With their graceful lines and rugged seaworthiness, Friendship Sloops were the boat of choice for lobster fisherman off the rugged coast of Maine in the late nineteenth century. Though motor powered craft replaced these beautiful boats there are still many in existence and sailed primarily as yachts. Host Marianne Eaton spent a day on Lake Champlain aboard a Friendship Sloop from the Whistling Man Schooner Company in Burlington and learned some of the basics of sailing.
Caving is a tricky business and takes a lot of preparation. In addition to arming yourself with coveralls, helmets, lights, ropes and supply of the good batteries, you have to be ready to do a fair amount of scrambling, stooping, crawling and squeezing through tight places. But in addition to its challenges, caving has its rewards when you uncover thousands of years of geologic history. Unfortunately, many of these subterranean museums have been vandalized. That's why veterans of the underground are tight-lipped about their location. Host Marianne Eaton joins members of the Vermont Cavers Association in Rutland County for a trip underground to explore one of Vermont's deep treasures.
Snowshoeing is one of the fastest growing winter sports. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. The old image of big wooden tennis racket snowshoes has given way to the lightweight, metal variety that not only let you get through deep powder, but can grip on icy terrain, making your hike safer and more enjoyable. Host Marianne Eaton visits the Green Mountain Club's Tenth Annual Snowshoe Festival in Waterbury to get a hands-on demo of the latest in snowshoe technology and take a couple of hikes through the powder.
Whitewater kayaking can be an exhilarating, fast-paced and fun run down the river. It's also a potentially dangerous sport that requires proper training and the right equipment. One of the biggest whitewater events in Vermont happens on the last weekends of both April and September when the Ball Mountain Dam in Jamaica holds a controlled water release, turning the West River into a class III run. Thousands of whitewater enthusiasts come from all over New England to run the rapids. Host Marianne Eaton takes an introductory whitewater kayak lesson and runs her first class II whitewater.
From the thrill of liftoff to the traditional champagne toast upon landing, hot air ballooning has lost none of its magic for both first timers and seasoned pilots. Vermont is host to the Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival in July. Here over 20 pilots from around the country come together for a weekend of sunrise and sunset launches, filling the skies over Stowe with a dazzling array of colors. Host Marianne Eaton steps into the gondola of aeronaut Chuck Baraw at the festival to rise above it all.
Sculling is a rowing sport that's not only a great workout, it's one of the fastest trips you can make on the water under your own power. Vermont is home to the Craftsbury Sculling Center in Craftsbury Common. It is a world-class sculling school attracting Olympians and people who just like to row. Host Marianne Eaton joins a class at Craftsbury to learn the ins and outs of sculling and what the attraction is to this sport of "leverage."
Falconry has been called the "sport of kings" for centuries and still attracts a worldwide audience. While not as traditionally popular here as in Europe, falconry does have a devoted following in the United States. At the British School of Falconry at the Equinox, a resort in Manchester Village, Vt., visitors can take an introductory falconry lesson that puts them face-to-face with a Harris Hawk. Host Marianne Eaton visits the school for a lesson and accompanies falconers on a hunt for game birds in Tinmouth.
Outdoor recreation can be difficult for people with disabilities. Specialized recreational equipment for the physically challenged is often expensive, making getting outside a near impossibility for some. The Eastern Adaptive Sportsman's Association organizes outdoor sporting trips for people who normally wouldn't be able to participate due to a psychical disability. We spend a day with members of the association as they take a group fishing on Lake Champlain.
A 'Quest' is a 150-year-old English tradition that has been transplanted to Vermont by an organization called Vital Communities. Participants follow clues that are found in a book titled Valley Quest, which takes them on 89 different treasure hunts across Vermont and New Hampshire. Each quest in the book contains riddle-like clues and maps for the hunt. The quests are designed to teach adults and children about the natural and cultural history of the communities they live in. At the end of each quest the participants find a treasure chest containing a journal for the questors to sign and leave messages in, a stamp with which to stamp their quest books, and more information about the community.
- Vital Communities
104 Railroad Row
White River Junction, VT 05001
Hand-eye coordination is the name of the game when it comes to skeet shooting. It's a sport of angles where women can compete on an equal plain with men. In skeet shooting, participants attempt to hit clay pigeons that are fired from two different locations on the course. Using shotguns, they make their way through eight different stations placed in a semicircle in front of the target launchers. The shooting stations create a variety of different trajectories and it can be challenging for even seasoned shooters to hit the moving targets. Host Marianne Eaton visits the Sportsman's Club of Franklin County to learn the highs and lows of skeet shooting.