It was on a “repositioning day” from Montreal to Whitefield, NH, in June of 2013 that for a second time I got well into the Eastern Townships of Canada. In that post I told you “… I cannot wait to get back.  Some of the most beautiful scenery I have seen and most pristine properties.  And then I got to my first Chemin Des Cantons – Knowlton, where I strolled around.  Intriguing looking restaurants everywhere, shops… ” Well, I finally got back, on a mission with friends, and “I cannot wait to get back again.”

Several years ago Ms. T loaned me a bag of Louise Penny mystery books, but sadly I never got into them. Last year she and a friend journeyed overnight to Knowlton, vowing to return. A few months ago I was encouraged to pick up and read STILL LIFE. I have now found award winning Louise Penny a brilliant writer filling her tales with intriguing paths of learning and characters that are flawed. There is so much psychology revealed by her characters and you get to understand yourself and others better.


Set in Three Pines in the Eastern Townships, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is the quiet hero who heads murder investigations, and becomes good friends with the town’s residents. I became hooked, and in conversations with Tara, Carolyn, and Chris, we needed to search for Three Pines. But alas, Louise has created the town from an assemblage of places in the Eastern Townships all a short distance from Knowlton. Did you know you can get there in only three hours? We met briefly, reviewed the “inspiration” map below (which you can click on to enlarge), and booked our rooms.

Leaving early on Tuesday the 14th, we crossed a remote border spot (again, you know I love those) and headed to Sutton to have lunch, but also to see the inspiration Boulangerie (below) for THE CRUELEST MONTH.

Then we circled up through Cowansville, through Bromont, then east to Route 243 to head south to Knowlton, passing along the east side of Lac Brome. Lodging was booked at Auberge Knowlton, built in 1849, and the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Eastern Townships. Considered to be the B&B and dining room that Inspector Gamache stays at, Louise Penny is often to be found here. Our host said that the week before she had dinner three evenings there, and recently Louise’s good friend Hillary and husband Bill (along with a number of cloaked gentlemen) enjoyed the fare. Note the duck – more on that later.

and, a side view

my room

and, where we spent our time, the second floor porch. Sitting with wine, cheese, and our new best friends (also on Louise Penny pilgrimages) along with our host. I never got to read a single page, or even have to recharge the battery on my laptop. We talked and talked – that is except when a 53 foot tractor trailer, or massive dump truck went by. Ends up this is the busiest intersection in Canada. Well, it seemed that way, we laughed about it, but never a sound was heard inside.

Before dinner we went for a walk, and YES, we had found THREE PINES.

Knowlton is the base camp for Louise Penny fans, and the bookstore (also to be found in Three Pines) the Center of the Gamache World. This building (on the site of an old mill) was built in the 1980s, but wonderfully done in the style of the Victorian village. One must remember, the Eastern Townships really only got populated in the late 19th century.

A nice bookstore, new books, but not many, it is probably the Gamache pilgrims that keep the shop alive. Here is the Louise Penny corner.

It was then dinner time back at the B&B, and I had (believe it or not) Duck Breasts (more on that later).


Wednesday and also Thursday mornings we walked around the corner, crossed Coldbrook, and took breakfast at the Star Cafe. Built as a tannery in 1843, a fire in 1903 left only the stone walls. Restoration in 2009 created this wonderful place to eat.

I did not get a picture of my colorful breakfast on Wednesday (just like in Deep River the week before), but did capture my French Toast on Thursday (just like in Deep River). The breads in the Townships are amazing.

Sometimes I (and this time we) have too much fun. Here is the smallest in Knowlton sitting in the largest.

If you only visit Knowlton for the day (possible from here), you have to visit the Brome County Historical Society, and its buildings and exhibits.  I remember driving by in 2013, took a picture of the sign then, but we spent over 1 and 1/2 hours there – worth the trip.

Here are some images around the museum, and, as you know, you can click my “galleries” for larger images.

There is so much to see, and learn, but here are a few panels of information I need to share (and you can click and enlarge for larger type if need be).

This exhibit on bringing children to Canada from the British Isles was fascinating. Pondering why we (the US) did not do something like this, it hit me “Canada, a British colony, was solving a British problem.

RAY RECOMMENDS — Visit the Museum in Knowlton.

Touring the streets, here is some “street art.” How many handbills have been posted over time?

Remember I said I would be back to Ducks? Remember the duck on the Auberge Knowlton sign? Well, there are duck images on all the poles in town. Why you ask? Seems as though over 3,000,000 ducks are annually raised in town for human consumption. You see duck on every menu – not so in the states. We visited the facility, and below is some of what you can buy.


We then had lunch on a porch along the river. Just so relaxing here – I think I have another RLI and Stockbridge.

Walking around a tad — HERE IS WHY YOU VISIT

There is a small gated bridge crossing the brook – crawling under the broken gate, here is looking to the mill pond, now filling in

and back to the “main drag” and bookstore

One of our party (remaining nameless) then retired for a nap, and the hardy drove on touring remote roads heading around Lac Brome clockwise. At the top of the lake was a visitor center in the original Foster Railway Station (moved to that spot) and I obtained great travel literature for upcoming adventures. Diner then was outside at the Knowlton Pub. Following was another amazing evening on the porch with our host, wine, Louise Penny aficionados, and trucks. “Throw me in that briar patch,” says RAY.

Thursday plan was to head further east, first to the Abbey de Saint Benoit du Lac (Cathy and I visited many times) where one of Louise’s books is set, and then to North Hatley and the Manoir Hovey, the setting of her fourth book – A RULE AGAINST MURDER – which I was reading at the time, and finished last night (late).

Built for the Robber Barons on Lac Massawippi, the hotel and grounds provide an early 20th century experience at a high end 21st century price. We took a look at the lunch menu in the tap room. It was not the price that kept us from staying – there was nothing intriguing on the menu. But maybe someday I will stay with someone.


but, the view onto the lake,

Here is a galley of views in the common areas we experienced. I have no idea why the books in an inn’s library are what I, as a bookseller, would be tossing to be recycled into new books.

And, then it was onto North Hatley. Just three hours from home by direct route (play with Google Maps), and I am ready to head back. What a perfect, lakeside, bucolic village, and attuned for visitors.

many places to eat, but we sat outside here

Again, amazing meals, and amazing presentation. Here is my Mexican salad.

