I LIVE IN THE PRESENT OR NEAR FUTURE – BUT WAS IN THE PAST 17-19 October 2014

One shot "selfie" at the rock. With camera and not iPhone.

One shot “selfie” at the rock. With camera and not iPhone.

Yes – in Connecticut for my 50th reunion – kindergarten that is (and if you believe that, I still have a few choice bridges in my inventory for sale).  As I have groused to a few of you, reunions are not my thing, but friend from before kindergarten, Mimsy, talked me into coming.  And I have joyfully said I am going because: 1) I am alive; and, 2) I look great.  Now that I am home and writing, may I say it was a perfect weekend – both in Ray’s timing and the fun and pleasure I had.

By the numbers:  My graduating class was 142.  About 10% of my classmates are deceased, and another 10% have not been located in the intervening 50 years.  But, of the remaining tad over 100 – 60 plus classmates assembled for the weekend – an amazing percentage. And even more amazing, a good number or us were together from kindergarten through graduation. And, everyone looked great, shared stories, life experiences, and philosophies and thoughts on what made our generation different from previous ones. In a review of bios submitted it was noted that as a group we have volunteered more than previous generations, travel more, and for the most part show no sign of slowing down.  I relate to that!

I left shortly after noon on Friday the 17th for a leisurely drive to Wilton, picking up US Route 7 in Danbury to head south.  I have sadly seen the changes over the years.  In Branchville I cut over to Nod Hill Road to work myself down and past my home. Upon entering Wilton I passed the Weir Farm National Historic Site where I played as a youngster.  Remember one time in the barn one of the Gullys (caretakers at the time) just missed me with a pitchfork, and another time when fishing at the pond (site of many of J. Alden Weir’s impressionistic paintings) I did a good job at catching my finger only.

I first stopped at my home that my Dad built on family land in 1949 at 15 Partrick Lane – well, the house is to the left and the garage to the right. Both overshadowed by the additions in the middle.  Hard to see with the growth of trees. I was here until graduation.

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As I came back down to the end of Partrick Lane to take a picture of my first bus stop, a bus pulled up (Nod Hill has had many spots in the roads – including this – cut down and leveled out, or straightened a tad – Mimsy agreed).

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My Dad built this house when I left for college.  Now enveloped too by additions and growth in the past 50 years.

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And a tenth of a mile south at 523 Nod Hill Road is my grandmother’s house.  When I came through two years ago this month (click on this link for a great read and images of that Nod Hill Road, Wilton, CT trip) the lovely young new owner saw me and invited me in.  Complete rip-out had just begun for renovation and additions.  Would you believe she recognized me as I pulled up to get this image, and she invited me in to see the completed work.  FABULOUS and I thanked them and wished them many joyous years there.

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I need to write this story down that I have told many over the years.  When my grandfather found the Nod Hill farm in the mid-1920s for a weekend and summer home it was a costly $3,000 for the farmhouse, barn across the street, and over 200 acres. (you cannot get much for under $1,000,000 nowadays in Wilton).  “But I just want the house,” my grandfather stated.  ($3,000 was alot of money, even for him as Chief of Staff at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx).  “You do not understand,” replied the farmer. “the $3,000 is for the house, I am giving you the barn and acreage.”

Mimsy and me

Mimsy and me

By 5 PM I arrived at The Norwalk Inn where out of towners were staying. We visited and chatted at the bar, and then Mimsy, Aggie, Doug, Dusty and her husband and I had dinner at the inn before heading to the new Orem’s Diner in Wilton where others were gathering.  We all of course remember the original diner built in 1921.  The new diner building is huge, and the group took many tables around the room.  I meandered around, and then talked with Leland, with whom I have been friendly since high school.  Do you have those friends that if you have not seen each other in years that you pick up like it was yesterday?  I am fortunate to have three – Leland (since early 1960s); Mimsy (since early 1950s); and Scott

Lee and me.

Lee and me.

and Betty (since 1995).  Leland asked what I had planned for Saturday before the 3:30 homecoming football game.  “Well, nothing yet,” I replied.  “Great, call me if you would like to go out on my wooden boat.”  “About 85% for sure,” I replied.

Saturday I joined several folks for breakfast at the Norwalk Inn, and at 9 AM I turned around and there was Leland. “Ready to go,” he asked.  And off we went to his small marina in Rowayton on the Five Mile River.

Lee said, “let’s go have lunch in Centerport (Long Island).”  But as we entered Long Island

Leaving the Five Mile River looking south to Darien, CT

Leaving the Five Mile River looking south to Darien, CT

Sound he was carefully listening to the nautical weather channel and said, “no, we will get beat up and wet coming back.”  So instead we cruised up to Compo Beach in Westport, back along the shore fueling in Norwalk, and returned to Rowayton.

Leland when we were at the dock at Compo Beach in Westport.

Leland when we were at the dock at Compo Beach in Westport.

I was fascinated by Roton Point where Lee’s mother had gone to the Roton Point Amusement Park in the 1920s traveling by train from Georgetown to Norwalk, and then trolley to the park.

Roton Point from the Long Island Sound. Pavilion in center, roller coaster building to left.

Roton Point from the Long Island Sound. Pavilion in center, roller coaster building to left.

1914 Roller Coast entrance platform.

1914 Roller Coast entrance platform.

One of the best amusement parks in the area, steamers would travel from New York City.  In the 30s all the big bands played at the pavilion which still remains along with the entrance platform/building for the roller coaster built in 1914.  Leland knows of my affinity for the old amusement parks and summer resorts.

 

We then had lunch at The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood which Zagat has rated “Excellent” and voted as “Best Seafood” for years running.  You know I often share my meals with you.  One special for lunch (which we both had) was the Grilled Calamari.

Grilled Calamari.

Grilled Calamari.

During the course of our conversations Leland mentioned taking his boat down the Rideau Canal (follow this link for my history learning adventure there) and mentioned he wants to travel in Europe, but his wife has no interest.  Fast flash in Ray’s mind, “Lee, have you heard about narrow boats in the UK that you can rent and travel the canals?” I explained and suggested we do it.  (when we saw each other Sunday afternoon at Paul’s gathering he had already started researching and learning).  So, finally in 2015 there will be narrow boat posts.

After heading back to Wilton I attended the homecoming game, and was amazed at the crowds – nothing like it was in the 60s.  And cars were everywhere with tailgate parties set up.  But, it makes sense because the 175 member band is larger than our graduating class was.

175 member Wilton High School marching band.

175 member Wilton High School marching band.

Leaving after half-time I traveled past all my schools (all with additions and changed uses) but the image possibilities were not great, so are just documented in the “slide-show” below.  Remember to click on any one to open up to larger sizes.

I visited my Dad in Hillside Cemetery before heading back to the inn to shower and changeWilton-19 for dinner at Cobb’s Mill Inn in Weston.  The food was wonderful, conversation fun, and Dick related some stories from the bios he coordinated. Dancing to 60s and 70s songs followed, and both Aggie and Judy and Mimsy said I danced well – they were being nice.

Dick speaking to the class

Dick speaking to the class

 

Hard to get every into one picture in a small area.

Hard to get every into one picture in a small area.

Sunday morning I visited with a few remaining folks having breakfast at the inn for several hours before it was time to give Aggie and Mimsy hugs before I turned away with tears.  I had never gone before, but Paul after each reunion has had people over to his home in Wilton, and I arrived there at 11 AM.  It was an enjoyable couple of hours I had visiting with some other folks before leaving about 1:30.

But before recounting my journey home, I must confess that (although I mainly watched and listened to others) I really enjoyed the time I had with the Class of ’64.  The group was physically fit, well versed with varied and interesting backgrounds and stories. But there was the common history.  The sharing of thoughts as to where we got to where we are, and what lies ahead was insightful.  I believe that most everyone I talked with share my feelings that what has been is just that – nothing to get upset about – nothing to change – just experiences and lives to accept and cherish and learn from as the next day approaches.  Maybe I am interjecting more of my philosophy into this statement, but I believe that at least those I talked with feel the same way I do – Life has been, and is great.

Well, let’s get heading north back to New Hampshire.  My plan was to head up my favorite US Route 7 arriving in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, for dinner.  At The Red Lion Inn! Did you have to ask?

US Route 7 from New Milford to Stockbridge is probably the road that was the genesis for my “shunpiking” but ironically it has been about 20 years since I was on the stretch from New Milford to Kent.  When I lived off Route 202 north of New Milford in New Preston there was just no need or reason to traverse that stretch.  It was time to do so, and I am glad that I did.  I stopped at several antique shops (sadly nothing tempted my wallet), but I was so pleased to see that basically nothing, I repeat NOTHING, has changed on US 7 from New Milford, not just to Kent, but basically all the way to Stockbridge.

Gaylordsville, CT - POL's monument

Gaylordsville, CT – POL’s monument

I first stopped in Gaylordsville which I discovered in 1962 (have fantastic old car pictures from one early garage there).  This strange monument was built in the early 20th century as a “spite house” when the State took away the builder’s children.  There are a number of nefarious reasons why the State did.  Across the street, the building on the right I bought (in 1962) a cast iron fire truck for $4.50, and still have it.  It just served as an illustration in my book.

 

 

Antique shop was in the house on the right in 1962.

Antique shop was in the house on the right in 1962.

Kent is a precious town, but is popular and was crowded, so I passed on through when I remembered the Sloane-Stanley Museum which adjoins the Kent Iron Furnace (1826 – 1892).  Only lived minutes away for 6 years and never stopped.  But, quick left turn and I entered even though close to closing time.  Eric Sloane died in 1985 and, along with his fascinating tool collection, his studio (with painting he was working on at the time) was donated and reassembled there.

Eric Sloane's studio as it was when he died in 1985

Eric Sloane’s studio as it was when he died in 1985

When my bookshop was in New Preston I was able to buy many Sloane signed and inscribed books from families and estates there, and I still have an original drawing from BARNS – the evolution of the New Hampshire farmhouse.

I enjoyed also touring the Kent Iron Furnace site:

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But then I saw adjoining the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association’s museum on the 8 acres to the north. For some reason I missed this totally in the past.  Old steam engines, hit and miss engines, and much more.  All the things I have been fascinated by.  I drove around the property, but there was no time to explore.  Leland – we have a date to meet there next year.

Wilton-36A tad further just off US 7 on a steep hill in Cornwall is this house.  Owned by my Dad’s uncle and then cousins, it may still be in the family, but everytime I have stopped in the last decade it appeared unused, but looking in the windows with furniture where I remembered it.  I remember being there on a visit when about 7 or 8, and with my Dad we stopped and saw relatives maybe 15 years ago.

Franz Boas when visiting his family would work in the study under this barn.

