flowers, and water fountains.

The view inside the conservatory.

The view inside the conservatory. 

Looking up at the ceiling on a rainy day. Imagine the warm sunshine beaming through those panes!

Looking up at the ceiling on a rainy day. Imagine the warm sunshine beaming through those panes!

Pink flowers!

Pink flowers and tiled floors.

The still-operational ventilators inside the greenhouse. The wheel and shaft open the windows.

The still-operational ventilators inside the greenhouse. The wheel and shaft open the windows.

The conservatory is adjacent to the Westmount Public Library.

The conservatory is adjacent to the Westmount Public Library.

Any greenhouses by you? I’m not a plant expert, but the sight of flowers and historic buildings is enough to draw me in for a stroll through a conservatory.