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I spy Vermont

James Bond in print involved a lot of intrigue, sexy situations and intellectual fun to readers. The literary J.B. was imagined more as a mid-20th century version of British "ace of spies" Sidney Reilly than a Hollywood action hero.

Known mostly by hardcore Bond fans, Ian Fleming set two James Bond spy adventures in our region. In "For Your Eyes Only", Bond visits Vermont on an unofficial assignment for spy boss M, and in "The Spy Who Loved Me," he falls for a sexy woman managing an Adirondack motel north of Lake George Village, N.Y.

In the 1960 short story "For Your Eyes Only", Bond flies to Montreal, Canada, and then crosses the border into Vermont via car to track down a bad guy named von Hammerstein. The German thug lives on a guarded estate overlooking Echo Lake in Plymouth, Vt. Without spoiling the location details or plot, we will report that a violent shootout occurs between Bond and some nasty Cuban gunmen.

It's fun to imagine a famous spy on a secret mission in Vermont; it's too bad the 1981 film of the same title had little in common with Fleming's print version. The Vermont Film Commission would have appreciated the true-to-the-book location business.

In the 1962 novel, "The Spy Who Loved Me", Bond is again in the land of northern lakes, this time he checks into the Dreamy Pines Motor Court located along Route 9N in Lake George, N.Y. But don't bother checking into this motel to get a feel for Bond - it's fictional.

Bond appears in only a few chapters of "The Spy Who Loved Me." Again, without spoiling the plot, we'll at least reveal that the story involves, sex, gangsters and a certain British spy.

In rereading both Bond tales, it's easy to see that Fleming wrote about the greater Champlain Valley region with some authority. Vermont freelance writer and long-time 007 fan Beth Schaeffer reports that Fleming had motored through Vermont and upstate New York for several weeks while on a vacation during the early 1950s.

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