Well, next comes my most favorite section of road along the Housatonic River and the Housatonic Meadows State Park.  Then comes the covered bridge in West Cornwall, and eventually you cross the border to Sheffield, MA.  There I visited another antique shop and reminisced with the talkative owner how antique selling used to be. When I left it was after 5PM but heading into Great Barrington one of my usual antique stops was still open – but no treasures this time (got an antique peanut warmer there for my birthday in 2013).

And my final destination to top off the perfect weekend?  Of course, The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge for dinner.  I finished my wine in front of the fire enjoying watching the people enjoying the inn before I headed home.  But under two hours away, I can easily head back (and have) anytime for dinner.

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You know I love this front porch

 

 

 

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and also the dining room

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So, my timing for the weekend from departure to return was perfect filling every waking moment.  In conclusion I have added, if you wish to click on this link the bio I submitted for the reunion (with my philosophies), and there is a link to the “miracle story” of my move to New Hampshire.  I don’t know what comes next, but my travels the last several months have been great, and it shall continue.  Thank you for reading, as always, yours, RAY

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CONCLUSION OF MY ROYCROFT – WESTERN NEW YORK EXPERIENCE – 10-11 October 2014

Yes, Betty, the answer is below — but the answer has prompted another question. Sadly I departed the program at the Roycroft Inn at 1PM on Friday, 10 October.  At the “graduation lunch” I was asked to read Elbert Hubbard’s CREDO.  Kitty asked me the night before, so I had practiced, and she said afterwards that my reading had been the best ever – of course.

Goodbye ROYCROFT INN, East Aurora, NY

Goodbye ROYCROFT INN, East Aurora, NY

This afternoon my destination was the the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda, NY and then Niagara Falls — but I got to experience even more. Audrey at the Sassafras B&B in Lancaster said I could drop my things early and get the keys.   Have you ever wondered why I stay at B&Bs?  Should be no question from here on.

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By 1:45 I was off on new adventures arriving shortly at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum. I have been fascinated by late 19th and early 20th century Amusement Parks for ages (collecting postcards of them) and in awe of the rides and carousels.

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There are other carrousel museums, BUT, this is the only one still in the original factory.  Lots to see, and I decided to share many images (remember you can click on one to open the slide show) and a video with you.

 

 

Finishing up this small but exceptional place in about an hour I found that I had time still to rush up to Old Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario at the end of the Niagara River.  I had decided the day before that I could just not accomplish all, but I did. My fascination continues with learning more about the War of 1812, and this fort was taken by the British and not returned to the US until May, 1815.  I made images of much of the information in the museum, but decided not to replicate these here, but I encourage you to check their very good website for great details on the area.

1726 French Castle at Old Fort Niagara

1726 French Castle at Old Fort Niagara

 

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But next, RAY VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDS you follow this shunpike from Lake Ontario along the Niagara River to Niagara Falls.  I bet 99% of people do not even know what is north of the falls. Leaving Fort Niagara State Park (a wonderful large park converted from the original army post) follow NY 18F south along the river. Great homes and views, and Lewiston, NY is amazing.  From Lewiston you climb up the escarpment heading south to the Lewiston Queenston Bridge to Canada ($3.50 US toll or $3.75 CA).  And from there I looped back to follow Niagara River Parkway south to the falls.  It is a fabulous Canadian park all the way to the Falls – just beautiful. Here are some (I bet seldom seen by US tourists) views along the way.

Looking south from under the Lewiston/Queenston Bridge to the NY power generation plant

Looking south from under the Lewiston/Queenston Bridge to the NY power generation plant

Looking north to the bridge from Canada.

Looking north to the bridge from Canada.

And, looking to the US from the same vantage point.

And, looking to the US from the same vantage point.

And then I got to the falls, and here are some obligatory images along with a video so you may also experience my evening.

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Looking back to the American Falls and Rainbow Bridge

Looking back to the American Falls and Rainbow Bridge

And a video for you to enjoy the full experience.

I will be honest (always am).  I was not impressed with the falls on this trip (last visit was 49 years ago).  It was not crowded, but the “honky tonk” was there in Canada, and when I crossed back to the US I could not escape Niagara Falls, NY, fast enough. Having been studying fantastic sites around the world for potential adventures, the falls are nice, but not great.  Sorry if I have offended anyone.  Mentioned it to my B&B hostess and she was a tad offended.

Saturday, 11 October I had no plans at all other than heading across NY state on US 20.  But while reading some of my accumulated literature before breakfast, I had noted in my booklet on Syracuse the Erie Canal Museum & Syracuse Heritage Area Visitor Center – are you starting to notice a pattern here?

Syracuse, NH Erie Canal Museum in the original 1850s Weighlock Building.

Syracuse, NH Erie Canal Museum in the original 1850s Weighlock Building.

Model of where the boats were pulled in to weigh. Canal has now been filled in for roadway.

Model of where the boats were pulled in to weigh. Canal has now been filled in for roadway.

Replica Canal Boat on weighing platform giving an idea what canal looked like here.

Replica Canal Boat on weighing platform giving an idea what canal looked like here.

On this trip I have been able to experience Buffalo, Rochester, and now Syracuse – all of which I was unfamiliar with.  Did you know that adjoining Syracuse is Lake Onondaga where salt was produced for generations from brine pumped from below the surface and not mined?  And that the south stated once that it was the salt from Lake Onondaga that enabled the north to win the Civil War?  I even had time to get to the Salt Museum (the WAZE app on my Iphone is great – thank you David).

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But heading to Syracuse took me away from US 20, and it was getting dark.  What to do?  Quick look at map – head to NY 5 towards Utica – still unexplored territory.  Well, I first stumbled into Chittenango (say that fast) which is the birthplace of L. Frank Baum – author of the OZ books.

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SEH-8And then I started coming upon more Erie Canal signs (hey, the “Wedding of the Waters” is flowing in my blood).  On a side street I found Chittenango Landing and its new museum at the site of an original Erie Canal repair facility.

 

Chittenango Landing Museum

Chittenango Landing Museum

And, then I found another original canal town, Canastota.

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Before it got dark I even got to see Oneida (home of Noyes social experiment and Oneida Silver).  If you know me (and you should) you also know that I have always been fascinated with roadside Americana, and early diners.  Could not figure out if this was abandoned or still functioning.

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Well, I hit Utica at 7PM and it was now dark.  Acceptable then to hop on the (curses) thruway and head to Albany, jog up to Troy, and then cross VT on Route 9 to I-91 and home.

Another great time – what can I say.  Alright, at least Betty has gotten this far.  Originally in the Town of Aurora there was a West and East Aurora.  At some point in time West Aurora became another village (now forget the name) but East Aurora remained as part of the Town of Aurora. BUT, that now leaves the question – why is there a Town of Aurora in Erie County, and also Aurora, NY, in Cayuga County.  The Betty Challenge – Find Out!

And, I was going to post this upon my return Saturday night, then postponed to Sunday, but about noon on Sunday I heard BLUE BELLE crying.  Off we went for four hours.  An absolutely perfect cruising day.  Up Rt 12 we headed and crossed the Connecticut River at Charlestown.  At the intersection with US 5 (I love this road along the river) we made our first stop. I had not stopped at this “new” antique shop before. BLUE BELLE saw a treasure and wanted to get it for me (I wanted it too).  What a sweet dear (but I loaned her the cash).  Fits, yes?  A cup of Mead anyone?

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I turned left on VT 143 never having been on it before, and headed back towards Springfield.  Great views, and now part of my local “get out and drive routes.”  In Springfield I headed up VT 106 and turned onto VT 10 back to VT 103 where I turned south back to Chester Depot and Chester.

At Chester Depot (was first there in 1963 getting provisions at Lisais while camping in Belzebuth – my 1929 Model A Ford Roadster) I stumbled into the Green Mountain Railway excursion train, and got into the station for the first time.

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A stop at The Stone House Antique Center (ask me sometime about its significance to me), and then back down VT 103 where I picked up I-91 for one exit.  BLUE BELLE was excited and wanted to “blow out some carbon.”  We will not confess that she topped out (well could do more) at around eighty, and feels real good now.

So, back home.  A CHRISTMAS CAROL time is approaching, and I have so much to accomplish it is hard to believe. But thanks for traveling with me and reading along.  As always, Love, RAY

 

PS – did you know that I am approaching 34,000 page views on my “silly travel blog?”

Posted in 2014-d - ROYCROFT EXPERIENCE (and more) - 4-12 October 2014, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

ONE OF THE BEST CONTINUES – 8 and 9 OCTOBER in EAST AURORA, LOCKPORT and BUFFALO, NEW YORK

As I am keyboarding this on Thursday night, I must say that this has been one of the most educational and fascinating “group” trips I have experienced, and it will be leading to much more exploration and learning. Hey, keeping those brain electrons moving I will never, never get older – but you know that!

Wednesday morning October 8th we first toured the Elbert Hubbard Roycroft Museum in an original craftsman bungalow home that was gifted to the Aurora Historical Society in 1985 when the owner, Gladys ScheideMantel, at age 100, decided it was time.  We had a private extended tour, and it was not until the end that I saw “no pictures please.”  But it was a private tour, no one said anything.  And if you open up this slide show gallery you can get a taste of the simplicity and beauty, and richness of color and wood in the Arts and Crafts items.

Here is the richness of Roycroft Mission Style Arts and Crafts

Here is the richness of Roycroft Mission Style Arts and Crafts

Some more images from the Elbert Hubbard Museum.

We then walked over to see the Tiffany Windows at the Baker United Methodist Church.  I could not resist this image below.

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I fondly remember the old faux asphalt shingle brick appearance siding on the house my grandmother was born in in the Bronx.  I love color and texture in my images, and that is captured here with the deterioration of this probably now 80 plus year old “home improvement.”

Not even trying to show you the church windows, here is just a colorful portion of one.

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Two more churches were to be visited before the free afternoon, but I “ducked out” to take some more pictures of a table I saw on Tuesday in an antique shop that I thought son, Gary, would like, and had emailed him about.  But the main thing was my need to head north to Lockport, NY, to see the flight of five locks in a row with a change in elevation of 60 feet.

I arrived in Lockport, got an email from Gary saying, “awesome, get it!,” so I called back to reserve the table and will load it up on Friday to make the trek east and eventually to Gloucester, MA.

My Goal - the Lockport, NY, Flight of Locks.

My Goal – the Lockport, NY, Flight of Locks.

The biggest challenge in building the Erie Canal was probably the elevation and rock formations at Lockport.  I asked the right questions when I walked into the little museum.  How dumb can someone be I have reminded myself.  From Lake Erie to the Hudson River there is a drop in elevation of over 500 feet – thus the locks – but there is 60 feet in Lockport.  Now, looking at a map with Lake Ontario north of Lake Erie (and connecting at Buffalo) one would intuitively think that water would flow “down hill” (south) into Lake Erie.  Dumb Ray!!!  You forgot!!! The flow is north and out the St. Lawrence River eventually, thus when the water flows over Niagara Falls it is really going north.  There is a rock escarpment in the area causing a tough barrier heading east from Buffalo.  In Lockport this elevation problem was conquered with a double flight of five locks, and to the west the canal had to be cut through rock.

