Do I repeat doing what brings me pleasure? Do I want to share what brings me pleasure? Yes, so my son, Gary, and friends Tara and Carolyn journeyed off with me to enjoy the annual Christmas Open House at the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch, VT. So, in case you have missed my other Plymouth Notch posts, please enter the “notch” with us for a bucolic time.


How can you resist this scenery and snowscape?




We arrived to have lunch in the Wilder House. Each year for this event The Tyson Ladies’ Aid Association serves lunch as a fund raiser. This year there was a folder on the table providing the story of the association. Founded in 1880, it operated until 1887, but was revived in 1910 and been active ever since. They help support a number of organizations in the Tyson (Vermont) and Ludlow area. Our server two years ago moved to the area full time to the condo she had for years.


We then walked up to the cheese factory, but I captured this panorama of the fields along the way — you can click on this image to open (recommended) for full screen.

pn-pano-fieldI had missed seeing these great wooden boxes before. You can buy them with cheese, or empty for $25.  Could not decide where I would put one, so did not buy. But maybe an excuse (like I need one) to go back to make a purchase.
















Then we walked back down the “hill” to visit the country store.

pnd6-6Not much different (except less snow) than our visit on December 15, 2013.


I have enjoyed 19th century General Stores most of my life, and collected and decorated with those items. The Florence Cilley General Store is no exception to bringing me smiles. Sadly, Plymouth Notch is an hour away from home, otherwise I would love to volunteer at the site. Hey, maybe I could stay in one of the historic Top of the Notch tourist cabins on the grounds. Maybe I better start hinting around.

Below is a short gallery of views (that you can open up) inside the store.



Bill Jenney relating much history in the homestead

Bill Jenney relating much history in the homestead

Bill Jenney, site administrator, was scheduled to give a tour of the Coolidge homestead at 1PM and 2PM. Not having heard him give a tour of this historic building, 2PM was my plan. Bill has served in his position since 1988 and was able to learn much from people in the notch who had known the late President and First Lady. Talk about bringing history alive, and I hope, Bill, that you have written down all you know. Maybe a book is in you?


pnd6-12For example, the summer after his inauguration in the homestead at 2:47AM August 3, 1923, the hall above the store served as the “summer whitehouse.” Eighteen secret servicemen (the greatest number up to that time) were there to protect the President, worried about Coolidge facing off against the KKK in the upcoming election of 1924. The hills around the notch provide way too many vantage points for a marksman. As a result, no other President has ever visited here, only Lady Bird Johnson visited when the site was designated a National Historic Landmark, June 12, 1967. That summer of ’24 one news report said there were 4,000 to 5,000 cars in the fields one day when the President was there. With at least two people per car, it was estimated that 10,000 people were in the village of 29 full-time residents.

Accounting for the homestead appearing as it was that night in 1923 is Aurora Pierce. Serving as housekeeper first for Calvin’s father, and then the President, she was there for 50 years. Not approving of indoor plumbing, or electricity, she would not let either be installed. The addition Calvin was building was hooked up, but this addition was moved in 1956 (by the same firm that moved the Ticonderoga from Lake Champlain onto the grounds of the Shelburne Musuem) when the State was given the homestead. Here are two interior views, as the house was in 1923, which (and Bill agreed with me) is really an 1880s look at America.

By now you also know I like to “look out windows,” particularly with wavy glass. Click to open for full effect.

It was almost 3PM, and we headed back to the Visitor’s Center for the antique hat fashion show presented by the Black River Academy Museum. But more important (for us) was the hat contest for visitors. Last year, the first time of the event, we were the only ones who had read the “fine print” and came appropriately attired. This year others had somehow gotten the word. BUT, never fear as we still maintained our winning positions. Winners again this year !!! NOT YOUR NORMAL ELF – Second Place (again) — THE RED LIGHT LADY – First Again — but, beat out by a little kid — OUR YOUNG KID.

Heading back to the east of the river, where would you guess we would stop?


Yes at the Castle to claim our seats in the library for wine in front of the fire. It had been a week since the last visit. Here are a few more images of this special place.

Arriving home, David and family pulled into the drive right behind Gary and me. The plan was for dinner here, Gary and Mari head back to Boston area, and then Alex and David were out at 7:30 this morning for Okemo.

I realized as I was categorizing this post as Day Trips that with 234 posts since April 2011, that I really should have a separate category just for Plymouth Notch. Did I say I like Plymouth Notch? Here are three more “parting shots” from my 10 December visit that I like.





Yours, RAY


This entry was posted in Day (or maybe two) Trips, Plymouth Notch, Vermont, Thanksgiving and Christmas and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Marsha Franty says:

    How utterly fabulous! I am so envious, and now I know that I must find a way to attend this some year!

  2. Chris Burchstead says:

    Many Christmas card worthy photos. Nice!

  3. Betty says:

    What a great Christmas card post, Ray! The pictures really “make the season bright”! Congrats on your hat wins again this year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  4. Pingback: TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS – SANTA’S LAND – AND MORE – 25 NOVEMBER 2018 | Shunpiking with Ray

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