was Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States in Plymouth Notch, Vermont. In following my travels, by now you know that Plymouth Notch is one of my favorite drives, just but an hour and a century away.
Yesterday I called the Saint Gaudens National Historic Site (another favorite escape) to see if there were any special events planned for the day. Finding none, I closed out the day reading about Ethan Allen, but with nothing planned for the 4th other than playing with all the “new” “old” books I had just purchased. But while mowing the yard commencing at 8:10 this morning I heard a faint whisper, “Me, Me, it is my turn.” I recognized BLACK BEAUTY’S seductive cooing. And then it struck me – Plymouth Notch, and I remembered reading of the yearly old-fashion celebration on the 4th complete with marching to the President’s grave and chicken barbeque. Finish yard, shower, feed Cricket, quick confirmation of the events on the website, and off we roared.
I am backing to park on a grassy spot at The Calvin Coolidge Homestead District which is a National Historic Landmark that is administered by the State of Vermont with an active supporting Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation — and what do I hear but, “Hey, Ray!” My neighbors Dave and Lil are entering the parking field in their modern convertible followed by friends Bob and Kerry, also with their top down (but no fun, both cars with roll up windows, and air conditioners on – yes with tops down – go figure). I joined them, and was thrilled to be able to share a special outing and a meal with friends.
It was not packed, but still more than the handful of folks I usually see in this special place. At noon the Vermont National Guard led the march from the village green to the cemetery.
The graveside ceremony included a reading of one of Coolidge’s speeches by members of the foundation and the great grandchildren of the President. Laying of a wreath presented by the White House followed at the President’s gravesite. The assembled crowd then traversed the short distance back to town, and we got in line for the Barbecue at the Wilder House. Even if a barbecue is not in the offing, under the trees in “downtown” Plymouth Notch is the place to spread a blanket, open a book and picnic basket, and enjoy. The images and video below give you a flavor of the day. When I departed I explored some favorite backroads, and picked up some new ones, “filling in the spaces on the map” as Gary and I are fond of saying. And, I stopped to enjoy the Vermont Country Store on the trek homewards.
HAPPY 4th of JULY; and, RAY RECOMMENDS you plan an outing to Calvin Coolidge’s Plymouth Notch.