Story by Mike Blinn with photos by Rick Zuccato, UCR Members (from January 2017 Provinz page 40)
On a beautiful sunny July 28th morning, 11 of Germany’s finest gathered at our Port Hope meeting place. It was like a group of kids back at camp for another awesome adventure. After signing all the appropriate forms, our eager group was excited to explore their goodie bags and hit the open road.
We travelled along the 401 to Brockville to meet car #12, and our co-hosts for the day. Dave and Roberta Riddell had organized a lunch venue for us overlooking the beautiful Brockville waterfront. After lunch, the Riddells guided us to the Prescott border crossing for our back roads trip to our first destination… Lake Placid.
Upon our arrival at the Golden Arrow Resort, we pulled in to find a sectioned off parking area, with signs saying “Private Parking for the UCR Porsche Club.” Each room had a spectacular lakefront view, with balconies overlooking Mirror Lake. The Hotel had also arranged a private dining room for our hungry and thirsty brood.
After breakfast, we left Lake Placid around 10 a.m. with an overwhelming farewell from the amazing resort staff. They all wanted to get pictures of our shining beauties. Our first stop was to visit the top of Whiteface Mountain (the highest altitude in New York state) of about 5,200 feet. The sky was blue, and the view was absolutely breathtaking. We then ventured down the mountain, with a sound of Porsches, on our way to Stowe Vermont. Our route took us through many unique cottage towns on some great driving roads, along the Lake Champlain shoreline. A subway sandwich and gas pit stop was a godsend for those who had too much coffee for breakfast. Back on the waterfront trail, we landed in Stowe around 4:30 and loaded up on some bevies for the evening. Arriving at the Von Trapp Family Lodge, we once again had organized a private parking area for our babies to rest for the night.
The Von Trapp Family Lodge is still owned and operated by the Von Trapp family, and is an incredible facility with incredible mountain views. Some of our group elected to eat in the dining room, while others chose to enjoy some ice cold Von Trapp beer, brewed on the premises.
A free morning for all, to hike, swim, enjoy a book by the pool or just enjoy the unique shops in downtown Stowe. At 11 a.m., we ventured to the Mount Mansfield gondola, which took us up the mountain, where we had arranged our own dining area at the Cliff House restaurant at the summit of the mountain. Once again, we were so totally spoiled by yet another sunny cloudless day with unforgettable views. After our lunch, the afternoon was a free day for those to explore Stowe. At 7 p.m., we had arranged for Snowflake Cab Co to pick us up at the Von Trapp Lodge, and shuttle us to our dining destination, Flannel’s – a five-star restaurant at the Top Notch Resort. The venue was everything we were promised, and after a great meal and many empty bottles of wine, Snowflake picked us up and returned us to the Von Trapp.
After breakfast, we were eager to hit the road, and enjoy more awesome mountain driving. We drove up Mount Mansfield on our way to venture through “THE NOTCH” – which has boulders inches from your car in some areas. We then headed north in Vermont, which, without a doubt, had some of the most scenic roads.
We travelled through many interesting villages across the northern tip of Lake Champlain, heading towards the Canadian border. Arriving at the border around 2:30, we were now en route to our final destination – The Willow Inn, in Hudson, Quebec.
After checking in to the Inn, we had a private dining room to set up for the 2nd annual ZUCCATO RACE night. Our group had booked the entire Inn as well as the Coach House across the road. The Willow Inn is also a lake front property with all rooms overlooking the lake.
The ZUCCATO racetrack was erected, and the race got under way at 6 p.m. sharp. There were 12 entries, and each car was identical. Rick had numbered each car 1-12, and these numbers were owned by each car throughout our tour. (We had arranged a driving pattern where each car was in the same lineup throughout our tour). This event was the highlight of the trip, and the excitement was as if you were at the track.
1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners were awarded Porsche trophies (hand crafted by Rick Zuccato), along with a bottle of champagne, and a Porsche race poster, both donated by the OAKVILLE PORSCHE CENTRE. Oakville Porsche was very gracious in supplying our Tour with hats and t-shirts, along with Porsche Oakville bottled water for our goody bags.
After a great farewell dinner and many laughs (John van Kralingen’s New Year’s Eve depends story) and speeches of thanks, we ended our night around 11 so our crew could organize for day 5, which was sadly, departure for home.
I would like to extend my many thanks to the Blinn/ Zuccato organizing team: Rick, for his many hours of people organizing, and sharing his artistic talents in creating the SOUND OF PORSCHES logo, and supplying the race track and cars. Claire, for her administrative skills making sure that all the appropriate paperwork was in place, and also for organizing the race schedule and for putting up with Rick through a year of planning this event. And Molly, for assisting me with every aspect of planning the hotels, dinner venues, route planning and also for putting up with me through yet another winter of tour planning.
We are looking forward to our 3rd annual Blinn/Zuccato adventure 2017, which is already in the planning stages.