Skip to main content

Mt. Equinox Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive - which leads to the top of Mt. Equinox near Manchester, Vermont - is one of the numerous scenic drives within the Green Mountain State.  The 5.2 mile privately owned toll road is like a mini-Blue Ridge Parkway offering amazing vistas of the Taconic, Green, White, Adirondack and Berkshire mountain ranges.  Extremely popular in the Fall and a break from the heat in the Summer, this road is a well-visited tourist attraction.
The highway dates back to the 1940s when it was built and developed by Joseph George Davidson - the former President and Chairman of Union Carbide.  Davidson purchased over 7,000 acres of land in the late 30s that included Equinox Mountain.  He began to build and develop the road just prior to World War II.  After the end of the war, he re-started construction of the road and it opened in 1948.  Davidson would consider building a ski resort and other items on the mountain before forging a relationship with the Carthusian Order of the Roman Catholic Church.  The Carthusian Order is an enclosed monastic.  The relationship with the Carthusian Monks started over discussion over generating electric power.  Over time, the monks developed a relationship where they moved onto the property and Davidson began donating annually to the order 50 acres of land.  Upon his death in October 1969, Davidson turned over management of the entire property to the Carthusians who have held the property ever since.

At a peak of 3,848 feet, Mt. Equinox - or Equinox Mountain - is the highest point in the Taconic Range.  The toll road begins at Historic Vermont Route 7A south of Manchester.  The main visitor center serves as the toll booth.  The 5.2 mile road consists of a nearly 3,000 ft elevation gain.  The toll is pricey - it is $15 per vehicle and $5 for each additional passenger. The high toll helps support the Carthusian Order and to pay for the construction of the Saint Bruno Scenic Viewing Center at the top of the mountain.  The viewing center opened in 2012 (My photos are from 2005 well before any construction started) and details the history of the mountain and of the Carthusian Monastery and mission.  The toll highway typically opens over Memorial Day weekend and remains open until Fall.







Sources & Links:


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Interstate 5; the West Side Freeway

The past four years I've frequently driven the entirety of Interstate 5 in San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento Valley.  I-5 from Wheeler Ridge north to a segment near of Woodland is known as the "West Side Freeway."


The West Side Freeway segment of I-5 refers to an approximately 330 mile portion of the highway from the split with CA 99 at Wheeler Ridge north to the convergence with I-505 near Woodland.







Part 1; the history of the West Side Freeway and the split of I-5W/I-5E

In the 1947 Interstate plan I-5 was to be routed up US 99 where it would have split into I-5W and I-5E in Modesto.  I-5W was to planned to use the following current state highways: 

-  Modern CA 132 west to I-580.
-  Modern I-580 west to I-80.
-  Modern I-80 east to I-505.
-  Modern I-505 to I-5.

As the second Interstate System was being drafted the path of I-5 was shifted to the western part of San Joaquin Valley which was planned as Legislative Route 238.  I-5W was planned to split from I-5 at the p…

Old Stage Road; the "real" El Camino Real and predecessor route to US Route 101 on the San Juan Grade

This past month I stopped in San Juan Bautista to hike the Juan Bautista De Anza Trail on the closed Old Stage Road.  Old Stage Road as part of the Spanish El Camino Real to cross the Gabilan Range between San Juan Bautista and Salinas Valley.



Part 1; the history of El Camino Real and Old Stage Road

The Gabilan Range between what is now San Juan Bautista and Salinas Valley was first explored during the second Juan Bautista De Anza Expedition of Las Californias.  While the De Anza expedition likely crossed very close to the present alignment of Old Stage Route their exact path isn't clear.  Juan Bautista De Anza noted the following in his journal while passing near present day San Juan Bautista on March 24, 1776:

"In the valley we saw many antelopes and white grey geese.  In the same valley we found an arroyo...and then came to a village in which I counted about twenty tule huts.  But the only two people we saw were two Indians who came out to the road and presented us with thr…

Abandoned Interstate 95 - Newburyport, Massachusetts

What is now a popular recreational trail in the northeastern Massachusetts city of Newburyport was once a northbound alignment of Interstate 95, and before that, part of a relocated US 1. A trip down this 1.1 mile long abandoned section of highway shows a road that was left mostly intact, complete with the original pavement, curb cuts and pavement markings. But there is a story about how this highway became a trail...

Originally conceived to be part of a relocated US 1, the stretch of road that is now the abandoned section of I-95 in Newburyport was part of a highway that was constructed between 1951 and 1954 from modern day US 1 in Danvers, Massachusetts and ended just south of the state border between Massachusetts and New Hampshire in Salisbury, Massachusetts. The highway was originally constructed with three 12-foot wide lanes in each direction, although the rightmost lane eventually became a hard shoulder for the road. The highway was not Relocated US 1 for long, as it became I…