A TRIP TO THE MOON and to EDEN – 14-15 MAY 2019

You may recall my Roycroft Arts and Crafts experience in Western New York in October 2014. One day we toured Frank Lloyd Wright architecture spots in Buffalo. I realized I had to get back to explore Buffalo, and that is what I did from 13 to 18 May. Now I can say that I need one or two more trips to experience more of the area. I did a great deal of planning, but it is never enough; and, you know I change my plans when stumbling into something of interest I did not know about. I drove out on Monday, and Tuesday began my explorations at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. It was here that TR assumed the Presidency following McKinley’s death following being shot at the Pan-American Exposition on September 6, 1901.

The website is wonderful, do check it out. Below is the spot in the home where TR was sworn in. I have now been to two inauguration sites of Presidents succeeding a President dying in office.

TR wrote his first proclamation at this desk.

here are some interesting panels of history – you can click on them for larger images to read if you wish.

There are a number of interactive exhibits, including sitting at TR’s White House office. I dove into work, and made the news (you can enlarge it to read the story about me).

Did you know that I have been enthralled with World’s Fairs and Expositions for decades? It is true, and Buffalo has much to share of its past with the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. Downstairs there is an impressive fair exhibit.

some more panels of interest

The midway was extremely popular at the fair with many amusements including A TRIP TO THE MOON

Thomas A. Edison was making movies (silent) in 1901, and documented many happenings at the fair. I bet they are on-line, but being shown here was the exciting trip of the LUNA ship to meeting the people on the moon.

It was then off to City Hall for the highly recommended noon tour.

This 32 story Art Deco edifice was completed in 1931 to serve a city of one million. Buffalo was exponentially growing following the completion of the Erie Canal followed by its development as a port with lake trade transferring to the railroads. Population reached 600,000, but today is but just over 260,000. The first floor is impressive with its ceilings, murals and these murals that have a semi-circular top – a separate name that I forget and cannot find.

On the tour you even see the mayor’s office. It is large, his desk is in the rear, and sometimes he even will greet visitors on the tour. My tour group was small. A man from Poland, another young European, and an Asian family. A popular thing to do in Buffalo.

This stained glass ceiling in the council chamber is a masterpiece.

these are the seats in the council chamber. Recognize the wire frames, and their use? During renovations it was decided to keep these accouterments underneath the small seats (people were thinner then).

Remember? Probably not. Men (and women) always wore hats. And, you would slip the brim in the wire frame and put the seat down, thus holding your hat. Impressive are the views from the observation deck, below looking south to Lake Erie.

My great tour director, and the fellow from Poland told me of two architectural treasures I had to see that were in walking distance. First I headed over to the Guaranty Building, an early skyscraper completed in 1896 and designed by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler.

It was then over to the Elliott Square Building completed in 1896. This historic office building is amazing with a great central court where I had lunch. Note the mezzanine retail spaces – sadly vacant.

this solid and still resident was at one time editor of the newspaper, The Buffalo Express, in 1869. He watched me eat.

an architectural gem, I have never seen elevator doors such as these, nor such a large and impressive mail box at the end of the mail chutes from above.

On my last trip, the Road Scholar bus drove past Canalside and the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park. I was shocked then what I saw, and made it back this time to visit one of the three ships – the USS SULLIVANS DD537.

I enlisted in the US Naval Reserve in high school to better my chances for acceptance into the NROTC program to cover college costs. It worked, but in 1963 I went to boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, and before starting college in 1964 I went on the SULLIVANS for a two week reserve cruise. The ship represented the US at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Confederation of Canada in Charlottetown, PEI.  And, I was part of the crew. Mentioning that when I went to pay for my ticket I was told, “no charge since you were a former crew member.” I did not say it was but two weeks. It was an amazing well laid out tour – here is a formidable view.

As I said, the self-guided tour is amazing. In the “gallery” below is my “rack” – my bunk at the bottom of a “ladder” (stairs to you landlubbers) – the worst spot given to a two week reservist, and the mess decks (dining room).

and, next is the entrance to the XO’s (Executive Officer) stateroom. Why show this do you ask? It is quite a story.

I was watching the celebration parade with Bob Eck (only time I have remembered a name). Started talking to two fellows next to us, and telling them I was headed to Northwestern to major in Radio, TV and Film (that major lasted one semester), they said they were actors/dancers in the Wayne and Schuster show, and would we like see the show that night – YES. After the show they took us to the big party for Prime Minister Lester Pearson. There we were, junior enlisted in uniform, being welcomed graciously by all the Canadians. The Commanding Officer of the ship saw us, and was amazed, and came over. The actors said to him, we are having another party later, can these two fellows come, and be back in the morning? You see, there was “Cinderella Liberty” and you had to be back by midnight. The CO (Commanding Officer) said, “yes, have fun,” impressed that we had been invited to this gala centennial event.

