One of the few route numbers that crosses state lines, however this one is unique because it crosses a water border. Although not by bridge but by ferry!
As you watch NY drift away behind you cross over into the green mountain state of Vermont on route 74. The Ticonderoga ferry will only cost you a few dollars and is a fun way to cross over the mighty Lake Champlain. Leaving the little village of Ticonderoga NY where there are plenty of cafes, museums and other very interesting historical spots. One such spot to check out is Kings Garden. In an area full of battlefields and Military history it’s a welcome spot to walk and enjoy the beauty that mother nature can show.
However, one of my favorite moments of this ride is just after the ferry and you disembark into Vermont, and you follow 74 east.
Off in the distance you see the green mountains, as you start to climb, and the road gently curves through the open fields and large farms.
There are twisty and more challenging roads to ride your motorcycle on in the green mountain state, however this is still one of my favorite roads by far. Could it be because of the ferry ride that takes you from a scenic but tourist town to the empty farmlands of rural Vermont? Keep reading to find out!
Vermont Route 74 has long gently sweepers you can push the limits of the traction control on your bike if you so choose. If you do so you have to remember this is old school New England farm country out here, large barns that look like they could topple over at any moment, hay bales parked in the middle of a fields and a few corners covered in mud or worse, cow manure from hard working Americans crossing the road from one field to another!
The first village you reach will be Shoreham, with its beautiful white church right in the center of town. Here you will find fuel, food and even a little bed and breakfast to stay at if you need a place for the night. Otherwise, you junction with 23 north of a mile then dip to the right to stay on 74. And it whisps you back into farm country.
The road dips and rises as it takes you east towards the bustling town of Middlebury. But before you reach that town you should stop at the Lemon Fair Sculpture Park. If you are like me and love stopping at unique spots to check out this one will not disappoint. It’s a self-guided tour of really cool sculptures scattered around.
Once you reach Middlebury, you’ll have plenty of places to choose to eat, stay or shop. It’s a great town to spend the night and enjoy a fun evening walking around enjoying a true New England village.
Vermont is famous for its bridges, namely the covered bridges and before you leave this town you need to go check out the Pulp Mill Covered bridge. This one is pretty cool because it has two lanes.
You will find it just north of town on a little side street.
Now our route 74 terminates here in Middlebury but don’t worry, you have another great New England motorcycle road to ride. Vermont’s Route 125 is that road. You have a choice; you can continue east and 125 takes you twisting along the Middlebury River and up and over the same named Gap into the little hamlet of Hancock. This way brings you to another iconic Vermont road, Route 100. If you choose this route make sure you stop in at the Old Hancock hotel, sit out on the front porch with a cup of coffee and a slice of pie and watch the traffic roll by on Route 100
However today we are going back west on Route 125, I’m guessing this is the lesser-known section of such a great road to ride. Shortly out of town 125 dumps you back out into rural Vermont more farms, more open fields and lots of long gentle curves direct you west back towards Lake Champlain.
There isn’t much out this way, and if you don’t want to explore some of Vermont’s other well-known attractions (Dirt roads) stay on 125 until you connect back with Route 23. If you don’t want to do some ADV riding you have to be a little careful in Vermont, the green mountain state has 8,600 miles of dirt roads, roughly 55% of its roads are dirt!
You’re only a few miles north of the town of Shoreham you visited earlier. Now you are in Bridport, yup without the E! Truly a one traffic light town, the single flashing blinking light hangs out Infront of a General store you should stop in, Pratt’s Store. Pratts is one of those stores if they don’t have it, you probably don’t need it!
I recommend you grab a sandwich and a drink and have them pack it to go. Why? Well not too far away you’ll find a great spot to sit outside and enjoy that lunch. Once you cross over the Lemon Fair River and the Dead Creek, you’ll start to notice little glimpses of Lake Champlain once again. Now you have two choices to park and enjoy that lunch you brought with you. The most common is the Chimney Point Museum area, several picnic tables are scattered about here.
However, one of my favorite little spots is a secret so don’t tell anyone. Just before you reach the Bridge look for a little dirt road on your left. There is a little sign hanging there for the McCuen Slang Waterfowl Area. It’s a boat launch for the lake but it also has a few areas with some wonderful views of the bridge. No tables around, you’ll have to spread out your riding jacket or use a blanket if you are like me and usually pack one on your bike for moments like this. It’s also a wonderful spot to catch the sunset.
Vermont 125 ends right here at the Junction of Route 17 in Addison. You can continue west and cross over the “new” chimney point bridge now called the Lake Champlain Bridge bringing you back into NY and only a few miles north of Fort Ticonderoga. Or if you want to ride another wonderful road turn your fender east again onto Vermont 17, but that’s for another story!
I hope you enjoyed one of my favorite New England loops.