The Rock of Ages/Hope Cemetery/Montpelier Circle Tour
Drive about 19 miles north on Route 100 continuing straight onto Route 100B through Moretown to Middlesex where Route 100B ends at Route 2. Turn left following signs for I89 south. You will pass the Red Hen bakery on your left, just in case you need a coffee or maybe a pastry or cookie! You will see the signs for the ramp on the right just ahead and follow I89 south.
At Exit 6 follow Route 63 down a long winding hill to the lights at Route 14. Go straight ahead on Middle Road, leading to the Rock of Ages Quarry, the largest granite quarry in the world. (Head for the Visitor Center – it’s well signposted.) Get tickets for the tour, which leaves about every 45 minutes and watch the video while you are waiting. The size of that hole in the ground will blow you away. (Note the tours run from late May till mid October only). You can see more photos in our photo album.
Take Middle Road back to the lights and turn right onto Route 14 into Barre – pronounce it Barry, please. Be careful coming into the town center; as you head to the major intersection you need to stay on the right past the lights immediately before the 302/14 intersection, then get into the left lane to turn left. Continue through town till you come to the intersection with a sign to I89 on the left. Turn right at those lights onto Route 14 also called Maple Avenue. The Hope Cemetery is about one mile up on the left. Note the first driveway is the exit – continue into the open and you will come to the main entrance flanked by a marble sculptures.
Don’t pass this up – it doesn’t sound like a great side trip, but it is. Many of the monuments were carved for their own family members by stonemasons who worked at the Rock of Ages Quarry. Amazing. Find the soccer ball, the biplane, the eighteen-wheeler, the stock car, and the cube on one of its points. There are family portraits including a husband and wife sitting up in bed and lots of intricately carved floral arrangements. You can see more photos in our photo album.
When you head back down Maple Avenue and you have two options. To come straight back to West Hill House go straight across at the lights following the signs to I89 north then return to exit 9 and retrace your route. Or you can visit Montpelier on the way home.
To visit Montpelier, the smallest State Capital in the USA, turn right at the lights onto Route 302. After a few miles you will come to a roundabout where 302 merges with route 2 – you will want the 2nd exit signposted for Montpelier. As you come into the town follow Route 2 as it jogs across the river, then left at the first lights still on Route 2, also called State Street. Park (you will need to use a meter or a pay and display parking lot – check with us for quarters before you head out if you don’t have a few) and admire the gold domed, granite State House (open weekdays), the great bookstores and the restaurants including a few that are part of the New England Culinary Institute. Another interesting place to visit is the Vermont History Museum, just east of the Capitol on State Street. (Tuesday—Saturday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm)
The Capital Grounds on the right just before the bridge is great place for a coffee or sandwich (cash only). Then continue on Route 2 which intertwines with the Winooski River and I89 till you come to the intersection of Route 100B, then retrace your route back to West Hill House.