For a day plus we debated how to cross back into the states. A friend recently told us he spent two hours awaiting customs returning from Montreal, but that was a Sunday, and on I-89. But here we were close to the I-91 crossing. Would it be as horrendous? But it was Thursday afternoon – let’s take a chance. I looked at the map. Route 143 would take us almost to the border at Derby Line. Let’s go for it, we decided. GOOD CHOICE – Route 143 from North Hatley to Stanstead has the most gorgeous vistas I have experienced. But, sadly in minutes we were at the junction with Canada Interstate 55.  I hopped on, and before I could get up to speed we were at the border. Hours wait? NO, I was the second car in line, and we sailed through. Of course, I did get looks with a cargo of three ladies.


1 – Learn all you can about the Eastern Townships, and visit, and visit often
2 – You do not even have to get Canadian money. You can use a credit card for everything, and the best part — the EXCHANGE RATE. I can remember spending $1.20 US for a Canadian dollar, and I can remember times with an even exchange. BUT RIGHT NOW – 76 cents gets a Canadian dollar – I researched, but cannot find out why. What that means is that my two nights lodging and all meals for three days cost me $360 USD.
3 – Travel Route 143 from the Border to North Hatley
4 – Start reading Louise Penny mysteries
5 – AND, travel NOW to the Eastern Townships

I will head back soon, thanks for traveling with me, yours, RAY

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Wednesday, August 8, was my “full day” away. As I have discovered, and told you, it makes the most sense to remain in the same place for two nights – and then have a full day of exploration in-between the two nights of rest. My plan for the 8th was to journey to the Branford Trolley Museum, now The Shore Line Trolley Museum. In 7th grade, Peter Hottelet (son of journalist Richard C. Hottelet) got me hooked on trolleys. I joined the museum, and convinced my parents to take me there in about 1960. I was a member for years, and wanted to visit again. Also, I wanted to give them all my old newsletters saving them from being tossed by my heirs.

Googling a back road route I discovered that Abington Spares (formally in Walpole) had relocated to Deep River. You had better know that the Morris Brothers started building cars at their Morris Garage – MG Motors (and you better know that is BLUE BELLE’s ancestry). And the location – Abington, UK. I stopped and got catalogues for David C. and Dr. Dewey. The route I took to Branford – Connecticut Route 80 – give it a try. Hard to find, I arrived at the museum and a trolley was waiting for me.

The track in the museum dates back to about 1900, and the line discontinued in 1947. The museum was established at that time to preserve history, collect cars, and use 1.5 miles of the original right of way. The collection now includes about 100 cars, but recent hurricanes brought flood waters in from Long Island Sound necessitating repairs and new buildings on higher ground.

You pay your fare ($3.50 with my senior military discount) and get aboard.

Peter was a great docent touring our small group along the line and in the yards.

it was nice to see young families joining in.

and, the controls (at either end to reverse direction) in case you are not familiar with this mode of transportation.

You first go to the end of the line, and then return to the yards for a guided tour. A second trolley arrives with another group. You can stay in the yard to tour on your own, and I did, returning on the second trolley.

Here is a gallery of some of the trolleys. You can click on any image for a larger view:

In one of the sheds is this car that was in the second tower of the World Trade Center on 9-11. Sitting empty in the station, this is one of the two cars that were not totally destroyed. A few years ago it was donated to the museum

the interior of the car (below) is unique. This car was used to take revelers to the Savin Rock Amusement Park in New Haven (yes I have old postcards of the park in my postcard collection). But after a night of heavy beer drinking, the happy guests often “lost their lunch.” The floor of the car is concrete facilitating hosing down, and the seats sat opposite each other for more open space. The museum uses the car for party trips setting tables up in the middle.

Finishing up at the museum, the plan was then to follow the shore on secluded route 146 back to US Route 1 to Old Saybrook, and then back to The Riverwind.

Lots of nice vistas, many close islands, but “not my thing.” Glad I drove along and explored, but I don’t think you need to do it. Here are the Thimble Islands.


So many places to eat in the Deep River, Chester, Essex, and Ivoryton areas. I choose the BLACK SEAL in Essex. I can’t be right all the time. I do not recommend them. Poor service, and my salmon came with a flock of fruit flies that I could not completely kill off. I did not say anything to them — just to you here.



And, now Thursday, the 9th.  Sadly I did not get a colorful image of my breakfast at The Riverwind yesterday. AMAZING – Mike serves everyone the same meal, opening the dining areas at 8:30. His cooking and presentations are amazing. Although not as colorful as Wednesday’s breakfast, today’s “French Toast” was unbelievable.

I wanted to visit the Pequot Museum –  Mashantucket Peqout Museum & Research Center – but was unsure of what else to do, and what route to take home. Ends up, no problem, after over 4 1/2 hours at the museum, leaving at about 4:15 PM, I just selected the quickest route home. To get there, I back-roaded (surprised?) heading up to Chester on Route 154 to catch the Chester-Hadlyme ferry. I  first crossed here in 1963. A Shunpiker “in training,” I was picking up my brother at Camp Hazen in Chester, but went further east so I could circle around and cross the river on the ferry in my mother’s 1960 Chevy Impala Convertible (of course I had the top down). I attended Camp Hazen in 1958 and 1959, Coming from the east I had to wait for the ferry in the small village setting — You Must Experience this Spot. You can click on the image above for easier reading, but this is the second oldest ferry in continuous use in Connecticut – gee, I was on the oldest two days ago. Not a populous area.

GiGi on her second ferry ride.

and, arriving on the east side of the river to pick up Route 82 to head to Norwich/Preston and the Pequot Museum

SHUNPIKING ALERT — Travel Connecticut Route 82 from the river to the end of Route 11 – bucolic, and like being home in New Hampshire.

I stopped at the Connecticut casinos in February, 2017. I wanted to experience them, and do not have to return. The museum was closed that day. RAY RECOMMENDS – VISIT Mashantucket Peqout Museum & Research Center, and plan on spending the better part of a day – you will not be disappointed. Since living in New Hampshire I have been able to get a better comprehension on the American Revolution in this area (not much has changed), and recently been getting a better understanding of the French and Indian Wars. And, now learning about the geology and formation of the Connecticut Valley, I was exposed to the Pequot War in 1636-1638, and needed to learn more.

