CANDLES – TRAINS – MUSEUMS — HIP, HIP HOO-RAY — 25-27 January 2019

December 4 – remember the day? I do, my first new hip, home the next day, on my own from the start rebuilding my mobility and planning new experiences. This past weekend there were three things I wanted to do, each could have been a day trip, but I tied them together with two overnights. A first travel experiment, just as I did after back surgery.


Tin Lanterns – OSV image.

I attended Friday evening 25 January. A sold out event at OSV, groups of fifteen are guided by lantern light around the Village Common for almost two hours, visiting several homes and shops to see how early New Englanders spent their evenings before electricity. The village’s publicity goes on, “Visitors will be treated to music and storytelling throughout the tour, and will see Village artisans at work by candlelight. According to Old Sturbridge Village historians, early New Englanders stayed warm and productive during the fall and winter despite dwindling daylight and long hours of darkness. With light and heat coming only from candles, oil lamps, lanterns, and fireplaces, 19th-century families gathered around the fire and played music, games, or listened quietly as someone read aloud by candlelight.” You should, by now, know me and my affinity for candles, candlesticks, and all things flickering.

I have now attended a number of special events at Sturbridge, enjoying each unique one. Unlike the evening Christmas program there was limited illumination to accurately replicate what 1837 would have been like — thus, my images are dark (would not be appropriate to use flash, and would not be a true representation – thus I do not have views of all stops to share.

The guide’s lanterns waiting at the Visitor Center – two for each group

The route was basically counter-clockwise around the Village Common. The first stop, Isiah Thomas’ print shop, included a printing demonstration. But, printing at night would have been only in rare instances due to the cost of burning candles. The next stop at the head of the Common was the Salem Towne House. Here in the large central hallway we were entertained by a storyteller relating the ghostly tale of the cursed tomb in Bucksport, Maine.

The Fitch House was the next stop. Brightly lit with a number of candles, and there was a reason. The docent discussed Michael Faraday’s, The Chemical History of a Candle, a series of six lectures on the chemistry and physics of flames given in 1848. Bet you never thought about how a candle really works – I hadn’t.

He encouraged us to google (not really a 19th century thing) Faraday’s candle, I have, and I encourage you to do the the same – there are even videos of the lectures. He then entertained us with stories illustrated by shadows projected on a white surface by candle light through cut-outs. This stop was worth the entire visit for me.

Stopping next at the Fenno House we saw spinning and knitting performed – also evening activities from the early 19th century. Very little light was used in these activities – so adept were the ladies that they could work almost with their eyes closed.

Around the corner at the Small House a gentleman was roasting chestnuts, and offered samples. To allow moisture to escape during the roasting, the “raw” chestnut must be scored with a knife nudged by a “persuader.”

Heading back to the Common the next stop was at the Friends Meetinghouse where singers were performing.

They did three selections. I was entranced by their version of Yankee Doodle, which was written in 1847. I missed that on film, but decided to record the next piece for you.

Next we entered the Center Meetinghouse where the parson was engaged in a lengthy oration.

At the Asa Knight Store (you should know that I love old country and general stores) the clerk and a customer were settling their accounts. Each had debits and credits with the other (customers would often trade items with a shopkeeper). Usually once a year accounts were settled – cash paid, or the credit/debits carried forward. The “customer” below is Phil, who is the tinsmith in the village, and was my teacher in September in the craft.



The next stop was at the Parsonage. There an “oracle” was entertaining the group as would have been done during that time period for a charity fundraiser. An audience member would give a number, and the oracle read the appropriate response from her book. The final stop (before going to the tavern for mulled cider, squash soup, and cheese and crackers) was to learn about various lighting devices in the Tin Shop


The village was not serving dinner this evening, so I headed to the Oxhead Tavern across the street. Lots of history about this building, I sat in front of the fire and had a nice pot roast dinner.

End Hip Experiment Day One – almost three hours on my feet.

Eastern States Exposition – Springfield, Massachusetts

Leaving Sturbridge Saturday morning I travelled a new to me southern route passing through Monson, Hampden, and Longmeadow to West Springfield and THE BIG E grounds. Hip Experiment Day Two – almost five hours on my feet wandering (and wondering) through 4 buildings (over 9.3 acres with just over 400,000 square feet), and all hard concrete. This, the 52nd annual show, is one of the largest, and I attended a few years ago. So much eye candy for model railroad enthusiasts – layouts constructed by various clubs, exhibitors with supplies to build scenery and buildings, new train equipment, and my favorite – old vintage toy trains.

Greeting visitors outside was the Boothbay Railway Village recently restored S.D. Warren #2 0-4-0T locomotive. It was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1895. Under full steam it was running back and forth on narrow gauge track (probably a Maine Two-Footer).

I am just going to share with you some of the eye candy with brief explanations. Remember you can click on any of my galleries to open large size images.

The cars below were in a very large scale – about $400 each, just having an image is enough. I love the real observation cars, and dining and Pullman sleeper cars.

This was a New England LEGO club with their layout exhibit

This club built its own miniature steam engines, and brought them to share.

The two competitors – LIONEL on the left, and AMERICAN FLYER on the right. This dealer had nothing but the less popular AMERICAN FLYER, and no one was looking.

It was then off to my B&B in Springfield to collapse and rest up. I headed out to scope out the MGM SPRINGFIELD casino. My neighbor asked me to take a look. Not my thing (note no images), and this is the report I emailed her, and recommend to you – “Don’t bother, unless you like low-end shopping mall atmosphere, food courts, and over (way over) priced faux restaurants with little glitz. Packed (Saturday night). Can say I have been there – same with glitzy Connecticut Casinos – been there – which I also never have to see again.” And, then back to sleep for Sunday.


Hip Experiment Day Three – was about almost five and one half hours on my feet at the museum. But first I stopped at Springfield’s Union Station.

Springfield’s 4th station, built in 1926, handled up to 130 trains every 24 hours. When the Penn Central went bankrupt in 1970 it was abandoned, deterioration set in, and efforts to save the structure crawled. Redevelopment funds were obtained, work began in 2012, and the deconstruction and the reconstruction of Union Station lasted four years and one month, officially ending on December 31, 2016. The main hall was restored to close to what it was.

If you are an automotive historian you should know what happened in Springfield. Do you? America’s first gasoline powered car was built here by two brothers, Charles and Frank Duryea, and on September 20, 1893, was successfully tested on the public streets of Springfield, Massachusetts. Near the train station is a park at 47 Taylor Street – the location of the Duryea’s garage. This model of their 1895 vehicle, which won the Chicago race in 1895, is in the middle of the park.

as you will learn at my final stop for the day, much has happened in Springfield, and industrial history abounds.

Shortly after its Sunday opening time of 11AM, I arrived at the Springfield Museums complex and campus which almost adjoins the Springfield Armory, which I have twice toured.  I started with the history museum – about 2 1/2 hours – and I need to go back.

One of the best history museums I have been in – very informative, packed with local importance. Possibly wonderful because everything dovetailed with my interests, but I bet you would be captivated also. To give you a flavor, I am grouping a number of image galleries that you can open if you wish to learn more.