At first here are some images of the museum, followed by views of the locks themselves, and then a gallery of some information found around the locks.  Do open up the slide show and read if you wish – it is fascinating, and hopefully you will want to learn more.

 

 

The uppermost original lock.

The uppermost original lock.

"New" lock.  When the barge canal was built in 1918, two larger locks replace the second flight of five.

“New” lock. When the barge canal was built in 1918, two larger locks replace the second flight of five.

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And, here are a few of the history panels around the lock area, if you would like to learn a little bit:

I arrived back in East Aurora with time to get ready for an evening reception and dinner at the Roycroft built residence of our guide and hostess Ellen.  A fantastic evening which included a tour of her husband’s studio where he explained to us how he designs toys.

Thursday’s agenda was focused on Buffalo and a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright houses.  Having gotten an overview of Buffalo architecture and its history I NEED TO COME BACK and learn and experience more!

Following our downtown tour, our first stop was at the Darwin Martin Complex for a two hour tour of the home FLW built for Martin.

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Impressive, and I learned so much about Wright and his techniques in manipulating the eye and his purposes in blending with the landscape.

There was some time for the gift shop.  I am searching for some great hammered copper A&C candlesticks for my fine collection, but in the shop I saw a very reasonable pair of glass candlesticks in a simple Mission Style.  Being the “hopeless romantic” that I am, I now own them to include in my displays of flickering enjoyment.

Not on the schedule, but Ray had nicely asked, “could we stop at the small monument at the site of the Temple of Music (check out this link) at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition where President McKinley was shot?”  He died later of gangrene, and Teddy Roosevelt was sworn in shortly in Buffalo.  Unlike other world’s fair sites which have become parks in other cities, the Pan-American site was turned into a residential area (partially because of the black mark caused by the assassination).  A nice area (as were all the areas we saw in Buffalo – all well planned out with many parks, etc. designed by Frederick Law Olmstead).  Ellen directed our bus driver to the street, and I asked, “just 37 seconds please, that is all I need to get a picture.”

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One of my bus mates said I made it back in 33 seconds.  Have to work on the list of all world’s fair sites I have been to throughout the world.

We then toured the Elmwood Village area, Millionaire’s Row, the Wilcox Mansion were TR was sworn in, and ended up at Canalside – the original terminus of the Erie Canal.

Original Terminus of the Erie Canal in Buffalo

Original Terminus of the Erie Canal in Buffalo

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Click above to read.

It adjoins the Naval and Military Park, and there I saw tied up a submarine, the USS LITTLE ROCK (DDG-4) and the USS SULLIVANS DD-537.

USS SULLIVANS DD-537  with USS LITTLE ROCK to the rear.

USS SULLIVANS DD-537 with USS LITTLE ROCK to the rear.

 

To better my chance for an officer program in college I had enlisted in the US Naval Reserves in high school (it worked for the officer program), but had a two week summer cruise obligation.  After graduation, and before college, I was assigned to the USS SULLIVANS for two weeks (50 years, and 4 months ago).  The ship was heading to Prince Edward Island, Canada, to be the US ship in port for the 100th anniversary celebration of the Confederation of Canada.  There was a gala parade that I watched with another fellow (in enlisted uniform) and I got into conversation with a couple of performers from the Wayne and Schuster show that was to be held that evening.  Since I was heading to Northwestern initially majoring in radio, TV and film, they asked if I wanted to see the show.  Well, we went as invited guests, and then tagged along to the private party for Prime Minister Lester Pearson. There I met Wayne and Schuster and the Prime Minister (still a teenager remember).  We were the only US presence it seemed, and everyone was coming up to Bob Eck (I remember few names from the past) and I pushing drinks into our hands and thanking us for being good allies.  All of a sudden the Commanding Officer of the SULLIVANS saw us and came up exclaiming, “what are you doing here?”  My actor friend jumped in and said, “I invited them, and we are having an all night party, can they come there too?”  Well, it was “Cinderella Liberty” and you were supposed to be back on the ship by 10PM or BIG TROUBLE.  But shocked at being asked, the CO said, “yes.”  It was a fun night, but after a few hours sleep Bob and I headed back to the ship for muster at 8AM.  Walking down the pier everyone was THEH-11staring at us, and once crossing the Quarterdeck the Officer of the Watch had us escorted to the Executive Officer’s stateroom.  “And where have you been?  You have been AWOL.”  “But the CO said we could stay out,” I replied.  “Likely story – stay here.”  A few moments later he returned saying, “the next time the Commanding Officer says you can stay out, call the ship and tell us.”

Next we headed west along Lake Erie to Graycliff Estate, the summer home of the Martins.  Still under renovation it is a further superb example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s genius.

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Greycliff

Water flowing from the front entrance south, giving the impression it is flowing through the house from Lake Erie.

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Heading back to East Aurora we concluded the day’s tour at a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian home owned by Roycroft Renaissance potter Janice McDuffie.

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and the back “deck”

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The Usonian was an idea for an affordable home for “common people.”  The plans for this home were bought in 1953, but the home not built until 1966. Another reception with wine and goodies while folks toured the small but functional home, and saw Janice’s pottery works and purchased her wonderful items.

This last full day was fantastic with dinner followed by another talk on the Darwin Martin house.  I must say that having had an introduction to Buffalo, RAY RECOMMENDS that Buffalo needs to be experienced for its architecture and history.  At the time of the Pan American Exposition it was the 8th largest city in the country and the wealthiest because of its important geographical spot for commerce in the US.  I cannot wait to get back there for further study.

It is now Friday night, 10:33 PM as I am finishing this up.  The program was over at 1 PM, and I ran hard from then until 9 PM.  I am finishing this and posting it while in a B&B in front of a fire, and wait until you travel with me on today’s journey – WOW.  And, then there is tomorrow’s trip home, who knows???

Writing by the fireplace – more B&B images on the next post.

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I cannot understand why some people refuse to experience B&Bs.  Good they don’t, then I have them to myself. And, this Queen Anne (the Sassafras B&B in Lancaster, NY) which is on the National Historic Register I have totally to myself.

Posted in 2014-d - ROYCROFT EXPERIENCE (and more) - 4-12 October 2014, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ROYCROFT CAMPUS – EAST AURORA, NY – 6 and 7 October, 2014

The Road Scholar program I am attending is THE HISTORY OF EH-50THE ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT.  I choose this because of a developing interest in the time period as I became a full-time bookseller, and because as I review the Road Scholar programs I seek out adventures that include things that I cannot experience as a private tourist.  Again, I choose well, and after day one am ecstatic.

In reaction to the impact of the Industrial Revolution on society and artistic production, and based upon William Morris’ work in England, Elbert Hubbard founded his

Statue of Elbert Hubbard

Statue of Elbert Hubbard

Roycroft Campus in 1895 as a communal business and crafts colony.  It was one of the many utopian styled societies formed in response to the shoddy, mass-produced goods, and ills of factory life. It functioned like the old guild systems. Until it closed in 1938, the Roycroft Artisans (Roycrofters) became well-known for their hand-printed books, furniture, and metal work.  The campus grew from the original print shop (Hubbard’s original main interest).  People wanted to visit, and he had to tear down his home and build a hotel.  This connected with a peristyle to the original print shop building, and the “guest house” next door that he purchased prior to the

View leaving the second floor of the guest house.

View leaving the second floor of the guest house.

hotel being built.  I am staying in the guest house (sadly because I want to see the old hotel rooms – will ask to get access to one for pictures) BUT I am in good company in the guest house with spirits of Thomas A. Edison, Henry Ford, Teddy Roosevelt and Susan B. Anthony who stayed there before me (not this century).

What is exceptional about this program, is that the key leader, Kitty Turgeon, is the individual responsible for renaissance of the Roycroft movement, the preservation of the Roycroft Inn, and the National Historic Landmark designation for the 13 buildings extant of the Roycroft Campus. Since 1991, she has been the executive director for the Foundation for the Study of the Arts and Crafts Movement at Roycroft – just google her.  And to top off the uniqueness of the program, on Monday we had an evening reception at her home (originally owned by the Roycroft artist Alexis Fournier)

Here are some more images around the Inn.

You need to learn about Elbert Hubbard (1856 – 1915 when lost on the Lusitania). Our Monday lectures introduced us to the Inn, Campus, and the History and Philosophy of the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Roycrofters Prominence in It.  Although having a vague idea of the movement, it was the right time to attend because I have had discussions the past year with several people about the beauty of nature and the connections with a spiritual being – it ties in, I needed to understand better.  So much to share, so I have decided to give you some snipits from my notes, hoping you will want to delve further on your own.

Hubbard began as a salesman for the Larkin Soap Company in Buffalo, NY, and excelled as a marketer.   An exceptional marketer, he invented the idea of premiums from box tops, and coupons. But at 36 he became bored, and wanting to be a writer sold his interest in the firm for about $75,000.  He tried Harvard, but after a few months took a Grand Tour.  In England he met William Morris, and became fascinated with Morris’ Kelmscott Press, and the Arts and Crafts Movement. He returned to East Aurora buying land and printing presses.  Changing his life was the publication of A MESSAGE TO GARCIA in 1899.   A best seller, only behind the Bible and Dictionary, the message of his essay was a solid work ethic to always do your best, and do what was right.  His popularity with his publication, THE PHILISTINE, A PERIODICAL OF PROTEST, grew exponentially, and he had to build a 27,000 square foot printing facility.  Eventually over 500 people worked on the campus and the farms to support the campus.

The community philosophy was to make beautiful things to last.  His movement was not a style, but a way of life – a spiritual path.  There is a creative urge in man to have expression to fulfill his reason to grow – learn – and, express. You need to get your soul into your work – the spiritual way of looking at it.

Hubbard was a marketing genius, and promoted his movement with the incorporation of nature and beauty.  By surrounding yourself with beauty it promotes the good chemicals in your brain and body.  Some key features of Hubbard’s philosophies included: taking care of the planet (e.g Teddy Roosevelt and the establishment of national parks); gender equality which he promoted in East Aurora; the need to take personal responsibility to exercise and take care of your health.  The symbols balance body, mind, and spirit.  The roots of the movement include honesty, truth, and spirituality – which also are signified with the medieval origins of the Roycroft symbol.

I am afraid looking at my dozen pages of notes that I am not expressing not conveying all that I wish, but there is so much to learn from this experience.  You may wish to check out the PBS website on Hubbard for a start.  I will continue to review my notes from Kitty’s talk.

We then walked around the neighboring streets, and I was struck by the architecture.  More on that tomorrow.  In some free time I had a chance to run downtown on my own to the “main attraction” – Vidler’s 5&10.