The next morning walking down the pier to the ship, everyone was watching us, and making cat calls. Crossing the Quarterdeck the OOD (Officer of the Deck) said, “you are AWOL, and in big trouble, wait here.” We were then escorted to the XO’s stateroom where he asked what we were doing. “The Commanding Officer said we could stay out,” I explained. “Right, I don’t believe that, wait here, I will go ask him.” We stood in that doorway, and when the XO returned he said, “next time the CO says you can stay out, call the ship and tell us, now get out of here.” I still have my program for the evening, signed by the Prime Minister and Wayne and Schuster. Now I have this story “in print.”

This placard on the SULLIVANS is the best explanation I have seen.

The plan for Wednesday the 15th was to start the day in Eden. Eden, New York, that is, to see a “first, and only one in the US and world” I had read about.  On the way I had to see the abandoned Buffalo Central Terminal – two miles out of the city.

An active station from 1929 to 1979, the 17-story Art Deco style station was built for the New York Central Railroad to handle over 200 trains and 10,000 passengers daily, as well as 1,500 New York Central employees.. About 2.5 miles from downtown, it was expected the city would soon reach the terminal – it never happened.

Buffalo Central Terminal when completed in 1929.

I then headed south for about 40 minutes for Eden, and,

Beginning as a metal shop in 1907, the kazoo factory was established in 1916, and is the only original metal kazoo factory in the world. The original machines are still in place, still used, and driven by overhead belts.

changing ownership over the years, and with production down from millions to tens of thousands (what is wrong with people?), the original factory and working museum was donated to SASI, a non-profit dedicated to supporting individuals with developmental disabilities. I saw about 4 employees working away at a “perfect fit.”

there are 18 steps involved, believe it or not, to make a $3 basic kazoo.

I have stashed away about 20 images of all the placards of the steps. Telling friends about this discovery it was decided to form “the band.” So, another website will evolve, a marching unit, and the purchase of equipment I made was one of the largest there in a long time. Here are some of the historic items in display cases (remember to click to enlarge).

Of course, yesterday (22 May) while scouting books, I discovered in an antique shop a brass horn, labeled “child’s horn” – $5. No thought needed, ends up being an 1890s KOBO BRASS BAND INSTRUMENT invented by the kazoo inventor, and looking at my images above, I see one sitting upright in the middle row right image above. I found pages of history, and previous sales of over $100 for my rare piece. I am a good Googler.

 

Did I say Pan-American Exposition 1901? I was off to the location of the fair next, passing the abandoned steel plants, grain elevators, etc. on the way. On my last trip I got the bus driver to detour to the stone marking where the Temple of Music was, and where McKinley was shot. The “Rainbow City” showcased electricity from Niagara Falls on its 350 acres of former farm land to the north of the city, which is now a lovely residential area.

 

Stone marking site of the Temple of Music where President McKinley was shot.

Next I went to the Buffalo History Museum. The building was the only fair building built to permanently remain after the fair, and for use as the history museum.

the front of the building faced the lakes at the south of the fair – Delaware Park.

Looking across the lake you can see the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. It was to be open for fair as the Fine Arts Gallery, but a strike at the quarries delayed completion for a few years. I will have to spend time in the museum and adjoining Burchfield Penney Art Center on my next visit.

inside the central court of the Buffalo History Museum. During the exposition this was the New York State Building.

and, I wanted to share this view of the fair’s Triumphal Bridge, painted c1900 by F. Hopkinson Smith.

Hope you got this far. It has taken me over a week to get to document my first two days of this adventure, and I still have three more days to share with you. But I am getting there.

RAY RECOMMENDS — VISIT, AND SPEND TIME EXPLORING BUFFALO, NEW YORK

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MORE VERMONT EXPLORATIONS – 1-2 MAY 2019

I am starting this looking out in the rain to where mountains should be – but, alas between fog, rain and even sleet yesterday, I see nothing but a solid, unbroken sheet of light gray – which you will see in many images below. I had someplace I wanted to visit, and usually there is more than one way to get somewhere. The direct route most everyone else takes, but not my meandering way. That is what I did on May the first to get to Craftsbury Common, Vermont. Backroading I can state:

1] most old “main roads” (early small two lane – replete with potholes) follow flowing water
2] you must love maps, and know how to use them – yesterday my iPhone (for WAZE use) read “no service.” Not sure everyone is comfortable with that any more. But, “no service” means great exploring.
3] if you see a century old country store, stop to get a bite to eat or gas as it may be your last chance

Below is my two day route, and hopefully before I get home I will be able to purchase a pink marker to highlight my route (got one in Keene on Friday the 3rd) – click to enlarge, if so inclined.

I headed north part way on I-91, exiting at gateway 16 for Route 25 toward West Topsham – recommend exploring this route. Turned right off main road (ha, ha) to see East Corinth – nice early village (seen better days as have most of these parts – never saw so many roofs sitting on floors). Back on Route 25, I could not believe what I saw – antiques and architectural salvage – Tillotson Trading.

Definitely worth a stop – or special trip for that special need – check out their website. When chatting with the owners, and telling them where I was headed they said, “well, Beetlejuice was filmed just over the hill in the village.” Guess I must watch this 1988 cult classic comedy, and plan another visit.

