3 Lakes Trip - Vermont - Part 4

Let me start out by saying: Vermont, has been forever on my bucket list.

When we originally started planning this trip and looked on the map I realized we would be only a few hours away from my friend’s lake cabin.

I met this friend 7-8 year ago on an online photography workshop. We, and many more from the workshop have kept in touch and met up a few times over the years.

She invited us with open arms and we couldn’t have been more excited about going!

We left Lake Placid from the swimming hole, stopped one more time at our favorite pizza place… Johnny’s Pizza and drove to Vermont.

Vermont doesn’t have many highways so most of our drive was on country roads. Usually we just want t get to a place but we loved that change in pace and Vermont is so gorgeous that it made the drive by go so fast!

Plus, the boys slept most of the way (a very rare occasion these days)!

We arrived at Maidstone Lake and felt welcome from the second we got out of the car! We received a warm welcome and a tour of camp.

Our plan for the weekend was to relax, relax and relax. The kids were free to do what they wanted to do. They went swimming, fishing, played pool, watched TV, learned all about throwing knives, played with other kids, got to drive the Pontoon boat etc. etc.…  Scot and I just sat back and relaxed… did I mention relaxing yet?

Saturday, Scot and I went into a nearby town and bought everything to make Schnitzel and German potato salad as a thank you.

We were treated to a really fun scavenger hunt that led us into a cave to find the missing puzzle piece.

After a very adventurous trip, camp at Maidstone Lake was exactly was we needed!

Sadly, we had to leave after just two nights. We had a 16-hour drive ahead of us which is even a lot for us! We stopped for the night near Utica and the next morning I surprised the boys with a stop at Walmart for a DVD player. We had 9 more hours to go that day and the cheap DVD player + Redbox movies got us through that.

We also made sure to stop on our way home in Vermont at a small road side market to buy lots of Maple Syrup.

We will never forget Maidstone Lake and our friends there… the boys are already planning a trip back and I am sure we will be back soon!

Sadly this was the end of our 2017 Summer Road Trip.

You can click here to read about PART 1, PART 2, and PART 3 of our trip!

3 Lakes Trip - Saranac Lake - Part 3

We woke up to our second morning at Saranac Lake to sunshine again! Our friends made a delicious breakfast of pancakes and sausages. We sat around the table for some time and talked before making sandwiches for lunch again. Today we would kayak across Middle Saranac Lake and hike (climb) Ampersand Mountain!

From Alltrails.com: "Ampersand Mountain Trail is a 4.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Saranac Lake, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until March. Dogs are also able to use this trail."


4.9 miles                      1811 feet

"Only recommended for very experienced adventurers" never mind that we had a 4, 6 and 7 year old with us, but they had great practice playing adventurers at the campsite all day!

No photos from the paddle across the lake because of strong headwinds but I do have this short go pro video!

The hike started out very easy, nothing more than a walk through the woods, and a little buggy but turned into a serious hike soon after and all the way up the mountain. It was a tough hike for myself and the only reason I made it, was watching 4 year old Isaac climbing up the mountain!

Let me tell you about a huge misconception about my kids... someone recently asked me "can you give me a list of your kids favorite hiking trails in Cincinnati" the truth is, there are non! My kids don't have favorite hiking trails because they don't like hiking! They do love an adventure though and that usually gets them through the hike! The first mile on the hike, I had one kid actually in tears crying "I hate hiking". He soon came to me and apologized because he realized how cool of an hike this was AND he beat us up and down the mountain. If I would give my kids the option of staying comfortable in our living room, campsite etc or go on a hike... they would always choose to be comfortable at home BUT I give them an extra push and they are always (seriously ALWAYS) glad they came a long!   well an extra push and a big bag of Swedish Fish in my pocket got them through!

On top of the mountain we were greeted with amazing views of the Adirondacks and some astronaut ice cream from our friend Matt! We explored the summit for a little bit, took a lot of photographs, and made sure kids didn't tumble down the mountain.

The pictures below you can see how far we paddled/ hiked that day! The first picture is from the summit of Ampersand Mountain (3,353 ft) and you can see our campsite (arrow) below! The second picture is of Jake at our campsite pointing up to Ampersand Mountain.

The way back down was tough!!! Apparently not for the big boys and Finn, all 3 of them just ran down the mountain and met us at the trail head! Isaac had a tough time and eventually fell asleep being carried by his Dad... Fireman's Carry Style! The paddle across the lake was not to bad but we did fight some headwind again!

We spent the evening around the campfire. The big boys, Ian and Jake, made dinner for us. Kielbasa & Jambalaya, I posted the quick recipe HERE! This was probably our favorite dinner of the trip. And we finished our Family Olympic Day events! You ask what Family Olympic Day is?

Scroll up, the second picture of our post you can see our home made trophy! We played about 10 games throughout the trip. The Roberts Family against the McGill Gamily. The winner gets to keep the trophy BUT needs to display it on their mantle at home for the year! Some of the games were (and we had funny names for them), who sets up their tent the fastest, who gathers the most firewood, who tells the spookiest camp fire story, who has the most mosquito bites, who catches the first fish etc. The other rule was that next year we are battling for the trophy again and the winning family has to come up with the games. The Robert's won but the McGill's are going to fight hard next summer and win it back!!!

The big boys (and Dad's) also played who can pull out the biggest rock out of the lake. Jake won and since no one caught a fish we counted the rock as the "catch of the day". Jake won us that game! Finn had such a bad allergic reaction to mosquito bites and required Benedryl that we decided we don't even need to count bug bites that he would win that game as well!

The next morning was sadly our last... we cooked breakfast and started packing up the campsite. It was a little bittersweet. We all would have loved to stay longer but we (the Mom's more than anyone) were really looking forward to a hot shower and a real bed! We will be back though Saranac Lake! 

Next stop was Lake Placid (hotel) and introducing the Robert's to our favorite pizza and swimming hole before we went on separate ways again! It was hard to say good bye but all good things have to come to an end... and next stop for us was VERMONT!!!

You can click here to read about PART 1, PART 2, and PART 4 of our trip!



UPDATE! and about 7 months later I finally put together a small video from our go pro footage. Enjoy!