There are a number of Springfield related autos in the museum. For the 100th anniversary of the Duryea’s first gas powered vehicle this replica was built in 1993. Yes, the original was built on a buggy.

Frank and Charles had a falling out, and in 1900 Frank went in business with the Stevens Arms and Tool Company to produce automobiles. Here is the oldest known Stevens-Duryea – a 1903 Runabout

Did you know that Rolls-Royce also manufactured its luxury autos in the US – and right in Springfield from 1919 until the Depression? This 1928 Phantom has the distinction of having been owned by M. Allen Swift for 77 years – longer than any other owner in company history. He gave it to the museum just before his death in 1994 along with a major donation for the museum.

I found it amazing all the products and inventions coming from this area.

here is just a sampling of what you will see on exhibit and explained

And, then there was the Indian Motorcycles – made right here in Springfield. So much history, here is but a sampling to entice you to visit and learn and drool.

Born in Torrington, Connecticut, just north of the former home of Ray Boas, Bookseller, abolitionist, John Brown, spent time in Springfield solidifying his beliefs. Ironically I have been learning about his raid on Harper’s Ferry, so found this exhibit of interest.

Two major retainers started in the area. Friendly’s Ice Cream shops began with two boys with $50 creating a summer business. On display is the counter, stools, and other memorabilia from their first store.

And, this store front is a replica of what became the BIG Y chain.

I then toured the science museum, but realizing I would not have time in one visit to get to the two art museums decided I had better at least run through the Dr. Seuss building. Originally from Springfield, many of his tales go back to his youth here, visits to the zoo, etc.

It is impossible to not see this exhibit without a smile on your face.

here is some background

And, a few images around the museum

Outside is the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden. This is an image of a mural inside the museum of the garden.

I hope you got this far — what I have related here are three “day trips” that I rolled into three days and two nights to save some travel time.

RAY RECOMMENDS — Plan to spend a day and head the hour and twenty minutes (from here) to THE SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS. I guarantee you will be glad you did, and there is much to explore in the area also – The Springfield Armory for a start. ENJOY, as always, yours, RAY

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You have not heard from me since 25 November. I have missed writing my travel posts here, not to mention missing the adventures to share. Have you wondered why? My hips prevented many of my desired travels in 2018, as well as in 2017. To fix the situation, I had my first hip replacement on 4 December. I was bone on bone, and have the left hip to go. Four hours after surgery I was up walking, and was home thirty hours after surgery. I’ve been taking care of myself, physical therapist has been visiting, and I have been exercising to build up strength. I just want to wake up and take off, but it is a process, and this week I have really been moving about. Enough so to go out last evening and take some images of “my neighborhood” – the Common outside my windows – albeit sadly without snow.

Next to the Congregational Church across from me these carolers have not moved a muscle in weeks (their arthritis must really be bad).

I have kept busy in the house, and not even gotten to the piles of projects I set up before surgery. The January issue of the CLARION was completed, and in starting a new hobby (miniature buildings) I bought a few “new” “old” books. The last chapter of one book on savings banks had the following chapter. I shared it in the CLARION, and am sharing with you below – it is worth reading and contemplating while you are RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR.

86,400 SECONDS

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during that day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course!

Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows you no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the “tomorrow.” You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost health, happiness and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today.

To realize the value of One Year, ask a student who failed a grade. To realize the value of One Month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby. To realize the value of One Week, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper. To realize the value of One Hour, ask two lovers who are waiting to meet. To realize the value of One Minute, ask a person who just missed the train. To realize the value of One Second. ask someone who just avoided an accident. To realize the value of One Millisecond, ask the person who won a silver medal at the Olympics.

Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time with. And remember that time waits for no one. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.

Author Unknown

Here are two more views at the north end of the Common.

I have spent my time “working” between my computers in the kitchen, and a laptop and piles of reading material in my front informal parlor. I have some of my trees set up around the house, and below is what I see while sitting in the front room. The model of the Red Lion Inn I got last month at the Mistletoe Mart at the Congo Church. Never saw this Christmas decorated cutout before – no hesitation in buying.

Yesterday I sat here with my folders of yearly travel accomplishments and ideas. I am looking forward to getting back out to explore by car, rail, and water. I have also reread many of my travel posts here – remember I write for myself, but love to share. Hopefully I will have a great deal to share with you in 2019.

as always, yours, RAY


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This weekend I did a few holiday things I want to share with you, and I have listed some holiday events I encourage you to explore. Many I have done, and will link you to my past adventures to further whet your appetite – the real purpose for this post to get you out to experience these wonderful events.

Recently I saw something new to me – ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS in nearby Springfield, Vermont, presented at the Hartness House Inn.  All proceeds of the day were to benefit the Springfield Area Parent Child CenterThe announcement read: “journey through the historic Hartness House Inn and experience the legendary tale of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in an interactive performance provided by local talent! Moving room to room you will witness the skill of real dancing elves, glorious singers, hilarious puppeteers, and many exciting surprises along the way.” The event was Saturday the 24th, I bought my ticket on-line, and then booked my dinner reservation afterwards.

Hartness House Inn – Springfield, Vermont

I learned that this was the second year for this fundraiser. The Inn had been closed for a month during “twig season,” and reopened with this event. The Inn is a wonderful old mansion, but several dormitory style additions have been added to the rear. Cathy and I attended a New Year’s Eve in the former dining area on the right, now there is simply a tavern for eating on the left.

I arrived early, and enjoyed some holiday music in the lobby, and then was greeted by my Elf (does she look familiar?) to experience ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas throughout the Inn.


Following Ms. Elf from room to room, she recited Clement Moore’s poem to the group at the various tableaus. We followed a route (you can click on the image for an enlarged view) and at each stop were entertained by youngsters, puppets, young dancers while our Elf related the next part of the story.


Here is a slide show of some of the tableaus. Click on any image to scroll the larger size images. The first, “It’s Christmas Time” was amazing with many young ballerinas – two popped out of the poinsettia pots and started dancing.

The performances were impressive, particularly considering all the youth that were involved and choreographed. It was a fun setting, and a nice opportunity to see three floors and inside several rooms at the Hartness House Inn.

I then had dinner in the Tavern. Opening after a month, and for this event there was a “kid friendly” menu – not full dinner. Nice, but the ambiance not what you expect in a mansion, nor what I experienced in the dining room more than a decade ago. Furnished with wood board tables, and wooden benches. Not Ray’s style for dinner



On Sunday, the 25th, I had to visit Santa’s Land in Putney. It was exactly a year ago, November 25, 2017, that it reopened, and I was there and shared that day with you.  It was fun to get back and visit. The new owner, David, and Santa greeted me upon arrival.


Entrance to Santa’s Land, Putney, Vermont – 25 November 2018

It was so enjoyable strolling the grounds, visiting with the trainman who remembered me, and the carousel operator – everyone is there to bring pleasure to all. Everything is fresh and bright. David has added a 9 hole miniature golf course for summer visitors, and Santa strolls the grounds meeting and interacting with everyone. A great idea instead of staying in his home. Open weekends, please visit before the last day this year, 23 December 2018.

Here is a gallery of images I took today, just click on any to open for larger size pictures.