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When have you last seen gondolas in a store?

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At 5:30 we had a reception and tour of Kitty’s home, originally owned by Alexis Fournier.

Reception at Kitty's. Her home is amazing with its Roycroft items everywhere.

Reception at Kitty’s. Her home is amazing with its Roycroft items everywhere.

A veritable treasure trove of A&C items, including a unique settee valued at $40,000.  Just fun things to have around to enjoy and share.

Tuesday started with a demonstration by a master Roycroft Renaissance silversmith

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TEH-2which was followed by a printing demonstration in the Roycroft Chapel (I know more about letterpress than that young lady).  Next we could try our hand at hand-illuminating a printed work.  Lunch was then at the Elm St. Bakery.

After lunch with the group on Tuesday, I spent an hour back walking and observing East Aurora, New York architecture around the Roycroft Campus that we had toured on Monday. Here are some of the homes that struck me in this idyllic looking New England Village, which has its roots back to the New England Adams family. (Remember to click on any image to open up the slide show gallery)

Kitty then gave another presentation in the Chapel – Hubbard’s

Kitty explaining stairs in the Chapel. Note Roycroft symbol on post.

Kitty explaining stairs in the Chapel. Note Roycroft symbol on post.

chapel, is not a chapel as you would expect it. In ancient times, chapel was the “guild hall of the printers” where the word comes from – or its editorial content.

 

 

 

 

 

Outside Chapel doorway.

Outside Chapel doorway.

And, when in East Aurora, NY, you have to stop at the birthplace and world headquarters of Fisher-Price Toys.  So, here are a few images for David, Gary, and Julie – and you other kids out there.

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After dinner we had a “show and tell” of Roycroft items.  I brought a pair of bookends and three bound volumes of Hubbard’s PHILISTINE that I have had for years.  Kitty dated my bookends at pre-1915 based on the mark (value had been $500) and everyone enjoyed my bound PHILISTINEs.  I would have included a picture, but I already repacked them in the car.

Well, this got verbose, but actually re-looking at my notes there is so much more I want to share.  There may have to be a “Roycroft evening at 44” sometime to continue.  I will try to shorten my writing about Wednesday and Thursday.  Yours, RAY

Posted in 2014-d - ROYCROFT EXPERIENCE (and more) - 4-12 October 2014 | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

ON THE WAY TO EAST AURORA, NY – 129 MILES WEST OF AURURA, NY – 4-5 October 2014

Saturday, October 4th was half a re-positioning day.  Remember I call a day a re-positioning day when I “lose a day” and maybe transit a horrid turnpike setting myself into position for some serious shunpiking?  Well, today I left a tad before 8AM to cut across Vermont, scoot over to Troy, NY, and cross the Hudson to pick up I-87 (sorry) to get onto (really sorry) the New York Thruway — but only to Exit 39 where I was going to pick up NY 31.

I arrived at my starting point at 1PM, Baldwinsville, NY, in the pouring rain, ready to travel the next 80 miles that ending up taking 4 1/2 hours – not bad.  One goal of this trip to East Aurora, NY, is to visit the western parts of the Erie Canal.  In Fall, 2008, I spent 3 days on a canal boat from the Hudson to Oneida Lake.  That was my first excursion after loosing Cathy, and learning about the Erie Canal has been on the list for decades.  It was fun, but now I have to follow the canal along the backroads to get the full flavor.

The New York State Thruway essentially follows Clinton’s “Big Ditch” completed in 1825, which was replaced in 1918 with the 525 mile NY State Barge Canal system.  The economics of opening up New York state and the west is fascinating as well as the rise and fall of canal’s port towns, a few of which I experienced today. The canal in the western part of NY follows NY Route 31 mainly (or visa versa).  In case you are not as enthralled with old modes of transportation as I am, some of today’s images will be in galleries, and you need not click to open larger sizes if you prefer.

So off I headed shunpiking on NY 31 coming first to a sign for Jordan which required shuning the shunpike to turn into the town.

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(RAY RECOMMENDS — always turn at the sign that says “business district” or the like — a great “business district” can be but 5 or 6 Victorian buildings).  And, here I began to start finding old and new canal features, beginning with this former aqueduct through town.

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Next I came to a pull-off for the Centreport Aqueduct:

 

This “private museum” (now abandoned?) used to be open Fridays from 6 to 8.

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Another small sign led me south to the connector canals in Montezuma (no not Mexico) to the Finger Lakes.

In Clyde I followed the signs to Lock 26 heading way out through farmland and down a dirt road to a remote spot.  In case you have not seen a lock before, I wanted to share this series with you.

Lock 26 on the NY State Barge Canal

Lock 26 on the NY State Barge Canal

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Lock 27 is in Lyons where I also found the 100 year old movie theater – The Ohmann Theatre

The Ohmann Theatre in Lyons, NY

The Ohmann Theatre in Lyons, NY

Lock 28 is just a tad further west and close by is the old Lock E-56 which at one time due to increased traffic and to be double up to alleviate the bottle necks.

The plan was to spend the night in Rochester, NY, to visit the George Eastman House in the morning (on the list about five decades).  I settled into Rene’s B&B. I usually share some B&B images:

Dining room, Rene's B&B in Rochester, NY

Dining room, Rene’s B&B in Rochester, NY

 

By 6PM I was out to explore the city. Fortunately, I turned the wrong way (odd for Ray) and did not realize I was headed north ending in the beach area on Lake Ontario. Fortunately I realized it before my front tires got wet.  I turned around and headed the other way on Lake Avenue, of course, towards downtown.  I needed to see the George Eastman House, which I did, but had already decided that since it did not open until 11AM Sunday that if I went I would get too late a start for East Aurora.

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Above is the front of the George Eastman House.  Entrance to the museum is about 1/4 mile to the rear with museum building all along the way. Glad I made that decision — the footprint of the photography museum is overwhelming, and probably would take a day to do it justice.  I explored the university area, downtown, and ended up at the Taste of Ethiopia which I commented about on Trip Advisor. Below the image of my “sampler” is what I wrote:

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I am spending the night in Rochester in a B&B, and my hostess said, “try the Taste of Ethiopia,” and I did.  I had no idea what to expect at all, and was I ever pleasantly pleased.  Where does one begin when you do not know the foods?  A sampler plate, of course.  So with my Ethoiopian server’s assistance I made 4 choices for the $15 sampler plate, which arrived in no time.  Placing it in front of me she asked, “do you know how to eat this?”  “No, but please tell me.”  “You pull apart this crepe like bread and scoop up the foods,” she told me.  I asked for napkins and a fork in case.  I never touched the fork!  Read the other reviews, they are great.  All I can say is try the experience, you will like it.

Sunday morning was a breakfast delight with my B&B mates.  One and a half hours over Rene’s baked oatmeal with pears, raisins and walnuts.  Satisfied me until dinner.  Two items on Sunday’s agenda – The Jello Museum in Le Roy and the Genesee County Village and Museum in Mumford, NY. For over a decade I have read and reread the book I have about this restored village, and now I was a half hour away — yes, of course!  And, Jello Museum?  How can you resist?

I stopped first at the Jello Museum (just minutes from Exit 47 of the NYS Thruway) but had misread the opening time (Ray is slipping).  Have to come back at 1PM.  So off I headed to the village.  Well — FORGET STURBRIDGE VILLAGE in Sturbridge, Mass.  Make the trek here.  I cannot wait to bring grandchildren.  Having been to many such museum villages this, I declare, to be the best for docent interaction and interpretive presentation of several time periods.  Buildings have been relocated here in appropriate and traditional settings. In some cases a building has been reconstructed based on historical evidence, or repurposed – interpreted differently from its original use (e.g. the print shop).  The village is set up in three sections that flow well together: Pioneer Settlement (1780s-1830s); Antebellum Village (1830s-1860s) on its common (I felt like home); and, Turn of the Century (1870s-1920s).

I will not go into further detail, but here is a “slide show” you can open up by clicking.  Just visit when you can.

But, most importantly I made career changing discovery there.  Here is what I excitedly posted on Facebook. “I am so, so, very, veryTW-1 excited.  Today I saw a vocation/avocation that I wish to pursue for the next twenty or so years.  It will combine my penchants for collecting, researching, and presenting with an exceptional flair of showmanship. The collecting possibilities will be broad, and may be limitless. I will need everyone’s help with suggestions for my worldwide hunt to bring historical, timeless wonders under one traveling tent show.  Details to come on ShunpikingwithRay. I will need you to think and contribute. Coming soon? — Prof. RAB’s WAGON of WONDERS — Lost Literary Treasures and Historical Artifacts of Note. In fact, upon cogitating some more, jelling in my mind (with some jiggle – remember I went to the Jello Museum) I see the spin-off book topping the New York Times Best Seller Non-Fiction list.”

And, then I got back to the Jello Museum as it was opening.  Ruth JELL-1starts you off, and she is a delight.  Allow about 45 minutes for this small museum which has a separate transportation collection on the ground floor.  So, if traveling on the NYS Thruway, make the stop at Exit 47.  And since you may never make it, enjoy the gallery below.

 

I arrived at the Roycroft Inn at 3:30 got settled and showered before the 4PM welcome started.  A fine dinner was followed by an 8 PM meet and greet and orientation prior to the activities commencing on Monday. As I like to do, here is my room and some of my surroundings (more on it all next post).

Entering my room in the "guest house."

Entering my room in the “guest house.”

 

 

The bad news is that this post has been hard to make due to slow and interrupted internet service.  The good news for you is that will limit what I write and number of images posted.  But tonight, Monday, I will try to get this off to you, and then begin sharing some background of the Roycroft Movement and its importance.  I am amazed at how small the Roycroft Campus is where 500 Roycrofters worked, and equally pleased at how lovely East Aurora is, and its interesting architecture.  But more on that soon.  As always, yours, RAY

Posted in 2014-d - ROYCROFT EXPERIENCE (and more) - 4-12 October 2014 | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

FILLING IN THE MAP – SOUTH EASTERN VERMONT – 27 SEPTEMBER 2014

Whenever number two son, Gary, and I day trip it is usually in an area where we have had “holes in the map” – places that we have not been, but surrounded by areas we have previously explored.  To connect the areas together in our minds, it is imperative that we shunpike into the unexplored in-between areas to “fill in the map”’ as we like to call it.

Today I needed such an adventure to rest up my right arm from all the work we have done at “73” the past two plus weeks. I know, shifting a sports car still requires use of the right arm, I have to make exceptions; and, I have some “holes in the map” in the lower south eastern portion of Vermont.  Areas that there is no reason to go there, other than to “fill in the map.”  So, having written this (after taking some photos for the CLARION) I am off late morning to explore.

Having now completed the day’s 8 1/2 hour exploration I must say — DO NOT DELAY – THE LEAVES ARE BEGINNING TO POP.

