Monday, August 17, 2015

New England Vacation – Day 9: Dog Mountain, Ziplining, New Hampshire

After breakfast at our inn, we traveled east.

We went to a place I had discovered on TripAdvisor called Dog Mountain. Dog Mountain was the home and inspiration of a Vermont artist named Stephen Huneck. On the 150 acre mountain-top property, he built Dog Chapel, which he described as follows:

“I wanted to build a chapel, one that celebrated the spiritual bond we have with our dogs, and that would be open to dogs and people. People of any faith or belief system. I built that chapel on Dog Mountain, our mountain-top farm in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. I have styled it in the manner of a small village church built in Vermont around 1820. It is important to me that the chapel looks like it belongs with its setting of rolling mountains and pasture. The white steeple points up to the heavens, and on the top is a Lab with wings that turns in the wind and proclaims this place has a special affinity with dogs. As you walk inside the chapel you will be bathed in the light of my stained glass windows. Dog carvings surround you, music plays, all reaffirming the connection between art, nature, and spirituality. I look at this chapel as the largest artwork of my life, and my most personal. It is my desire to make this a place both magical and transforming.”

At Dog Chapel, visitors are welcome to write a remembrance and post a photo of their departed dog. It is quite a moving sight to see every space in the chapel covered with photos and words of remembrance.

My wife posted a remembrance for her two beloved Golden Retrievers which she gave up as a single mom in order to focus on taking care of Kai after he was born.

We were very glad to have visited this most unique place.

In addition to the Chapel, we visited the gallery that displays and sells Huneck's artwork.

The entire building is dedicated to dogs, including the faucet in the restroom.

After our visit to Dog Mountain, we continued our journey, crossing the border into New Hampshire.

After lunch, the plan was to take a ride on the Mount Washington Cog Railway. Mount Washington is the highest mountain in New England, and the railway is the second steepest in the world (after the Pilatus Railway in Switzerland).

I had bought tickets online, but when we got to the station, we found out that all trips up the mountain were cancelled for the day due to mechanical malfunction of one of the engines.

Although he reluctantly posed for this picture, Kai was very upset.

I didn’t think he was particularly excited about going on the train or seeing the top of the mountain. But this sudden change of plans set him off anyway.

He ranted loudly and angrily.

We tried to calm him down, but he did the opposite of everything we suggested, getting more loud and angry.

I suggested that we could go ziplining instead, but that only made him more angry.

I didn’t want to spend the rest of the afternoon in our hotel room, but it was apparent that trying to do anything else with Kai would be fruitless and frustrating for all.

We went back to the hotel to take a little break in the hopes that he would settle down.

Once safe in the hotel room and n his iPad, Kai was a happy boy again. I let him continue for a good long time, and then pulled up a video of people ziplining at the place I wanted to try.

Kai had said he was scared to go ziplining, but after seeing the video and hearing me explain that he would be strapped in and would not fall, he realized that it wasn’t as scary as he thought. He agreed to try it.

We drove over to the place and got our equipment. This would be the first time for all of us.

My wife and Kai went first so I could take pictures.

Here is Kai all set to go while my wife is getting buckled in.

This particular zipline is about 800 feet long and participants reach a top speed of about 30 mph.

Here is a shot of Kai coming into the finish area on his very first run.

After his first run, he did two more runs, once with me and once more with Mom.

He said it wasn’t as scary as he thought it would be, and I think he actually enjoyed it for the most part. We gave him big high fives for trying something new.

After ziplining, we walked over to a nearby chairlift for a ride up to the top of the mountain (not Mount Washington, but a smaller one).

While Kai is smiling in this next photo, he was actually more scared doing this chairlift than he was of ziplining.

My wife and I thought the chairlift was pleasant and relaxing but there were several moments when Kai was visibly upset and frightened. Go figure.

The view from the top was great, and made up for our missing out on the railway trip earlier. You can actually see the line for the railway going up Mount Washington in the background toward the right side of this photo.

After that, we went back to the hotel. Kai had certainly earned some pool time on this day.

And then we went for dinner at a steakhouse inside our hotel. Our outdoor seats had a gorgeous view of Mount Washington and a neighboring diner was kind enough to take this family photo of us.

The steak dinner itself was good. When the food came, I was too hungry and excited to take a picture.

All in all, it was a good day. My wife especially enjoyed Dog Mountain, I got everyone to try something new, and Kai got to go to the pool.

Hopefully there will more fun in the days ahead.


  1. A very fun filled day...and a happy steak ending for Dad!

    1. Yes, a day late, but this ribeye was very good!

  2. What?? No Cat Mountain? haha....
    That ziplining looks fun...never tried that!

    1. Betsy, I actually thought that with your love of cats and your artistic abilities, you would be the perfect person to start Cat Mountain.


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