The museum is wonderful, and met my information needs on the Pequot War and so much more. Hopefully it does the same for others. Three nice criticisms, that cannot be changed, but be forewarned. Parking is not convenient, but a small hike. Although the museum is logically laid out, it is not easy to backtrack since elevators and stairs do not connect the correct spots and are poorly marked. And, at least I could get some sustenance to survive, just expensive, small, and nothing exceptional. But still, please go.

So, since you promise to get there, I have decided to share some panels of information that really helped me learn some things (you can click to enlarge for easier reading, or just ignore – I will never know). The museum is logically starting with the ice ages, and then arrival of the first peoples in New England. You learn about the different tribes, arrival of Europeans and the trade cycle, and then the events leading to the Pequot War (see the movie – THE WITNESS at the museum).

As the last ice age receded, animals arrived in New England

And, we all need to know the following about corn:

There is a recreation of a Pequot Village that I should have spent more time in.

I was starting to think about Wampum, and “bingo” – there was a small theater with a video, and these panels. I learned, and had to share here:

But most disheartening, and leading to the establishment of the museum after almost 350 years of mistreatment, is what followed the Pequot War. Those Native Americans were essentially to be forgotten, and written out of history.

I am a native of Connecticut, but am now embarrassed as to what my home state did. I decided not to overwhelm you with the panels I took pictures of, but here is an extremely brief synopsis. Mistreatment persisted, and in 1855 the State sold off most of the Reservation Lands. Just a handful of hold-outs remained into the 20th century, and were wards of the State Welfare system. In the 1970s Pequot youth began returning to the barely 200 acres to keep their heritage from disappearing. They wanted their lands back, and it was discovered that George Washington in signing a document setting aside lands for Native Americans prohibited sales of those lands by states (hope I have it right – the concept is correct – I am good with concepts more so than details). In the courts, working its way to the Federal Government, and Reagan finally signed the paperwork declaring George Washington’s proclamation also applied to Eastern Tribes, and Connecticut was wrong. With the Tribe winning and getting reimbursement, they first invested in a pizza franchise, and carefully reinvested funds, saving their heritage, and presenting their story in the Museum.

I now have a much better understanding – well, finally have an understanding, and could visit again to solidify my understanding.

I said it before – RAY RECOMMENDS – Visit the Pequot Museum adjoining FOXWOODS.

I then hopped on Connecticut Route 2, joining up with I-84 for a short hop to I-91 North, and home.

It was a great, and unexpected wonderful day. But, another big adventure coming up – “stay tuned” – thank you for getting this far, yours, RAY

Addition – August 12 – so I can remember these other places to visit, I told my friend who sent me his memories that I would post here to help in planning my next trip, and for you to plan to do also. I think I now know why cars are so precious to us — they carry us to memories, and we make nice associations.

“I really enjoyed this particular segment. It hit on so many memories of the state I once lived in. The roads, the places, it’s all good. I knew a tour guide at the Thimble Islands. Chester, Deep River and south were the stomping grounds of my youth. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve crossed the Ct. River on the Chester/Hadlyme ferry, partly or largely because I lived nearby. I still have some very good friends that live just beyond the dock on the Hadlyme side in Selden Cove. Joshuatown Road is a interesting back road between Hadlyme and Hamburg. Lots of beautiful and well kept homes on that road. It was one of my favorite shortcuts to Rt82. The Hamburg Fair was an annual event my parents always took us to. …  When I was much younger my parents took me to Cowboy Valley just North of Clinton. What a great kids place that was.”

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I have been restless, wanting to get away, but where to go. I struggled and thought. I have been reading more about the Connecticut River, and decided I had to explore more in Connecticut. Do you remember the most recent sojourns in the Nutmeg and Constitution State?


Well, I am overdue for Mystic Seaport, so decided to revisit there, but in a travel book on the Connecticut River I read about the Riverwind Inn in Deep River, so that was the B&B selection. Then I discovered I had miscalculated the distances – not my style, but no problem, head east instead of west from Deep River. A plan was hatched to include an outing I have not done since 7th or 8th grade. And the drive south on Tuesday, today, filled with ideas.

First stop I planned was the Connecticut Museum of History in the State Library building in Hartford.

Not big the museum, but an impressive main hall.


I began to get a tad disappointed, then saw the side room. I entered, and there were a number of interesting exhibits which I have given a sampling of in the gallery below. You can click on any image in the gallery below to see a larger size. I have given a brief description of each as you will see.


And, then I saw this !!! — It made my day !!!

I know, I know — I am complicated, but I think interesting. I know you have absolutely no idea what the above is — well, I did without even reading. I will have to share with you my prize winning essay, THERE IS A KING BURIED IN CONNECTICUT’S WOODS. Yes, that’s right. I won the Hartford Courant (newspaper) essay contest about 1960 (can give you exact date when I pull my file at home). In 7th grade I started working in the the Wilton, Connecticut, Public Library (starting to see the connections and threads in my life?). I do not remember names usually, but John Davenport, who worked there, told me about King George III’s Statue in New York City, and showed me a piece of the statue he had. A small piece, and the most highly gilted piece ever found. When the Declaration of Independence was first read in New York City, July 9, 1776, the lead statue of King George III on Bowling Green was torn down. Loaded onto wagons to be hauled to the military depot in Litchfield, Connecticut (I lived just south of there with Cathy), the lead was going to be melted down into bullets to be hurled back at the British. On the wagons’ trek, however, Loyalists stole pieces of lead burying them. This happened in my hometown of Wilton, Connecticut, when the wagons were parked at a tavern – the Sloane house. Over the years pieces have been found, and this large piece was given to the state in 1960. The piece in the museum – a shoulder piece of the toga on the King.

It was John Davenport showing me his piece that may have helped spark my interest in history, and my interest in writing. I subsequently wrote another piece about this statue in the 1980s and it was accepted and published by American History Illustrated.  When I get home I will have to scan that and share it with you. I have a file of my history writings before my CLARION days, and history article days. Yes – there are enjoyable constants in my life.

Next on my list for the day – and tying into my recent week program at Historic Deerfield that I still need to share – was Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. The dome you see below covers the tracks on exhibit, and under the field in front are more that were recovered.

Just off I-91 south of Hartford a few minutes, you have to stop. The stretch of road has state government offices and facilities. The dinosaur tracks were found when another excavation began. Within days after discovery, the site was preserved.

Under the dome, in view, is this:

and a close-up

lots of informative exhibits in the building, a fascinating 25 minute film on the history of the area and site (covering 100s of millions of years). Not my best side below.

