2 JUNE 2020 —THOUGHTS, REFLECTIONS and soon VIRTUAL TRIPS

I do not have to tell you 2020 is different and horrific for us all – pandemic, loss of life (by both virus and knee), loss of jobs and security, students without needed routine and graduation traditions, lack of equality, and the absolute failure of “supposed leadership” to exhibit understanding, compassion, empathy and leadership. I usually do not share my deepest thoughts or opinions, but on my last point above, I must tell you that when in Paris in October, 2016, just prior to our national election, I felt embarrassed to be an American. Now, I am ashamed, and through no fault of my own.

The day before I left the hospital, following my second back operation on 25 February, the first New Hampshire case of Covid-19 was recognized in a staff member at the hospital. Everyone’s plans changed. You know I have enjoyed exploring the past several years, and shared those explorations here. My May, 2020, cruise of the Chesapeake was cancelled. My various road trips for this year remain in piles of brochures and notes. BLUE BELLE and BLACK BEAUTY will not see miles this year simply exploring locally – there are no places open to eat at, nor venues or attractions to “play” at.

But, those who know me, know that I stay positive and “accept and adjust.” There is always someone worse off to pray for. I can still plan my journeys following Benedict Arnold’s route through Maine to capture Quebec City. I can still plan to explore the Great Lakes Seaway Trail through New York State. I can be ready to head on the road again.

It occurred to me, however. I have trips I never got to finish sharing, or share at all with you. So, to relive those adventures myself, and to share as I like to do, I am hopefully going to finally bring you at least the following:

Voyage to Antiquity – Around the Aegean September, 2010
Amazing adventure; and,
a year before I began writing Shunpiking with Ray

 

More Maine Explorations – August 2016

Drifting Continents, Dinosaurs, and a Glacial Lake
July, 2018

City of Pittsburgh – October 2018

 

Coast to Coast to Coast, June 2019
I have to finish and get you back to the East Coast by Train

 

Lakes Locks and Long River, September 2019
I left you stuck on the Hudson River, and we need to get to NYC

Now that I have said I want to share these adventures, I have to do it. Stay well, and stay safe – as always, yours, RAY

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25 YEARS — 18 MAY 1995 to 18 MAY 2020

Some Dates You Remember,
and Today is the Date for Me
Twenty-Fifth Wedding Anniversary

Ray and Cathy (22 March 1956 – 13 May 2008)

Some things you save for the memories — but most important are the memories in your mind. These saved bottles (below) are memories. In the center we had this wine on one of our first dates at the restaurant next to my shop in Haddonfield, NJ – Swanson – Napa Valley Merlot – 1992. We later served it at our wedding dinner party, saving this one bottle. On the left is The Red Lion Inn – Cabernet Sauvignon saved from the four day Millennium Celebration we attended over 31 December 1999 at the Inn. And, the folk art girl adorns Ballet of Angels from Pomfret, CT, which we discovered at dinner in the late 90s while scouting books in Pomfret.

You know the Red Lion Inn is special to me, and I cherish my nostalgic overnights. Part of the “package” during the Millennium Celebration were portraits on the staircase. No, Cathy was not that short, she is on a lower step than I am. You may recall, that even today as I sit in the lobby, in front of the fireplace, I can hear Cathy’s footsteps coming down the stairs from “our room” Number 340.

 

I am where I am, and who I am because of Cathy,
I have been blessed,
                                thank you God.

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FLAMINGOS — WALPOLE, NEW HAMPSHIRE STYLE

We have a problem in town, and I told you about that in my last post (sadly I may not be able to have a travel post until Maine opens in July, hopefully). The problem may have stemmed from a report in the April issue of THE WALPOLE CLARION on page 10, or from our follow-up article in the May issue on page 21. But, they are here bringing smiles and hope to residents from valley to hills. It occurred to me, I need to document images of the pink invasion for posterity. So, I sent the below out this evening around town, BUT, if you can help, do so and send me your images (and location). And, to follow the progress you can visit THE WALPOLE CLARION website, for updates (I will post the findings on the sidebar as they occur). And, you may even wish to “sign-up” to follow and receive posts from my newspaper. Stay safe, yours, RAY

To View Images and Details of Sightings to Date
CLICK ON THIS LINK

I WOULD LIKE YOUR HELP…
LET’S ALL SHARE THE SMILES AND HOPE

The invasion continues, and continues to bring hopes and smiles to residents from one end of town to the other. South to North, and East to West. I received an email earlier today from Charles Caserta, saying, “HI Ray…..they’re playing in the pond at entrance to Walpole Valley Farms !!” I had to see them.

