BACK IN VERMONT — 22-24 JULY 2021

It has been awhile since I have been out. As you know I will head out on a whim, and sometimes have a reason. The past two weekends I had reasons. First to spend two nights in a tent with my son David and grandson Alex while they raced at Canaan, NH, and then I spent two nights in Waterbury, Vermont, to catch a few hours visit with my daughter and her family while dropping their daughter off at camp. So, here are my explorations in Vermont from July 22-24.

On Thursday, 22 July, I headed up I-91 exiting at Fairlee to visit the Chapman General Store which I had always enjoyed. Operative word here, “had.” New owners, different stock, and sadly no need to stop again. Just one more past enjoyment gone. I continued up US 5 to Wells River to head west on US 302, not having been on that route before. Now that I have, no need to do so again. In Montpelier I continued on US 2 to Waterbury where I was again staying at the Old Stagecoach Inn.

Waterbury is an interesting and vibrant town on both VT 100 (the State’s backbone) and US 2, just south of Stowe. I talked with locals who were visiting friends staying at the Inn and learned this is a town sandwiched between ski areas, and near a 1930s CCC constructed reservoir and mountains for enormous outdoor opportunities for hikers, boaters and mountain bikers. A large group staying at the Inn was up from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania biking each day.

on an early rail route, what a great station.

Richmond is a small and interesting village, and I need to stop next time to go back and take the several turn of the century blocks in, but what was amazing (and the only one in the country) is what I discovered south of the Town (where the original settlement was) that I did not know about at all. You may click on the sign for a larger view to read.

Following you will see why I truly love back roading and discoveries on those paths.

The Old Round Church in Richmond, Vermont

here is the story on the plaque outside

The windows were high up, and I do not know why. But conveniently there were a couple granite stones placed making a step so you could peer inside – and I did so I could share.

The exterior is sixteen sides, but as you read above, the interior was constructed to appear more round. Four years ago I told you about another round building in Brookline, Vermont – A Round Schoolhouse, and the only one in the US. Further below I will share details on round barns. Can it get much better than living in New England? The image below shows a close up of the exterior.

I then arrived at the Shelburne Museum. I have made many visits, and did not have to do it all. Also making it easier to not feel pressure to “do it all” is getting in for “free.” You see, I have a membership level at Old Sturbridge Village that gives me the benefits of the North American Reciprocal Museum Association – NARM. The association is network of 1,166 art museums and galleries, historical museums and societies, botanical gardens, children’s museums, zoos and more. Just about anywhere I would want to visit, is a member. Do join your favorite organization at the ARM level — more than worth it, just with this visit here.

The Shelburne Museum is always a nice place to visit, with great art and buildings (some closed due to COVID restrictions) do plan a visit. And, just inside the entrance to the left is the Round Barn.

There are many round barns still in existence, often at Shaker villages. Here is what you want to know about them.

Inside the barn are some horse drawn vehicles. This is an early Popcorn Wagon, and you know about CORNELIA, my popcorn wagon. But I want you to note the “pan” hanging on the front side on the right with the piping coming down.

Now for your history lesson of not so useful information. I would not have known what that was until I found one in 1974 under the eaves of a Victorian cottage I purchased in a Camp Meeting Ground – it is a pan lamp.

Here is mine (right), and below an image I found decades ago showing a group of them being prepared for a show or carnival. Mine was probably used for illumination in the Tabernacle at the camp meeting ground.

The museum began as founder Electra Havemeyer Webb described it, a “collection of collections.” Her husband was in the Vanderbilt family, thus they had houses, and a lovely life style. She must be praised for her preservation efforts and collections. But, traveling to the city, etc. their private train cars stopped at this elaborate station that Webb built, and was moved to the museum.

and here is the station master’s office – so nicely original and preserved.

The real prize at the museum is the Ticonderoga – a restored 220-foot steamboat and the last walking beam side-wheel passenger steamer in existence. In was moved in 1955 two miles overland from Lake Champlain.