And, to further prod you to visit this year, take a ride with me:

Here are links to some of my previous visits to this magical and historic remaining treasure of true early Roadside Americana. Click on the title lines to view my posts:


16 DECEMBER 2017





Other Recommendations for You

In past years, and particularly last year, 2017, I have enjoyed a number of holiday events and shared them with you. I want to provide you a list of some things I have done, and have wanted to do, so you can grab your coat and keys, and go explore with a holiday theme. For some reason many of the events have migrated to the first weekend in December this year, so it will be hard to pick what to focus on. But here are my recommendations, and links to my previous experiences.


November 30, December 1 & 2, 2018

Yes, Stockbridge and The Red Lion Inn. I have always had conflicts (previously it was later in the month) for this event which on Sunday recreates the famous Norman Rockwell painting that is now in the Norman Rockwell Museum.

There are about six places I want to be on the weekend of December 1 & 2, including Newport, Rhode Island with a dinner train with A CHRISTMAS CAROL performance. But I decided not to head too far that weekend (you will read why at the end), and I really don’t “do crowds.” But, someday I will attend Christmas in Stockbridge, and click on this link if you wish to learn more.

December 1 & 2, 2018

What a tree !!


In 2016, friends and I spent a very enjoyable day touring eight Vermont inns and B&Bs that were decked out for the holidays, and each serving their own special treats. It has become an annual event, and I highly recommend you give it a try – click on this link for this year’s information.

Your ticket is good for two days, and it will take you two days to enjoy all there is to see and eat.



PLYMOUTH NOTCH, VT – December 1, 2018

My first Christmas visit was in 2013, and it was two weeks later that year. It was wonderful, and I have returned just about each year since. My picture below was used by the Vermont Tourism Bureau to promote the event last year.

Click here for this year’s details, and the links below share my Holiday experiences there in the past. I have always loved my visits to this bucolic, and isolated hill town – a step back in time to the 19th century, even though it has captured it’s 1920s ambience (which is 19th century anywhere else).  Following are my Holiday visit posts. For some reason I never completed one for 2017.

PLYMOUTH NOTCH, VERMONT – 15 December 2013

10 December 2016

1 & 2 December 2018

Less than an hour from home, I have since 1963 enjoyed driving down Old Deerfield’s historic Main Street. I have attended many events, and classes there this past year, and probably will venture here on 1 December to take in their holiday activities that day. Click on this event link to get an idea of what is going on that day. Maybe I will see you there?



And, here are two other Christmas experiences from 6 and 9 December 2017. Read through the post linked below about Storrowton Village in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the Manchester Vermont Holiday Inn Tour. Hopefully you will then search for this year’s information and possibly attend. Lots to see in the post below, please do take a look.


6 and 9 December 2017


I have spent many enjoyable days at Old Sturbridge Village this past year, and attended the holiday event, enjoying 1830s decorations, traditions, and food, on 21 December last year. Click on this link to see what I shared about my visit.  This year running from 30 November through 23 Decemberclick on this link, to read what is happening – and then plan your trip there – but two comfortable hours from home.


And, a few other suggestions

Not things I have done as yet. I just have not had time, and it seems everything is now happening at once. But, for your consideration (and it is at least fun to look at websites to see what is going on, and get into the mood) here are a few more local Christmas events.

34th Annual Christmas in Weston, Vermont – 1 December
click here for the website

Second Annual Christmas in Grafton, Vermont
1 & 2 December 2018
click here for the website

Wassail Weekend – Woodstock, Vermont
7, 8 & 9 December 2018

click here for the website

Well, there is a great deal going on in the area, and I hope in presenting it all to you that you may find something to enjoy with your family. I will vicariously travel to the various events on-line because I will have some “down time” soon. Wanted to have both hips replaced at once, but doctor said one at a time, and that time is very soon. I am currently lining up what I will accomplish during that “down time.” I owe you some adventures from this year still, and will work on “July Rocks” and “All About Pitts.” You will hear from me.

Happy Holidays,
love, RAY





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As many of my “shunpiking” friends know I am involved in much more than traveling and bookselling. I publish the local newspaper THE WALPOLE CLARION, and for the past six months have been working with a group to preserve and conserve 10 acres of land, with 1,000 feet of Connecticut River shoreline, at the entrance to our village. I like to think that the CLARION has raised awareness of this project, and motivated many into action to support and donate to this project. We have completed a video about our project, and this morning I shared it with my CLARION readers. Thought I would also give you an idea of what makes Walpole the wonderful Walpole it is. I still cannot believe I am fortunate to be here, and now for over sixteen years. So, below is what I sent out this morning, and please do watch the video.

Still wondering why the efforts to conserve the 1,000 feet of Connecticut River frontage at the entrance to the Village of Walpole, New Hampshire? This video will answer your questions, show you this special property, and its importance.

At the end of the video are details for sending your tax-deductible contribution either by check, or on-line with GoFundMe. Those details are also at the bottom of this page.


to make your contribution on-line

Walker Road Conservation
Town of Walpole
PO Box 729
Walpole NH 03608-0729

On behalf of future generations who will have the same enjoyment we have, I thank you for your donation – yours, Ray Boas, Publisher, THE WALPOLE CLARION

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This is the first time I have shared something other than my travels here on “Shunpiking with Ray.” For years I have received a daily email from The Week – a magazine and website – providing top news stories and information. Even as a student of history, I have never had a grasp on the events surrounding the First World War. But in just over 1,000 words, The Week Magazine Staff has captured and explained “the war to end all wars,” and its aftermath still affecting us today. I encourage you to read those words below, and share this story about the events leading up to the day that is now “celebrated” as Veteran’s Day. Thank you, yours, RAY


The Legacy of World War I
The Week Magazine Staff – AP Photo

The Great War ended 100 years ago this month.
How does it still shape our world now?
Here’s everything you need to know:

What caused the war?

In 1914, the great powers of Europe were enmeshed in a tangled web of alliances that had formed over decades of colonial empires jockeying for dominance. The assassination of the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a 19-year-old Bosnian Serb activist started a chain reaction that plunged these nations into a cataclysmic struggle. Austria-Hungary, which had been looking for an opportunity to project strength in the Balkans, declared war on Serbia, accusing its government of orchestrating the attack. Russia then mobilized to defend its ally Serbia. This led Germany, which was allied with Austria-Hungary, to declare war on Russia and its ally France, and to invade France’s neighbor, neutral Belgium. Britain, which had promised to protect Belgian neutrality, then declared war on Germany, which it had been battling for naval supremacy. In the four years that followed, some 9.7 million soldiers and 10 million civilians died in a conflict so ghastly that many survivors returned with “shell shock,” haunted by what they had witnessed.

Why did so many die?

Technology. The introduction of machine guns, barbed wire, and highly accurate artillery made advancing over open ground tantamount to a suicide run. Nevertheless, military leaders still clung to 19th-century tactics for much of the war, ordering massed infantry assaults meant to overrun enemy positions. But when soldiers left their trenches and went “over the top,” they were mowed down by the thousands. The industrialization of war produced death on an unprecedented scale; in France, for example, 13.3 percent of the male population between the ages of 15 and 49 died in the war. The fighting provided a grim preview of even greater horrors to come, with the first widespread use of military aircraft, bombing of civilians, chemical weapons, and armored tanks. World War I was “the first calamity of the 20th century,” wrote historian Fritz Stern. “The calamity from which all other calamities sprang.”