As you begin to learn about these preserved tracks (more in my overdue post) you will learn that they are found in sedimentary rocks, and layers will separate. There will be a positive (the original print) and then new sediments fill-in, and you get a negative impression – as above. But how can that happen? I learned on one panel. Fine flakes of Mica are in the sediment, and act as a lubricant to hold the sediment shape. The more Mica, the better a shape in sand is preserved, and later the easier each layer can be separated into the positive (actual track) and negative stones.

Outside, before the nature walks, is a group of negative stones (raised impression) where you can make your own plaster cast of an actual dinosaur foot print. A great activity to join in.

In my most recent reading, I learned of the oldest ferry in the US, crossing the Connecticut River since 1655, and just down the road. Of course that was on the day’s plan.

I pulled up just as the ferry was beginning to depart, but they stopped, reopened the gate, and waved me aboard.

GiGi on her first ferry ride.

and pulling away

heading down river to make a turn to navigate against the current to the other side – a four minute ride

It was then over to Route 17 to Route 17A on the east side of the river to head south to Middletown. Beautiful countryside. But make sure you take 17A into Portland proper, and turn right towards the river and the Brownstone Quarry. This quarry supplied much of New York City’s brownstone building materials. The quarry is now a recreation area, including swimming. Driving through Middletown I was reminded “I don’t do crowds” but I could go back and explore some of the shops. I decided to hop on Route 9 and hurry on down to Deep River, and the Riverwind Inn – my B&B for the next two nights.

My room is on the second floor corner in the right in the above image. Lots of wonderful common areas, back yard patio to enjoy, and a front porch. Gracious hosts – highly recommend. I usually give you a view of my room, but here is a small size you can enlarge if you wish.

The dinner plan for the evening was the Griswold Inn in Essex, which has been in continuous operation since 1776. Cathy and I stayed there over 20 years ago, I enjoyed driving by on the trip in August 2016, so off I went on back roads from Deep River to Essex – actually only a few minutes.

And, then it was back to the porch to read and write.

Well, it has been a long time since I have completed a post almost same day. Glad I am going to try to do one day at a time. Almost time for breakfast at the Riverwind, and then I will post this. Catch you soon, another adventurous day planned – yours, RAY

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The short newspaper article spoke to me immediately for a talk “…about the two sections of the Crown Point Military Road that touched the town, and the layout of the original turnpike and shunpike.” Meeting place, Belmont Village (population 245) – one of the four villages in Mount Holly, which you fly through on VT 103, and totally miss. I had to go, even though friends asked me to join them at the Weston Playhouse for West Side Story at the same time.


When BLACK BEAUTY and I went to the Vermont Marble Museum a few weeks ago we saw a couple signs on Route 103 saying Shunpike Road, and I was surprisingly too focused to not stop and “shunpike” – I knew I would be back. About 15 minutes from Ludlow (think Okemo) I turned left on Healdville Road (another Mount Holly village), but first stopped for BLUE BELLE’s portrait for the day.

Of the four villages in Mount Holly, Belmont is the most “formally” laid out with a common, churches (one now the library and community center) and the Belmont General Store, “serving the community since 1843”

A classic hill town, as the road began to climb down you enter the village.

Here are a few images from the “center of town” and you can click on any for larger size.

The afternoon tour was lead by Dennis Devereux, director of the local historical society. Dennis can trace his family to Greene Dawley, born in 1783, and claimed as the first white male born in Jackson’s Gore (the original name of Mount Holly which was previously called Mechanicsville – and you need to learn what a Gore is). He started the tour (14 of us in a small bus, followed by 4 cars) showing the spots we would visit on these early maps. Outlined was the original 1759 Crown Point Road, the 1776 rerouting of that road, the original Turnpike and its tolls, and the sections of the Shunpike. The current Route 103 was laid out in the 1920s, but sections improved (particularly the hill up from Route 100) in the 1960s.

If you travel with the right person (Dennis is the one) you discover history you would never otherwise see or hear about.  Below (off Route 103) is this section of the old Turnpike coming in on the right of the picture below to what is now Summit Road.

The Green Mountain Railroad today essentially follows Route 103 from Ludlow to Rutland, and Dennis pointed out locations of three, sadly now gone, railroad stations. Summit Road is so named since it is the highest point of the railroad line, completed in 1849, from Boston to Burlington. Ironically, this highest point, is also the lowest point in elevation that the railroad found to cross the Green Mountains (hope I remembered that correctly, Dennis).

Dennis pointed out an excavated area with the tracks passing through. “It was swampy, so they dug down 11 feet to bedrock to lay the tracks,” he explained. But in so doing, the construction crew discovered the tusk and tooth of a woolly mammoth (more later, and check this link now). As I have written about, the first train from Boston to Bellows Falls and Walpole arrived on January 1, 1849. I really hadn’t thought of what happened next, but, of course, several sections of track were being constructed at once. On December 18, 1849 at this highpoint, the Summit, with the tracks now connected, trains with dignitaries from both Boston and Burlington met to drive the last spike. “Water from Lake Champlain and Boston Harbor was mingled in front of the cowcatchers, and all celebrated with rum and local hard cider.” Think, Erie Canal, “Wedding of the Waters.” More history in the middle of nowhere that I needed to share.

Next we went north of the old Turnpike and Shunpike to sections of the old Crown Point Military Road. I explored other sections of the Crown Point Road in August 2013 with a group assembling at the Hubbarton Battlefield. Below is a marker of an encampment spot. Several thousand soldiers with their cattle etc. would camp at this spot on the way from the Fort at Number 4 to Crown Point, or Fort Ticonderoga – depending upon which war (I know, but something for you to look up)

This bucolic spot was once a lake and industrial area until a 19th century freshet wiped out the dam.



A great outing, and I cannot wait to reexplore these roads, and others in this mountainous region. Back in Belmont, Dennis opened up the Perkins House Museum. There I got to see the Mammoth’s tusk, and a casting of the Mammoth’s tooth. (there are some reflections – sorry)


Vermont’s Terrestrial Fossil in the Perkins House Museum, Belmont, VT

If you check the Mount Holly website you will be overwhelmed with everything going on in the little village. Even if you go and get a sandwich at the Belmont General Store and eat on the Common (as I did) you will enjoy yourself. To help save the General Store from closing – a young couple just leased it for two year – I will visit again and vote with my dollars to help them stay open. And, just as I was leaving, a couple of kids were finishing up their production of A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT DREAM on the Common.