Leaving home, the north side of my sugar maple is always early (but maybe not).  Sadly, I believe that this tree is dying, and it is only about 46 years old.

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Now get out your maps, because here is the route (but I ended up with deviations – isn’t that the point?).  I planned to head down 12 first and turn right onto Route 63 (which I did) and then head down River Road, past Maplewood, to get to Route 9 to Brattleboro. Well, I came up to the little red schoolhouse at a neat intersection, and never having been on Poocham Road, I turned left, where I first came upon Poocham Hill Winery.

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I visited with Mame O’Dette, the owner. They bottle about 1,000 bottles a year, and are VT-3open for wine-tastings.  Not 15 minutes from home – road trip my friends.  But more so because I continued on Poocham Road to Route 9 and I now have this tour in my best scenic routes list RAY RECOMMENDS – FOLLOW THIS ROAD COMPLETELY.  The vistas cannot be adequately captured. There are some fantastic homes, and some history along this road as seen in the next few images.

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Once on Route 9 I crossed into Vermont, and (sorry) got on I-91 south for one exit to continue on VT Route 9 to Wilmington.  I have visited Wilmington, Vermont, for 40 years but have never stopped at the Flea Market on the way into town.  Nowadays there is nothing of interest to me anyway – but I stopped, and it was mostly “newer stuff.”

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But then I got to a large postcard dealer’s booth.  I looked at the Walpole section, but of course there was nothing I did not have.  At the end of the tables I spotted four banana boxes of automotive sports car and racing books.  I asked, “how much are your books?” as they were not marked.  “$5 each,” was the reply,”or 5 for $20.”  I began looking and pulled the 8 best ones ($50 or more value).  “What about a price for all?” I asked.  “You mean all the four boxes?” he was amazed.  “Yes.” “$125″ “SOLD”  I rapidly walked back to get BLACK BEAUTY and my business check book.  When I handed him my check he exclaimed (seeing the town on the check).  “Ken Burns bought a postcard from me two weeks ago.” he continued, “Thinking it was him, I asked, ‘are you Ken Burns?'”  Ken replied, “I get asked that all the time.”  Hey, someone tell Ken that I have over 300 duplicate Walpole cards I would happily sell, plus a book with over 350 postcard and stereo view images.

HOW DO YOU GET 4 BANANA BOXES OF BOOKS
INTO A TRIUMPH TR3A?

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ONE BOOK AT A TIME

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I strolled Wilmington a tad, and had a small bite to eat.  The image below has “my kind of sign.” The building in the background is the old Crafts Inn, a late shingle-style building from 1902 designed by the foremost architect of the time,  Stanford White.

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At the main intersection in town, I turned south passing the Pette Memorial Library going up Castle Hill, following it to the end and seeing the Harriman Reservoir.

Looking across a narrow point of Harriman Reservoir.

Looking across a narrow point of Harriman Reservoir.

Turning around at the dead end, I came back and turned right onto Boyd Hill Road (I read this in the Mount Snow Valley guidebook).  Another – MUST TRAVEL ROAD!!!  No words will describe – RAY RECOMMENDS – JUST DO IT.  I jogged at dead end to Wards Cove on Lake Whitingham (wonderful picnic, swimming and boating), and then turned around heading back to Vt Route 100 South towards Jacksonville (Vermont, not Florida — but Florida, Vermont, is west on Route 9).

Arriving in Jacksonville, I continued on a section of VT 100 that I had never been on, and you probably never will be either unless you have a need to be on all of Vermont 100 – north to south (I do).  Approaching Whitingham DO NOT miss the small sign saying “Brigham Young Monument.”  Ends up that the original town was on the top of a hill (BEAUTIFUL) before being abandoned.  This sign tells it all, and hopefully tempts you to head there.

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And, here is the Brigham Young Monument off in the field.

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And one of the stone markers.

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I walked around the old “town common” where a bike race was concluding and a calypso style band was playing.  Did I tell you that I have “too much fun?”

Heading back to Route 100 I came upon the “new” town’s center and the general store and post office.

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And in a few more miles on Route 100 I arrived in Readsboro which was having a fall festival in this building.

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The plan was to turn around here and head back to pick up Route 112 in Jacksonville and head south to Massachusetts and Shelburne Falls hoping to say hi to a book friend.  I had not been on Route 112 before through Colrain, and you do not have to bother either unless traversing from Wilmington to Shelburne Falls.  Heading south the leaves abruptly stopped changing color.

My friend was not in the bookshop in Shelburne Falls (it is a coop with shared time) so I walked around a bit.  I have shared the town before with you – particularly with my trolley visit which click on this link to visit again for sure.  But, I have not shown you the Bridge of Flowers before (below), which is built on the old trolley bridge as the route was heading north to Colrain.

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Well, from here I headed east on the Mohawk Trail (Route 2) to the Greenfield circle and picked up (sorry again) I-91 for a couple exits  to Bernardston.  I thought I would sit on the porch at the Farm Table for a burger and beer, but there was nothing to my liking on the menu at the moment.  So, back to original plan to head over to Northfield and head north back to NH Route 63.

VT-18I crossed back over I-91, and suddenly saw a route I had not been on, and was not aware of. Route 142 to Vernon, VT and Brattleboro.  Isn’t this a “fill in the map” day I reminded myself. So, left turn I made.

Here is the first thing I saw.

 

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I have now been on the route, and arrived in the center of Brattleboro.  You need not travel this route either, unless like me you have to travel a new route.  But I still wanted that burger, and did not want to park downtown.  Heading up US 5 past the Marina Restaurant (is it still open?) I saw on the left out of the corner of my eye an outside seating area (what I wanted) with food it appeared.  U-Turn, and back to just what I wanted.

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Great meal while sitting looking over the river towards the Brattleboro Retreat. Upon completing my repast, instead of jogging over to NH 63 I continued north on US 5 and crossed back home.

Yes, I had to unpack the books upon arrival at 7PM and start sorting and pricing.  Two of them, so far, I have priced out at more than twice what I paid for the lot — and I have over 125 more to go.  Another QM2 crossing (and more) is in the offing.

So, I gave you two MUST TRAVEL ROADS, a TOWN HILL that you should see, and it is now getting time to SEE LEAVES.  Tomorrow will be another exploration heading north with a friend (cuts down on space to pack in books) in BLACK BEAUTY.  And from what I saw today, the leaves we see tomorrow should be something. Thanks for getting this far with me, yours, RAY

Posted in Day (or maybe two) Trips | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A DATE with BLUE BELLE for 7 1/2 HOURS at 19 MPH – 7 September 2014

BLUE BELLE knew that I had just worked out a day’s jaunt and begged me to go out yesterday.  But I finally convinced her that “Tex the Weatherman” (she can relate to that time period) suggested that today, Sunday would be the perfect day for exploring — and it was.

The plan was simple, and I had highlighted it on the map.  Sullivan and Roxbury I had never seen, BLACK BEAUTY has had lunch in Harrisville, but not BLUE BELLE.  And, Franklin Pierce’s Homestead in Hillsborough has been “on the list.”  LADY RAB backed out to allow BLUE BELLE to exit (she is jealous), and off we headed at 10AM.  In case you did not get your map out, here is my marked up map (click to enlarge) but there were some diversions. You will want to take this trip — or join me for a redux.

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I first headed over the hills of Walpole, then down 12A to Surry for the cutoff along a fantastic river (no guard rails, no speeding here) to Gilsum.  Knowing I like country stores, BLUE BELLE wanted to stop at the Gilsum store for a “selfie” (a pattern she demanded for the day).

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We asked the folks at the table where the turn for Sullivan was. BB-2“Head south on Route 10,” I was told, “and turn left at the log cabin.”  Sullivan is one of those towns that you will never see unless you go there.  It is not on the way to anywhere, you can get there from here, but there is no need to.  So, since you have never been there, and probably never will, here is what we discovered.

 

 

Here is the Civil War monument in the “center” of town. The residents lost were engraved in the monument with the battle they were lost in and age and date.

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The Congregational Church and the horse and buggy sheds that still exist.

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I could not resist touring the cemetery.  A great picnic spot (hint).

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As I mentioned, Roxbury (population about 220) was one goal, but hard to find on my maps believe it or not.  When I got to Route 9 I turned left to Concord, and took my first right towards the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music.  I had never been down that road, and hoped it would get me close to Roxbury Center.  Well, fantastic isolated dirt road requiring 2nd gear, and once 1st gear to get over a hill. Great views, and all of a sudden I ended up in Nelson.  Toured the cemetery – getting to be a habit – and once in the village (no country store) went back to Route 9 to head back towards Keene and the road (hopefully) to Roxbury Center.

Must confess, I turned on my iPhone to use the maps app to find out where I was and which road to take.  Alas, I arrived in Roxbury.

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But I wanted to see Roxbury Center which I saw on the maps app, and I figured must be the center of Roxbury civilization (BLUE BELLE was hoping for another country store selfie).  Following the route we first came upon the marker for the old school house and its importance since Salmon Chase (check him out) taught there.

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Then I came upon the site of the old church.

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But, where is the village itself?  I did read that Roxbury was a ghost town – read this website – yes, click on this link I have for you.

The road sort of ended at the church site and was posted.  BLUE BELLE was worried about her low slung exhaust system, so she stayed back as I hiked along the path that the maps app indicated was a road.  Soon, according to the maps app on my iPhone coordinated with GPS  — I was at Roxbury Center at the junction of five “roads.”

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Other than stone walls through the woods, here is the only remnants of a village that I saw.

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Well, checking iPhone maps I found I was a short distance back to pick up Route 101 in Marlborough, so off I went to pick up 101 and head east to the western most turn towards Harrisville – the lunch destination.  Yes, BLUE BELLE demanded another “selfie.”

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And, as planned, I had lunch on the porch.

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Harrisville has been “on the list” for detailed exploration (with my cameras) of its old brick factories and buildings and ponds.  This is NOTHING — I need to spend hours to do Harrisville justice.

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Heading out on the eastern entrance to Harrisville we got back to Route 101 in Dublin and headed east to turn north on Route 137.  Sadly never been on this road before towards Hancock and Bennington.  RAY RECOMMENDS – follow this route, in fact all of this day’s route.

In Hancock BLUE BELLE insisted on another “selfie” and turning around we could see the Hancock Inn.  The inn has original Rufus Porter murals, and Cathy and I visited there when Dutchie was painting Rufus Porter-esk murals in a renovated suite.  You cannot see on the sign that there is a Sunday buffet (another hint).

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The Hancock Inn.  Who wants to go when?

 

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Route 137 dead ends on US Route 202 where I headed north (been a long time since on this stretch of 202).  Bennington is just off 202, and of course we had to head into the village.  My “date” insisted on another “selfie” and a fellow asked what we were up to. He approved.

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We headed north on 202 to Antrim to turn left on Route 31.  May I say (even without images) Antrim is a MUST VISIT for its charm and architecture.