What followed the war?

The war’s end set the stage for a new series of global conflicts, some of which are still raging today. In Russia, war fatigue led directly to the collapse of the centuries-old Romanov dynasty, the 1917 Russian Revolution, and the establishment of Communist rule. The polyglot empire of defeated Austria-Hungary was dissolved into a collection of independent states based on ethnic identity, including former Yugoslavia, that are riddled with nationalist and sectarian tensions to this day. The harsh terms imposed by the victors in the Treaty of Versailles helped lead to a surge of nationalism in Germany, and ultimately to the rise of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party. Some historians see World War I as the beginning of a continuous struggle for Europe that didn’t really end until the reunification of Germany in 1989.

What about the rest of the world?

After World War I, the allies stripped Germany of its colonies in Asia and Africa. But instead of being given independence, these long-oppressed lands were absorbed into the victors’ colonial empires. Colonized peoples resented being denied the right to national “self-determination” extended to newly created or liberated European countries like Poland, fueling independence movements in India and several African nations. World War I also redrew the map of the Middle East. The British and the French carved up the remnants of the Ottoman Empire, which had entered the war on Germany’s side. Under the Sykes-Picot agreement, France claimed Lebanon and Syria for its sphere of influence, while Britain took control of what became Iraq and Jordan, as well as the Gulf States. The new borders were arbitrarily drawn, with no regard for long-standing religious and tribal identities. Iraq, for example, was created by lumping three former Ottoman provinces together, dominated respectively by Shias, Sunnis, and Kurds. When ISIS swept across Syria and Iraq, its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared his intention to erase the old colonial borders. “This blessed advance will not stop until we hit the last nail in the coffin of the Sykes-Picot conspiracy,” he said.

What was the impact on the U.S.?

America reluctantly entered the war on the side of the allies in 1917, but its late intervention powered the exhausted and nearly bankrupt allies to victory. The war made the U.S. the world’s leading creditor, shifting the seat of global finance from London to New York City. Untouched at home by the ravages of war while Europe was devastated, America saw its economy boom, surpassing the British Empire’s to become the largest in the world. President Woodrow Wilson hoped to shape a postwar order with the League of Nations, which was designed to prevent future wars. But the Senate rejected joining the League, with opponents calling it incompatible with American sovereignty. Nevertheless, Wilson’s declaration that “the world must be made safe for democracy” set a precedent that has endured. “That has been the foundation of almost all American foreign policy for the last 100 years,” said historian A. Scott Berg. “Whether you agree with it or not.”

The meaning of Armistice Day

The First World War effectively ended on Nov. 11, 1918. For the victors, Nov. 11 was immediately recognized as a day of celebration and thanksgiving. In the U.S., Armistice Day was celebrated until 1954. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Congress changed the holiday to Veterans Day in order to honor all American veterans. But not everyone agreed with the name change. “Armistice Day was sacred,” World War II veteran Kurt Vonnegut wrote in his 1973 novel Breakfast of Champions. “Veterans Day is not.” Veterans for Peace, an anti-war group, holds regular “Reclaim Armistice Day” events on Nov. 11, arguing that the day was originally meant to celebrate peace, not militarism. “Armistice Day was a hallowed anniversary because it was supposed to protect future life from future wars,” says Rory Fanning, a veteran of the Afghanistan war who became a conscientious objector. “Veterans Day, instead, celebrates ‘heroes’ and encourages others to dream of playing the hero themselves, covering themselves in valor.”

Wouldn’t it be nice?

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“Americans invent as the Greeks sculptured and
the Italians painted: It is genius.”
-The Times – London – 1876

About a year ago I clipped an article from an antiques magazine about a new museum in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania – the National Museum of Industrial History. Earlier this year I was also emailing with a letterpress historian about a part I need for a rare press I bought, and he told me about his involvement in the temporary Printing and Papermaking exhibit at the museum. No problem deciding that on the drive home Sunday 21 October from Hershey that I spend time at this museum – only about two years old, and affiliated with the Smithsonian.

I back-roaded to Bethlehem, and arrived on the grounds of a Bethlehem Steel plant that is being conserved, and repurposed as a visitor area, and cultural center. The visitor center sits in the shadow of this furnace complex.

I walked around, poked into some abandoned buildings

and then found the museum in this restored building.

as you enter, the initial exhibit represents what a visitor would have marveled at in the Machinery Hall at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. If you know me, you know I have been fascinated for over five decades by world’s fairs and expositions.


these words provided an introduction to the Centennial Exposition exhibit. Much of this machinery at the beginning here is from the Smithsonian, having originally been exhibited in Philadelphia in 1876. Steve, there is even a piece there on loan from the American Precision Museum in Windsor, Vermont. You can click on the image to the right to read it if you wish. Below are some of the equipments that were shown in Philadelphia in 1876.


I found these “facts’ interesting. If you wish to read the facts, click to enlarge

this display of files made by the Nicholson File Company of Providence, RI, was also shown at the fair in 1876. The company’s improved file-cutting machine (1864) revolutionized the industry. Files could now be made by machine (36,000 a day) instead of being cut by hand.

Continuing on in the museum, stories of iron and steel, and the silk and propane industries were presented.

These panels explain how iron, then steel is made. Was learning about the process in Pittsburgh, and I have these here so I can study again – but you may wish to open and read.

Many of my posts are read by people doing “on-line searches” and my hope is that this post will provide some additional information on, and incentives for people to visit the National Museum of Industrial History. I will not quiz my cadre of faithful readers to see what you have learned here – you are safe. But here is some more that I want to share.

Have you seen a worker’s “welfare room” before? A locker room – but see where in 1941 workers had for the first time a place to shower and store personal items. They placed their personal items in these “welfare baskets,” hoisted them up to the ceiling and padlocked it to their numbered spot on the central stand

there is a section on the silk industry that was in this area.

I was fascinated learning about propane and the distribution of LP gas – originally waste from the oil mines, but now used.

I then spent a little time looking around the printing exhibit. Below is a model of the Daye Press – the first printing press in the Colonies, arriving in 1638. It was made by the fellow I have been emailing with. Ironically, I just wrote an article about this press for my monthly “Did You Know That…” history piece in my newspaper – THE WALPOLE CLARION – click on this link to read that article.

There are several themes that run through my life, and have contributed to my foundation and interests. I have had printing presses since 1957. Wanted to print a newspaper, but quickly realized not something I could do with a 3×5 inch press. I currently have about 8 presses, equipment, and maybe 30 fonts of type. Sold a big press two years ago, third time I had sold a Chandler and Price 6×10 inch bed, and I was sad – did not have to sell it, but wasn’t using it – not fair to someone else and the press. No problem, found another two months ago in the back room of an antique shop – it is now in my garage awaiting some tweaking – mainly paint – pink is not correct on a printing press.