I again enjoyed touring around the vessel taking in this enchanting old mode of travel. The video of the overland move is also special. Here are some views of the vessel you may enjoy. First is the forward deck, then a side promenade, a luxury cabin, and the dining room aft.

This panel I found interesting. Just like Old Sturbridge Village being interpreted in the 1830s, The Ticonderoga has been interpreted to present life in 1923.

I find the souvenir stand at the entrance to the dining area fascinating with vintage items of the period.

I would love to add this image to my “Rocking Chair Studies” page. A great place to relax and enjoy the water, but alas, no rockers to save the aggressive rocker from going over the side.

and, you should know that I have loved old 19th and early 20th century country stores for many, many decades. I have my country store collections and my bookshop is decorated as a country store would have been. Here is the store at Shelburne, followed by a slide show of interior views. Knowing many of the items, the interpreted time period is mixed – but how many people know what I know?

The museum has created an “escape game” on-line for the country store. I have not yet tried it, but here is the link – give it a try, and let me know.

Emailing with my daughter, with traffic they were running late getting north. We planned to meet at a restaurant on Route 7, and upon their arrival had a nice couple hour visit over dinner on an outside patio. Then they had to run to shop for some missing camp items, and I headed back to my inn in Waterbury.

Last year for my trip meeting them when they checked out the camp, Dr. Dewey told me I had to see Waitsfield and Warren, Vermont, as well as cross the Lincoln Gap (closed in winter). I enjoyed that trip through those two towns, but did not cross the Gap – so that was the plan heading home Saturday morning. So down Vermont 100 I went, and you can follow my route highlighted in yellow – and can click on it for a larger image.

I can now say I crossed Lincoln Gap and then traveled south through the Green Mountain National Forest on forest dirt roads over five miles, but about 25 minutes. I am glad I was going west over the gap. No scenery since in the forest, but you could not have looked anyway since room for less than two cars on a twisty steep road, and no shoulder to the down hill side. Down Hill? No, mountain side, and a car would roll many times probably before being stopped by trees. Lots of cars for hikers parked all over the summit, and a less dangerous drive, albeit steep, going down the west side.

Finally arriving at Ripton, I headed west to my favorite US Route 7 to head south and home. It was fun passing Waybury Inn in East Middlebury where I stayed in April 2018 – this inn provided the exterior shots for The Bob Newhart show.

I have been traveling US Route 7 for decades, and know all the changes. Busier, towns with vacant buildings, Rutland congested. All the fun stops I have made over the years, gone or changed. I really do not like change. Is that a sign of age? And, change. WordPress made many, many changes for subscribers to write posts easier and better –NOT SO WordPress. It is taking me more time, mistakes made, not intuitive, but I love my writing to you. It will just take longer to compose and create.

Not sure what traveling I will be doing as much as I would like to get back out — tad afraid as the Delta variant is kicking its feet around. If you have gotten this far down in reading and looking at my images – thank you so much. More to come soon, I hope, love, RAY

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3 Responses to BACK IN VERMONT — 22-24 JULY 2021

  1. George E Lush says:

    Ray, Don’t cha just love it when some technology platform “improves” their product? I visited the Shelburne Museum several years ago and was fascinated by the Ticonderoga’s massive single cylinder steam engine. I recently visited a cousin in Iowa. We went to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs to learn about building the Transcontinental Railroad. I slogged through Stephen Ambrose’s book on the subject, “Nothing Like It In the World.” It dealt mostly with the machinations of the financiers and not the actual construction of the railroad. Rather boring.
    Any adventures planned with Lady Rab III? George

  2. Chris says:

    As informative and entertaining as always, Ray. Love the round buildings. I haven’t been to the Shelburne Museum since I was a child living in Canada. Did I mention two of my parent’s good friends worked there for years?

    Chris

  3. Beth says:

    Ah, the Gap!!! So glad your brakes worked! And thanks for the circular church in Richmond: looks well worth the visit.

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