The next stop on the day’s agenda was the Franklin Pierce Homestead, just off US 202 on Route 31.  I am not even going to begin to discuss this site – it was fantastic.  Brian, again age was a factor, and my admission was free, but this is not a case that you “get what you pay for.”  Given to the state in 1925 and restored at that time, just hope you get Sara for your guide as she is absolutely fantastic with history of an 1804 home and the Pierce family.  I learned so much, and could go again in a couple weeks and still be amazed.  RAY RECOMMENDS – take in Franklin Pierce’s Homestead.

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No cameras inside, so I bought this postcard to scan.  The stenciling duplicates the original which is shown in many spots.

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Alright, an hour and a half fantastic tour of this home, and it was 4 o’clock.  Time to sadly head home (but I do love home). And, I headed out Route 31, first getting to the high Hillsborough village and its “country store.”  BLUE BELLE again yelled, “stop!”

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The entrance

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And, we were greeted only by Moe, Larry, and Curley.

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I continue on Route 31 to Route 10 passing through Washington – a most beautiful (but isolated) hill town.

Washington, NH meeting house.

Washington, NH meeting house.

but when I got to Route 10 I realized that I had highlighted on the map a back road that I had not taken – bummer – and had not found. So, I just continued south on Route 10 but decided not to cut over on Route 123A that you hopefully saw I had highlighted.  A couple years ago BLACK BEAUTY said, “never again, my bolts are hurting.” So, at Marlow I turned right on Route 123 (not much better, but not as far as wash-board) to head back home.

A very great day – 7 and 1/2 hours and 106 miles.  And, I would happily do it again next weekend.  So,

RAY RECOMMENDS:

1) Follow the route I just outlined

2) Have lunch at the Harrisville, NH Country Store  and explore the village

3) Visit the Franklin Pierce Homestead – immediately

Posted in Day (or maybe two) Trips | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

EXPLORING AND RE-EXPLORING THE NH LAKES REGION – 1-3 SEPTEMBER 2014

Last week’s overnight adventure to North Woodstock, Vermont, was an outgrowth of my reviewing things to see and do around Lake Winnipesaukee which I have explored for 40 years, but not yet “done it all.”  And even if I have done something (e.g. Clark’s Trading Post) often a follow-up visit is in order.  The plan now was to use Wolfeboro as a two-night hub, accomplishing exploration on the way up to the Lake Region and back.  I am now completing this post after a tad over 400 miles (sadly in the “new” car) from Monday through Wednesday night.

I knew very little about the Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury (about 20 minutes northeast of Concord), other than I should some day visit.  So I departed home on Labor Day to arrive at Canterbury before 11AM for a couple hour visit prior to meandering to Wolfeboro.  My timing was perfect.

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A guided tour of the grounds was commencing at 11, and I joined right in.

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This introductory tour is an absolute must for historical background, plus you get to enter into the laundry, dwelling house, and chapel that are not open for the self-guided tours.

The Shakers (United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing), so called because of their dancing during worship, are not to be mistaken with the Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch.  Celibate and living a simple communal life they were innovators and entrepreneurs.  The innovation was to save time in work thus allowing more  prayer time.  Youth were taken in as orphans or from families who could not afford their children in the 1800s and up into the depression era. The youths, however, were given the opportunity, when coming of age, to leave the community or sign a covenant to stay.  The Canterbury community was in existence for 200 years with the last brother passing in 1939 and last sister in 1992.  You just have to go there.

Here is a gallery of some of the images I took around the village. Remember you can click on any to open a slideshow:

Noting there was an Innovations Tour at 1:30, when my introductory 1 1/2 hour tour was completed, I had a great soup and salad lunch at the snack barn, and then was the solo person on the 1:30 tour which, also lasting 1 1/2 hours, exposed me to new buildings and more historical information.

There is a reason for everything, and usually for efficiency and to save time.  The chairs were hung to make space on the floor for cleaning and other activities.  Hung upside down, so any dust would fall on the bottom and not what you would sit on.

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Most cupboards, drawers, etc. were built into the walls.  Then, there was no furniture taking floor space or needing dusting underneath.

I then continued on my self-guided tour, and following an in depth look at the infirmary I finished at the exhibition hall in the carriage barn.  This building houses world-class exhibitions. My tour guides, Pat and Joanne, were tremendously knowledgeable, but when I was leaving the exhibition building I asked a question of Darryl who was tending there.  I pulled up a chair, and listened for almost an hour.  Darryl Thompson has encyclopedia first-hand knowledge of Canterbury Shaker Village having spent 31 years living there.  His father started working for the community (receiving a home as partial salary) and in 1959-60 as I recall, began giving tours of the grounds.  In 1969 Darryl’s Dad was instrumental in the establishment of the non-profit entity that has preserved the community buildings and grounds, and he continued to curate for a number of years.  His collection of Shaker items formed the nucleus of the collection.  Also collecting Native American artifacts, Mr. Thompson also established the Mt. Kearsage Indian Museum in Warner, NH. Walpole’s Hubbard family has contributed greatly to the preservation of the village. The Ken Burn’s film, The Shakers,  was playing in the visitor center, but I will find it on-line or through inter-library loan.

What was thought to be a two hour visit tops lasted 5 1/2 hours.

RAY RECOMMENDS — Hurry to the Canterbury Shaker Village, and plan to arrive for the first general tour — then have lunch — and conclude with the innovations tour.  A full day. Or hike some of their trails with a picnic lunch.

Now, following your map – which you had better have out for this shunpiking adventure – I continued north on Shaker Road past fantastic 18th and early 19th century homes, and tremendous vistas. I then headed east on NH 140 through Gilmanton and Gilmanton Ironworks (a nice ride) arriving in Alton.  For near 40 years I have always toured the old camp meeting grounds in Alton Bay,

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and had to see the devastation suffered from a 2009 fire which consumed over 40 of the small, quaint Victorian summer cottages.  It was my learning about the early camp meeting grounds that lead to my study of the development of the summer vacation, summer resorts, and early tourism.

Below – view from the center of the camp meeting grounds to Alton Bay at the eastern most point of Lake Winnipesaukee.

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From Alton Bay I headed north on NH 28 to my B&B in Wolfeboro – The Topsides.

You know I like to share my rooms — my room (actually a suite) was exceptional – I “do good” at finding B&Bs.

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My “sitting room”

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But I spent most of my two evenings on this porch. Only part of it seen here, and the image does not do it justice.

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I had dinner the first evening on the lake itself.

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TUESDAY – 2 SEPTEMBER

Before I start, did you ask why is Wolfeboro, Wolfeboro?  Named for General James Wolfe who was victorious at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City during the French and Indian Wars in 1759.  And, why is Wolfeboro called the first summer resort in America?  NH Governor John Wentworth built the first “summer home” on Lake Wentworth in 1769

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The "restored" cellar hole.

The “restored” cellar hole.

Now just a cellar hole, it burned in 1820.

Two places were on the agenda for Tuesday, The Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, and The Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough. Of course I had a shunpiking route to tie them together along with other routes I had not before followed.

LW-20I was at The Wright Museum when it opened at 10.  Now about 20 years old, it is a must visit, and my visit lasted 2 1/2 hours, but more time could be spent.  Begun as a collection of military vehicles, the museum portrays Home Front life and culture in the US as the war began, and next provides an interesting Time Tunnel for the years 1939-1945 detailing pop culture, news of the war and the mood of the nation.  I love learning “popular culture” and here is a gallery of some images (click one to open the up bigger) of that room, and then the “time tunnel.”

Here is the main exhibition hall:

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Upstairs was a temporary photo exhibit of D-Day.  This 88 year old veteran landed there 70 years ago, and was relating his experiences to these visitors.  He is still full of shrapnel having gone down 15 minutes after landing.

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Went I left, I realized that to have lunch at The Castle in the Clouds that I should reverse the route that I had originally planned, and should head clockwise rather than counter-clockwise. So, map time.  I headed north on NH 28 and then west on NH 171 towards Moultenborough.  I had done the correct thing arriving just before 1PM at the Carriage House where I had lunch on the patio with vistas south to Lake Winnipesaukee.

The story about the building and life of the Castle in the Clouds, named Lucknow, and now 100 years old, is interesting and comes from a shoe fortune – check their website for some history.  The relatively small Arts and Crafts “castle” is essentially original and untouched with the original furnishings.

This 50 foot waterfall – FALLS OF SONG – is but a short hike off the twisty tight drive up the mountain.

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Here is another gallery of the Castle. The servant’s wing was fascinating, and I just realized I have no images to share – sorry.

Leaving the Castle I continued west to Route 25 and turned right towards Center Ossipee.  Nothing to report along this route, other than the important fact that the snowmobile (Built as an accessory on a Model T Ford) was first built in Ossipee. Well, this was a nice post office in South Tamworth.

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I was going to take Route 16 south to 109 to head back to Wolfeboro, but before I left home I looked at my “round-about bookshelf” on the porch and saw NEW HAMPSHIRE OFF THE BEATEN PATH.  I collect items like this even if dated – someday I will write the penultimate guides.  This guide said, “Route 153 is … a good alternative for shunpikers seeking to avoid the traffic of Route 16.”  The book used shunpiking (would you believe?), and there was no traffic on 16, but off I headed for Route 153 first detouring to FREEDOM, NH – highly recommended for its architecture.

FREEDOM, NEW HAMPSHIRE

FREEDOM, NEW HAMPSHIRE

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Route 153 touches the border with Maine at Taylor City – population 5 according to the sign posted by the Mayor.

TAYLOR CITY, NEW HAMPSHIRE and MAINE . Population 5.

TAYLOR CITY, NEW HAMPSHIRE and MAINE . Population 5.

Of course I stopped – you know me.  I went into “Ye Olde Sale Shoppe”  I visited with Bill Taylor.

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His family started this shop in 1815 !!!  “How do you survive?” I asked, “customers from Portland, Maine.”  “No,” he replied, “people travel this route to avoid Route 16.”  Wow, so glad to hear others are shunpiking.

Well, at Sanbornville I had a burger at the Poor People’s Pub and then headed west on Route 108 back to my B&B.

WEDNESDAY – 3 SEPTEMBER

The plan was to head west to Route 3 to then south, but with some circuitous routes.  Only objective was the Lake Winnipesaukee Museum which I just recently discovered on the internet. At 9AM I headed out of Wolfeboro on remote Rt. 109A going through Center Tuftonboro and Melvin Village before connecting to Rt. 109 into Moultenborough.

Peacefully enjoying the scenery, I enter Melvin Village  which is on the lake…

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and proclaim, “what is this?”  All of a sudden there were three replica 1920s gas stations, old cars and Model A Ford after Model A Ford.

This Model A Ford pickup truck is a "survivor" having served a prospector.  Fellow who works for Richie uses it daily.

