BLUE BELLE has been crying, “we have not taken a long ride in over a year.” I checked, and she was correct. Short hops, but in 2019 long train trips and Lakes-Locks-Long River prevented us from “having a long date” on the road. Last Sunday I got an email from “Happy Vermont” which told about, and provided a link to the Quin-Town 4th of July Reverse Parade. We decided to go. A three day event, I figured they would be set up on Friday the third, we could take a look, and report to you in case you wanted to attend on the 4th or 5th. We left this morning at 10AM arriving home at 4PM after 185 BLUE BELLE miles. Here is the flyer on the event, which you can click to enlarge.
Route 100 is the “backbone of Vermont,” running from the Massachusetts border to almost into Canada. Weather today was predicted to be overcast, with some showers. I headed up to Ludlow, VT, to pick up Route 100. And, on Route 103 encountered some rain, but at highway speed BLUE BELLE is aerodynamic, and I received barely a drop. At the end of this post I have a map you can enlarge to see today’s route. Sadly, I have not been to Plymouth Notch for about two years. You know I have often spent the Fourth of July there celebrating with Calvin Coolidge. I could not pass the notch without heading up. Other than the cheese factory it was vacant (and overcast).
Approaching the southernmost stop, Pittsfield, greeting us was this holiday well-wisher.
Then into the village
the village green and band stand
and, general store
Have you started to ask yourself yet, “what is a Reverse Parade?” Think COVID-19 and avoiding crowds. Instead of grouping together on the side of the road and watching floats, bands, marchers etc., the idea here was for the viewers to traverse the route and take in the holiday sights safe in their own vehicles.
Now, continuing north, the next stop is Stockbridge (Vermont, not Massachusetts with my most favorite Red Lion Inn). Cathy and I often traveled here, even before living in New Hampshire. Located here (in nowhere) is Ted Green Ford, the oldest Ford dealership in New England, and one of the oldest in the country. It was founded in 1913. I last traveled through in 2018, and shared many pictures of Stockbridge. Across from the Ford dealership is this colonial home. There was an antique shop here over 20 years ago that we enjoyed visiting – a real classic.
but, there were no decorations for the 4th to be seen.
The flyer shows much activity in Rochester, but coming into town I spotted this flock.
could explain where Walpole’s flamingoes have migrated to.
Rochester is a nice small village with a green. There are activities planned for the weekend, and the most decorations I saw today were in Rochester.
I drove next to the northernmost point, Granville. Total disappointment, nothing decorated except this extensive effort at the Granville County Store.
heading back south, I stopped at the Old Hotel Hancock at the junction of 100 and 25. I stopped here when I went to visit Bob Newhart in 2018, so stopped again for a sandwich. Serving take-out only from a side door, they let me eat on the porch since I was the only one in sight.
and if you are “into signs” to place you.
I headed west on Route 25 as you were supposed to do to see more, but there was no more. Circling back to head south on Route 100, here is the Hancock Town Common.
What can I say? I had hoped I would see more decorations. Maybe they will be coming on the 4th and 5th. I wanted to be able to encourage my readers to visit, but don’t bother. But BLUE BELLE and I got out, and in territory I enjoy, and we endured 185 miles, one shower, and with but three shorts stops in six hours. First to walk a tad in Rochester, second to have lunch in Hancock, and finally to drink some water in South Woodstock.
In my planning, I saw on the map a road from Rochester to Bethel – a road in black on the map (sadly not broken black indicating dirt). I found it – Bethel Mountain Road, and it was indeed a mountain. Climbing, BB2 held her blood pressure, but her temperature went up, but on the downside (which seemed much more of a drop than the climb we had), the exhilaration of speed caused her temperature to drop to normal. Arriving at Route 12, we headed south to Bethel, through Barnard, and onto Woodstock. Now, while on Route 100, the road was unusually packed. And it was a good thing I knew I was in Vermont, because the license plates said otherwise. Route 12 was empty, but then Woodstock was packed and festive. Circling around the Common we picked up Route 106, and had the world to ourselves again.
I have always found South Woodstock charming, and arriving there I felt I had better share it with you:
Maybe a tad longer drive PWs, but we need to check out dining at the Kedron Valley Inn. I also need to get into the country store, as it was closed, but is on the Inn’s website. South Woodstock is amazing, here is a sampling, and you can click for an enlarged gallery:
I drank a bottle of water while sitting on the porch of the country story. BLUE BELLE had to watch because “no cars allowed.” But you can see from here the Inn and church.
From here, down 106, left on 44 through Brownsville (always a treat), 44A to US5 – cross the Connecticut River to head south on 12A to 12 and home – watching bad clouds all the way.
So, bottom line (well almost at the bottom here): REVERSE PARADE is a great idea, hopefully will get some traffic to the couple country stores along the route, but unless you want to get out for a scenic drive, you do not need to go. BUT, most important, BLUE BELLE and RAB can still perform and enjoy a 185 mile trek.
Here is today’s route map, which you can enlarge by clicking if you wish. I sure hope I can travel and share more the rest of this year – doubtful with COVID, but maybe. As always, yours, RAY