But I am also going to need your help – read that at the end, hint to read through.
Today when I awoke it looked like an inside day, but the weather radar maps told a different story. By about noon I decided to head off – somewhere. I had no plans, but thought, “lunch in Chester and browse the antique shop there.” Never made it to either one.
I have been driving LADY RAB in town a great deal recently, but she sometimes, very unladylike, spits out her mouth. A new radiator cap arrived today, and I am hoping that will keep her under control. BLACK BEAUTY acts out strangely when cold, but BLUE BELLE recently had an expensive doctor’s visit, and she performs lovely (and she is my favorite drive – don’t tell BB1). So, off we went. Arriving at the bridge to Bellows Falls, instead of crossing we continued north on Rt. 12. I decided to cross in Charlestown instead, but then?
I crossed the river and pulled into the combination bait shop and antique shop (only in Vermont), only to find that they were liquidating their stock. I need nothing, but am always looking, and bought 17 cars that I couldn’t afford not to buy. Either have or have had all of them, but original boxes, most assembled, and worth the price. Remember last year when I packed over 200 books in BLACK BEAUTY?
I now know I can get 17 cars in BLUE BELLE !!!
You know I check out little food huts alongside the road whenever I can, and have never been disappointed. In the same spot as the antique shop is THE SILVER BULLET – now this was the best, and I encourage you to check their Facebook page, and take the short ride and enjoy. I got today’s special – CORNED BEEF REUBEN – and also their new APPLE WOOD SMOKED POTATO SALAD (potatoes smoked only !! not boiled too – I asked). Total price $9 ($6 and $3).
A friendly enjoyable couple who purchased the business last fall, and stayed open all winter serving locals and ice fishermen. They use all local products and have the most interesting and tasty menu (yes if you have to, they have hamburgers). Check them out – they are close, and tell them Ray (the travel blogger) sent you. As I was leaving after another chat she gave me some wonderful potato wedges and sauce – just had them – yummy!
Then we (that is BLUE BELLE and I – plus 17 additional cars) went through Springfield picking up 106 and continuing on 10 to Gassetts (only a crossroad intersection) where we turned right on Route 103. Approaching the side road to Proctorsville, BLUE BELLE, in tears cried, “you always take BLACK BEAUTY’s picture at Crows. I want my picture there too.” I listen to the ladies, so here she is.
And, here is BLACK BEAUTY on our first “shunpiking” report on April 10, 2011.
It was then back onto Route 103 to Ludlow where we decided to head south on Route 100 to Weston. But after a couple miles there was a sign pointing left “To Andover.” Now, never having gone into Andover (just a few houses in an old village setting – not unique) from this direction — off we went on what ended up being East Hill Road. Miles (many miles) of dirt, but then the views, and it was overcast sadly – have to go back.
The most magnificent view was across from the East Hill Cemetery.
And, hard to believe, behind me and across the road, the former residents have a view of Mount Monadnock.
There was a fascinating history on the post there. The cemetery was established in 1791 with the earliest gravestone dated 1797 (and we are in nowhere). I found interesting that originally the graves were just marked with field stones, but later on there were traveling stone carvers who toured around selling and engraving stones. Since this could be many years after a death often the dates are wrong due to poor memories. Many of the families moved from Jaffrey, NH, thus looking off toward Monadnock they are looking back to their original homes. Read this history below by clicking on an image to open the slideshow.
Winding down the hill from Andover and back onto Route 100 you enter Weston, famous for its theater and the Vermont Country Store. I was first at the Vermont Country Store in 1963 in my 1929 Model A Ford. There I met the founder, Vrest Orton, who founded the store in 1946 (a good year). He also founded VERMONT LIFE, and said he had met my great-grandfather – Franz Boas. Oh, once a shunpiker, always a shunpiker.
When we got to Londonderry I turned east on Route 11 with the intention of picking up a really back road to Grafton. I think I was on Route 121 before, but it did not look familiar at first – all woods. Nine miles of it are dirt, and I love it when there are no more telephone poles and power lines. Then you know you are really shunpiking.
Eventually (well on rough dirt you do keep it under 2o MPH – boo-hoo) we rolled into “downtown” Grafton. In the center of this image you see The Grafton Inn, and some of you know its importance to me – the reason I am here today.
I still need to find Chevy Chase’s farm house from FUNNY FARM which was filmed in Grafton, so I decided to explore the other dirt roads fanning out behind this spot. Glad I did, and could not believe the serenity and beauty. Doubling back on Middletown Road I found this plaque on a rock indicating where the original village was.
I found the cemetery, but nothing else still exists. But heading back to the current village this is typical of some of the homes I saw.
Well, from Grafton I headed home, getting back at about 5:30 – thus a good 5 1/2 hour adventure with 103 miles (165 kilometers for my British fans), but first I had to find these ruins for research I am doing for my next “Did you know that…” for my newspaper, THE WALPOLE CLARION.
Well, hopefully you got this far, because I said I needed your help. Awhile back I asked the director of FACT8-TV (the public access TV station in Bellows Falls, Vermont) if he would be interested in televising my shunpiking adventures. The station for years has graciously filmed my Walpole Players productions and televised them, and assisted us with other projects. And, just this past week I took a beginning video and editing course at the station – now I am really hooked.
I am trying to figure out how to turn my words that you have read into a show with video, stills, and expanding my words on what I have seen and experienced. So, any thoughts and suggestions you may have on how I can approach this (hopefully award winning) show would be great. And, anyone who would like to assist as a cameraman (or hopefully lady) please let me know. You know I love Plymouth Notch, Vermont, so I would like that to be my first show. Guess where I will be filming on the Fourth of July?
Thanks for reading, as always, yours, RAY
PS – and let me know if you want to join me for lunch at The Silver Bullet.