This Model A Ford pickup truck is a “survivor” having served a prospector. Fellow who works for Richie uses it daily.

Yes, (did you have to ask?) I stopped.  I passed about 7 Model As in a garage and entered the immaculate museum like display area of Village Antique and Classic Cars  – I could not believe my eyes – in the middle of basically nowhere. Feasting my eyes, I finally heard someone in the corner and struck up a conversation.  He tells me there are 4 such set-ups here and many, many auto hobbyists living in the area with 10 plus/minus car garages packed with quality high end unique cars. In my reminiscing and sharing I mentioned having sat in the 1907 Thomas Flyer that won the round the world race when Henry Austin Clark owned it on Long Island before selling it to Harrah’s.  “Oh,” my host said, “I think Richie next door owns it now, let me introduce him to you.”

We enter Richie’s garage, and there he is fine tuning the 1931 Chrysler Imperial Town Car that Walter P. Chrysler had Lebaron Bodyworks build specially for his wife — it was original to every detail including paint and upholstery.

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I meet Richie Clyne, and find he has a Thomas Flyer, but Harrah’s still owns the round the world race winner.  “Come into the office and let’s talk,” he invites me.  Well, memory lane.  Everyone my Dad knew, and I had great memories of (Ralph DeAngelis, Henry Austin Clark, the Tunick brothers), Ritchie also knew.  I had so much fun. We exchanged cards. At 60, Richie’s card reads “Retired – Thanks for the Memories.”  My host from next door told me that Richie is probably the preeminent car collector in the country.  Having owned the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas he has some cars on display there.

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He also built the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  But visiting with this wonderful host, you would never know.  May I invite you to read this piece I found on-line to learn of his contributions – Upon leaving, my original host kept encouraging me to write about this unknown center of collector car activity.

Route 109 joins with Route 25 in Moultonborough for a short distance before you need to turn right to follow 109 to Sandwich.  And on the corner, one of my weaknesses, The Moultonboro Country Store and Museum which has been there since 1781.

Moultonborough Country Store and Museum - NH

Moultonborough Country Store and Museum – NH

Of course a stop (you know how I am about country stores) to enjoy the second floor museum and tour the sales floors.

Traditional Candy Counter

Traditional Candy Counter

More touristy gift type stuff — not the products you will find in the Vermont Country Store, but still when passing by do park in the rear and spend some eye time.

Sandwich Historical Society

Sandwich Historical Society

Heading through Sandwich to Center Sandwich the views are amazing and worth the trip.  And, the lovely village of Center Sandwich is worth a trip.  I found the historical society open and toured the barn and house. Great exhibits. Something I need to learn more about is the OCR scanners that gather a document from the internet so you can read more about an item on your smart phone (hint to Andrea and Christie).  I want to get back to the area, and would love to go to The Sandwich Fair which has been in existence since 1886 –  but it will not be this year.

Leaving town I headed west on Route 113 towards Holderness – another great drive.  The past two days I have been constantly passing very small cemeteries that have been enclosed by stone walls – something I had not seen before.  And, I passed another, and turned around to show you.

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Just two stones were left. The first had the date of 1800, probably the date of birth, and the broken stone indicated the person had died in 1845.

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Driving by the Squam Lakes, I arrived in Holderness and turned south on US 3.  I passed the former Burlwood Antique Center building that Cathy and I used to visit.  And, Rich and Scott, that is now where the American Police Motorcycle Museum in now located – I did not go in – waiting for you to join on a “road trip.”

The Lake Winnepesaukee Museum was slightly a disappointment, and I am glad that I did not rush, missing other adventures, to get there.  Nicely done, with wonderful artifacts, a nice overview, but I like their website a tad more.  Leaving the museum I headed back to an antique center. There was a postcard dealer in one booth.  Would you believe I had to buy 8 Walpole postcards I had never seen before, including four I would have definitely had in the book.

Weirs Beach is always fun to stop at, but I have never been there with crowds or motorcycle week, and never will be.  I would like to ride the Mount Washington, or at least tour the lake on the mailboat, and will do some day.

The Mount Washington and the Mail Boat - built on an old PT-Boat.

The Mount Washington and the Mail Boat – built on an old PT-Boat.

I could not believe all the tourist cabins, motels and the like in this area – now empty for the season.  I bet it is impossible to move around in season.

Done at 5:30 – the hour long drive from Wolfeboro to Weirs Beach had taken me 9 1/2 hours – I am still doing well and meeting my shunpiking standards.  The plan was to see what was on US3 from Franklin to Concord not having been on that stretch of road before.  RAY RECOMMENDS – DON’T BOTHER.  The time to get through Tilton to Franklin is hard, and there is nothing to get excited about between Franklin and Concord, other than maybe the NH Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen.

I hope you got this far — but remember I do this for Ray, but I am well over 2,200 words, 67 images and one video.  Just remember my recommendations, and happy shunpiking.

Posted in NH - 1-3 Sept 2014 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

TWO HOUR TRAIN RIDE TO NOWHERE and MUCH MORE 26-27 AUGUST 2014

You know I have hardly travelled this year what with my book and now with the renovations to the building I purchased with Barbara and Lynne — but I started getting itchy.  The other day I was thinking about staying on Lake Winnipesaukee and doing things “on the list,” but in that research the Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train in North Woodstock flashed through my mind.  I had discovered it last June on the way back from my train trip from Montreal to Halifax, and Cog Railway trip.  I called Leslie, and yes they had space on the 26th,. So, then I found a nice B&B booked it for a night, and called Leslie back to book the train.  Dinner on the train could be done concluding a day trip from home, but I thought why not go back to Clark’s Trading Post for another visit.  Thus the overnight and two days.

I have wonderful luck picking B&Bs, and here is the view from the couch as I am writing. The Wilderness B&B was built in 1912 in the arts and crafts style, and still retains that atmosphere.

The Wilderness Inn B&B - North Woodstock, NH

The Wilderness Inn B&B – North Woodstock, NH

Other than boarding the train at 4:30 on the 26th, and going to Clark’s on the 27th I had (note past tense) no plans, but played with a map and a yellow highlighter.  So get your map out, and follow along.

From home I worked my way up to Sunapee Lake and took 103 down to Newbury where I turned north on 103A past the Fells (been there, worth a revisit and picnic). I picked up Route 11 towards Andover (been awhile) and then took US4 east towards Salisbury.  Never been that route, but wanted to see Daniel Webster’s birthplace (open only weekends – but what the heck I am in area). Salisbury Heights remote and nice, as is Salisbury where I turned northish on 127.

There I spotted the sign proclaiming CURRIER AND IVES BYWAY.WM-2  In the last year more and more routes have been designated byways, and I have been accumulating information to develop a section on my website about them, but I did not know of this route.  Also, fascinated by Ethan Allen, since I have been to and enjoy most of the places he lived, traveled to, owned or fought at, I want to create my own “Ethan Allen Trail.”  Yes, another book or website.

At the ubiquitous brown state sign turned left and around the bend sat the bucolic spot – Daniel’s small birthplace  –

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Someone else I need to know more about.  Remember last year when BLUE BELLE and I visited the remote Vermont spot where he spoke in 1840 to 15,000 people?

SHADOW STUDY at Daniel Webster's Birthplace

SHADOW STUDY at Daniel Webster’s Birthplace

I next arrived in Franklin.  Even before we lived in New Hampshire Cathy and I enjoyed our visits to the three story Franklin Antique Market.  Not only is it now gone, but every storefront in town displayed a FOR RENT or FOR SALE sign.  You kind of wonder what happened.  Wonder if there is a package deal price?

From Franklin I headed north on 3A which skirts the east side of Newfound Lake.  I wanted to see The Inn on Newfound Lake which has been “on the list” to stay at having been built in 1840 as a stage stop half way from Boston to Montreal.  Pretty sure I had been down this road before, but nothing seemed familiar.

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Got to stop at the inn – the porch has my name written all over it – someday!

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Arriving in Plymouth I followed US 3 north (who needs the parallel I-93?) arriving in North Woodstock with time to spare.  I had not planned to go up to the notch, but having time I continued north.  But, wait, right turn to the FLUME — now that has been many decades, think I visited with the boys when they were very little, or maybe when BELZEBUTH (1929 Model A Ford Roadster) and I ventured that far north in the mid-60s.  I turn in and go to the visitor center.  Great exhibits, and wonderful introductory video (RAY RECOMMENDS – always avail yourself of the videos).  Not WM-7enough time to go in, BUT WAIT, look at this sign.  I will return tomorrow, and this “deal” also covers Cannon Mountain – maybe I get to ride the gondola for the same “fee.”  You will find out later in this post.

Check into the B&B at 4, shower, and arrive at the Dinner Train at 4:30.  I miss my sleeping car train experiences in Canada – have to do the US.  If you have never had dinner on a train, this is a must do — two hour, twenty mile ride with a five-course meal.  Scenery not something to write home about, but savor the experience and meal.

The view from my table as the train evening began.

My Dinner

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And, desert (can you believe?)

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The kitchen after we arrived back at the station

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and, one of the cars for dining

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After a full 12 hour day, I am now home recounting in images and words the full and fantastic day I had, today, Wednesday, 27 August. B&B was delightful, breakfast on the porch just right, and I left about 9:15 to be at Clark’s Trading Post when it opened at 9:30.

Just inside the entrance to CLARK'S TRADING POST

Just inside the entrance to CLARK’S TRADING POST

This was my third or maybe fourth visit there in as many decades. CLARK’S TRADING POST is eight-six years old and probably the best family fun entertainment in America.  It is the best value, unique, and reflects exquisite taste in showing showcasing early life, and what early roadside Americana was.  I will let pictures tell my story in the gallery which I really have posted to remind myself of the joy I have always had here.  And, if you look at the images (remember to click on any one to open the slideshow), you will see my comments that there are still items “on my must own someday list.”

Of course I had to show you this replica Cretors popcorn wagon.

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Made by “Wagon Popcorn” in the early 1970s, I seriously considered buying one new when stationed in Charleston, SC.  My plan was to sell popcorn in the old market that was at the time under renovation downtown.  Glad I just have CORNELIA tucked away in my stable now.

I toured the park, took in the Chinese Circus, hopped on the White Mountain Central Railroad into Wolfman Country, and then took in the noon Bear Show. In case you do not get there before the bears go into hibernation, here are two videos of today’s performance

 

Everything is timed perfectly.  I really enjoy the museums which have just about everything that I enjoy.

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Shortly after 1PM, after 3 1/2 hours, I sadly left, and headed a tad north to the Flume.  But, I saw Murray Clark, and thanked him for the pleasure his family has provided me in the past 40 years with their premier slice of Americana, the best in family entertainment.

The obligatory FLUME image

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And, yes, I showed my NH driver’s license and received my free ticket.  I completed the two mile walking loop through the Flume and past the Pool in about an hour and a half — not bad since that is the predicted time.  Now, Road Scholars would class this “most difficult” warning their typical traveler, but obviously I am in the top 1 percentile of fit travelers.