This model of a paper making machine was in operation. The model of a Fourdrinier Paper Making Machine was made in 1933 for The Franklin Institute, where it was used to demonstrate papermaking until 1999. The model turns out an eight inch wide web of paper at the rate of five feet per minute.

and, here is a fast fact for you.

RAY RECOMMENDS – If passing through Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, take a couple hours and experience and learn at the National Museum of Industrial History. And, if you can, plan a “Wayzgoose” event.

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My program and introduction to amazing Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (posts eventually coming) finished up before noon on Friday the 19th. Plan was to stop at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville on my way to Hershey for two nights with a full day in between.

I back-roaded (of course) to Shanksville and the Flight 93 National Memorial. I took US 22 east out of Pittsburgh, then cut down to US 30. I definitely have to get back to explore Western Pennsylvania, The Allegheny Mountains, Ligonier, Laurel Mountain, etc. Arriving at the Memorial I was overwhelmed with the number of cars (exceeding space in the parking lot) from all over the US – and this a mid-Friday, with school in session. A solemn place, I will let my images speak for themselves with limited words of explanation. A volunteer Ranger is on hand to give an introduction to the site and that day.

then you head down the path to the visitor center. The blackish path in the center is the track of the doomed plane.

people were crowded around all the displays reading away

the next three images I took from the displays. First here is a photo right after the crash that created a 45 foot deep crater with barely anything remaining. A stand of trees for forty feet was blown down.

this is an aerial photo taken of the site by helicopter

and, there is a bronze plaque you can touch to feel the destructive contours Note the swath of trees blown over.

at the end of the hall you can look out at the crash site, now signified by a 17 ton boulder. Probably the only National Memorial with tissue boxes strategically placed. I almost pulled one out.

the end of the ramp overlooking the site. This area was originally an open-strip mine, abandoned and covered over at the time. Two people working in the area saw the plane in its last few seconds – apparently upside down – and traveling at over 500 MPH.  A few more seconds of flight, and the plane would have landed in the local School.

the boulder marking the approximate site of impact

and, looking back to the Visitor center.

I headed to Hershey to settle into my B&B. I have fond memories of Hershey from the 1960s to the 1990s at the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) Fall Meet and Flea Market – miles and miles of automotive related flea market. My Dad set up there selling cars and parts, and I would visit when I could. A few times David and Gary were also able to join me. I have a couple non automotive antiques in the house that I found over the years there, and I use, and cherish for the memories. But when you are focusing on a car show, there is no time left to “do Hershey.”

Hershey has changed since I was last there 25 years ago. I cannot image walking fields of blacktop — it was so much more fun, and a challenge, trodding through mud. It is crowded now, the Amusement Park has expanded into one of the former show fields, The Hershey Story is about 9 years old, and the AACA museum about 15 years old. I had to see it all. On Saturday the 20th I arrived at the AACA museum shortly after it opened.

Charles Duryea and his brother Frank are credited with building the first gasoline powered auto in the US demonstrating it September 21, 1893, in Springfield, Massachusetts, But in the museum is the 1896 Chicago Benton Harbor, now considered to be the first vehicle in America built from scratch as an automobile as opposed to construction on a modified horse-drawn carriage.

In a reconstructed blacksmith shop (the early automobile repair shop) is this original BRUSH – the only car made with a wooden front axle. I think my Dad had one once. I love original condition.

another original around the corner was this 1909 Buick Touring car. In the late 50s my Dad bought a 1908 Buick, with a “mother-in-law” seat in the rear from the Buick dealership in Brewster, NY. It was one of 14 known at the time.

This 1924 Model T Ford has won numerous awards, but of note and interest is this early camping trailer, a 1928 Zagelmeyer. Frank Zagelmeyer also invented the ball and socket trailer hitch so commonly used today.

and, a replica of an early filling station

and, a drive-in theater and refreshment stand. The exhibits at the museum rotate, and the temporary exhibit of Mustangs were departing. At the drive-in were these two classic Mustangs. In my “Mustang” days (late 1980s, early 1990s) I owned a 1965 Hardtop (Maroon) and a 1966 Convertible (Royal Blue). I know all the trouble spots in these models.

I love old-fashioned paper maps, and the frustration opening and closing them. Here is the exhibit on maps that I wanted to share, and you can click on the gallery for larger readable images.

On permanent exhibit is the largest collection of Tucker automobiles and literature. You should take time to read more about this revolutionary vehicle from the late 1940s.

When I was on the TV show “Giant Step” with Bert Parks (in 1957 opposite the Walt Disney’s Disneyland, so you probably missed me), I told him I wanted to own a diner when I grew up. I have been fascinated and collected diner items since (what else?). But I had never seen this small style diner – Flo Fortnoy’s restored 1941 Valentine Diner. Next to the door is a money slot where the owner would drop his/her payments for the diner to be collected by the Valentine Diner Company.

so much to see here, and with the rotating exhibits certainly worth additional visits. Outside was one of the Hershey “Kissmobiles.” I did not get one – a “kiss” that is – just waiting.

Almost three hours at the AACA museum, so off it was (skipping lunch to save time, of course) to see The Hershey Story – another new museum since I was last in Hershey. I read one book on Milton Hershey before this trip, and hope to attend a History of Chocolate adventure at Historic Deerfield in February – ending on Valentine’s Day, of course. I highly recommend a visit – I spent close to two hours – would have been more if I had not read a book beforehand.

Here are some views of the exhibits.

Next I headed over to the relocated and expanded CHOCOLATE WORLD to buy my ticket for a “Trolley Tour” of Hershey. Again, glad I did because I like to learn the “lay of the land” and how the roads are all connected. Here is a view looking from a Hershey School campus looking at downtown, the stadium and expanded amusement park (you have to learn how Milton Hershey built his atypical “company town”), and the now paved fields that I loved to explore cars and car parts on.

On the tour I saw Milton Hershey’s home

one of his golf courses, and much more.

My plan for dinner was to head to The Hotel Hershey – I had made my reservation a week beforehand. My Dad had a car friend who always stayed there during the car events. I wanted to stay, but with tax was facing about $500 a night – my Dad’s friend had sold a world renowned travel agency in the late 40s – he could afford it. BUT, I wanted to experience it – and HIGHLY RECOMMEND you do also, at least for dinner as I did.

With many dining venues, I choose the finest restaurant – The Circular. And, hands down, the best experience I have had. “Good evening, Mr. Boas,” my server Mike greeted me. And, it just got better. But, “please just call me Ray.” He corrected himself later and complied.

I was first given an iPad to view the drink and wine selections. Was there a choice? Yes – I selected – Hershey’s® KissesTM Signature Chocolate Martini with Smirnoff vanilla vodka, 360 chocolate vodka, and white crème de cacao. The gallery below shows you my table and its accoutrements.

Not knowing how to top this day, I headed back to my B&B to prepare for my adventure on Sunday in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and the trip home. I will get to Sunday at National Museum of Industrial History hopefully within a few days, and then get to telling you about all my fun and learning in Pittsburgh.