1 – Visit the Mount Holly website – and see what is happening, and then go visit.
2 – Patronize the Belmont General Store
3 – Make a loop on your visit – you can enter Belmont from Route 103, or Route 155 from Weston – many places to explore.
4 – Talk to a local librarian – before the tour began I chatted with the volunteer in the library to learn that in the 1920s and 30s farmers sold their land for $1 an acre to “city slickers” for summer retreats. Owned for generations, these are now retirement homes for many. Also, as Vermont was switching to tourism, the village name of Mechanicsville was not that appealing to attract visitors to Star Lake that is right in the village.
5 – Remind me to get to the three posts I owe you: More RLI explorations; North Conway Railroad; and “Dinosaurs, Dunes, and Drifting Continents” – the Connecticut River Valley

Thank you for “shunpiking” along – yours, RAY

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The First One to Blink — Looses.

This day off was scheduled two weeks ago – but rain (not good with top down) postponed the outing. I have a fascinating week of learning coming up, and in preparation thought a visit to Proctor, Vermont, and the Vermont Marble Museum would be helpful. Only been in the parking lot before, never inside the museum in the old original factory buildings (you know I like old and original). What a perfect BLUE BELLE day, and the cloud cover dissipated upon our arrival about 10:45 AM, I spent about 2 1/2 educational hours inside while BB1 was puzzled outside — It was a Standoff !!!

The Vermont Marble Company was the largest marble company in the US (maybe world, I forget) owning quarries all over the county – but with the work done in Proctor. There had been many quarrying attempts in the area, but it was not until about 1886 that Redfield Proctor made it a success, developing a company town named for him. The exhibits and marble displays are in the old factory building, and this one section is as it had been used up until the 1980s-90s.

Vermont Marble Museum – original work area

So much history inside, I encourage you to visit. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was carved here from a 56 ton block quarried in Yule, Colorado (the largest block ever quarried in the US up to that time – 1930).

Redfield Proctor was a US Senator from 1891 until his death 1908. It is no coincidence that many of the monuments and buildings in Washington, DC, are made of Vermont Marble from Proctor.

Marble is used for so much more, as a mineral added into many things – you would be surprised how much marble is in building materials and household and food products. The company is now part of Omya and this room told all the uses for marble granules (over 100, maybe it was a 1,000 in the width of a hair once processed).

Following is part of a display local school children developed to help document the town’s heritage. A history lesson here for our leader(s). If you cannot read the print, click for a larger image.

there were two rocking chairs in this area, with plaques on the arms. I could not resist capturing these two to share with you.


I will not show you all that was here about the quarrying operation, and the geology that formed the marble and granite in the area (my reason for going). But here are two placards with “fast facts” that I did not know that I want to share.

I then toured the town and saw many of the company built duplexes for company workers. Just up from the museum is this abandoned quarry.

The bonus for this venture came from my re-looking at a favorite book from my personal library – ABANDONED NEW ENGLAND: ITS HIDDEN RUINS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM by William F. Robinson. You know I love the old summer resort and vacation experience and historic inns, and hotels. In picking up the book I turned to the chapter – Mineral Springs and Mountain Top Resorts. Goodness, there just below Rutland on a back road heretofore not explored by me was Clarendon Springs Hotel. Further research on-line, and the 1834 hotel, grounds, other buildings, including country store – almost the whole village for 2.5M (gotta check another mattress).

well, here is a map of today’s route (in part once in the area), so you can see Clarendon in an out of the way spot (circled) below Rutland, a tad west.

more about the question mark later and the lower x in a circle.

Having researched on-line, I knew what I was looking for, and up a hill, round a corner I spotted the hotel and this sign.


of course we pulled in

and, what was to our backs? You know I have loved 19th century stores since my pre-teens. The C.E. Seamons Country Store closed in 1937.

to sweeten the deal, this home is across the street (and I did not take a picture of the modern “caretakers” home that is included).

what is missing from this picture??? You will find the answer at the end of this post, and you better get tomorrow’s quiz right.

just to put things into perspective.

and the backside. The grounds lead down to about 500 feet of river frontage.

Plan was to head south toward Danby and Manchester. I had the route on the state map (above) in mind, but made some interesting turns, and realized I was not where I thought I was – but I never get lost, eventually I spot something familiar. But, what a place to get “lost” – just beautiful. Yes, of course its a dirt road. (you can click the below for larger image)

I stopped and talked to a mail-carrier. “Go straight, take the detour, and you will end up on Route 7,” she said. That is all I needed, you know US Route 7 is my favorite road (well I have some Class 5 and 6 Roads around I cherish, and a few in Walpole I will be working on getting designated Scenic Highways – always have to have a project or two). Still was not easy, but finally I got to Danby. Of course you know that is where Pearl S. Buck lived her final years. And, just before I got to “7” there was a small sign – I had to go.

Under Danby Mountain is one of the largest marble quarries in the world. I knew of it, and just enjoyed the video of its operation at the museum. Oh, they have to let BB1 and me visit for sure — NOT — I decided to stop. Can’t believe they bring the blocks out on the small entrance road we found.

It was then down into Manchester and Manchester Center. Tad hungry – found nice lunch spot and had an artichoke panini – at 3:40 – one traveling friend would not have liked that chow time.

BB1 behaved well, and loved this long trip – longest since her quitting last August in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. BB2 gets new tyres (English spelling, of course) tomorrow at 8, so I better finish up and get a few hours sleep.

Answer to your question — Rocking Chairs!  Catch you soon, as always, yours, RAY

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Did you get to the end of my 4th of July post? Did you see my last comment – “I have a mission tomorrow. I wonder if the local dealer is really “ready to deal.” Well, what may seem an impulsive decision, really it is not. Maybe a year plus of thought was involved, but once the bug bites, I move to action, and I did on July 5th. I did my research and knew what to expect as to trade values VS selling on my own, and average actual retail sales prices. Early Thursday afternoon, 5 July, I shook hands (so easy), wrote a check, and GiGi (to be brought in from a dealer in Massachusetts) was mine. What I wanted, besides four wheels, was cruise control (now called speed control) a radio, and the Granite exterior. I never even saw the interior of the car offered me. Impulsive? Yes, but it works.