So, I “broke the rules” and left my home with BLUE BELLE (1960 MGA for those of you who don’t know), and toured the hills and back roads to Surry and back, circling down Wentworth Road to see the “new” pink feathered friends. And, here they are enjoying the pond life. You can click the image to enlarge if you wish.

 

And, then it occurred to me. Many people have said these “pink things” have flocked their way also. “Why not set up a page on the CLARION website, and share everyone’s pink visitors,” Ray said to Ray. So, I am asking, no pleading, that you share your Flamingo images, and I will begin sharing them with the world on-line.

Take a nice shot, and email it to me at rayboas@comcast.net  — I am sure there are many out there, lets capture (in picture) as many as we can to share with the world. I look forward to receiving your precious pink portraits soon. Thank you, and stay safe, yours, RAY

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WALPOLE’S INVASIVE SPECIES – A UNIQUE VIRUS – AND MAYBE NO CURE

A story in the April issue of THE WALPOLE CLARION, that I publish, attracted a great deal of attention, and foretold a possible local problem resulting from Global Warming, or something else. A sort of “unique virus” has hit our area. Here is that April First story:

Invasive Species?
Flamingos Spotted in Walpole

Even with global warming affecting our planet, it was a real shocker to see a flock of flamingos at the Mill Pond in Walpole this past week. Said Tilly Wilfert from Old Drewsville Road, ‘I can’t believe my eyes. These are such beautiful creatures, and I’m so surprised that they don’t mind standing on the ice and in such cold, cold water. I hope they stay all summer.’ Bradley Mange from Cold River Road in Drewsville commented, ‘We’d better contact Fish and Game real fast. It could be a bad problem if they keep showing up and start wiping out all the fish.’ If you see these wonderful creatures in your area, please take a few photos and send them to the Clarion, and perhaps the Walpole Historical Society. – Eric Merklein

Now three weeks later, these pesky, pink, non-passerine, genus Phoenicopterus birds are flocking to Walpole in great numbers. In fact, today I received an email from a friend who, driving past my home, and taking note, advised me that I too “Had been Flocked.”

Working already on the May issue of the CLARION, a follow-up story (below) had been prepared, but now must be rewritten and updated.

PINK MENACE?
FLAMINGOS CONTINUE TO ARRIVE

Since the flamingos were spotted on the frozen Mill Pond in March, global warming seems to be bringing more of these pinkers to the north country and into Walpole. They’re nesting at the Lennon property on the Common, at the corner of Main and Prospect Streets, and the Palmiotto home just off the Common. Said Fred Nobbils, a farmer from Alstead, ‘Now I’m getting a bit scared of these things. If these pink birds are nesting all over Walpole, who’s to say they won’t be tearing up my fields and taking all the fish from my pond? We gotta do something fast’ And recently we’ve gotten reports that these birds from the deep south are getting feisty and scaring the town’s children.

Neighbor of the kids in the photo right, Gretta Ziff, said, “I’m nervous as all heck. The kids are locked in most of the day because of COVID, and now they’re afraid to go out and play when their Zoom classes are done for the day. Why don’t the selectmen do something?” If you want to help, let the Clarion know if you spot any more of these pink invasives, and we’ll pass the information on to the Zoning and Select Boards. – Snead Baudelaire

The “new norm” in Walpole?

For additional extra, educational, elevating, edification, explaining these beasties, click on the link below, and be enlightened:

What is the Meaning of the
Pink Flamingo in the Yard?

