Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's The Green Mountains, Boys!

And girls!  OK, the little word play will be lost on anyone not knowing their Revolutionary War history.

But we spent the day in, around, and on top of the Green Mountains of Vermont.

We started just down the road from our hotel at the Norman Rockwell Museum.  Rockwell lived in this area for some time and many of the local people were models for his illustrations.  
 The museum featured his magazine covers and advertising pieces.  The history of the times was reflected on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post.  Here's the one near my birth day.
 And this one is dated on the exact day of Tom's birth.
 And then into the hills we went.
 The first stop was at the Crowley Cheese Factory.  Yep, they made wonderful cheddar right there in a building dating from 1880.
 Also near Ludlow we found the Green Mountain Sugar House, a much larger maple syrup producer than we saw the other day, but not nearly as much fun.
 And just up the road was this hand crafted furniture company, with amazingly beautiful tables and chairs and other custom items.
 I loved this rocker made out of tapped sugar maple.
 Across the road we could see one of the many ski areas on the mountains tops.
 We had packed a road lunch with sandwiches from Subway, an apple from the hotel, some cheese we bought at the Crowley Cheese Factory, and some maple sugar candy from the Sugar House.  We ate it here in  the gazebo on the green in Ludlow.

This was our view.

The next mountain village was Weston, which was first settled in 1761, although at that time this village green was a frog pond.
 The old mill is now a tool museum.
 And The Vermont Country Store has another huge establishment here.  That meant more tasting!
 It's as much a museum as a store.  Here is the toaster collection.
 And here is the scale museum.
 We passed through Manchester, passing more grand old homes, and on to the Mount Equinox Skyline Drive, a private toll road that takes you to the top of Mount Equinox.

 In spite if the grand views, I noticed these tiny blue-eyed grass blooms at my feet.

 We pressed on, searching for yet another bridge, and found it - The Bridge on The Green in Arlington.
 The bridge crossed the Battenkill River to these old homes, now an inn.  This is where Norman Rockwell once lived.

 As much as I like Rockwell, the resident of this house is one I admire much more.  This was a pilgrimage for me.  This is the Robert Frost Stone House Museum.
 We hurried to get here on time and arrived at 4:30, knowing it closed at 5:00.  But alas, it was not open at all.  However that did not deter me from seeing all I could see on my own.

Frost wrote " Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening" from this dining room, on a hot summer day!
 "Something there is that doesn't love a wall" (The Mending Wall).
 "When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter, darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them."
 We finally landed in Bennington, and found our dinner at this brew pub, where we sat on an outdoor roof terrace and enjoyed the pleasant evening.
 But we weren't done yet.  We set out to find the Bennington Battle Monument, which isn't hard to find, since you can see it from all over.

 It was here that the Revolutionary Army, with the aid of the Green Mountain Boys, held off and drove back the British, preventing them from capturing the store houses located on this site.
 But we found so much more than the monument!  I have a whole post of photos just of what we found that will have to wait.  There were homes up there dating from the 1760's!

And this!

 Along with all of the early settlers, and soldiers who died in the battle, was the grave of Robert Frost.
 See the birch trees?  I laid a token branch on the grave.
Others had left coins.

"I had a lover's quarrel with the world".  Yes.

Today there were many roads not taken, but many that were led to wonderful discoveries.  That's why we travel.  Tomorrow we'll choose some more of those roads.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 3 - Across Vermont

After being rained out yesterday, we went back to Bellows Falls this morning.  I have so many pics that I will have to do a whole post just on that town at another time.  But we did find the falls, here on the Connecticut River, where it narrows into a gorge.

And then we were off north and west to Chester.  Just outside of town we couldn't resist stopping at the antique mall.  It was fun to see all of the things a New England shop has that we don't have on the west coast.  Fortunately we can't fit much into our luggage, so it was easy to pass up all the treasures we found.
Chester is a beautiful village.  They were celebrating Memorial Day on the green.  In the book store we learned that they celebrate it on "the real day", May 30th.  Sounds like a Vermont thing to do.

Every landscape here includes hostas, even if there is nothing else but grass.  They seem to thrive here.
We thought it would be great to have late morning tea, but, alas, they are only open on weekends.
The next stop was Springfield, a mill town located around a 110 ft waterfall.  But we never found the water fall, just lots of old mill buildings.
Just outside of Springfield is this school house, the oldest one room school in the state.
Windsor, on the Connecticut River, is the birthplace of Vermont.  It was here in this tavern/inn that the constitution was drafted and signed.
It's another beautiful old town.

And it boasts the longest covered bridge in the USA, although it officially belongs to New Hampshire.  This is the Windsor-Cornish Bridge.
We finally made a lunch stop at this coffee shop.  I had a latte and a muffin.  Tom had a waffle with Vermont maple syrup.  We made up for it at dinner with salads and vegetables.

North of Windsor is the Simon Pierce Glass Factory.  We don't really know their products here on the west coast, but they are very big on the east coast.
Glassblowers make goblets, candlesticks, and other high quality household glassware.  There is also a pottery that turns out table service.  We bought a glass ornament.
After heading north, we finally turned west on highway 4, out of the Connecticut River Valley and into the Green Mountains.  Here we stopped at Quechee Gorge.
The Taftsville Bridge was taken out by Hurricane Irene.  Bad girl!
Woodstock, VT is a very beautiful town, full of Victorian homes and lovely public buildings.  It is very up scale, but the old general store is still going strong.

Right in town is this lovely covered bridge.

Continuing west along the Ottauquechee River we came to another bridge, the Lincoln Bridge.
We were headed for Rutland for our overnight, but we still had time so we continued on north of Rutland to Pittsford, to the Maple Museum.
There we saw how maple syrup and sugar have been made through the ages, and tasted the various types.
And we asked about bridges and were given a map to locate four more just in that area.

Dave from New Zealand wanted to know why they covered the bridges.  I answered him by email, but I got it wrong.  Of course Tom knew the correct answer.

In Vermont the only lumber tree they have is the Eastern White Pine.  It is not resistant to rot or decay, so they covered the actual bridge deck to protect it from the elements to preserve it.

And some guy named Wilson decided to build a castle out there in the hinterlands.  You can pay to go in it, but a drive by was good enough for us.

We are happily tucked away in our Best Western Inn tonight, and although dealing with very slow internet, we're keeping track of the 
sounders currently playing in Seattle.