Meet my “new lady” — GiGi !!! My friends know I awake with ideas. Friday I awoke – “GiGi.” So obvious, her color is granite, we live in the Granite State, and she is a “lady” – a pretty young lady.

There is something terribly comfortable about an “old shoe.” GiGi is my sixth Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler “van.” Hey, you know what I do. Have you any idea how easy it is to load boxes of books, or tubs of the WALPOLE CLARION inside to move? Not to mention anything else that may catch my whim while on the road – a goat, or patio set for Gary.

GiGi now makes the 6th “set of wheels” for this single fellow. Not really necessary. LADY RAB has only traversed 4 miles in the last two years, and now the ten year old “gray ghost,” with its potential hiccups, was excess to my needs. Been thinking about selling

Bye dear “Gray Ghost”

LADY RAB – even though I wanted to die with a Model A, and I planned on moving the “gray ghost” along. Listed both on Craig’s List Friday night. Two hours later the phone rang for the “old” Dodge van. Short story shorter, the family arrived early Saturday afternoon from Nashua to look. I priced firmly at $4950. In my ad I said, “If I wanted to haggle, I would price at $6500 and settle for $5200.” They were here a short time, a drive around the Common, mentioned the potential problems (which I knew), and said we brought $4500 cash. As you know, Ray has several philosophies. One is price to move, and the another is “time (particularly mine) is money.” I said fine, but did you bring plates? They did, from their other van – I said I did not hear that. And that was it.

Now, do not think I have neglected BB1 and BB2. BLACK BEAUTY’s electrical system was replaced recently (remember her 99 mile piggy back ride home from Pittsfield?), and BLUE BELLE came home Saturday with a new generator and rear wheel bearings and seals. Today I purchased four “new shoes” for her to be installed on Thursday. As Cathy would have told you, “I take care of my ladies.”

PW1 has already approved of GiGi. Tomorrow I will see Sandy and leave all the paperwork to transfer my plates over. And, next I will get GiGi’s passport for an already planned out of CONUS trip scheduled in August. Oh, just too much fun.

Not much has changed inside, thus my comfortable feeling, but GiGi is well appointed.

I will not comment on her lines or posterior – not appropriate for a gentleman.

Well there will be new adventures with GiGi (that could be a whole separate travel blog). If you would like to help LADY RAB find a new home, you can find all the particulars clicking on this link.

Stay young and vibrant, I know I am, as always, yours, RAY

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And, a happy and safe 4th to you all. I was “bad” today, “very, very, bad.” I did not travel to celebrate Calvin Coolidge’s birthday in my favorite Plymouth Notch, Vermont. You know I have done this for years, and there is something pleasurable about a comfortable routine, knowing what to expect. But I came across a flyer a month or so ago  — celebrate the 4th in Wardsboro, Vermont. So, for a change, I went. Wardsboro in south central Vermont (you have not heard of it I am sure) is on Route 100, and very, very small. Today was the 69th annual 4th of July parade – southern Vermont’s oldest continuously running parade.

The parade started at 10 AM at the bridge on Route 100 just north of Main Street. Coming up and turning down Main, past the reviewing stand at the Town Hall, and then circling back. After browsing the 50 various vendor’s booths, I planted myself at the intersection of Route 30 and Main Street.

Lots of attendees enjoying themselves, but maybe six floats, a bicycle, many “antique” cars (not!!! I do not relate to the 60s and 70s in rides — Black Beauty would have shown them all up, but she choose to stay parked in a field so her temperature would not be affected), and bringing up the rear were most of the fire trucks in southern Vermont.

The parade lasted maybe 40 minutes, but that is the two loops – coming back past the judge’s stand awards were passed out.

and, following is a gallery of what I saw (click an image to view the larger slideshow)

Of course I had to have lunch there. Not a bad lunch (and not bad legs either)

Following lunch I toured the booths again and listened to music.

And, I had to share this thoughtful display

Back to BLACK BEAUTY (there was a shuttle to the field), back up Route 100, right on Route 30, and then left at the Townsend General Store up, up, up (for miles on end) the hill to Windham – another small spot you should visit. At the crossroad I turned right to Grafton, another great ride, and lots of dirt and scenery. You know the Inn at Grafton is special to me.

And, here is the perfect Main Street in the perfect Grafton, Vermont. And, Ray’s “perfect timing” to catch a holiday festive red car passing the flag.

About 5 hours away, and home again. Hot and humid, impacting on easy sleeping, so I am enjoying some less humid peacefully inside for a change.

I had a revelation this week – big time. For almost a month I have had spread out on the porch my pending trip ideas. Many a distance away, and I have been trying to tie into traveling by train to the destinations, and then rent a car. But working with schedules, and then checking driving time on Google Maps, it is less time to drive. So, I said, “Ray, make the train trips the adventure alone and not tied into something else. Best to drive to the things you want to do this year.” But, I have been hesitant to drive the “new car” for a long journey. Not that it wouldn’t make it, but you get to a point where you don’t want to worry. So, research this week, and it is time to make a change. I have had five Plymouth/Dodge/Chrysler vans in a row since 1990, the current Grey Ghost for ten years. Next year is the last year for the Dodge Grand Caravans – the perfect transportation for me, and wonderful for moving books and everything else. I do not understand why people spend $40,000 for a fancy car when all you need to do is get from one place to another. Based upon my research, I have a mission tomorrow. I wonder if the local dealer is really “ready to deal.”

Happy 4th of July – as always, yours, RAY

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HISTORY and ROCKS — 22 and 23 JUNE 2018

A short quick post, because you could still go to my recommended “rock show” tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, put it on your “must do list” for next year.

I still owe you my North Conway, and Red Lion Inn overnights, but quickly here are some adventures. On Friday the 22nd I delivered a grant request to Concord. Some of you may be aware of my involvement in stopping the building of a gas station in Town, and the subsequent work to get the Connecticut River frontage property in total conservation in perpetuity. A round trip to Concord to delivery paperwork? No way – always other things to do. I needed to get to the New Hampshire Historical Society in its main building. No parking available on other tries.

Entrance rotunda – New Hampshire Historical Society


For years the historical society had a second exhibit location and gift shop off Main Street. It was great, in fact, Cathy and I traveled from Connecticut in 1999 to see an exhibit on the White Mountains. Other trips to that satellite location for exhibits where wonderful. But, now with consolidation in the original society’s building with limited exhibit space, I was disappointed. No need for you to visit. Heading up the stairs is the New Hampshire State House Eagle carved in 1818, and 6 1/2 feet tall. It adorned the top of the NH State House – the oldest in the nation – until replaced in 1957 with a gilded copper  version.