Thank you so much for spending your time experiencing my adventures with me – love, RAY


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I have wanted to visit Johnstown, Pennsylvania, to experience the site of the May 31, 1889, flood since I read David McCullough’s The Johnstown Flood in the 1970s. This, his first book published in 1968, launched his writing career gaining him two Pulitzer Prizes. The opportunity finally came about, and I left home about 6 AM Saturday the 13th, arriving about 530 miles and 8 1/2 hours later at the Johnstown Flood Museum.

The Johnstown Flood Museum

Originally the library, it was refurbished after the flood by Andrew Carnegie. The buildings across the street (below) also are survivors from the flood.

A company town in 1889, over 7,000 workers were employed by the Cambria Iron Company. An important rail center, earlier Johnstown was a canal center beginning in 1834 with the completion of the Allegheny Portage Railroad which united the eastern and western sections of the Pennsylvania Canal by creating a number of inclined plane stations to haul canal barge sections on train cars over the 2,291 foot high point of the Allegheny Mountains that separated Hollidaysburg and Johnstown. As was common in canal building for low water periods, a dam was built at South Fork, 14 miles from Johnstown, to create a reservoir to supply water when needed to the canal system. When the Pennsylvania Railroad was completed across the state in 1852 it made the canal system obsolete, and the newly finished South Fork Dam went into neglect.

I started (as I usually do) with a wonderful introductory film, and then toured the main floor exhibits. Not much there, but a solemn tribute to the 2,209 lives lost in about 10 minutes as the 40 foot wall of water swept through the valley. This display showed souvenirs of this news sensational event that captured the world’s attention.

See what looks like a bottle in the middle? It is a “Memory Jar.” A popular fad during the late 19th century, On this bottle the Overdorff children affixed relics of the flood to the bottle with red sealing wax.

You know I like to share things you probably know nothing about – and I didn’t either. 310 pre-fab houses that were heading to the Oklahoma Territory for homesteaders were instead shipped to Johnstown for shelter. Manufactured in Chicago, the 1 1/2 story “shanties” came in two sizes: 16 by 24 feet and 10 by 20. One survived to this day, and was relocated outside of the museum.

This surviving example is significant showing the living conditions of an affected worker after the flood, and as an example of one of the first examples of ready-made housing in the US.

It was 5PM, so I headed to my B&B, got settled, and asked for a dinner recommendation. I wanted to ride the Johnston Inclined Plane, built in 1890 and the steepest vehicular incline in the world, and my hostess told me her favorite restaurant was at the top of the incline. Off I went.

The Johnstown Inclined Plane

when originally built, the large car was double decker with room for horses, wagons and carriages on the main floor, and passengers on the second level. Now there is room for two cars end to end, and a passenger room on the side.

and up I went

and, sharing my ride with you – enjoy this video (I am wrong in the video, it was the 1936 flood when 4,000 were taken to safety on the incline).

Chatting with the hostess at Asiago’s Tuscan Italian restaurant atop the mountain, I was seated at the best table overlooking the dining room and city below.

The operator of the Inclined Plane told me I had better have the bubble bread appetizer which I did – AMAZING, and when looking at the menu my choice was simple – Tuscan Chicken. You may know my daughter-in-law is Tuscan from Cortona.

Following dinner I looked at the plane’s equipment

and then heading back down the 896.5 feet

and arriving back at the lower station there was not a bump, a jerk, nor any noise – just a smooth landing.

Awakening on Sunday, I had a packed plan before arriving in Pittsburgh by 4 for an exciting week long program you will eventually read about. I first drove back up to Westmont (the high end of the Inclined Plane) to visit Grandview Cemetery. As a company mill town, the Cambria Iron Company began developing the mountain top for housing, and the Incline Plan to move workers to and fro. A cemetery was planned, and sadly immediately became the final resting place for flood victims, including the unknown persons buried behind this monument.

Next I headed to South Fork, the site of the failed dam, which is now the Johnstown Flood National Memorial. In 1879, a group of wealth Pittsburgh industrialists (including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon) purchased the defunct reservoir and surrounding area and formed the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club. It was the retreat from the dirty city for 66 members. A large clubhouse and 16 cottages were built for the club (nine remain). Below is original home of President, Elias J. Unger, and the visitor center that was reconstructed to replicate Unger’s barn. In the center of the image you can make out the remaining ends of the earthen dam.

These images show you what went wrong. You can see in the drawing that there were originally viaducts under the dam controlled by valves on a wood tower out in the lake. The dam had deteriorated once abandoned, and when the club came in they removed

the control tower, and the viaducts that could be opened for run off. In addition, to make room for carriages to cross the dam, they removed four feet from the top. Without a means for run-off, and with the water level now closer to the top of the dam, a disaster was waiting to happen. Here are some sketches (that you can click to enlarge) showing the before and after the club’s “renovations.”

And a photograph after the dam gave way – it was an immediate burst.

3:10 PM the dam gave way
4:07 PM at Johnstown, the water divides into three paths of devastation; resulting in:

The death of 2,209 people
99 entire families died, including 396 children
124 women and 198 men were left widowed
More than 750 victims were never identified and rest in the Plot of the Unknown in Grandview Cemetery
Bodies were found as far away as Cincinnati, and as late as 1911
1,600 homes were destroyed
$17 million in property damage was done
Four square miles of downtown Johnstown were completely destroyed
The pile of debris at the stone bridge covered 30 acres
The distance between the dam that failed and Johnstown was 14 miles.

There are many on-line sources of images showing you the after effects in Johnstown.

I then circled around what was the circumference of the lake, and first came upon the “clubhouse” owned by the Park Service, empty and yet to be restored. The lake came to a point just on the other side of the road in front.

what is missing in this image below?

And, here in a gallery that you can click and enlarge, are six of the remaining nine summer homes of the club members.

Just down the road is the South Overlook of the South Fork Dam Site.

and, across the way you can see the North Overlook and the Visitor Center.

and here is a short video panning the area of the former reservoir, now a small street, fields, and a rail line.

Finishing up in South Fork I decided that I could make a quick trip to the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site and still get to downtown Pittsburgh in time. You can pack more into a day when you carry peanut butter crackers for lunch – keeping priorities straight.

Following the success of the Erie Canal in 1825, Pennsylvania needed a route to the new west. A railroad was built from Philadelphia to the Susquehanna River, where canals took over transporting freight and passengers. Work was done on the Western Division of the canal linking Pittsburgh and Johnstown, but 36 miles and 3,000 foot Allegheny Mountains provided a barrier to connection. The solution was a series of inclined plane railroads. Canal barges were loaded onto train cars (in many cases barges were developed to be split into two or three sections to fit on the cars). On steep grades the loaded cars were pulled by tow wires powered by steam engines. On the straighter sections horse, and later steam locomotives were utilized. The 23 day trip from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh by wagon on the old turnpike now took but four days. This portage over the mountains operated until 1857 when a direct railroad route was completed.

