ANOTHER YEARLY TRANSITION — 2022 to 2023 — 31 December 2022

My last post relating memories and adventures for the year 2022, and hopefully posted before “the ball drops.” Starting off, and truthful, I am not as thrilled as usual with my images and tales, but as always would like to “remember and share.” Four different segments here since 18 December – 13 days ago. The best part if you wish, jump to the end for my time yesterday at Hildene in Manchester, Vermont. Or, simply go to THE TWELVE DAYS OF “VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS” which I began sharing on various vintage trailer websites since the “first day of Christmas,” December 26. But again that will be at the end.

I receive many notices of events. From STRAWBERY BANKE MUSEUM in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, I learned of the event – Candlelight Stroll during which visitors call on the many families who once lived in the Puddle Dock neighborhood. I have enjoyed this museum several times, particularly in 2017 when I visited for the Thanksgiving Holiday Preparations – it was great. I thought I would experience something similar for Christmas, but the Candlelight Stroll, was essentially an outside experience, with crowds, damp and wet walk walks providing me a still lingering cough and nose blowing.

there were minimal holiday decorations in the homes – but if representing the time period correctly, that can be expected. Remember images in my galleries may be clicked for a larger view.

to warm up a couple times I went and enjoyed hot cider listening to this Boston based band.

tempting me to attend was the themed diner (separate ticket) in the Pitt Tavern. On the third floor is a Masonic Lodge (since inception of the Tavern) and Masonic Museum. Not usually open, it was a treat to see.

this is the original Lodge Hall meeting room (albeit restored), still in use.

amazing history, and a good number of US Presidents were Masons, including Truman seen in this small statue.

and then it was time for me to join the party in the tavern to eat…

and be entertained…

Sadly it had been too long since dinner at The Castle in Proctorsville, Vermont, thus the next “holiday outing” with friends. I always enjoy (and take a picture of) the wreath outside, and the Christmas decorations.

CHRISTMAS EVE, and for 47 years (except some COVID cancellations and one bad rain) a live Nativity has been presented on the Common in front of my home. You know the story, and it is related along with appropriate musical accompaniment. A cold evening, still a nice crowd, and yes, that is “44” in the center rear of the first image (with my “major award” in the center window on the second floor).

and, then there was yesterday – 30 December. In my accumulation of holiday events was Christmas at Hildene in Manchester, Vermont. Hildene is the home built by Robert Todd Lincoln, the 16th President’s Son. I have made many visits, but not at the holiday time, and with my NARM membership – entrance free, so just less than an hour away, off I finally went. What I thought would be an hour plus visit ended up almost three hours – but that happening related at the end. Passing through the visitor center I walked up the path.

and first saw this tree in the entrance area.

Below is the dining room. The portrait depicts Robert at the age of 62 about the time the home was constructed. The table was often set for six people. Robert’s daughters, Mamie, also had a summer home in Manchester, and Jesse were frequent visitors to Hildene. Jesse often visited with her two children

This is the staff dining room. I think I related most to this room as being festive for the holidays in a simple way. The Lincolns had a staff of 15 who took care of their needs during the summer months. Nine of the staff members traveled with the Lincoln family during the winter months. The remaining staff members stayed to maintain the estate year-round.

These dolls were having a party.

Below is the grandchildren’s room. This room is now set up to show what it might have looked like when Linc, Peggy, or Bud visited their grandparents.

This is one of President Lincoln’s stovepipe hats. In chatting with one of the docents I learned the provenance of this hat which was given to a previous owner of the nearby Dorset Inn, where it was exhibited for a number of years. When the inn was sold the hat was ultimately given to Hildene with all of its documentation. The mirror you see here is Lincoln’s White House dressing room mirror. The President very likely saw the last reflection of himelf in this mirror before leaving for an evening at Ford’s theater. Interesting reflection in the mirror at this time.

and, heading back outside overlooking the front lawn.

On my previous visits the Sunbeam – A Pullman Parlor Car – either was not open, or I did not have time. So, a tad over an hour into my visit I headed off to the car for what ended up being almost another two hours. Why a Pullman Car you ask. Robert Todd Lincoln became George Pullman’s attorney, and it was Pullman’s company that made these railroad cars. Following Pullman’s death, Lincoln took the helm of the firm for an interim year, which became fourteen years. This is how he made his money.

I toured the car, but then sat and visited with an outstanding docent, Gary, learning history from him and sharing our love and knowledge of local Vermont area history. Yes, I know enough to stop when a group arrives so a docent can do what they are there for, but then we can pick back up. All the docents I chatted with in the home were great, but Gary made my day. Here is the Sunbeam as you approach (with the “real McCoy” brakes underneath), and then some interior views of this exceptionally well done restoration of one of the six remaining wooden Pullman cars.

I think instead of trying to relate all I learned about this car, and the home, you just had better visit. You have heard me say that I “vote with my dollars,” and even though I can visit at no cost with my NARM membership through OSV, I told Gary I would become a Hildene member to help support the museum. But, in reading an article about Mary Todd Lincoln earlier today on the Ohio State University website, it gave me second thoughts because of the way Robert treated his mother. I linked that fascinating article above, and encourage you to read it. He was not nice, and even with some of his Pullman dealings, but I will not fault the museum, and still will send a check.

Alright — now I love to share. and late this fall went full throttle collecting toy camping trailers. Arranging a holiday display in my dining room a thought came to me to share them along with my bottle brush trees and develop THE TWELVE DAYS OF “VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS.” The Twelve Days of Christmas begins on December 26, so beginning that day I began sharing my collection each day on various Facebook vintage camper pages and groups. I have also assembled a page on Shunpiking With Ray, and here is the link to what I am sharing. – THE TWELVE DAYS OF “VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS” – and an example of what you will see, or click on this image,

I made it. Yes, I have this last post of 2022 done, and will be able to post as planned in 2022 with less than three hours to spare (East Coast Time). Nothing else on this evening’s “plate” but to reflect and thank God for all my blessings. May you have a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year, love, RAY

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2 Responses to ANOTHER YEARLY TRANSITION — 2022 to 2023 — 31 December 2022

  1. Laura Kelsey & Gus McLeavy says:

    Such a beautiful last post — thanks! I’m inspired to go see Hildene again — we went years ago, and the highlight was the pipe organ built into the home. Many happy wishes for a healthy 2023 to you! Laura & Gus, Fitzwilliam NH

  2. Betty says:

    How did we miss that Robert Lincoln was head of Pullman? We even visited the Pullman national park site in Chicago and don’t remember learning about that!
    I do, however, remember seeing that stovepipe hat at Hildene when we went skiing with you there.
    Beautiful pics, as always. I especially liked the live nativity. What memories the youngsters will have off being a part of it!
    Happy 2023 to you, Ray!

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