Route 25 ends on US 302 where I turned right towards Groton. A nice run and mountainous. Of course I stopped to see the William Scott Monument, wouldn’t you? It proclaimed Scott was born on the farm here (reclaimed by forest probably 100 years ago). You know him as the Sleeping Sentinel, and if not, click on the monument to read, also on this link – thus, giving you a second chance. I took a look at Groton, then back to Route 232 towards Marshfield on US Route 2.  RAY RECOMMENDS – experience Route 232 through nothing but state park and lakes. No telephone polls, but most amazing were the woods populated by glacial stones of all sizes – You have to see to believe.

Remember I said, “when you see it, stop and eat?” It was about noon, and I saw this “target of opportunity” the only thing really in Marshfield. I enjoyed a massive roast beef sub – almost a side of beef between the bread, and I swear I heard a couple soft moos with some bites.

Continuing north, now on VT 215 towards VT 15, when in the area you stop at the Cabot Creamery. A cooperative of dairy farmers (now approaching 2,000 in New England and New York) they are known for their cheddar cheeses. I enjoyed the 10 minute video (plant tours are no longer available) and the gift shop.

Here are some “moo-ving” facts I found fascinating. Click for easier reading.

Route 15 then to Hardwick, and Route 14 north to the turn for Craftsbury, and Craftsbury Common (my real reason for this trip).

Climbing up the hill you come first to “downtown” Craftsbury with the General Store and Post Office.

Climbing more, was my destination – Craftsbury Common

Why you ask? THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY, by Alfred Hitchcock, filmed here in 1954 and released (in Barre, VT) in 1955. Staring John Forsythe, and Shirley MacLaine in her first film role. And, Arnie, “the Beaver,” Jerry Mathers. One of those classic films I need to watch every year, and partially filmed here. I walked around the Common, and took some images which I have compared to frames from the film. Yes, much has changed, but much has remained the same. When the film crew arrived they were shocked to find the colored leaves had fallen early. Hitchcock’s solution – quickly glue colored leaves to the trees. You will enjoy reading about the filming in this somewhat remote location that you do have to “shunpike” out of the way to visit.

I had struggled where to stay for a night – yes, hard to find a B&B in the north woods, but then it struck me – experience the Trapp Family Lodge, and I booked a night. From Craftsbury Common I headed to Morrisville to pick up VT 100 south to Stowe.

The Trapp Family Lodge

A nice resort facility (not really “Ray’s thing”), but now I have stayed there. Here is the view from my window upon arrival – last time I saw anything but a gray wall.

Dinner was nice in the formal dining room (yes it is European to have eggs on your Wiener Schnitzel vom Schwein. Upon leaving I stopped at the Trapp cemetery next to the lodge

The Thursday plan was to revisit the Vermont History Museum at the Pavilion Building next to the Vermont State House. I was last there in September 2013, and told you “I enjoyed the museum and learned a great deal, and will tour again someday.” Today was the day. Parking in Montpelier is about impossible when the legislature is in session, but finally.

I loved the museum, spent a couple hours, took almost 30 images of exhibits and words for my future use, not to clutter this post with, but here is a Vermont Catamount –

Known elsewhere as a cougar, mountain lion, or puma – but in Vermont catamount – this animal was such a threat to livestock that it was almost hunted to extinction. Killed on Thanksgiving Day 1881, after quite a chase, this catamount threatened sheep in Barnard. It was considered the largest “Monster Panther” ever, and has been on display since 1886 at the Vermont State House and the Vermont Historical Society.

I really wanted to see the printing press on exhibit. Once considered (and I still believe it is – read my writing about it by clicking on this link) the first press in America, the museum staff now disputes that – but the debate continues – now going on 400 years. Below is the Stephen Daye Press – the first on this continent (much repaired), but considered by the museum as the Dresden Press – they are wrong!

The final plan for Thursday 2 May – Covered Bridges and a Floating Bridge – yes I said “floating bridge.”

I headed south out of Montpelier on Route 12 (check my map above). Remember what I said about “targets of opportunity?” I was hungry, it was almost 2PM – duh, and here was the answer – The Falls General Store in Northfield Falls. The cafe inside, appropriately named, Three Bridges Cafe, and you will learn why.

 

The road road to the side leads to three of Northfield Falls covered bridges, and the only covered bridges in Vermont that can be see in the same view.

 

 

you will see this nowhere else.

moving to the next

and, up the hill, around the bend is the third covered bridge within less than 1/4 mile.

driving back down to Route 12

If you are following my map, heading further south on Route 12, I turned right down a dirt road to the Slaughter House bridge – yes used to go to a slaughter house:

a perfect approach to a bridge – and you have to know it is there – looking at a map (paper copy that is).

Heading further south, WAZE helped me find – Stony Brook Covered Bridge – I absolutely could not believe the clarity of the water flowing – I just wanted to climb down and drink it.

It was then Route 64 east to dirt road south to Brookfield. Did I say “floating bridge?” Here is the only one in Vermont, in Brookfield. Recently rebuilt, it is again open for traffic.

you can click this image to read the Vermont historical marker better.

I walked across the bridge (and later drove across and back). You can see patient GiGi again waiting for my return.