Steam houses were constructed looking like the below

At the park this Engine House is reconstructed over the original footprint

but a tad larger to protect what is left of the original stonework foundation.

and, off the tracks go


Well, hopefully you got this far, and enjoyed what I shared. I then headed to Pittsburgh for the Road Scholar program Signature City Pittsburgh for the 14th through the 19th. I had absolutely no idea how fabulous Pittsburgh is now, and all the history at this river junction. I will eventually share all that with you. But I will probably share my return home first (will be easier to write about). So, for a look at the Flight 93 National Memorial, Hershey, and the National Museum of Industrial History, come back soon. Yours, RAY

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So these adventures are four months apart? I still want to remember, and to share, and hopefully provide you with some ideas for future fun. Let me begin with the past week, and go back. Only lived in New Hampshire for sixteen years, and never been on the Green Mountain Railroad. It was time, looking at the remaining fall schedule, and my schedule, it had to be now. A GREAT TRIP followed for an almost three hours from Chester, Vermont to Summit and back. I told you about Summit and the original rail line back in July. I booked the 10 AM train, and BLUE BELLE and I arrived at the Chester Depot at 9:20 for the 9:30 boarding.

Looking back across Route 103 is Lisai’s Market established in Bellows Falls in 1926 (I enjoy shopping in the Bellows Falls store). But why show you this view? In 1963 I shopped here (different ownership them). I was “shunpiking” in my 1929 Model A Ford roadster from Connecticut, and needed some cans to heat for dinner while camping.

This “iron horse” was ready with a large number of carriages. Since the return trip was reversing direction, there was a locomotive at each end to lead the way and pull.

It was time to board. For some reason I thought I would have the train to myself – ha. Forgot it was leaf peeping, hoards of folks, and tour buses pulling up for boarding also.

We “general passengers” were shown to these beautiful Budd cars, while the bus groups were in some older style coaches. Quickly seeing my options, I staked out this comfortable spot in the bar/food service car. I had two chairs and a table to myself – special for a sold out train.

Here are the interiors of the other cars in the consist.

And the whistle blew, and off we excitedly went. The trip for the most part was following the “backside” of Vermont Route 103. So much fun to get a different perspective. There was one section of backwoods along dirt roads to Cavendish I was not familiar with. Looking at my road map and seeing the train tracks I have some new shunpiking to do to “fill in the map.”

We passed this old Talc plant (closed in the 1970s) in Gassetts, now abandoned, but later on passed a new one. The Vermont Rail System carries freight through out the state, and connects with other lines. There are over 230 miles of tracks it leases from the State, and about 150 employees operate the freight trains. The Green Mountain Railroad is the tourist passenger subsidiary, and has 9 employees. The railroad is a third generation privately run system. Nicole, the grand-daughter of the founder, sat with me and the couple across from me for awhile. She told us so much, and I asked so much. The family, and company history she wrote – click this link to read.

Coming into Ludlow, the station is actually up a hillside away from Route 103 and the business area. Nicole hopes that someday the State will restore the station, and it can be used for Okemo ski trains. Vail Resorts has recently purchased Okemo in a $82 million deal.

On the right of way of the old Rutland Railroad, the tracks were originally laid in 1848-49. Milk trains daily made trips to New York and Boston, even stopping at Cold River Station in Walpole. Until about 1953 the Green Mountain Sleeper would travel this route from Boston to Montreal. Following World War II, train travel and shipping waned in favor of cars and trucks. Eventually strikes closed the Vermont railroads and lines, and the track and right of ways became property of the State.

At a spot in Summit – Mount Holly – we stopped, the engineer walked through the train to the engine headed back towards Chester. I offered to help him, but he said, “no problem, downhill all the way, I just have to release the brakes.” At Summit we were at about 1511 feet elevation, so the coast back to Chester at about 500 feet was easy.

If you ever travel Route 100 from Weston to Ludlow you travel under a fantastic trestle just before the junction with 103. What a treat to now be on the trestle.

and, from the center of the trestle looking north to “downtown” Ludlow.

Do you remember my first “shunpiking” post from Crows Bakery and Cafe in Proctorsville in April 2011? Here is Crows from the train while crossing the road heading towards Cavendish.

and the trackside of the Gassetts stations – looks more like a freight station (similar to what was at the Cold River Station)

and, sadly all good things do come to an end, but memories linger, and new adventures come along.

I am so glad I went – foliage was not peak (it was when I was back in the area with Gary and Alex on the weekend) but I loved seeing the “backside” of a familiar route as I said earlier. AND, Nicole told me that this is the last year the Foliage Tour will head in this direction. From now on, the train will go from Chester to Bellows Falls as it had previously (before floods destroyed track – now repaired) and pass two covered bridges and travel through a gorge. I should have booked my 2019 trip.

So, now let me re-ride the rails that I rode in North Conway June 14th. I did a two night sojourn 13-15 June with the the focus being the Conway Scenic Railway leaving North Conway and going to Crawford’s Notch. Back roads, of course, on the way across state. I stopped first at this Calef’s Country Store in Barrington for lunch – worth a trip and a stop.



When did you last see a phone booth, or a pay phone on a poll? Long time ago, right? Well, I captured this view for you, albeit without the phone itself. You can still stand there and use your cell and pretend. Now a second reason to make a trip to Calef’s.



Passing through Union – how perfect a stop on the way to a train adventure.

lots of photo ops there – here are just two

I arrived in North Conway at my home for the next two nights – the Cranmore Inn, operating since 1863, in the shadow of Mt. Cranmore Ski Resort.

Yes, just perfect with rocking chairs on the porch

and I was “upgraded” to a lovely spacious room, but as you know I love to spend my time in the common areas – not bad here.

I then walked back to “town” and the common and train station to “scope out” the next day’s adventure getting the “lay of the land and tracks.”

going back to town, you know I love 19th century country or general stores. Here are some classic interior views.

and a classic and perfect sign

For this first evening there I decided to cross the border to Fryeburg, Maine for dinner at the Oxford House Inn.

a great evening meal on the porch

The next morning, I was ready for a day and lunch on the rails, and walked over to the station.

I booked a seat in the observation dome – if you are going to do it – do it right, for something different, and a higher view.

I shared similar images when I traveled across Canada by Via Rail Canada, but here is how you get up to the observation dome

and, in the dome itself

and we were off following the river and up into the Notch. Here is the classic scene on the Saco River

almost the same view as the painting I saw in June at the New Hampshire Historical Society –  “A View on the Saco” by Godfrey N. Frankenstein done in 1847.

Some views around the train

It was an overcast day, and upon arrival in Crawford Notch, a light rain greeted us.

and looking back towards from where we came

and, arriving back in North Conway looking east toward the Mt. Cranmore Ski Resort

and, a look inside the train station “pulse” not much changed from day one.

I am glad I took the trip, got to again see the “backside” to the road up to the notch, but I must confess the scenery is hidden by the trees surrounding the tracks, and “nothing to write home about.” It was the beginning of the season, and the dining car staff and food also was nothing exciting, and somehow eating on formica table tops is not my forte, particularly since I have had fine china and linen on Via Rail Canada – you get to expect a certain norm.

Dinner for my second night in North Conway was an easy decision. Cathy and I had stayed a couple times at the Eagle Mountain House in Jackson – I had to visit again. Heading north, and past Story Land, a right turn comes through this classic Covered Bridge (it was hit and damaged a month after my trip through).

