Whenever number two son, Gary, and I day trip it is usually in an area where we have had “holes in the map” – places that we have not been, but surrounded by areas we have previously explored. To connect the areas together in our minds, it is imperative that we shunpike into the unexplored in-between areas to “fill in the map”’ as we like to call it.
Today I needed such an adventure to rest up my right arm from all the work we have done at “73” the past two plus weeks. I know, shifting a sports car still requires use of the right arm, I have to make exceptions; and, I have some “holes in the map” in the lower south eastern portion of Vermont. Areas that there is no reason to go there, other than to “fill in the map.” So, having written this (after taking some photos for the CLARION) I am off late morning to explore.
Having now completed the day’s 8 1/2 hour exploration I must say — DO NOT DELAY – THE LEAVES ARE BEGINNING TO POP.
Leaving home, the north side of my sugar maple is always early (but maybe not). Sadly, I believe that this tree is dying, and it is only about 46 years old.
Now get out your maps, because here is the route (but I ended up with deviations – isn’t that the point?). I planned to head down 12 first and turn right onto Route 63 (which I did) and then head down River Road, past Maplewood, to get to Route 9 to Brattleboro. Well, I came up to the little red schoolhouse at a neat intersection, and never having been on Poocham Road, I turned left, where I first came upon Poocham Hill Winery.
I visited with Mame O’Dette, the owner. They bottle about 1,000 bottles a year, and are open for wine-tastings. Not 15 minutes from home – road trip my friends. But more so because I continued on Poocham Road to Route 9 and I now have this tour in my best scenic routes list RAY RECOMMENDS – FOLLOW THIS ROAD COMPLETELY. The vistas cannot be adequately captured. There are some fantastic homes, and some history along this road as seen in the next few images.
Once on Route 9 I crossed into Vermont, and (sorry) got on I-91 south for one exit to continue on VT Route 9 to Wilmington. I have visited Wilmington, Vermont, for 40 years but have never stopped at the Flea Market on the way into town. Nowadays there is nothing of interest to me anyway – but I stopped, and it was mostly “newer stuff.”
But then I got to a large postcard dealer’s booth. I looked at the Walpole section, but of course there was nothing I did not have. At the end of the tables I spotted four banana boxes of automotive sports car and racing books. I asked, “how much are your books?” as they were not marked. “$5 each,” was the reply,”or 5 for $20.” I began looking and pulled the 8 best ones ($50 or more value). “What about a price for all?” I asked. “You mean all the four boxes?” he was amazed. “Yes.” “$125” “SOLD” I rapidly walked back to get BLACK BEAUTY and my business check book. When I handed him my check he exclaimed (seeing the town on the check). “Ken Burns bought a postcard from me two weeks ago.” he continued, “Thinking it was him, I asked, ‘are you Ken Burns?'” Ken replied, “I get asked that all the time.” Hey, someone tell Ken that I have over 300 duplicate Walpole cards I would happily sell, plus a book with over 350 postcard and stereo view images.
HOW DO YOU GET 4 BANANA BOXES OF BOOKS
INTO A TRIUMPH TR3A?
ONE BOOK AT A TIME
I strolled Wilmington a tad, and had a small bite to eat. The image below has “my kind of sign.” The building in the background is the old Crafts Inn, a late shingle-style building from 1902 designed by the foremost architect of the time, Stanford White.
At the main intersection in town, I turned south passing the Pette Memorial Library going up Castle Hill, following it to the end and seeing the Harriman Reservoir.
Turning around at the dead end, I came back and turned right onto Boyd Hill Road (I read this in the Mount Snow Valley guidebook). Another – MUST TRAVEL ROAD!!! No words will describe – RAY RECOMMENDS – JUST DO IT. I jogged at dead end to Wards Cove on Lake Whitingham (wonderful picnic, swimming and boating), and then turned around heading back to Vt Route 100 South towards Jacksonville (Vermont, not Florida — but Florida, Vermont, is west on Route 9).
Arriving in Jacksonville, I continued on a section of VT 100 that I had never been on, and you probably never will be either unless you have a need to be on all of Vermont 100 – north to south (I do). Approaching Whitingham DO NOT miss the small sign saying “Brigham Young Monument.” Ends up that the original town was on the top of a hill (BEAUTIFUL) before being abandoned. This sign tells it all, and hopefully tempts you to head there.
And, here is the Brigham Young Monument off in the field.
And one of the stone markers.
I walked around the old “town common” where a bike race was concluding and a calypso style band was playing. Did I tell you that I have “too much fun?”
Heading back to Route 100 I came upon the “new” town’s center and the general store and post office.
And in a few more miles on Route 100 I arrived in Readsboro which was having a fall festival in this building.
The plan was to turn around here and head back to pick up Route 112 in Jacksonville and head south to Massachusetts and Shelburne Falls hoping to say hi to a book friend. I had not been on Route 112 before through Colrain, and you do not have to bother either unless traversing from Wilmington to Shelburne Falls. Heading south the leaves abruptly stopped changing color.
My friend was not in the bookshop in Shelburne Falls (it is a coop with shared time) so I walked around a bit. I have shared the town before with you – particularly with my trolley visit which click on this link to visit again for sure. But, I have not shown you the Bridge of Flowers before (below), which is built on the old trolley bridge as the route was heading north to Colrain.
Well, from here I headed east on the Mohawk Trail (Route 2) to the Greenfield circle and picked up (sorry again) I-91 for a couple exits to Bernardston. I thought I would sit on the porch at the Farm Table for a burger and beer, but there was nothing to my liking on the menu at the moment. So, back to original plan to head over to Northfield and head north back to NH Route 63.
I crossed back over I-91, and suddenly saw a route I had not been on, and was not aware of. Route 142 to Vernon, VT and Brattleboro. Isn’t this a “fill in the map” day I reminded myself. So, left turn I made.
Here is the first thing I saw.
I have now been on the route, and arrived in the center of Brattleboro. You need not travel this route either, unless like me you have to travel a new route. But I still wanted that burger, and did not want to park downtown. Heading up US 5 past the Marina Restaurant (is it still open?) I saw on the left out of the corner of my eye an outside seating area (what I wanted) with food it appeared. U-Turn, and back to just what I wanted.
Great meal while sitting looking over the river towards the Brattleboro Retreat. Upon completing my repast, instead of jogging over to NH 63 I continued north on US 5 and crossed back home.
Yes, I had to unpack the books upon arrival at 7PM and start sorting and pricing. Two of them, so far, I have priced out at more than twice what I paid for the lot — and I have over 125 more to go. Another QM2 crossing (and more) is in the offing.
So, I gave you two MUST TRAVEL ROADS, a TOWN HILL that you should see, and it is now getting time to SEE LEAVES. Tomorrow will be another exploration heading north with a friend (cuts down on space to pack in books) in BLACK BEAUTY. And from what I saw today, the leaves we see tomorrow should be something. Thanks for getting this far with me, yours, RAY