Heading to Route 14, and turning south, below East Randolph I saw and traversed two more bridges – are you counting?

can the setting above be more perfect? And then back north a tad to an amazing road climbing up and over the mountain to Chelsea on Route 110 where I headed south to Tunbridge. If you look at the map, you will know why – 6 covered bridge symbols in this stretch of road. But, Vermont, you missed one – but not to worry I found it. First heading south (easier with no leaves on the trees – but remember to take any turn toward a river) I found the Moxley Covered Bridge.

heading south – in order – next was the Flint Bridge.

No quiz, but you will start to see a stark difference – outwardly – on the bridges in Tunbridge. Next is the Larkin Bridge, built in 1902.

Following the river with my eyes (and occasionally on the road – I am good at doing this – almost six decades of shunpiking experience), and with leaves off, I saw this in a valley, off Foundry Road – of course I circled down. I could live here.

Arriving in Tunbridge (Lil, where was your home?) just above the World’s Fair grounds is Mill Covered Bridge – a perfect setting.

But, wait. Two more covered bridges below the fairgrounds on Route 110 – yes, the best concentration of Covered Bridges in Vermont. Turning west south of the fairground is the Cilley Bridge.

And, last (and so close to the road I almost missed it) is the Howe Bridge – another perfect view.

Have you been keeping track? There are just over 100 covered bridges in Vermont, and in just miles I saw, photographed and crossed thirteen of them – better than 11 percent. Plus, I crossed 100% of the floating bridges in the State – what a claim, and one you can easily replicate. I cannot wait to visit again with BB1 or BB2 when the grass and trees are lush in green.

RAY RECOMMENDS:

1 – Follow my route above – visit Craftsbury Common
2 – Avoid (Ray DOES NOT RECOMMEND) Route 100 from Morrisville to Stowe and south to I-89. Stowe has ruined bucolic Vermont as it is envisioned – in my opinion.
3 – Visit the Vermont Historical Musem in Montpelier

4 – Visit, at a minimum Tunbridge’s Covered Bridges.

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MOUNT WASHINGTON ADVENTURES – 10-13 APRIL 2019

These adventures started two weeks ago, and I have been home for twelve days. Why the delay in documenting and reporting? Why have I not gotten to my Red Lion Inn reports for 2018 and 2019, and what about my geology week at Historic Deerfield last summer, and great time in Pittsburgh in October? This time I needed the right title to start, and it just hit me – so, here goes, “Mount Washington Adventures.”

Cathy and I enjoyed the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods in June 1998 and September 1999 before it was converted for year round occupancy. But it has become pricey, and popular. But when you can get a room for $20 less than the $159 a night we paid in 1998, you say, “three nights please.” How? I was able to be included in a special “convention rate.” It was so nice to arrive, Wednesday the 10th, at the long drive to the hotel, even with overcast skies.

I enjoy a hotel or B&B’s “common areas” and only need a room to sleep comfortably, but there was nothing here to be sorry about.

and, the view out my window to Mount Washington

After lunch I took in the historic tour of the hotel, enjoyed the Great Hall and the Conservatory, and read my materials and maps. I had no real plans for my three days, but then I plotted a route of new territory for Thursday discovery. I might add that I brought six books to read peacefully – only got to one, my history of the hotel.

Thursday the 11th I awoke to this sky above Mount Washington.

some moments later from the porch off the conservatory

I had mis-understood friends and was waiting in the lobby to join them for breakfast, on their way out of breakfast they asked,”where were you?” “Here,” I replied. They said breakfast was amazing, so I went in. You can only endure this morning feast one out of three days. Note the way I want my toast served in the future to stay warm. Nothing like blueberry sausage patties with your omelet.

It was then back to read my history of the hotel before heading off exploring. Mentioned and recommended in this book is OPEN FOR THE SEASON by Karl P. Abbott. Written in 1950 it recounts almost 60 years in the hotel resort business. I immediately ordered a copy, and now cannot put it down. Yes, Ray Recommends – OPEN FOR THE SEASON.

Heading out to the car, I first wanted to chat with the post mistress of the hotel’s post office – the first resort with its own zip code, which it has had for awhile serving Bretton Woods.

USPS pays Omni-Hotels $100 a year for the post office site, but the clerk (trained by the post office and following USPS regulations) is an employee of the hotel. A somewhat remote location (postally speaking) there are 32 PO Boxes for area residents, but the office also serves about 600 employees, a good share of them from foreign countries. This time of year (due to school seasons) it is mainly college age students from the Philippines, but in the summer months Eastern Europeans are the main hires. The postal clerk works for the hotel’s CFO and performs additional accounting and financial duties. You know I had to know.

It was then off to the route in black below. I realized I had never been to Berlin or Stark.

My planned circle is all to the north of Mount Washington. At Gotham I turned north to Berlin. On the 178 mile Androscoggin River, Berlin is a mill town that has seen one mill closing after another, and one of the most economically distressed places in New Hampshire. The downtown had its vacancies, but I have seen worse. Heading up the road, I was intrigued by what I saw in the middle of the river – small islands, one after another.

