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7 Aug 2007
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Vermont Swimming Holes

Warren Falls Swimming Hole [photo Copyright 2005 by Dave Hajdasz]

This is the time of year to enjoy swimming holes. Vermont is blessed with hundreds of them. It's a popular activity for young and old. It's free of charge and free of eye burning pool chemicals.

You could strike out on your own to find a river or stream and probably find a place to enjoy by yourself. It's nearly impossible to drive anywhere in Vermont and not see a lot of streams and rivers. Just find a place to pull off and then you can sit down on a rock and dip your feet in to let the water current carry your cares away. The best swimming holes are well known to the locals in any area so you could ask around locally. But it's easy to do some research before you arrive too.

Last year I came across a great website called swimmingholes.info (or dot org - either one works) and found it an interesting read and full of helpful descriptions about great places to swim. It says it has information on 975 swimming holes in Canada and the US. I counted about 75 swimming holes in Vermont. If you use the information on the website, send the author Tom Hilegass and Dave Hajdasz an email to say thanks. They do an enormous amount of work on the website for free: mail [at] swimmingholes [dot] info (I typed to email address that way to help protect them from spammer robots.)

Note: in some of the more remote swimming holes you may find some skinny dippers. Now before you get excited, I should point out that they will probably be 50 to 60 year old hippies. Just kidding . . . about the hippie part, not the age range. Seriously, there may be a few kids and older folks who are skinny dipping if the swimming hole is well out of sight of a road. It's actually an old country tradition here in Vermont, a rural state where people who lived in the country did not have the money to spend on things like swimming suits. Most of the old folks here will tell you they did it when they were kids but not any more. If that kind of thing offends you, stick to the swimming holes near the roads.

Note: the water will most likely be clean but you should be aware that it is not a good idea to drink it. After a rain, the e.coli level can rise because the rainwater ran through a cow pasture. And if there has been a lot of rain, water levels can be high and fast. It is surprising how just a few inches of rapidly flowing water can push hard on your feet and legs. If you don't see anyone else in the water, or cars with Vermont license plates in the parking lot, or the water is running fast and muddy, it would probably be best to pass it up and come back the next day.

In addition to the swimming holes in rivers and streams, there are numerous beaches at lakes. The reservoir here in Waterbury just reopened after being drained seven years for dam repairs. It's a pretty lake and has a very nice swimming beach and picnic area right off Route 100 in Waterbury Center. A good source of information about beaches around the state is at vtliving.com website.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor (except the photo which is Copyright 2005 by Thomas Hillegass)
posted by  grunhaus at  20:07