BONUS DAY – BONUS 164 KILOMETERS WITH BLUE BELLE – 5 SEPTEMBER 2016

Happy Labor Day. You may be caught in traffic – I was not, as I am in “heaven.” I expected today to be bad weather wise with the storm that hit the south earlier in the week, but I was proven wrong. Saturday I had a “date” with one friend in BLACK BEAUTY. She suggested a sojourn to Peterborough, and lunch there. Well, hurry and go to Nature’s Green Grocer Market and Cafe. The most amazing selections in their market, and the cafe – AMAZING. We sat on the patio eating, listening to the river. I felt like I was back on my waterfall in New Preston, CT. We backroaded home via Harrisville, and some more roads I had not been on. She is good at saying — “Did you see that sign? TURN THERE!” But she “chickened out” in the wilderness on the way to Cobb Hill Estate. Sunday, I had another “date” with a dear friend, and we traveled to (no surprise here) Plymouth Notch, Vermont, to hear a Folk and Blues Festival at the Calvin Coolidge site. It was BLUE BELLE’s turn to Plymouth Notch.

Today I planned to “work” at home — but, “work” can wait – the weather was going to be nice. So, out came the map, and soon a route was formulated on unexplored areas to “fill in the map.”  And, this map will “set the stage” for today’s 164 kilometers.

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By the way, Vermont and New Hampshire are very generous with their maps – they want tourism. When, and if, you ever see Massachusetts or Connecticut state issued maps, grab them — no grab 6 or more, and send me a few.

I crossed the Connecticut River, drove through Saxtons River arriving in Grafton. You may know the significance the Inn at Grafton holds for me. It changed my life, and that story is on rayboasbookseller.com.

The Inn at Grafton, Vermont and the Phelps Barn Tavern

The Inn at Grafton, Vermont and the Phelps Barn Tavern

I headed out of town on VT 121 – usually I only head into town on this route from Route 11 outside Londonderry. I love this road ! And, so do my ladies — DIRT ! Who cares about paint jobs and dust – just have fun!

For those of you who do not know what schooling is like in our area, here is a small school on this road.

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And, then downtown Houghtonville — well, this is downtown Houghtonville.

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And, here is just a typical bucolic setting along Route 121, and it is for sale.

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There is a four corners I had never turned on, and today was the day. I assumed Windham Hill Road would take me to West Townsend on Route 30 – and I was correct. Excitingly, it was all down hill. Eventually I saw (and pulled in) to the Windham Hill Inn. I had been here once before coming up from Route 30 – it is a setting in one of Archer Mayor’s mysteries.  And, then I arrived at the intersection on Route 30, and for the first time went inside the store.

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You know I love old country stores.  Nothing special inside as to originality and decoration, but if hungry a place to stop and eat. BUT, inside was a flyer (you know I have a massive travel library) for exploring Vermont Byways via GyPSyGuide. I have yet to download the app — Gypsy Guide Vermont — but it appears that once you load it you can get commentary while traveling the state — and when not in range of cell service (duh – majority of Vermont) as it works off GPS which is free.  Check out Vermontvacation.com/byways and get the app — I will play with it once I get this post off to you.

In the parking area was this sign. Taft and Coolidge – WOW.

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Approaching Wardsboro I saw I sign for Our Lady Of Ephesus House of Prayer. Cathy and I traveled there several times, including a wonderful Christmas celebration. But, since it’s address is Jamaica, Vermont, I was not able to find it a couple years ago when touring a friend in Vermont. Well, postal address may be Jamaica, but the turn is off Route 100 in Wardsboro.

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Some more dirt, yeah, and BLUE BELLE and I arrived.

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I had packed a lunch (cucumber and tomato sandwiches – good for my figure), and figured I would find the perfect spot to lunch. This was it, and there was a gazebo with table and chairs. Here is the view from the gazebo while BLUE BELLE was resting while I ate.

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And, a few views of this shrine replicating Mary’s last residence in Ephesus, Turkey. I have been to Ephesus, but with a tour, and only got to the old ruins not to her home site.

Then, back to Route 100, and crossing it on the back road (is there any way else?) to South Wardsboro. Ends up that South Wardsboro is three, maybe four homes (hard to tell when they are falling down) but I wanted the left turn to Newfane. That exciting dirt road is all down hill — again, down hill – I do not remember going up hill all day. And, I arrived in Newfane eventually, the Windham County Seat.

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Typical and wonderful New England. Have any idea why I love it here?

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I then headed down Route 30, and past the Dummerston Covered Bridge.  I have not been south of the Dummerston Covered Bridge on Route 30 in maybe 16-18 years – no need to have done so.  And, I reconfirmed, nothing there, unless you are going up or down Route 30 from Brattleboro to points north.

But, I scooted off Route 30 before getting downtown. Would you believe I found dirt roads in Brattleboro?  Yes, up around the country club. My ladies know the kind of roads they prefer, and can find them. We eventually worked our way down to Route 9 and then into downtown Brattleboro and up US 5 to cross the bridge into New Hampshire.

Not done yet, I turned left to head home on River Road – yes along the Connecticut River. First you approach the old community house which now houses a theater on the second floor. I have attended a show here. Great, yes?

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And, the old store in West Chesterfield, NH. I probably ran such a store in my previous life.

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Tooling down River Road (maybe over the speed limit) I saw a monument. Brakes, U-turn, and here is the site of the first house in West Chesterfield on the Connecticut River in 1761.

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Going through the county complex area (prison abandoned, nursing home status in the air) I needed to turn down Ferry Road.  On my list is to write about the Connecticut River Ferry Landings in my area. But, alas, no definitive spot for that, however, I did find a built up elevation over the river which is the site of the Cheshire County Alms House Cemetery – 1867. Now another research and writing project.

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It was home about 3:30, and I sat down to document today for my memory and to share with you. But more importantly to encourage you to journey and explore the same route. If not this route — JUST GET OUT THERE, EXPLORE AND ENJOY.

It is getting harder to explore alone. Today was alone, but tomorrow will make up for it because I have “two dates” for tomorrow’s adventure.  That will be written about — and I still have a week in Maine (22-26 August) to share with you.

Take care, be safe, and just enjoy every moment to the fullest. I am trying to do so. As always, yours, RAY

 

 

 

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2 Responses to BONUS DAY – BONUS 164 KILOMETERS WITH BLUE BELLE – 5 SEPTEMBER 2016

  1. Betty says:

    I can feel the breeze in your hair and see the dust trail you left on this outing, Ray! Well done!!!

  2. Aine Paulus says:

    You did a wonderful job Ray, and the photos of the Shrine are just as beautiful as I saw them today. The rest of your trip brought back many wonderful memories for me, as that area was one of Jeremy’s favorite tours to take his visitors, including me. Thanks a million–you made my day.
    Aine

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