I liked this location for an image, but it does not show the small islands well, The State historical marker nearby explained these Boom Piers. Chains were attached from pier to pier to separate the river into two halves. During log drives, several firms had to share the river to get their logs to the mills in Berlin. Ownership was stamped into the ends of the logs, and way up river (the piers extended miles) loggers sorted the logs as they passed by, sending them on the correct side.

If you were driving down the road, and saw this, would you stop? I hope so.

Hopefully you are looking at what is a ski jump at the top of the hill – and it is. This is The Nansen Ski Jump – built in 1936, and the foremost and largest ski jump in the eastern US for almost 50 years. In 1938, the first Olympic trials were held here. Now another tidbit of information that will win you a cocktail during party conversation.

I was getting hungry – albeit 2PM, remember that big breakfast? Looking at my map I realized and hoped that if Milan had a place to eat, that would be it for miles. It did, I stopped, and it was the only place for miles. Here is the Milan Luncheonette and Variety Store. That is GiGi waiting outside. Normally, I learned, the parking lot is just snowmobiles or ATVs in summer.

I continued up Route 16 following the river for awhile. Nice isolated and beautiful area. I turned around before reaching Errol, and cut over on 110A to get to Route 110 heading west to Stark. Stark had the only POW camp in New Hampshire during WWII. Having read STARK DECENCY: GERMAN PRISONERS OF WAR IN A NEW ENGLAND VILLAGE, by Allen V. Koop (another Ray Recommends to Read), ages ago, I had to visit Stark. I headed through this covered bridge to the village of just a few homes. I had thought the camp was in the village.

But I was wrong. On a back road a woman was walking her dog, and I asked, “I bet you get this question all the time, where is Camp Stark.” “Back on the main road,” she said, and told me I had missed the State historical marker. Back I went to Route 110 and turned back heading east.

Clicking on this link you will get a nice quick history of the camp. Briefly, not all Germans were Nazis. Near the end of the war the German military machine took political prisoners (anti-Nazis) and other criminals out of prison and put them in a regiment that was eventually captured (actually these folks willingly surrendered). Sent to the POW camp at Fort Devins, Massachusetts, where violence amongst the Germans became a problem. The guards finally realized that the group they thought were the trouble makers were actually the ones being attacked since they were anti-Nazis. They had to be isolated elsewhere. In Stark, an abandoned CCC camp was readied with a fence and guard towers, and those prisoners (about 250) taken by train (through Berlin, NH) to the camp. They worked in the forests, cutting lumber for the war effort. Read the book, but first read the article linked above, and you will have more fast facts to win you cocktail conversation.

Route 110 ends at US 3 in Groveton, and at the intersection is this interesting covered bridge that I did not remember. Hopefully you recall that you can click on an image in my “galleries” to see a larger image.

It was then back to Bretton Woods, but first visiting with the owner of the Potato Barn Antiques in Northumberland. Always learn a great deal from this fellow.

Plan for Friday was to head to Franconia, traversing a section US 3 that I had not been on before, and then loop up to Littleton. But first I visited again the the Loyalty Ambassador at the hotel. We had interesting visits each morning. Lots of coincidences, including the golf course she and her husband owned miles from my home in North Kingstown, RI, in the 1970s. But, I had to ask, and she told me where the print shop was – thus my first stop on the way to the car.

Mount Washington Hotel Print Shop – closed in the late 1990s.

and some views through the windows

 

Entrance to Littleton Coin Company – no photos allowed inside.

Arriving in Littleton, I headed to the Littleton Coin Company in the industrial park. World renowned, and probably the largest coin company, they have been in existence for almost 75 years. Originally stamps and coins, I remember as a child their ads and catalogs. Now owned by the sons of the founder, the coin and stamps are separate businesses. I went to the gift shop, visited, and learned there were almost 300 employees in the building, filling 25,000 to 30,000 orders a week – amazing. Then I headed back to the vibrant Main Street to say hi to Pollyanna.

This happy bronze sculpture recognizes Littleton’s author, Eleanor H. Porter (1868 – 1920) who created the world’s most optimistic character, Pollyanna, in 1913

The Thayers Inn Hotel has stood on Main Street serving White Mountains visitors since 1850. Below the street view are two interior shots.

and, a view more views around town including Chutters, home of the World’s Longest Candy Counter.

On the way back to the Mount Washington I stopped at the Rocks to at least say I have been there, but have to get back when it is open. It was then dinner time in the formal dining room – a wonderful treat.

Saturday explorations were “closer to home – the hotel that is.” I first headed to Crawford Notch. Sadly, the second Crawford House burned in 1977. The first was built in 1850, burning in 1859. The AMC Highland Center now occupies the location for hikers, and I took advantage of their cafeteria.

and looking to the Notch, here is the train station that I travelled to last year documented in June last year.

Day hikers were parked everywhere

here is the rail bed cut through the rock in the Notch. Note the snow, slowly disappearing.

I then headed to visit the Cog Railway, now 150 years old. I rode the steam train in June 2013. The track is not open to the top this time of year, and only the bio-diesel engine is running. I got to the base station just as the noon train was climbing away for a half-way climb.

looking back the other direction you can just barely make out the red roofs of the Mount Washington Hotel in the center of the image below.