 

FLAMINGO

Flamingo, like a flame in the sky
Flying over the island
To my lover nearby

Flamingo, with your tropical hue
For it’s you I rely on
And the love that is true

The wind sings a song to you as you go
The song that I hear below
The murmuring heart

Flamingo, when the sun meets the sea
Say farewell to my lover
And hasten to me

Aah-ooh, aah-ooh, ooh-ooh
Flamingo….
Flamingo….

Flamingo, when the sun meets the sea
Say farewell to my lover
And hasten to me

Aah-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-aah

Duke Ellington & His Orch. (vocal: Herb Jeffries) – 1941

HOPE YOU GOT HERE FOR THIS WARNING ABOUT THIS PINK PLAGUE — There is now (at least in our area) another reason to stay inside and be safe. Stay well, and watch out where you step. I can attest that the droppings in my yard are also pink (some round, some squished) — RAY

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7 April 2020 — REDUX of 7 April 2019 — ALL GOOD THINGS

For my recent travels the past six months I have been touring “Shunpiking with Ray” where I have enjoyed re-exploring, albeit verbally and with two dimensions instead of three. If you have followed me for any length of time you know I repeat adventures, but each does have a different twist or take. Remember what I did exactly a year ago today? Well, that post is below this short introduction.

LADY RAB and BLUE BELLE have not been out, nor started up, in over six months. Once I reread how special today is for LADY RAB, I knew today she would want to get out. Need your special car fixed? Doctor Dewey, in Weston, Vermont, is the premier choice to have your machines tuned to perfection. I first got in LADY RAB, opened the gas petcock, turned the key, adjusted the spark and gas levers, and pulled the choke while simultaneously pushing the foot starter. NOT EVEN A FULL CRANK – she fired, we backed out, and off we went to a friend’s almost to the hour as done a year ago when LADY RAB made it home for the first time from Massachusetts. It was then a tour around town, and back to “fire up” BLUE BELLE.

I gave BLUE BELLE a shot of some special juice, and again NOT EVEN A FULL CRANK. She fired, we backed out, and off we went. And, again up to “T’s” as she wanted to ride in BLUE BELLE also. Up into the hills of town and around. How can you not love it here? Yes, that is Okemo in the distance on the right. You can click the panorama to open to a full screen view.

and, back home to bask in the sun, and glory, and dream about upcoming road trips while shunpiking away. Let us hope — real soon!!!

REDUX — Actually, this post (from 7 April 2019) could have several appropriate titles – so here as sub-titles:

PINCH ME – END OF A DREAM
WELCOME HOME BELZEBUTH II // LADY RAB II
THERE’S A “NEW” CAR IN TOWN

Remember, I write for myself, and for my memories – but do enjoy sharing. Today truly began over 57 years ago – and as I reflect, there are threads that have run through my life since my pre-teens. And, in a simple way, that is what I am made of, and what brings me pleasure.

Remember, I introduced BELZEBUTH II aka LADY RAB II on 19 March?  Well, an attempt was made on a projected beautiful day, 29 March. But after unpredicted pouring rain from Exit 5 to Exit 3 on I-91, that retrieval mission was scrubbed with tears. Watching the weather, today, 7 April, was another potentially clear target of opportunity – some sun, 50 degrees plus, and no rain projected – hey, I was driving a 90 year old convertible home (top down always) 85 miles.  And, this time it did not rain. Carolyn graciously picked me up at 8, and we arrived in Charlton, Massachusetts about 10:15 – backroading, of course.

Attached my plates (from my last Model A, sold in September, but I renewed them anyway, something – somebody – told me to do so), chatted with previous owner (know from experience it was hard), and off I went. To put things into perspective, Charlton, Massachusetts is just east of Sturbridge (and OSV that I love) and about 9 miles north of the Connecticut border.

Only scheduled stop (and fortunately no unscheduled stops were required) was the Country Store in Petersham for lunch. We arrived on schedule a few minutes before noon.

You know I love old county/general stores. Make sure you plan to stop when in the Quabbin area for a bite to eat. RAY RECOMMENDS – A Visit to the Petersham Country Store.

The Common in Petersham is worth a visit.

