STRATFORD INN and NEW ROADS — 11-13 APRIL 2018

See the date of the travel in this post? Wonder why it has taken so long for me to get to it? Know how long it has been since my last travel post? Have any idea how busy I have been with other projects? Surprised that after decades of exploring Vermont, the Berkshires, and northwest Connecticut that I still come up with roads I have not experienced (you shouldn’t be – I work hard exploring)? Yes, early April I filled in more of the map in Vermont, and while writing this on the porch of the RLI, I have surprised myself with newly discovered routes of beauty the past two days- but more on that the next post.

I needed a break (need even more breaks), and escaped for two nights to the Stratford Inn. Ring a bell? Does, “I’m Larry, this is Darrell, and this is my other brother Darrell?” With me yet? I spent hours on YouTube preparing for this adventure, and as you know the more and harder you laugh the better it is for your health – think I have added another 1 1/2 years longevity so far. Alright – long enough – I spent two nights where the outside scenes were shot for NEWHART:

You probably guessed I started writing this in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, but did you know there is a Stockbridge, Vermont? And, it is basically the geographical center of Vermont on the scenic backbone, Route 100. Here is a map to follow of this adventure.

I left I-91 on Route 12 heading to Taftsville, never having been on that segment, and then passed through Woodstock heading north. I checked out Bethel again, and backtracked on 107 to Stockbridge and Route 100. Heading north on Route 100, it takes a sharp left at this red building. It used to be an antique shop Cathy and I would stop at. No longer, and most places I have stopped over the years no longer exist (yes, that white strip is snow).

From this point, turning the camera to the right is Ted Green Ford – yes in nowhere, and the oldest Ford dealership in Vermont, opening its doors in 1913, just ten years after the Ford Motor Company was founded

and turning another 90 degrees to look back south on Route 100 – kinda rural here.

 but you miss the “center” of Stockbridge unless instead of turning left on 100 you go straight up the hill to the common, church and churchyard and old school.

and most of the surrounding area is a Morgan horse farm.

The plan was to cut across the mountains west on Route 125 from Hancock – not gone all the way across before – to get to East Middlebury. A great route, and you pass Middlebury College’s Snow Bowl:

and then the college’s Bread Loaf – a retreat, conference center, and where Robert Frost taught. Great old buildings line the road – I think it would be fun to experience something there.

And climbing down from the hills I arrived at Waybury Inn in East Middlebury. This image is from their website.

the image below from one of the Newhart shows (if you watch enough of them you will see changes) with the Stratford Inn sign hanging outside.

and, my image from my visit

this sign is in one of the hallways

my room

and the lobby where I spent my time – I was the only guest. Most decorations in the hunting and fishing genres. I chatted a great deal with my hostess, and she said many people come in saying, “you changed the inside so much.” No, interior is as the inn has been for about two centuries. The Newhart show was shot in studios, only the exterior is featured in the show. No problem, I still heard Bob carrying on — well, I watched a couple episodes each night.

I ate in the restaurant there each night, and the included large breakfast was amazing. Off season rate – $75 – with a $15 breakfast.

Usually I spend two nights in one place to have the full day in between to explore, and that is what I did on 12 April.

New road for me, I took Route 116 north – mountains on one side, plains on the other. I came to Bristol, a town unchanged architecturally from the early 20th century.

Continuing up 116, I cut cross-lots over to my favorite US 7, and stopped at Shelburne Museum and bought some books in the gift shop. Isn’t that what I am supposed to do?

Then down US 7 to Vergennes to browse the shops and eat a wrap. I continued south on 22A turning east on 17 until I got to 23. Never having taken 23 into Middlebury, that was the plan, and it was a delight through quiet farmlands. Rain was threatening all day, and started when I came in this new to me way into Middlebury and the Sheldon Museum (not Cooper).

Always interesting history here, and there was a special photography exhibit. Outside there is this commemorative plaque to John Deere who learned blacksmithing here prior to inventing the plow.

It was then back to the Inn, dinner, and the lobby to myself doing additional research watching “The Newhart Show.”

Next day, after another wonderful breakfast here, I had no real plan other than head south on US 7, and take a previously unexplored route into Weston. Pulling into “downtown” Rutland I stopped at the “Curiosity Shop.” Opening the door I called out, “I am curious.” Well, Paydirt! If you already have everything you need, you still look, but it is great when also looking for Number 2 son’s new home. Since he bought his home 12 March, I have made a few trips to help and take some things excess to my needs, and also got to know what he needed to fill-in. Bingo – a perfect glass top wrought iron patio set with four chairs. Perfect for his deck or patio, or best on his enclosed three season porch. I took pictures, sent them to him – no reply (ends up he was driving to pick up furniture), so I decided to just buy it (actually a bargain) along with a few other pieces. Success — got the set to Gary a few days later, and just perfect on his porch. We “christened” it the next morning having coffee on the porch.

Then continued down US 7 to Wallingford where I turned east on Route 140 and then south on Route 155 to Weston – I had not been on this section of 155 before. Lunch then at the Bryant House in Weston, and then home.

Finishing this up now on 2 May at the Red Lion Inn. Comcast has not allowed users to send messages now for 24 hours, so no idea when I can tell you I posted this. Hopefully soon, and hopefully soon more intriguing adventures to experience and share. Yours, RAY

 

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4 Responses to STRATFORD INN and NEW ROADS — 11-13 APRIL 2018

  1. Betty says:

    Sounds like a lovely trip, Ray! I looked at courses at Bread Loaf; there are some great options for you from which to choose. Let me know when you get your diploma. You topped your trip off with the perfect house warming gift and a great way to christen it, nice work!

  2. George Lush says:

    Hey Ray, I was pleased to see this post. I was a bit concerned about you, not having seen a Shunpiking episode for a while. I’m glad to know your explorations continue. We just got back from several days in Joshua Tree National Park, where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts meet. We then took a jog down to the Salton Sea, with an overnight in Palm Springs. There’s always something new around the corner, be it New England or the Southwest. Happy Trails, George

  3. Carol Crolle says:

    Hello, Ray! I was thinking about you recently and hoped all was okay with you. After reading this post I’m happy to know that all’s well. Enjoyed the detailed post. I have always wanted to tour the Mddlebury area to see the Morgan horses. We have visited our son and his family in the Rutland area on several occasions, where they have a lovely vacation home with Mt. Okemo rising up in their yard. Thanks for the virtual tour. Happy trails to you, Ray. Carol

  4. Enjoyed your trip through an area that I have traveled years ago. So many areas to investigate in Western Vermont from Bennington to Arlington, Manchester up through Dorset and on and on. My trips did not gather the interesting information that yours did and I thank you for pointing out how much I missed. Bill

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