INN-DULGENCE TOUR – OKEMO VALLEY, VERMONT – 3 DECEMBER 2016

There is so much going on in preparation for the holidays – I cannot do it all. This weekend was the Norman Rockwell Christmas Festivities in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, but when I finally thought about going, the Red Lion Inn was already booked solid.  But, then I remembered that “I do not do crowds” anyway. About ten days ago a friend and I both got emails from the Castle Hill Resort in Proctorsville, Vermont, about a promotion, and buried in one line was — Inn-Dulgence Tour. In checking the link – that was it. Ten Inns and B&Bs, all close by, with decorations and goodies at each. I have experienced five of the ten locations, but how can you pass up Inn-Dulging and gorging yourself for five hours for ten bucks? Plans were hatched and made.

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I planned the route (always best to start furthest away and work yourself home) with our first stop the Inn at Weathersfield in Perkinsville, Vermont at the noon hour when the tour began. I have enjoyed many a dinner here, and cannot give it a higher recommendation. When I called to reserve our Passports for the tour, Marilee said, “oh, I remember you Ray.”  Yes, a couple years ago I had shared with her a visit that BLUE BELLE and I made. Every time I walk into the Red Lion Inn I am greeted personally by several staff members, and the same happens at the Castle Hill Resort when I enter with my friends. HINT TO INN OWNERS – it makes a difference. Thank you Marilee (and Richard).

The Inn at Weathersfield, Perkinsville, VT on a December afternoon.

The Inn at Weathersfield, Perkinsville, VT on a December afternoon.

Richard showed us around downstairs, and gave us some history. We toured many rooms, each exquisite! And, below is a gallery of some of what we saw. Remember, with my galleries, you can click on an image and open up to larger views. You will see more galleries on this day’s tour.

We then drove north on Route 106 towards Woodstock, but turned left on Tyson Road in Felchville. I have only driven west to east on this road (in BB1 or BB2, of course) so this was the first time east to west – but scenery is always different every day, every season, and in different directions. The next stop Echo Lake Inn on Route 100.

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My dear Cathy and I stayed here maybe 17 years ago before we moved to NH. I have had several meals here, and enjoy passing by on the way to my favorite Plymouth Notch. Need I tell you that is Calvin Coolidge’s home? On the menu here were two soups: Maple Butternut Squash Bisque and Stonewood Farms Turkey and Wild Rice — both worth the trip.

Next was heading south on Route 100, through Ludlow to the Golden Stage Inn in Proctorsville, before working ourselves back to 100.

Entrance to the Golden Stage Inn in Proctorsville, VT

Entrance to the Golden Stage Inn in Proctorsville, VT

I had never stopped here before, but have passed many times. I enjoy Crow’s Bakery and Cafe just down the road. In fact, at the bakery I made my first ever travel blog post in April 2011.  On the menu today for us to enjoy at the Golden Stage Inn (yes an original old stage stop) was “Saturday Night Chocolate Cake.”

 

PN-22Next stop was our “briar patch” — the Castle Hill Resort and Spa. First discovered and experienced 15 December 2013 (yes on the way back from Christmas at Plymouth Notch). I do not miss anything when driving, but one person is a tad better than I am. Coming home that day, Tara said, “what is that? turn around!” And we went in and discovered the most fantastic place. To the right is a favorite image I took that evening.

Up the hill we drove, and in we went. “Hi, nice to see you again,” we were greeted. Yes, I visit often with my lady friends. We cannot afford not to go to the three course dinners for $25 (we all carry half home there is so much, and so good. But we start with wine (and wine) in the library – oh such a life.

Today it was overcast and snowy as we drove up the hill.

Castle Hill Resort & Spa

Castle Hill Resort & Spa

On the menu here was Mini Beef Wellington and/or Creme Brûlée. We had both — fantastic. The decorations were amazing – enjoy these images.

It was then back into Ludlow to the Andrie Rose Inn. We learned that the Inn goes back to about 1950 — about 6 years before the Okemo Ski area was developed.

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Large and very comfortable with lots of fun spaces, on the menu was braised pork butt over polenta – yummy!

Time to head south on Route 100 (the backbone of Vermont) to Weston (no I will not tell you again that I was first there in my 1929 Model A Ford Roadster in 1963 spending an evening with Vrest Orton, the founder of the “original” Vermont Country Store). There was the Inn at Weston – another “first” for me.

Entrance to the Inn at Weston

Entrance to the Inn at Weston

On writing this, I realize we never got to see any rooms. Our hostess, Linda, was cordial and immediately said, “let me tell the chef to get your food ready.” Shortly we sat down to mini crab cakes with a roasted red pepper coulis and wild mushroom and ricotta on crostini.

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Wow — the inn has a full restaurant, and hours vary with the season and the performances at the famous Weston Playhouse. Here are two more images here:

Back down Route 100 to Londonderry, and left on Route 11. Then right onto Magic Mountain Access Road. Magic Mountain was a failed ski resort, but I read this past week that new owners are opening the mountain this coming weekend. The facilities and surrounding properties are dated and have seen better days. A short way up the access road was our next stop Blue Gentian Lodge. Lisa and Ken have been here since 1994, and are a lovely couple. Lisa’s cut paper ornaments are amazing, and you should turn up the few hundred yards off Route 11 and see her work.

