This, 13-14 June, was a perfect weekend weather-wise. Yesterday, Saturday, I was invited to a graduation party for a young man who has been with us in The Walpole Players since moving to town in 2007 – and a wonderful family. It was an honor to be invited, and I enjoyed the afternoon. Today, however, I started thinking about “filling in the map” with a number of local places I knew about, but had not been to. You know the old story about people never experiencing what is in their back yard – cannot be me!

But, first I must share a frustration. You have not yet heard about the end of my Hudson River adventure. I do too much, and want to share too much. I always provide hyper-links for you to click on to read more about a place, museum, or area – but I want to write about it too, and provide large galleries of images. It is time consuming to write and process the images, and I don’t want to bore you. I seem to have drifted away from quick and concise posts, so here is an attempt to get back to that. The end of the Hudson River adventure will await a toned-down version. Actually, I reviewed my similar adventures on 27 September 2014, and liked that concise post. So, here goes with today’s 80 Blue Belle miles in 6 hours.

FD-1BB2 and I left home at 10:30 and jogged off Route 12 onto River Road. Our first stop Boggy Meadow Farm, just 3 miles from home – but I had never stopped. The farm has been owned by the same family since 1822. Now, hopefully you are sitting down. Their shop is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and on the honor system with a cash box on a table (yes, make your own change). But you can also order on-line. Donna, heard me come in, greeted me, and we chatted awhile. The milk from their dairy cows is used for making cheese from one day, and a night’s milking – the rest being sold. Their cheese, of course, all hand-made from fresh raw milk. Since I was going to be out all day, I did not make a purchase, but could go back some sleepless night. Below is the shop with cheese making room in the background behind glass, and cash-box to the left.

Boggy Meadow Farm Cheese Shop, Walpole, NH

Boggy Meadow Farm Cheese Shop, Walpole, NH


I continued down the entire length of River Road (just so great) up onto Route 12 for a short distance turning off on Route 63 to Westmoreland. There are two “centers” and the first you come to is Park Hill with the meeting house built in 1764 (9 miles from home).


You need to drive down to see the wonderful 19th century homes surrounding this area. Sadly at least three are for sale, and (I think) bargains at $359,000 or less. In another one and a half miles (still on Route 63) you get to the Village Center with church, town offices, post office and general store. Just south of the village (11 miles from home) I turned left on Spofford Road.

You know I can smell an old car miles away.



This is an early 1920s (or earlier) Maxim Motor Company fire truck built in Middleboro, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1914, with an interesting history.

Just before getting to Route 9, on what would have been the old route is Spofford Village. I took this image to provide some history of the town, but you have to stop to see the great houses – and at least one is for sale.


My destination on Route 9 was the Chesterfield Gorge – again, never been there in my 13 years living in New Hampshire. Ironically, after 11 years of being closed, the state reopened the visitor center yesterday. A private group has kept the trails up and clean, and I was impressed. I walked the path down, across two foot bridges, snapped this image of the gorge and traipsed back up. Not the Flume, and not the New Preston Waterfall that I owned, but a nice walk.

Chesterfield Gorge, Chesterfield, NH

Chesterfield Gorge, Chesterfield, NH

RAY RECOMMENDS – Take this hike with a “special” friend, and maybe even pack a picnic lunch.

Chesterfield, NH Post Office

Chesterfield, NH Post Office


Then I headed west on Route 9 to turn south on Route 63 into Chesterfield. My destination was Madame Sherri’s Castle. Chesterfield is pretty, and the views from the center of town off to the west are amazing. Passing through the village I turned right on Stage Road, and shortly picked up Castle Road (YEAH — DIRT!!!) and you continue onto Gulf Road, looking for the sign.

The Castle was built in 1931 as a retreat by

FD-8an actress and theatrical costume designer. A few years ago I read a book about her exploits and eventual reclusive life here. Sadly the Castle burned in 1962, and Madame died in 1965. Click on this link for the gist of her story.

Remaining stairs of Madame Sherri's Castle

Remaining stairs of Madame Sherri’s Castle

RAY RECOMMENDS – Read Madame Sherri’s story – fun read – but unless you want to hike this great area there is no reason to visit.

The next stop on the day’s agenda was the ESTEY ORGAN MUSEUM in Brattleboro, VT which is only open Saturday and Sundays from 2 to 4.  In business from 1846 to 1960, the company was the main employer in Brattleboro, and produced the majority of the organs found in Victorian homes – over 1/2 million. Pipe organs were made beginning in the 20th century, but brass reeds produced the sound in most organs.