Here are some interesting history panels in the Cog Railway Museum

and, back at the hotel, looking towards Crawford Notch

and, if you have hopefully made it this far, you deserve some images of the Mount Washington Hotel. Plan your trip now after opening up this gallery.

What can I say? I am ready for another trip back, maybe with a pile of books to really sit back and read while watching everyone else walk by.

RAY RECOMMENDS:

1 – Stay at the Mount Washington Hotel
2 – Explore all areas around Mount Washington
3 – Ride the “Railway to the Moon” – the Mount Washington Cog Railway
4 – Ray Recommended Read – OPEN FOR THE SEASON
5 – Ray Recommended Read – STARK DECENCY: GERMAN PRISONERS OF WAR IN A NEW ENGLAND VILLAGE, by Allen V. Koop
6 – Another Ray Recommended Read – THE FEATHER THIEF: BEAUTY, OBSESSION, AND THE NATURAL HISTORY HEIST OF THE CENTURY by Kirk W. Johnson – well written, and fascinating insights in several areas.

 

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6 HOUR ROUND TRIP – 57 YEARS IN THE MAKING

Actually, this post could have several appropriate titles – so here as sub-titles:

PINCH ME – END OF A DREAM
WELCOME HOME BELZEBUTH II // LADY RAB II
THERE’S A “NEW” CAR IN TOWN

Remember, I write for myself, and for my memories – but do enjoy sharing. Today truly began over 57 years ago – and as I reflect, there are threads that have run through my life since my pre-teens. And, in a simple way, that is what I am made of, and what brings me pleasure.

Remember, I introduced BELZEBUTH II aka LADY RAB II on 19 March?  Well, an attempt was made on a projected beautiful day, 29 March. But after unpredicted pouring rain from Exit 5 to Exit 3 on I-91, that retrieval mission was scrubbed with tears. Watching the weather, today, 7 April, was another potentially clear target of opportunity – some sun, 50 degrees plus, and no rain projected – hey, I was driving a 90 year old convertible home (top down always) 85 miles.  And, this time it did not rain. Carolyn graciously picked me up at 8, and we arrived in Charlton, Massachusetts about 10:15 – backroading, of course.

Attached my plates (from my last Model A, sold in September, but I renewed them anyway, something – somebody – told me to do so), chatted with previous owner (know from experience it was hard), and off I went. To put things into perspective, Charlton, Massachusetts is just east of Sturbridge (and OSV that I love) and about 9 miles north of the Connecticut border.

Only scheduled stop (and fortunately no unscheduled stops were required) was the Country Store in Petersham for lunch. We arrived on schedule a few minutes before noon.

You know I love old county/general stores. Make sure you plan to stop when in the Quabbin area for a bite to eat. RAY RECOMMENDS – A Visit to the Petersham Country Store.

The Common in Petersham is worth a visit.

We continued north, leaving about 12:30 following Route 32 crossing the border, through Swanzey, and into Keene, and then north to home. Arriving back home just before two, the first stop was to “show off” at a friend’s house – having just adopted a new dog, she could not travel on this trip – priorities!

Note above that I was “bundled” but I was comfortable the entire ride and never put on my gloves or earmuffs. And then it was back to “44.”

and, then tucked in with her new “siblings” – never, never to leave again !!!

Trivia History Lesson. First stop in town to “show off,” T asked, “why is it called a rumble seat?” Sadly, I have never questioned the derivation. I do know that if you wanted the optional rumble seat in a 1928 or 1929 Model A Ford Roadster (instead of simply a trunk) it cost $35. A single seat in the rear of a vehicle in the early days was called the “mother-in-law” seat. My Dad had two such vehicles, a 1908 Buick and a 1909 Model T Ford, with the single seat in the rear. Well, continue below for some possible explanations. But, first an image of glee and approval, from a rumble seat.

There is no definitive reason for the nomenclature – rumble seat. But “playing on-line,” here are some ideas:

1 –  Sir Hubert Malcolm Rhumble, a prominent carriage designer of England’s late 1800s., designed a coachman’s seat that stuck in the car lexicon, according to the Automobilist Magazine in August 1958. In early vintage automobiles the trunk lid folded back to form a seat area, sometimes called a “mother-in-law” seat.

2 – Early use of “Rumble Seat” referred to the seat behind the body of a carriage on which the servants rode, well before cars existed. The application to cars evolved from the fact that the seat was indeed behind the enclosed portion of the ‘coach’ of the car. With regards to the expression rumble seat itself, perhaps it was due to the ‘rumble’ the carriage made as it travelled, and the open nature of the seat making the occupants more susceptible to the sounds of the rumble?

3 -The rumble seat (or auxiliary seat or ”mother-in-law`s seat”) first appeared on several models at the 1925 auto show in New York. Like the convertible, it swept the country. Everyone was talking about rumble seats.

4 – and, a simple definition – An uncovered passenger seat that opens out from the rear of an automobile. 