On the second floor there were two small exhibition spaces. One hall’s exhibit was “Discover New Hampshire” with various historical artifacts nicely displayed such as this Mount Washington exhibit.

FAST FACT from the display of the Ballot Box used in Hart’s Location from the 1850s to about 1980. Did you know why this town of about 37 residents along Dixville Notch were the first to vote in the nation’s first primary? Well, most residents worked for the railroad and had to be at work before the polls would normally open. Only in our wonderful State.

The other gallery had art of the White Mountains.

Two paintings really caught my eye. This first is “A View on the Saco” by Godfrey N. Frankenstein done in 1847. Similar to some scenes I will eventually show you of my train ride up the Saco. The railroad’s trestle I crossed is named for Frankenstein.

Benjamin Champney (1817-1907) had his home and studio in North Conway near popular tourist lodgings. Welcoming tourists to his studio, many bought his paintings as “exquisite souvenirs of a Conway summer.” His 1874 oil on canvas of “Saco River, North Conway,” is considered a masterpiece with its pastoral foreground, winding river, and distant cloud-covered mountains.

and a close up

I have wanted to gift a copy of my Walpole book to the historical society library for its New Hampshire collection, and was able to do so. Library director, Sarah E. Galligan, graciously accepted my gift.

Never having explored north of the State House before, I drove through an architecturally interesting area. Wandering up and down hill, I picked up Route 3 and continued north for awhile past the State Prison. Turning around I stopped at the New Hampshire Department of Corrections Retail Showroom. Chatting with the attendant, I learned of the various programs for inmates to be employed making furniture, or to learn or pursue their crafts. An upholstery service is provided for those wishing to have furniture restored and recovered.

You know this “hopeless romantic” has several passions, and I could not resist this purchase for all of $8.

My dear late-bride loved rocks and minerals. Would you believe we never attended the Rock Swap and Mineral Show in neighboring Gilsum? This weekend is the 54th Annual Rock Swap, and it has been “on my list” for weeks to attend. In spite of impending rain, I departed about 10 AM, arriving shortly later.

But, a slight traffic delay on the way at the intersection of Prospect Hill Road and Maple Grove Road.

too cute, could not resist to share more…

BLACK BEAUTY was able to tuck into a small spot in the packed fields. Around her were cars with license plates from North Carolina, Ohio, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and more. This event is a big deal.

On the school field is a long row of vendors — all things rocks, minerals and fossils. When I told Number Two Son I was going to a “rock show” he was perplexed. He is a musicologist and music historian – I quickly corrected myself – “rock swap.”

There was eye candy (or “rock candy”) everywhere.

I have so much I want to learn. Ironically, I had previously scheduled a week long seminar in July on the geological development of the Connecticut River Valley, and have been learning about Lake Hitchcock and the aquifers in our area. A study of rocks and fossils at the show was a natural thing for me to finally do. Below a fellow was selling geods. You could make a selection, and then he would open the stone.

Rocks – Fragile? An oxymoron at best. But the fragile part are the embedded Herkimer Diamond from New York State – have to learn about them.

I found Brett one of the most fascinating individuals there. A Native American in his 30s, he has been working with rocks, fossils and the like his entire life. Living in Scotland for 10 years he even found a partial dinosaur which he sold to a California museum.

He had on display dinosaur footsteps he has found in Erving, Massachusetts and other related fossils. A great website – Bretton Carter should be your “go to source” for the “real deal” in authentic items.

These are dinosaur footprints he found in an area near where Edward Hitchcock found the first such prints in the Connecticut River Valley.

From 1 PM to almost 2:30 I attended the Nancy Swing’s lecture “Rock-Hounding in New England.” Interesting history, fascinating anecdotes, and more things prompting my need and desire to learn more. I had to buy something, and this 2 1/4 inch square (at the base) pyramid is from Morocco. A good number of the fossils of primitive cephalopods were exhibited. I now have a unique paperweight.

A great day out, and if you cannot make it to the 54th Annual Gilsum Rock Swap & Mineral Show tomorrow, June 24, please plan to go next year for the 55th – you will not be disappointed.

Enjoy, yours, RAY


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Number One son called a few moments ago asking what I had done today. “I traveled a road I had not been on before,” I replied. He said, “I can’t believe you have any left.” Yes, I do, and some routes I can always repeat to see what is new, or just to feel the wind. I have had trouble getting posts done. I have been waiting until I get home to work on a post, but with at least three days to document it becomes overwhelming. “Life gets in the way” and I do not get my stories done. I still owe you RLI from May (actually I owe myself to remind myself of things to repeat), and this week I had a three day adventure with many images. Think I will go back to my old ways and do my trips day by day. Easier to get done, and not as overwhelming for you — but remember, you don’t have to read them. And, if you fail the quizzes, I will not hold it against you – maybe.

Today’s trip I started 3 weeks ago, but feared BLUE BELLE was having an internal problem, so we headed back home only getting as far as Putney. She is now in hospital with Doctor Dewey, and BLACK BEAUTY just got out of hospital with a new wiring system – today her first outing since. You may recall she destroyed her last one in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, last August – a 99 mile piggy-back ride home. What did I want to see? Vernon, Vermont, Fort Dummer State Park, and Northfield Mount Hermon School. Vermont Route 124 out of Brattleboro south was to be the “new road.”

About a mile south of the Brattleboro railroad station is this monument, moved in 1908 about 2200 feet from the south when the site of the original Fort Dummer was flooded with the building of a dam on the Connecticut River.

Fort Dummer was the first permanent European settlement in Vermont, built in 1724. Seventy Abenakis attacked the fort October 11, 1725, killing many soldiers. A palisade was then added. Abandoned in 1763, it served a role in the French and Indian Wars.

Heading south on Route 124 I wanted to see Vernon, site of the now closed Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. A friend asked, “what is there in Vernon to see?” “I will find out,” I replied.

I expected to see the large towers reaching up into the sky, but that was not the case. It is (was) a small facility. I did not see the large cooling towers because instead the waters of the Connecticut River provided the cooling source.

How many nucky plants have a Colonial office building?