We continued north, leaving about 12:30 following Route 32 crossing the border, through Swanzey, and into Keene, and then north to home. Arriving back home just before two, the first stop was to “show off” at a friend’s house – having just adopted a new dog, she could not travel on this trip – priorities!

Note above that I was “bundled” but I was comfortable the entire ride and never put on my gloves or earmuffs. And then it was back to “44.”

and, then tucked in with her new “siblings” – never, never to leave again !!!

Trivia History Lesson. First stop in town to “show off,” T asked, “why is it called a rumble seat?” Sadly, I have never questioned the derivation. I do know that if you wanted the optional rumble seat in a 1928 or 1929 Model A Ford Roadster (instead of simply a trunk) it cost $35. A single seat in the rear of a vehicle in the early days was called the “mother-in-law” seat. My Dad had two such vehicles, a 1908 Buick and a 1909 Model T Ford, with the single seat in the rear. Well, continue below for some possible explanations. But, first an image of glee and approval, from a rumble seat.

There is no definitive reason for the nomenclature – rumble seat. But “playing on-line,” here are some ideas:

1 –  Sir Hubert Malcolm Rhumble, a prominent carriage designer of England’s late 1800s., designed a coachman’s seat that stuck in the car lexicon, according to the Automobilist Magazine in August 1958. In early vintage automobiles the trunk lid folded back to form a seat area, sometimes called a “mother-in-law” seat.

2 – Early use of “Rumble Seat” referred to the seat behind the body of a carriage on which the servants rode, well before cars existed. The application to cars evolved from the fact that the seat was indeed behind the enclosed portion of the ‘coach’ of the car. With regards to the expression rumble seat itself, perhaps it was due to the ‘rumble’ the carriage made as it travelled, and the open nature of the seat making the occupants more susceptible to the sounds of the rumble?

3 -The rumble seat (or auxiliary seat or ”mother-in-law`s seat”) first appeared on several models at the 1925 auto show in New York. Like the convertible, it swept the country. Everyone was talking about rumble seats.

4 – and, a simple definition – An uncovered passenger seat that opens out from the rear of an automobile. 

Did I tell you there are “threads through my life?” Printing, stamps, history, shunpiking in my special cars, 19th century general stores, photography, and places that bring me pleasure?

Well, in the summer of 1963,  high school friends and I painted a barn in Charlton, Massachusetts. One friend’s Dad owned the place as a weekend retreat/investment. We ate breakfast at the HoJos on the Mass Pike, entering from the back entrance off US 20. In the evenings we visited the now gone car museum in Sturbridge, and I visited antique shops (see the pattern). Well as I am writing this, to my right on the radiator is the view below. The two toy cars on the left I bought in Charlton, Mass. in 1963, just miles from where my “new” roadster came from. And, see the cast iron fire truck? Cost me $4 at an antique shop in Gaylordsville, Connecticut on a Belzebuth I excursion in 1963.

Too much fun. Thank you for getting this far, love, RAY

 

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SMILES and HOPE – 4 APRIL 2020

With such concerns around the world, it is nice to see that hope still abounds. Earlier today, while out for a walk in from of my home, I discovered a number of decorated stones appearing in various places. I thought it appropriate to share with my WALPOLE CLARION readers in a post, and then I shared that post on three Facebook pages. Probably an unknown young person in the area – there are some good and caring people. Just realized I must share here also – ENJOY the below.

Wonderfully painted stones, by “someone,” with thoughtful, uplifting and insightful sayings have been appearing around the Town of Walpole Common. Thank you “someone.”  And, bless you for bringing smiles and hope into the world. With love, yours, RAY

and, here are four more placed around the Common. You can click on any image below to open the gallery for larger views. Be well.

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2020 – NOT WHAT WE PLANNED ON – AN UPDATE

Hi there. I last said “hi” to you 19 January 2020, when I gave you a New Year’s update on my lack of travels. Remember in 2018 I was slowing down? So I bought a new right hip in December 2018, and got back out in 2019 running hard, including two great adventures posted as COAST TO COAST TO COAST BY TRAIN, and LAKES, LOCKS and LONG RIVER. But as the year progressed, walking again became a problem. I thought it was time to replace my left hip to solve the exhaustion walking.