Did I tell you there are “threads through my life?” Printing, stamps, history, shunpiking in my special cars, 19th century general stores, photography, and places that bring me pleasure?

Well, in the summer of 1963,  high school friends and I painted a barn in Charlton, Massachusetts. One friend’s Dad owned the place as a weekend retreat/investment. We ate breakfast at the HoJos on the Mass Pike, entering from the back entrance off US 20. In the evenings we visited the now gone car museum in Sturbridge, and I visited antique shops (see the pattern). Well as I am writing this, to my right on the radiator is the view below. The two toy cars on the left I bought in Charlton, Mass. in 1963, just miles from where my “new” roadster came from. And, see the cast iron fire truck? Cost me $4 at an antique shop in Gaylordsville, Connecticut on a Belzebuth I excursion in 1963.

Too much fun. Thank you for getting this far, love, RAY

 

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SUCCESSFUL DAY – 19 MARCH 2019 – ADOPTION COMPLETE

Did you read my last post – GENESIS OF A SHUNPIKER from March 12 (an important day)? If you missed it, click on the link above. But a quest was on. On March 9, before I completed that post, I posted my want ad for a 1929 Model A Ford Roadster on Craig’s List. Then I just checked to see if there were any new listings on Craig’s List – and there was one. I started emailing with Joe, Jr. Talked with his Dad, Joe, Sr., and both were helping Jon – Joe Senior’s brother, and Joe Junior’s Uncle. It was one of those good email and phone exchanges leading to my journey today to Charlton, Massachusetts. We met just before 5PM, and I left at 6:10PM. Adoption COMPLETED.

Introducing
BELZEBUTH II
aka LADY RAB II

Jon owned this 1929 Model A Roadster for five years, driving it about 600 miles a year, and is selling only because of health. I got under, over, and into all the trouble spots. Not a show car (don’t want a show car) but a clean, solid, well redone roadster – just what I started Shunpiking with (but I forgot to tell you about all the sports car back road rallying I also did with a high school friend – well more stories)

The plan is to drive her home in a few weeks (90 miles from home) and at worst have to call AAA to get me the rest of the way. Below is Jon, the previous owner.

and, here are a few of the pictures that were on Craig’s List.

Yes, I have learned you can drive three cars at once – but now it means I just have to “shunpike” more miles this summer. Let the driving begin – and stories to follow.

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GENESIS OF A “SHUNPIKER” – BEGINNING IN 1962 and EARLIER

BELZEBUTH – My 1929 Model A Ford Roadster in December 1962

My Shunpiking is nothing new. It goes back more decades than I would like you to know I have been alive. My Dad loved, collected, bought, restored, and sold antique cars as a hobby. I would travel with him to explore barns. Often he had me sit in the car and wait, but sometimes I got to explore barns, garages, and attics too – still wish he would have let me bought the Edison Cylinder Photograph and records in that attic ($25) on Olmstead Hill Road where he bought the rare 1910 Barker truck. Those explorations with him, my introduction to American History via collecting US Commemorative stamps, thanks to my grandfather in 1952, my exposure to letterpress printing, and photography, made me what I am, and enjoy today. Sorry, this reminiscing post got long, but remember, “I write for myself.”

Above, and directly below is my BELZEBUTH, with my Dad getting her ready for me in December 1962. He bought and sold cars as a hobby, wanted to make money on this one, I remember picking this roadster up in Darien, Connecticut. It had been used as a “station car” taking the previous owner to the train station every day. I begged and begged him to sell it to me, and he finally did for the $350 he paid for it – (always regretting not making something on it). She was mine on December 10, 1962. We shunpiked together until I left for college in the fall of 1964 (those are more stories I will have to relate with all my back road discoveries).

When I got to South Carolina with the Navy in 1970 I had BELZEBUTH shipped south, and used her to commute to the Navy base. I towed her to Rhode Island when transferred there in 1972, but do not remember exactly how she got to Florida when I was transferred there in 1976. Transferred to the Philadelphia Shipyard in 1977 the car stayed with my Dad in Florida, but he eventually sold her for me. But, the gentleman died, and I bought her back, and my Dad brought her to New Jersey in about 1980. But alas, sadly, with tears, I sold her the end of 1982.

Below is the inside cover of a reprint of a Model A Ford Owner’s Manual I have owned since the late 1950s. I listed my Model As as they came and went.

Below is some of the documentation of my shunpiking with BELZEBUTH. You can click on the images to see them in larger size. Do note what I had to pay for gas, my flat on I-95 in NH while heading to Maine to inspect a 1915 Model T all aluminum body Sedan for my Dad. BUT, of particular note you will see my stops in Chester, Vermont, and Grafton in 1963 and 64. Yes, definite threads to my enjoyment over the years. Also note the stops along my favorite US Route 7, and I even passed the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge where I am now writing this. I also fondly remember pulling into Main Street in Historic Deerfield in the pouring rain. But more stories for another time.