Here is detail from the sign that gives the history of this almost isolated area.

Next I wanted to see Fort Dummer State Park – you always see the sign for it heading north on I-91, but I had to see it. Heading further south I was looking for a sign, but soon pulled over, turned on my iPhone, checked WAZE only to find I had to turn around and go back north 5 miles. I dutifully turned left on a dirt road to eventually be told “you have arrived at Fort Dummer State Park.” Well, maybe – no entrance, just woods. I continued on the road to US Route 5, turned north to the Guilford Country Store. The clerk said, “continue north, turn right at the Walgreens (in Brattleboro), pass the school and turn right at the bottom of the hill. The road ends at the entrance.” And, there, well hidden was the entrance with I-91 in the background.

The ranger let me drive around for free. A really, really nice campground with hiking trails – that is about it, but now I (and hopefully you) know what is along I-91 as you head going north.

Backtracking back, can have its advantages. I went back down the bypass past the entrance for Vermont Yankee and came upon the Vernon Dam and power plant built in 1908. Bet you have never seen it – that out of the way.

I now have another “favorite ride.” VT 124 following the Connecticut River from Brattleboro to Route 10 in Massachusetts. Great scenery, great straightaways, just like some of my favorite sections of US Route 5 north of me in Vermont. Arriving at Route 10, I turned left, and then right into the entrance of Northfield Mount Hermon School. Had to see it, and was overwhelmed with the size of the campus, the buildings, the beauty — far surpassing what many college campuses are. A prep school for grades 9-12, there are about 650 enrollees.

It was then north on Routes 63 and 10 into the Main Street of Northfield. A beautiful town to experience, I stopped at Highland BBQ in town – amazing. Simple atmosphere, but nice menu and food. I had a vegetarian BBQ sausage sandwich with smoked onions and pickled peppers with a three bean salad. Not eating much tonight.

Arriving in Hinsdale, I continued west on Route 10 hoping to find the Winchester Historical Society in Ashuelot open. No luck – probably never open, but I had to check. At least got a great shot of the old railroad station next door.

and, I have shared the Ashuelot Covered Bridge before, but here it is again.

Arriving in Winchester, I turned north to Keene, and scooted on home. Five hour outing – new road, and a new route to enjoy — VT 124.

Now, I got this done within hours of getting home – yeah, Ray. I will break last week’s trip into three posts, and then get to the three days away at the Red Lion Inn. Lots to share that you may wish to experience also. Thank you, happy travels, yours, RAY

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I know, I know — you have not heard from me here since my post on 2 May of my 11-13 April adventure with Bob Newhart. I am sorry, but I have been busy — just read the last couple issues of my newspaper THE WALPOLE CLARION. But that has to change, and I have to travel and share. I did get to (where else?) The Red Lion Inn the beginning of May, but I did not start working on that post until last night. Recently (so thieves do not know I am away) I have waited until I got home to write up a post – I used to accomplish them daily. But it has not happened during May — so, here I have to share today’s fun, I have more trips planned, and will get to the RLI May post soonest.

Remember I have gone to see “hit n miss” engines at the Gas Engine Meet in Dublin? I have reported my last three exciting times there – Sadly not being able to own everything, at least I could see the machines and all. Well, I read about the Third Dublin Market, an antique show event with Vintage Campers at the same site — And, today I went. (my panoramas can be clicked for full screen views)

What drew me there today? It was the small vintage campers – yes something I would have loved to own just like a “hit n miss” engine. I did not go yesterday because BLUE BELLE developed a noise, and I wanted Dr. Dewey to confirm my diagnosis. Yes, she needs a water pump transplant. Of course, her groan and squeal was not noticeable when we got to hospital yesterday, and today she hardly groaned — but I need to give my babys preventative care to try to alleviate “piggy-back” rides home.

I parked, in a special spot for old cars, and walked over to the three greatest displays and chatted with the owners.

How can you not want one? I want one !!!

and, to do it right, you have to have all the vintage accessories

the “small” interiors are “to die for.”  There is nothing new with the “tiny house” craze.

With almost 150 vendors, it was a nice “antique” show with vintage items – no junk, but sadly nothing that tempted parting with my cash or a cheque.

I chatted with the vendor whose books are below. If you have visited me, you know about my “book-alike” room. Still need to write a book about it, but I have hollow books, book safes going back to the 18th century. This fellow is now working full-time creating vintage book safes.

You know my passion, and my livelihood. He told me how he did his creations – BOOK END DESIGNS, and his card reads

There was an interesting assemblage of items for sale – I was not disappointed looking at the creations and will attend again next year.

Now, here is a “Canned Ham” that was for sale – $3,000 or OBO. Well, of course I spent time on Craig’s list when I got home and on eBay – this was not a deal needing a full restoration – have my eyes on a restored honey for $8K.

Hope your ears perked up at “canned ham” – your lesson, and new “fast fact” for the day. Note the shape of the little girl above and the beauties below. Get it now? Sorry, I did not invent the description, but learned on my internet search. Years ago I bought, and have in my library, a book on “Tin Can Tourists.” As Model Ts became popular, many were converted into campers to tour the country side. Farmers would rent roadside space, and the “campers” would park for the night and heat their dinners from tin cans.

Here is a 1963 Shasta Astrodome

and, more vintage eye candy

I chatted with the fellow who had a vision, and built this sleek model from the frame up – he has in mind his next iteration.

Of course (you know this), a 1954 Jewel —

too much fun…

I also chatted with the “left over” 60s hippy lady about her 1980s fiberglass model. Heavy scent of incense as she (as others also did) said, “look inside.”

Well, if I cannot travel the country side in a “canned ham” maybe I should install one in the back yard and start a unique B&B. What do you think?

Leaving I headed down to Peterborough, and then out Main Street north to West Peterborough stopping at Nature’s Green Grocer Cafe in West Peterborough. On an outing in BLACK BEAUTY, Ms. T. introduced me to this fine spot, where you can sit on the patio over the river enjoying your sandwich with BLUE BELLE looking on.

But, then it was – back roads of course – over to Hancock, then to Route 9, over the hill through Sullivan, up Route 11 to Gilsum, left along the river to Route 12A – left onto Walpole Valley Road – left turn onto dirt road Webster, and a right curve back into Walpole — always great to be back home, no matter how much fun you had.

And, the above can be “clicked” for full screen image. Catch you soon, love, RAY

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