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Here are samples of her amazing craft – worth seeing.

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This tree represents the Twelve Days of Christmas – wish I could have captured it better for you.

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And, one of Lisa’s tree ornaments

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Our next stop – number 8 – was the Stone Hearth Inn and Tavern in Chester.

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Again, I just realized that we did not see any rooms, but we were getting “inned out.” After a short walk around the first floor we settled into the tavern with wine, and soon Tara’s husband joined us . His horse and donkey are boarded for the winter on the adjoining property.

There was no time left for Inn Victoria in Chester, or The Grafton Inn in Grafton. Some of you may know the special place the Grafton Inn holds in my heart – I would not be in the wonderful place I am in, if it were not for an overnight my late-bride and I had there. But, my friends and I will get back in the next week or so to see the fabulous decorations there. In fact, here we are in the Phelps Barn Pub just a year ago (after Christmas at Plymouth Notch).

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Well, I got home a tad after 6PM tonight, and now it is almost 11:36.  I have fun reliving my adventures and experiences while preparing this posts — for myself — but to share. This was the first year for the Inn-Dulgence Tour, Okemo Valley, Vermont. It was fun, and I hope it was successful for the Inns involved, and they continue again next year.

RAY RECOMMENDS – Experience what our local Vermont Inns have to offer – just follow the list here.

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BACKYARD (ALMOST) OVERNIGHT — 9-10 NOVEMBER 2016

I needed a break; well after all, I have been home three weeks !!! And it was this time last year I felt the same way and spent 9-11 November 2015 in MAINLY MAINE. I planned an exploration of Providence, RI, but the downtown B&B I wanted to stay in was booked. I then realized I had never explored Manchester, NH — yes the downtown B&B there was also full. But hey, I can still explore there, but stay elsewhere – and that is what I did. I booked a B&B in Portsmouth, NH, that I tried to stay in last year. But it was closed last year, and I end up MAINLY MAINE instead. Still with me?

The plan was on Wednesday to stop first at the antique mall in Concord, and then stop at the shops along “antique alley” on the way to Portsmouth.  “Pickins” on the road for books have not been good for years, but from noon to 4:30 PM things were different. I wrote a check every place I stopped – five in all. And when (if) the three cartons of books I bought sell, many more trips are paid for. But I love to buy, and have a nice excuse – it is for resale, and I am constantly challenging my knowledge — well, iPhone helps nowadays price checking.

Inn at Strawbery Banke

Inn at Strawbery Banke

 

I arrived shortly after 5 PM at the Inn at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth. It adjoins the Strawbery Banke Museum, which I visited shortly after Cathy died when I decided to get out and explore. Also, as my hostess told me, “don’t drive downtown to eat, we are a three minute walk to Market Square.” And, that is what I did. I walked, explored, window shopped, and then had dinner. I have always enjoyed my walks around Portsmouth, NH.

 

 

And, here is a panorama of Market Square.  I am trying to learn how to do these – click on the image to get a full screen view.

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Thursday, 10 November, I left Portsmouth shortly after 9AM to be at the Millyard Museum in Manchester when it opened. Arriving in the city, I did not recall ever driving through, and I was impressed with the architecture and cleanliness. The mile long brick mill complexes along the Merrimack River are amazing, and defy proper image capturing to share. I thought there would be a parking lot – wrong. It took me about 20 minutes to find a space within a mile of the beautifully restored and occupied mill buildings. Now, remember this. Street parking, but no meters – pay stations every once in awhile to get your paid display ticket. First pay station was not operating – I started to worry my credit card was skimmed.  Not seeing another pay station, I began driving closer to downtown, and parked right in front of a pay station – but its readout displayed “not working, go to another station.”  I saw one around the corner, and dumped all my change in it – got about 1 1/2 hours. Now to hike back to the museum.

The Millyard Museum concisely details the history of the “Queen City” (the state’s largest metropolis beginning in the 1830s) and the textile mills’ histories – which created the city’s history. On this 19th century map you can see the mill complexes along the Merrimack River at the bottom, and the canals created for additional water power.

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Originally called Derryville, when the canals were built in 1810 for the textile mills, the city was renamed Manchester after the great manufacturing city in England. In the museum is the model below, typical of the elegant restored brick mill structures.

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The city was totally planned out, even before the first building built. The industrialists wanted to create a community.

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Above is another view of the city’s layout (looking west – the canals are now filled in). Following the Lowell, Massachusetts, mills’ methods, rural farm girls were hired and joined in the 1840s with Irish immigrants. Immigrants poured in from many European countries, and by 1900 the majority of the immigrants were French Canadians.

Besides documenting the history of the area’s development, the museum has wonderful exhibits on the textile industry itself, and its changes.