WONDERS in the NEW HAMPSHIRE WOODS

WONDERS in the NEW HAMPSHIRE WOODS

Since the same deal applied to the Cannon Mountain Tram, I headed there next arriving in time to catch the 3:30 tram.

Heading up Cannon Mountain on the tram

Heading up Cannon Mountain on the tram

Built in 1980, the current tram replaces the original built in 1938 which was the first tram built in the US.  I am about 80% sure now that Cathy and I traveled up on one of our sojourns and stays at Sugar Mountain, but considering what I paid, it was worth it. Now, the same deal applies to skiing Monday through Friday, so Bill and Dutchie take note, and Gretchen remember when your time comes.

 

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I was done looking at the Skiing Museum at 5PM, and it was time to head back south.  So, map time to follow along.  Back down US 3 to North Woodstock, west on 112 to Route 118 south through the national forest.  Wow – no telephone poles, no signs of life, and straight up before going straight back down.

the one open view on Route 118

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Road deadends at Route 25 where I headed south to Warren, but first bumped into Warren where on its ancient, decrepit common has proudly stood this Redstone Missile since 1971.  Gives me an idea for another Ray legacy here in town.

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I was heading to Wentworth to pickup Route 25A west towards Orford.  But the turn was before the town. One thing Ray has learned is that when this happens forget the turn and find the town first — you can then turn back to take your turn.  So glad I did so in this case.  Wentworth is a minute untouched gem. Small common with raised bandstand with Congregational Church at the end of the green.  And just a couple architecturally interesting homes. Enjoy these images

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Turning back to Route 25A (previously never traversed) it began to rain as I passed several old summer camps for kids.  At Orford I headed south on Route 10 remembering how I was impressed with the Common in Lyme.  Getting hungry I was pretty sure that the one other time I passed through Lyme that I saw an old tavern, but alas I was wrong.

Head of the common in Lyme, NH

Head of the common in Lyme, NH

But there are two lovely looking inns (probably getting some Dartmouth trade) that have gone on the list for a quiet getaway.  And, alongside the church is the longest buggy shed that was probably ever built, and deserves a visit.

Well, dinner in West Leb, and after four exploration hours from leaving the notch I was home.  This was a trip I have done before, and will do again.

RAY RECOMMENDS:

  1. Take a trip on the Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train
  2. Visit CLARK’S TRADING POST in Lincoln, NH again and again and again.
  3. Explore all the Franconia Notch has to offer — but at least spend some time in the Visitor Center at the Flume Gorge

 

 

Posted in 2014-b -Quick White Mountain Trip - 26-27 August 2014 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A SERENDIPITOUS, WONDERFUL 148 BLACK BEAUTY MILES ON 9 AUGUST 2014

I wanted to stop at Santa’s Land in Putney and wish them a happy 57th birthday, and BLACK BEAUTY wanted to visit her favorite Arlington, Vermont — those were the only agenda items for the day.  But here I am home, eleven hours later having explored and discovered new areas, and having had a great time talking with lots of wonderful folks.  I normally make these day trips during the week avoiding crowds.  But maybe I need to shunpike on the weekends – what a difference – and I found Vermont crowds are not big, not to be scared of, just fun to visit with.

I arrived at Santa’s Land at 10:00 AM and visited with the owner Lillian.  They have had some difficulties reopening this year, and are waiting for total electrical rewiring to be inspected. First agenda item done.

There are many (well only a couple) routes to then head towards Arlington.  Now get your maps out to follow, and plan your trip. From US 5 I crossed west through Dummerston to Route 30 and headed north through Newfane to VT-1Townsend.  Heading down the hill out of Townsend I passed an antique shop that has always intrigued me, and realized, “dummy, you just passed it, why?”  A U-turn, and back I went to TWITCHELL HOUSE ANTIQUES.

 

Remember you can click on my images to enlarge them.

VT-2I explored the barns and went inside.  And to my pleasant surprise, there in the room to the left were original RUFUS PORTER style wall murals – WOW.  Owner Chris was very gracious and said that I could go get my camera.  Recently a muralist scholar had visited and identified the artist, but he could not remember the name.  That artist had not previously been seen this far west, and the grapes in one panel was a clue.  As you may know, it was my following Rufus Porter’s work that brought me to New Hampshire, and my dining room walls have been painted in the Rufus Porter style.

 

HOW INVITING IS THIS ENTRANCE?

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I was fascinated by this volcano.  Chris told me he was told it was the volcano that caused the cold summer of 1816.  Ironically, I am currently reading THE YEAR WITHOUT SUMMER: 1816, and the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815.

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Sorry, I just have to share these walls with you – they are so special.

Unusual grapes, possibly helping to identify the itinerant artist.

Unusual grapes, possibly helping to identify the itinerant artist.

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Note the Squirrel.

Note the Squirrel.

I found the designs below the chair rail quite different and unique.

I found the designs below the chair rail quite different and unique.

 

RAY RECOMMENDS – Visit TWITCHELL HOUSE ANTIQUES – savor the murals, and make some great purchases – Chris is ready to “deal.”

Continuing north on Route 30 I arrived at THE STUFFED BUN.  My second enjoyable visit.  I had a nicely done and tasty tuna melt.  Had a chat with a nice couple who have owned a 1969 MGB since new, and yes, David maintains it. Unfortunately, I thought today was tomorrow, but it seems as though since it was today I will have to wait until tomorrow for my free lunch. Hope the sign changes to FREE LUNCH TODAY.

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Continued on Route 30 to Bromley, left at the stop following Route 30 and now with Route 11 to Manchester Center.  The outlets have ruined this area, especially since they are largely vacant now.  Headed south on my favorite US Route 7 and was disheartened to see demolished and vanished an old hotel that proudly stood just north of the Equinox House. South of Hildene pulled into an antique/artisan shop.  Owner was from Chester, and we had lots of conversation to share about familiar spots.  He filled me in on all the controversy in Manchester over the now vacant land where the old hotel had been.

Soon entered Arlington.  I camped there in the 1970s, and Cathy and I spent a night at the Arlington Inn while we still lived in Connecticut.

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To my surprise a festival was underway along with a town wide yard sale.  I parked and walked around.  Normally I have the park area to myself, get a sandwich at the deli and relax on the bench with it.  It was fun, and I bought some books which will end up (when sold) paying for the day out.

Of course you see BLACK BEAUTY resting in the shade.

Of course you see BLACK BEAUTY resting in the shade.

Then I headed over to the antique center in the old movie house in East Arlington.  Been visiting there for 20 years, having made trips from New Jersey, Connecticut, and now New Hampshire.  Amazingly the same owner always recognizes me, and we chat and catch up.

BLACK BEAUTY then wanted to head west on VT313 to West Arlington to cross the covered bridge to Norman Rockwell’s home – few people know it is there.  You pass through the bridge, a church is to the right, and up on the hill is his home when he lived in the area.  He lost his studio in a fire one night, along with innumerable paintings and drawings.

Norman Rockwell's West Arlington, VT home.

Norman Rockwell’s West Arlington, VT home.

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Below, looking back north from his home towards the covered bridge

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All the cars parked there are people taking advantage of the entranceway to the Battenkill River.  It is also a pickup point for an outfitter.  On the right, out of the image, was an enterprising young lady (8 or 9 years old) selling Snapple drinks.  I was thirsty, and had to reward her efforts.  I parked near the bridge, and yes, joined in conversation with folks enjoying the river, and then a couple from Missouri on holiday.  “Did you know that is Norman Rockwell’s home back there?” I said.  “No, we have to get a picture, thank you.”

West Arlington, Vermont covered bridge.

West Arlington, Vermont covered bridge.

So, what to do next?  Head west to NY State, and head north on NY22 and cut back to Vermont at some point.  But once across the border I turned right on County Road 61 and then County Road 64 traveling through some lovely farm country towards Salem, NY.  Figured I should hook back up with NY22, and I did.  Turned north into Salem, which I realized I had not been to before, nor this section of NY22 (Gary and I call it “filling in the map”).

But it was miles north on NY22, and more miles.  At worst I would bump into Lake Champlain and turn right to Rutland, but all of a sudden a little sign was on the right – “West Pawlet.”  Perfect, a turn back to Vermont, but the road was closed.  No problem, turn right at the next unmarked road, and voila, 1/2 mile and I am in West Pawlet, VT facing an abandoned building with 1920 GARAGE spelled out on the slate roof tiles. A left turn and around the bend are the untouched vacant storefronts – circa 1900.  I was now on VT153 heading south toward Rupert.  Saw a small sign for that, and knew it was the right way to head even though I had never been to Rupert either.

Coming down a hill I see what appears to be a fairground off to the right with another festival underway.  I get to a stop sign, people are everywhere sitting and waiting.  I call out, “what is going on.”  We are waiting for the parade I was told, it starts at 5:30.  “What time is it now?” I ask.  About 10 to 5 was the reply.  I turn left on Route 315 towards Dorset (first time there was 1964 in my 1929 Model A Ford), but decide to pull over and park.  I ask a lady where the parade starts.  Just a short ways ahead she replied.  I decide to wait, I finish my Snapple and soon learn that it is the Old Home Days parade with the theme – “Old Haunted Homes Day.”

Beginning of Rupert, Vermont's parade 9 August 2014

Beginning of Rupert, Vermont’s parade 9 August 2014

 

Soon the parade begins, and I could not believe how many towns contributed fire and emergency equipment to the parade.  And, just about every parade participant while in the waiting queue asked about BLACK BEAUTY and said, why aren’t you in the parade.  “Well, I was just traveling back roads and stumbled into the parade.  I get to see more from the side than if in a parade.”  It was fun.  One woman told me there are about 702 residents in town.  I would say that they were all in the parade, and there were twice as many (or more) watching.

Here is a gallery of some of the parade.  Click on any image to open a slide show:

As the last fire truck passed I pulled out and travelled over the mountain to Dorset – great views.  I decided I would end my day on the porch at the Fullerton Inn in Chester, VT, for dinner not having done it for awhile.  Some interesting folks sat down after I did including two very fashionable ladies. As I was leaving one of them jumped up and flagged BLACK BEAUTY down.  Fascinated by the car she came down and again I found myself chatting away.  Ironically she lives next to my home town in Connecticut, and has a weekend place in Andover. I mentioned BLUE BELLE, and she wants a ride when she comes to town for chocolates.  She asked for my card.

Now dark, I had a nippy ride back across the river.  I am sure I have forgotten some of today’s experiences, but if I can share anything it is: 1) have an idea of something to do, but do not worry if you don’t get to it, 2) stop whenever you feel like it, 3) engage in conversation to fill out the experience, and share with others.  JUST GO WITH THE FLOW, and SHUNPIKE and ENJOY.

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