I had not even finished my Freshman year when I had to get another A. Freshman could not have a car, but I justified it as a “hobby item” and hid my “new” ’29 Tudor off campus. Purchased January 11, 1965, from Model “A” Frank, Oak Lawn, Illinois for $239.25 (of course I have the itemized receipt). I drove it home on US Route 6 from Evanston, Illinois to Connecticut on spring break. Had to replace the head gasket in Ohio, crossed the George Washington bridge after dropping a rider in NJ, burned out the rings, and with no compression barely made it up the hill home. My Dad let me drive his newly restored 1930 Cabriolet back to school. Below is that Tudor parked on campus in 1965.

High school friend, Leland, went to school in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and bought the 1930 Sedan pictured below. He agreed to sell it to me, and off I went in my 1956 Chevy 2-door hardtop to tow it back. It only lasted awhile

But, as I said before, I repurchased BELZEBUTH. I had installed the dual side mounts in 1964 from a chopped farm car my Dad had, and when in Rhode Island I had the new top and upholstery installed. Following are images of this beauty (not really restored – but a handsome driver) before she was sold again. Remember to open up my photo galleries.

BELZEBUTH’s Engine Serial Number is A1-L92965
if you have her, CALL ME
Her birthday (stamped on the cowl) is May 31, 1929
and I know the holes and warts in the body

In 1995 Cathy and I married and moved (along with the bookshop) to the waterfall in New Preston, Connecticut. Yes, I wanted another “A”, and thought having a pickup I could advertise the shop on the side. Below is my 1931 Pickup. We were working just too hard to use the truck, but… a 1930 Roadster materialized, and in September 2001 I bought and sold.

Below is some history from rayboasbookseller.com

My 1930 Roadster moved with us to Walpole. Not counting the fellow who restored it, I was the second owner, and can show you the barn it spent most of its life in. Below is during an Old Home Days’ Parade…

and with one of the brides I drove to wedding festivities.

In January 2010 I finally bought a 1958 TR3A (BLACK BEAUTY), wanting one since new. Figured I could not drive both cars at once, and a friend was begging to buy my ’30 Roadster and take it back to Connecticut, he won. Two years later I added an original 1960 MGA (BLUE BELLE) to my stable, and realized you can drive two cars at once – you pull one in, and back the other out.

Realizing this, the quest was on for a 1930-31 Tudor Sedan, the body style I wanted to die with. LADY RAB joined us on December 4, 2013. 

But with hip problems it was hard to get in and out, and she sat for two years. Decided I should sell, started her right up, and she went to a new home in September 2018. But now I am longing for a 1929 Roadster just like I learned to explore the world in. Top was never up, thus easy to get in and out.  And, the search is on — currently there are two for sale with two hours drive.  Thinking, thinking, and will have to look. Maybe I will come full circle with “shunpiking wheels”

Finally, two other things that have “captured” me for decades. I saw my first Cretors Model C Popcorn Wagon in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and then the famous one in Pittsfield while shunpiking in Belzebuth in 1963. In 1965 I found my Bartholemew Peanut Roaster in Darlington, South Carolina, and have had her since. Here I am in the 1980s getting ready to hustle popcorn at a school fair.

And, a Model C Cretors is way too big, but my reproduction 1902 Cretors sidewalk machine is just perfect. Of course you know CORNELIA. (note yours truly in same outfit, and same “good form”)

Thank you for bearing with my indulgences and memories, as always, yours, RAY

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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.

EVENING OF ILLUMINATION – OLD STURBRIDGE VILLAGE

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.

RAILROAD HOBBY SHOW – AMHERST RAILWAY SOCIETY
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.

SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS
ART – HISTORY – SCIENCE – SEUSS IN SPRINGFIELD

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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NEW YEAR’S EVE 2018 — HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019

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.

HAPPY NEW YEAR
as always, yours, RAY

 

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TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS – SANTA’S LAND – AND MORE – 25 NOVEMBER 2018

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

SANTA’S LAND – PUTNEY, VERMONT

 

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:

 

SANTA’S LAND, PUTNEY VERMONT
RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY
16 DECEMBER 2017

 

SANTA’S LAND – PUTNEY, VERMONT – REOPENED NOVEMBER 25, 2017

SANTA’S LAND – PUTNEY, VERMONT – HISTORY OF THE PARK, 1957-2017

SANTA’S LAND – PUTNEY, VERMONT – HISTORICAL SOUVENIRS

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.

MAIN STREET AT CHRISTMAS
STOCKBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS

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.

OKEMO VALLEY INNDULGENCE TOUR
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.

 

 

COOLIDGE HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE
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

CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION IN PLYMOUTH NOTCH
10 December 2016

HISTORIC DEERFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS
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?

 

STORROWTON VILLAGE and MANCHESTER, VT

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.

 

HOLIDAY EXPLORATIONS – GETTING YOU IN THE MOOD
6 and 9 December 2017

CHRISTMAS BY CANDLELIGHT
OLD STURBRIDGE VILLAGE – Massachusetts

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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SAVING THE “GATEWAY TO WALPOLE”

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.

 

CLICK THIS LINK BELOW
to make your contribution on-line
https://www.gofundme.com/WalkerRoadConservation

or,
MAIL YOUR CHECK to:
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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