The road up the hill follows a scenic stream with many water falls.

and, you arrive at The Eagle Mountain House – a classic old Victorian mountain hotel.

of course, another “rocking chair study”

and some views inside (remember you can open my galleries for larger views)

Heading back home, my plan was to cross the state on The Kancamagus Highway. Its 34 miles was completed in 1959, but not completely paved until 1964. Closed in winters until 1968 when it was plowed for the first time. I do not recall driving through with Cathy, but I did tour most if not all of this route in 1962 or 63 in my 1929 Model A Ford Roadster, making it all the way up from Wilton, Connecticut. You can click on the map below for a larger view.


Heading west from North Conway I first stopped at the visitor center, and the Ranger suggested stops. There is wonderful scenery along this route and interesting history about early life in the area that you should take in. Life was a struggle in the mountains, and still is as you can see the trees to the right working to “hang-on.”



I first explored the area around the Albany Covered Bridge.

During the Depression years of the 1930s, before the road went all the way through, the road was relocated by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and Lower Falls developed as a roadside attraction. There are trails, picnic areas and observation locations.

Rocky Gorge has been visited since Civil War days. Trains shortened to 4 hours what was a three day stage trip to bring tourists to Conway. Then by carriage and coach they would be brought to this scenic area.

Continuing on a trail up from Rocky Gorge you come to bucolic Falls Pond.

All that remains of the thriving farming village, Passaconaway is this historic home. Open for tours, I was there the wrong day. Also there are other events held in this area.

If I had gotten to this post in a timely fashion, I could have shared more tidbits of history and facts learned along this route, but at least I am now giving you a flavor. If in the area, do take the time to travel along and enjoy The Kancamagus Highway.

I then cut down the western part of the state – back roads – and home. If you like trains, hurry to The Green Mountain Railroad, and you do not have to hurry to the Conway Scenic Railroad, except to tour the station and see the locomotives and cars in the rail yard there.

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I feel so blessed, and I thank Him several times a day. And, I am blessed because I am where I am thanks to the thirteen years I had with Cathy – I thank her also every day. I am one of those fortunate people who can do what I want to do, when I want to, and as a result I have “too much fun” – there must be a law against that. My desires are not extravagant, there are no needs, only wants, and I want to live a full life, learn, share what I learn, and enjoy each day to the fullest. Hopefully you enjoy my need to share. Today was just such a day.

You may recall that in January I finally became a member of Historic Deerfield – only been driving through since 1963 – in my 1929 Model A Ford Roadster – and this fantastic spot is less than an hour from home. And, I still owe you my report of the week long program I attended there in July – THE RIVER, DRIFTING CONTINENTS, DINOSAURS, AND A GLACIAL LAKE – I will never look at rock cuts on a highway the same way again. Thursday I got an email reminder to members for this weekend’s events. Remember I got “hooked” on tin-smithing two weeks ago at Sturbridge? – today was “Historic Trade Demonstration – Tin-Smithing with Bill McMillen.” Ironically, I had spent a great deal of time this week researching ways I can learn tin-smithing. More on that along the way.

BLUE BELLE and I left sometime after 9AM, and due to usual fog in the Connecticut River Valley, to be safe we headed south on US Route 5, arriving at Historic Deerfield about twenty to eleven. The demonstration was to be in the Hall Tavern section (on the left in the image below) of the Visitor’s Center.

The greeter at the Visitor Center looked familiar, ends up he and his wife were in my July Program. I showed my membership card, got my wrist-band, and headed through the Tavern room to the side room demonstration.

I spent over two hours chatting with Bill McMillen, the pre-eminent tin-smith in the US, his wife Judy, and friend Steve (who recently reconstructed the sills for the Bradley law office across the river, and will help me solve my chimney mystery).

This week I was googling, and googling classes on tin-smithing. I found a Road Scholar program in October, but it follows a program I am attending in Pittsburgh, and conflicts with my CLARION schedule. bummer. Then I discovered Eastfield Village in East Nassau, NY. WOW is all I can say about the Colonial classes there. Last weekend when I was in Peru and Ludlow was Eastfield Village’s only open day for the year. And, in August Bill presented tin-smithing classes (along with the Williamsburg tin-smith, who I also met today). Again, I was too late – but not really since these events were not on my “radar” of interest as yet. I decided I need to learn more about Eastfield Village – apparently a “privately established” and unknown Sturbridge Village.

Here is Bill cutting some tin.

and, working away. In the rear is his wife, Judy, and friend Steve, who restores Colonial structures.

I chatted and chatted with Judy and Steve. They told me so much about Eastfield Village, which they are intimately involved with, and the Early American Industries Association. – now on my list to join. And, I hope in some way I may be able to get involved with their efforts to preserve and share Eastfield Village.

Bill was working away, explaining tin-smithing to others. Here he is “raising” the top for a coffee or tea pot.

Underway in the next room back was an open hearth cooking demonstration with pumpkin recipes. Of course, two weeks ago I spent about 6 hours with open-hearth cooking.

You cannot do justice to Historic Deerfield in a day, particularly when there are special events taking place. I am so glad that I am a member, and close by – I am under no pressure to “do it all,” only “under pressure” to get back often. I stopped, for the first time, at the Apprentice’s Workshop at the Dwight House, and listened to the potter at work.

Then I headed down to the Silver & Metalware Collection hoping to see tinware, but it was an impressive silver collection (I have always had the book on the Flynt – the husband and wife founders of Historic Deerfield – silver). I was in time for the tour, and glad I was. The building behind is the History Workshop – I was there, and had to see that too. A nice facility for families to experience living history, but wait, “you look familiar” – “you do too,” she replied. It was Faith who was one of the guides during my July program (oh, I forgot to say I saw and chatted with Julie Orvis at the “lunch wagon.” She is the Coordinator of Special Events, and was in charge of the July Program). Faith then toured me and others to the broom shop, and showed us broom making.

A major broom making center was just down the road in Hadley, Massachusetts. Faith explained the history, and I recall reading about the inventor of broom machinery there, and the special broom corn that was developed. So much to learn ! Here are some views in the shop.

When something “speaks to me” I have to buy it. This mug/tankard spoke to me, Bill had made it only weeks ago, and I wanted it, and bought it – $15. Asking him about it he said it was patterned after the French and Indian War period, but the size and shape was dictated by the size of the imported English tin sheet. He showed me how two such pint size tankards were cut from one sheet to be fabricated. Here is my “new treasure.”

Did I tell you I had a great time today? Leaving Historic Deerfield I made two stops at antique centers, and true to “Ray fashion” bought six books, that once sold more than pay for today’s fun. From US 5 and Route 10 I cut over to Turners Falls, then Route 2 East to get Route 63 North, connecting with Route 63 in New Hampshire. This now will be my preferred route when in BB1 or BB2 to Old Deerfield. In bad weather I will defer to the “new car” on I-91.

RAY RECOMMENDS – Become a member at Historic Deerfield, and visit often to immerse yourself in all the experiences and learning Historic Deerfield has to offer.

As always, thank you for reading through, love, RAY – Shunpiker, Bookseller, Publisher, Printer, and maybe Tin-Smith?

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