Segue — I like to give you some images to tempt you to read further. So here is an image to entice you to the end for the details. This image was taken by local naturalist, Eric Merklein, of a looming local problem at the mill pond just down the road from me.

During my one year hip surgery follow-up in December I asked my surgeon for a new left hip. “Sorry, Ray, it is not time yet, you still have some cartilage there,“ he told me, “but looking at your x-rays, and checking your motion and symptoms I see your spine has closed up again pinching off nerves and their signals, thus impacting on your walking.”

Fast tracking ahead, on 25 February 2020 I had my second back surgery to fuse additional vertebra in my spine. You will be pleased to know that my back surgeon, when looking at my x-rays, said, “Ray, you have some screws loose.” It was great to get that professional opinion of what you have known for years. Actually, the screws of my original lumbar fusion had opened up (my bone problem, not his work), so now I have new metal bridging that earlier area, and now moving north up my spine. My excuse for setting off alarms is increasing. I wonder if I can get certification on my driver’s license or passport to that effect?

Back surgery can lead to three to four days in the hospital. My first back surgery in May 2016, was eight hospital days followed by ten days in rehab. You see, my body reacts to general anesthesia, and my bowels shut down. Not good resulting in tubes down to your stomach, and lots of invasive activity at the other end. Warning everyone of that problem going into this surgery, aggressive actions were taken, and my three day stay was only eight, and I got to come home then on 4 March. But while I was at Dartmouth-Hitchcock the first New Hampshire COVID-19 case broke out there – a hospital staff member, who had just returned from Italy. Life began to change for everyone.

I have always entertained myself and kept busy. I have so many hobbies, interests, things to learn, and one thing leads to another. I am fortunate to be comfortable while now somewhat isolated. You may be aware that I publish a monthly community newspaper – The Walpole Clarion – and I spend a good part of the month (off and on) preparing it for the community. I just finished up the April issue, and it went to the printer, and I posted it early on-line since there is much COVID-19 information to share. I invite you to read that information:

 

Click this link to the CLARION website, then Click to see the April issue

And, this is the April issue, and we sometimes have some fun with it along with the more serious stories. You may wish to read the issue and find a few things to chuckle over during this serious time while the world, as we have known it, is changing. Eric’s story of the new local threat is on page 10. Let me know what you think, and feel free to comment on this post.

Thank you for “listening.” Please stay safe, wash your hands, if you must go out practice “social distancing,” and with luck BLUE BELLE, BLACK BEAUTY, and LADY RAB and I will be out again soon to bring adventures to you. Love, RAY

Please all, stay home to stop the spread of the bad bugs
so it will be safe for us to get out.
We are waiting for you Ray

“To write about something is to live it twice.”

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HAPPY NEW YEAR – A JANUARY UPDATE

It has almost been a month since I last said hi, so “hi.” The little cars have not been out, so they have no shunpiking stories to share, nor have I made any recent trips in GiGi – the “new” car. Remember last year I was slowing down so bought a new hip to get back moving fast? And, move fast I did. Some great trips including two that I have to finish the stories about – COAST TO COAST TO COAST BY TRAIN, and LAKES, LOCKS and LONG RIVER. But, they, and several book projects are “on the list.” And my lists are being developed for some down time I will have before I run hard again. You see, the potential “adjacent segmented degradation” that could happen after my back surgery four years ago happened – and moving about has become problematic. So I am pushing to get some more metal put in my back. I know what to expect.

If you have visited SHUNPIKING WITH RAY recently you may have seen on the right side “Coming Soon – Popcornman Ray.” Well soon was tonight, I posted the page, but have much more to add. I love having “works in progress” that I keep working on. So, here is the link for you to “pop to” – sorry, could not resist:

https://shunpikingwithray.com/popcornman-ray/

Catch you soon I hope with adventures, have a great 2020, yours, RAY

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MERRY CHRISTMAS from “44” – 24 DECEMBER 2019

Just about perfect – 29 December 2016

the next year, 2017, I was at David’s, and last year, three weeks following hip surgery I watched the Live Nativity on the Common from my front window. This evening, 24 December, I headed out at 8PM as residents were arriving for the 43rd live nativity in Walpole.

and, you know how the great story ends.

