Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bagels and Barges in Burlington

In trying to scope out the weekend, I asked if there was any good skating ice on the lake. My friend said her kid had just been to a skating party on the barge canal and it was pretty good. We made plans.. the bonus is that the parking access is right at Meyer's Bagels.

Meyer's is a relatively small, decidedly informal bagel joint. They have a big wood fired oven right behind the counter and the baker pulls out a dozen at a time with a long peel that somewhat resembles a Greenland paddle. I'm never really sure what their hours are, but "breakfast rush" is pretty reliable.

The Pine Street Barge Canal doesn't really go anywhere like the Erie Canal (Albany to Buffalo). It is more the nautical equivalent of a railroad siding. It is a few hundred yards long and was put in to give barge access to the line of industrial buildings along Pine Street in the 1800's. If you google it, most hits have some reference to it being a superfund site, thanks to a coal gas plant that dumped a bunch of coal tar. That is now pretty well capped off, but they are considering the site for a connector highway which would mean a lot of excavation (and opening the can of worms).

The canal connects to the harbor under this railroad lift bridge:

Since the kid's skate party there had been a little snow. Still skatable, but you can't see the bumps, so I wasn't being too bold WRT triple axels or even backwards crossovers.

Saturday night was a Vermont Paddle Club pool session. They are mostly a whitewater crowd, but through conspiracy most of the people this night were Greenland paddlers (aka the "Boyz in da Hoodz" (not all boys though.))
One social difference is that the VPC folks were there maintaining an off-season link with their sport and we had been out on the lake paddling and rolling within the last week.

So why go to the pool? I got to use the skin boat, which I haven't in a few months because, among other considerations, it is too tight to wear neoprene booties.
It's also an opportunity to try other boats. I managed norsaq and hand rolls, and upside-down paddled the length of the pool (not eager to do that in 32 degree water!)

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