The Estey Organ Company complex fronting Birge Street in Brattleboro.

The Estey Organ Company complex fronting Birge Street in Brattleboro.

This image is of a “high end” organ. Most of the top part is simply cabinetry – and wonderful.


I had to take this image of an organ encased in a faux Bible. If you have ever seem my formal parlor with bookshelves, I have told you that the books you see are not books at all, but objects made to look like books serving other purposes. I have collected them for 25 years, calling them “book-alikes.”


I looked out a window, and could not believe what I saw. All the siding on the buildings was slate. Replacing earlier buildings destroyed by fire, the extant buildings are sided in slate to retard fire. AMAZING – and you know that I like color and texture in my images. Open this gallery if you wish.

and, here is a video of a pipe organ, expanded so you can walk inside.

RAY RECOMMENDS – Visit the Estey Organ Museum in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Next – yes, more on today’s list – I wanted to find the Fort Dummer Monument on US 5 below Guilford, Vermont. Not finding it I pulled over, shut BLUE BELLE down, and checked my maps and notes. I turned around, started north, and she decided to feign a siesta – NOT GOOD. Fuel was not flowing – like vapor lock, but not quite. Let her rest a few moments, she would start and run rough just a tad, then quit. I finally popped the bonnet to pretend I knew what I was doing (I know enough to be dangerous). Found Number 4 Spark Wire with a bad connection that I want to replace, but it was not a misfiring problem. Looking at the dual carbs for a problem, I tapped with my knuckles on the top of the dashpots. Getting back in, BB2 turned over running smoothly – I did not shut her off until we returned home. Those stuck dashpots will get attention this week – John H. said he would help me.

Sometimes when it says "Private Property" we comply.

Sometimes when it says “Private Property” we comply.

So, through Brattleboro on US 5, and turning left before the rotary with Route 9 onto Black Mountain Road to find Kipling Road.  YES – as in Rudyard Kipling. While honeymooning in Brattleboro in 1892, the couple fell in love with the area and purchased property building NAULAKHA in 1893.  It is in this house that Kipling wrote CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS, THE JUNGLE BOOKS, A DAY’S WORK, and THE SEVEN SEAS. He also worked on KIM and THE JUST SO STORIES.  A dispute lead to his departure in 1896 back to England. In 1992 the Landmark Trust became owners of the property, and make it (with much of the original furnishings) available for rentals. Three night minimums – four bedrooms – I cannot wait to get a group of special friends together to experience it (been on the list for years).

A distance back from the road, and trees now blocking the views into New Hampshire, even with my little camera the telephoto is pretty good.

NAULAKHA - Dummerston, Vermont

NAULAKHA – Dummerston, Vermont

So, back (dirt) roads back to US 5 – north to Westminster, and across the Connecticut River and home. A great day, and a story easily woven around a few images and links for your further research. And, posted same day.

Thanks for reading, as always, yours, RAY


This entry was posted in Day (or maybe two) Trips, ROADS and ROUTES and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to FLAG DAY – 14 JUNE 2015 — 80 BLUE BELLE MILES at 13 MPH

  1. Marian L. Michlig says:

    How wonderful to know that there are people who believe other people will be honest by purchasing their cheese and paying for it. Apparently Walpole has honest residents. Kudos..
    Restores a little belief in my life. I think the fire engine needs a lot of help. -:)
    Love the gorge. Thank you for sharing the lovely photos. Happy Trails.


  2. Jim says:

    Hi, Ray:
    Excellent entry — as always. Kipling’s wife was from Brattleboro, VT, as I understand it; hence his decision to buy property, build and settle down there. The dispute that eventually drove him back to England had to do with her brother who evidently was a dour, penny-pinching old Yankee farmer and who saw in his world-famous brother-in-law a quick ticket to easy street. I’ve often been amused by the fact that the lush jungle descriptions in THE JUNGLE BOOK were conceived among the rolling, forested hills of SE Vermont, but perhaps that’s a prime example of the old
    Wordsworthian ’emotion recollected in tranquility’ conceit! All best, Jim

  3. Pingback: Three Nights at “A JEWEL BEYOND PRICE” – 13-16 MAY 2021 | Shunpiking with Ray

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