I do not remember what I did for decorations last year because of the hip replacement, but you may recall I enjoy little trees, and a few weeks ago they started growing again. In some cases in different places. But this is the scene I enjoy on the center island in my kitchen.

and looking over at the fireplace in the kitchen – these trees are usually on the mantle each year – about perfect

this arrangement in front of the fireplace is new sitting on top of a circa 1830 camphor chest I found last year in Peru (Vermont) for a bargain price at a sale of $10 – value over $300 (yes I have good eyes).

above you can see part of my “book alikes” collection on the left on the wooden hearth. To the right of the sunburst candle holder is a reproduction Zoetrope – always wanted one, so I got one. Just to the left of the big red M is a rare late 1800s Zobo Brass Kazoo I found in an antique shop – and, yes, another big score. Remember I visited the Original Kazoo Factory in Eden (New York that is) in May this year? I bought a box of Kazoos – the plan being to have a unique band in the Old Home Days parade in 2020.

And, due to the right environment, some trees grew on the table in the kitchen this year.

and the Dome Train Car arrived just this past Saturday – more on that later.

And in my front room with a few additions, including a tin double candle sconce that begged to be purchased (with candles) for $6 last Saturday.

And, I am content and comfortable.

Gary at the Lowell Trolley Museum

You may remember I enjoy letterpress printing presses, and have many of them. I sold one two weeks ago that I was not using, and knew I would miss it once it went down the drive, even though making a very nice profit. I got itchy, found another one in Lowell, Massachusetts, just begging to be bought at the price, and arranged to get it last Saturday. Just 23 minutes from Gary’s home, he met me, we had lunch (in an early diner of course), toured Lowell, and visited the Trolley Museum. It was a great get-together. I then “bought my way home” at shops I frequent on the other side of the state, and purchased some good books. With the future profit on those books I could justify buying two 1950s Lionel “streamline” cars, and you saw above my Dome Vista car. Actually, did not need the “justification profit” but it helps. Remember, if you want something, just buy it when you see it, and “gift it” to yourself.

In the trolley museum was this one cartoon I thought worthy of sharing – so clever.

And, how do I end my holiday wishes to you? I share one of my favorite images (which can be clicked for a full screen view) but with –

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, love, RAY

 

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OKEMO VALLEY INNDULGENCE TOUR 2019 – 8 DECEMBER 2019

It is that time of year, and there are so many wonderful things to do. On the 7th I could have gone to the Grafton, Vermont village open house, Christmas with Calvin Coolidge in Plymouth Notch, or celebrated in Weston. You cannot do it all, and my legs said let’s rest at home, to be ready for the Inndulgence Tour.

Friends and I went three years ago, in 2016, which was the first year of the event. I strongly encourage you to also enjoy my post of the 2016 INNDULGENCE TOUR – albeit without snow that year – but great decorations, and comments.

Here is the map for this year’s tour – the 4th annual – and you can click to enlarge.

It made sense to leave home at 11AM to be at the furthest point from home when the tour began – Seesaw’s Lodge in Peru – Number 9 above on the far left. On Route 11, it bothered me a great deal that I was not familiar with the lodge, or its location in Peru. But there it was, just before arriving at Bromley, and with the slopes in the back yard.

At our next stop I found out why Seesaw’s was not familiar. I learned there was an old run-down building at this location, which I now vaguely remember. You may enjoy looking at this link for the history of this land. The property was purchased, and millions in renovations put into the various buildings. I think the last couple years I have only traveled home from Manchester (and, often in the dark), thus not seeing this facility on the left. The rooms and appointments are exquisite.

Whenever traveling on Route 11, you need to go in and out Main Street in Peru – the perfect little Vermont village, particularly with snow, and leaves off to capture the views and architecture.

The Common in Peru, Vermont

Typical Peru, Vermont, residence.

Back east to Londonderry and then north on Vermont 100 – the backbone of Vermont. I usually do not need to be on this beautiful stretch, but did remember the impressive scenic view from our next stop (Number 10), Colonial House Inn & Motel. which is located two miles south of the village of Weston.

A family run business, now for 41 years, Jeff and Kim are very welcoming hosts. And, their treats – miniature quiche and fantastic breads amazing. Each stop on the Inndulgence Tour has various foods, soups, decadent chocolate cake and the like to sample.

Jeff and Kim, owners of the Colonial House Inn & Motel in the lounge for guests.

And, then a tad north into the village, and (Stop 11) the Inn at Weston

Owner Linda, recently lost her husband, and new owners are now taking over. Dinners will soon again be served in the dining rooms that can seat 50 people. On my last visit, Linda ushered us into the dining room for amazing food, and we forgot to see the rooms. This time we headed upstairs first.

If you remember from my writings of the last tour, Echo Lake Inn (Stop 1) on Route 100 (north of Ludlow and Okemo) on the way to Plymouth Notch is also a special place. Cathy and I enjoyed a stay there 20 years ago, and I have enjoyed a number of evening dinners when in the area. You should stop.

upstairs to view the rooms and wallpaper (inside joke), and then down to the restaurant for the most amazing soups. Here is a gallery (which you can enlarge) of Echo Lake Inn.

Next at Stop 4 on the map, Julie, at the Golden Stage Inn in Proctorsville, is the organizer of this event. Profits this year were donated to the Springfield Supported Housing Program. It was fun walking into the Inn this year in the snow. And, visiting here for their chocolate cakes – WOW.

Not all inns are open both days of the tour, so sadly two of my favorites had to be skipped: Castle Hill Resort, and the Inn at Weathersfield. Both I have patronized on many enjoyable occasions.

So, it was off to stop 6 for the Hartness House in Springfield. This ended up being the highlight of the day. Again, Cathy and I enjoy at least one New Year’s Eve there years ago, and last year I attended TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS for a great time. Do revisit this link.

This year there were over 400 attendees to that fund-raising event. Gayle recently became the manager, and she is a knowledgeable delight. The dining facility has been closed, but spacious, well-appointed rooms are available, and events can be held here. Gayle asked, “would you like to see the tunnel and museum?” I had heard of them, Of course I replied emphatically, “yes please.” Here is a gallery around the inn before descending into the tunnel.

Built in 1904 by James and Lena Hartness, their home hosted many guests including Charles Lindbergh. Hartness was an inventor, managed precision manufacturing in Springfield, and was governor of the State. He experimented with telescopes, and built a large one in the yard, connected underground with a tunnel, and rooms with fascinating telescope exhibits organized by STELLAFANE – a local club for amateur telescope makers. Down we went with our guide.

A long tunnel turned off to the left entering several exhibit rooms. On the floor you can see where a bar once was, but during prohibition a secret room housed the bar.

The telescope – removed for the winter – is mounted in this spot.

and, upon leaving, I took this image so you can see the telescope turret, covered for protection during the winter (the bump in the center).

How do you top all this? With just enough time to drive to the Grafton Inn for eggnog and to turn in our raffle drawing forms. If you know me, you know why the inn is special to me, and if you forget, just ask, or check out my comment on the last Inndulgence Tour.

Grafton, Vermont 8 December 2019

inviting … YES

and, we enjoyed our eggnog, and chatted in the comfortable library at The Grafton Inn – Stop 7 on the map above.

Of the now four Okemo Valley Inndulgence Tours I have been to two. Each was different, and each was enjoyable. There were two other stops (besides the two closed for the day) we had to skip – five hours is not enough time to “do it all.” I suggested a perfect addition to Julie – The Landgrove Inn, which you know I have enjoyed, and is in the perfect spot between Peru (no passport or real ID needed) and Weston.

RAY RECOMMENDS — “Like” the Inndulgence Tour on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/InndulgenceTour – and then do attend next year. Also, visit the inns, have dinner, and travel the countryside. Explore new back roads – yes, SHUNPIKE.

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