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Many other industries developed in Manchester, including foundries, machine making, and the Amoskeag Steam Fire Engine company. Below is the Ashland No. 1 (the 369th of 853 steam fire engines built between 1859-1913). This particular engine from Ashland, Massachusetts helped quell the Boston fire in 1872.

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and, I felt it important to share how this engine works (you can click to enlarge to read more easily):

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And, hailing from Derryville was General John Stark. The museum had a nice presentation on this American Hero who at the Battle of Bennington said, “…They are ours, or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow!”

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General Stark, at age 81, could not in 1809 join a group of Bennington veterans gathered to commemorate the battle.  He sent, instead, a letter to his comrades, which closed “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” Live Free or Die became the New Hampshire state motto in 1945. And, now you know.

Fascinating too was this display, including a swatch of Molly Stark’s wedding dress.

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Well, I was watching the clock since the time on my “park and display” slip was approaching, but I was pretty well done. Getting back to the car I started looking at the Manchester Guide I got at the museum.

nov-13Question for you. If in a guide you saw, America’s Credit Union Museum, would you want to see it? If the booklet said “closed Thursday” would you still call?  I did call, and the young lady answering the phone said, “come on over, I will be here until 3PM.” About a mile away I went — and was amazed at what I learned.

Below (in a panorama experiment – thus you can click to full screen) is the home office of Joseph Boivin, where he took in the funds of thousands of mill investors, who worked down the hill and across the river from his home. This first “credit union” in the US was organized November 24, 1908, with the help of Canadian, Alphonse Desjardins of Levis, Quebec.

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A credit union is a cooperative financial institution owned and run by its members. They pool their funds to make affordable loans to each other. Run to provide a service, and not a profit, members could get small loans that banks would not make. Getting a small loan to pay a bill, such as a doctor’s bill, they often would get a discount for the full payment.

I thought these two panels say it better than I can.

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And, children would go to the new credit union and deposit their nickels. This panel really gives you perspective.

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My step-mother’s family came from Quebec to work in the mills in Manchester. I bet they deposited their nickels right here in this first credit union.

It was then off to the Currier Museum of ArtRAY RECOMMENDS — NO HIGHLY RECOMMENDS – HURRY TO VISIT THE CURRIER – Particularly the current special exhibit – MOUNT WASHINGTON: THE CROWN OF NEW ENGLAND.

I always need to know why something is, and why it is where it is.

The Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH

The Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH

Hannah Slade Currier, who died in 1915,  married Hon. Moody Currier, a distinguished banker in Manchester, New Hampshire. 1885-6 he was governor of New Hampshire. When she died, she was one of the wealthiest women in the State of New Hampshire.  She left her estate to establish the Currier Gallery of Art. I first had lunch in the cafe, passing through the older section and this entranceway.

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I was so fortunate (not planned) to be here for the special exhibit – MOUNT WASHINGTON: THE CROWN OF NEW ENGLAND. As you may know, I love the history of the development of the summer vacation in the US, and travelers to Mount Washington were the beginning of that phenomena. Here is Thomas Cole’s VIEW IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS. I visited Cole’s home in Catskill, NY, ages ago, but still have to report on that.

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The title for the exhibit comes from this painting. George Loring Brown created a monumental painting, THE CROWN OF MOUNT WASHINGTON, which was sent to London for exhibition. The Prince of Wales (Edward VII) purchased it, and it remains in the Royal Collection. This is a smaller version painted in 1858.

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Did I say that I loved the Mount Washington exhibit? On the second level are American art exhibits – again great. I have always been fascinated with John Rodgers statues since first being introduced to them in 1963 by Vrest Orton, founder of The Vermont Country Store. Finally (now that the prices have plummeted) I now own two of these late 19th century popular parlor statues.  Cast in plaster, I never knew there were bronze versions. Here is his photographer piece.

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and, a few last views in the Currier:

But, I completed all, and it was time to get out of the busy world before the 5PM rush, and I headed home.

RAY RECOMMENDS:

1 – Visit the Millyard Museum in Manchester
2 – HURRY to the CURRIER MUSEUM OF ART, and make sure you see the Mount Washington exhibit before it closes on January 12, 2017.  The day I got back I learned that our library has free 
passes for patrons.  HINT – HINT.
3 – Don’t hesitate to explore — if I had not made a phone call, I would not have had the great experience at AMERICA’S CREDIT UNION MUSEUM

ENJOY — As always, yours, RAY

 

 

 

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A WALPOLEAN IN PARIS – 11-17 OCTOBER 2016 — PART II

Part II of this adventure, as promised, but later than I had planned to give it to you. But, there is a reason — “The Power of the Internet.” I had an invitation to Connecticut for Saturday the 29th, and I spent the better part of two days in preparation. Why? Thank you for asking, I will tell you why. Bear with me — PARIS PART II Follows below.

np-9 Remember the story of my move to New Hampshire in 2002? Cathy and I sold our unique property on a waterfall in days, and started our new life. The celebrity, power couple that purchased my home and shop divorced in 2011, and the property came back on the market. Then one day I noticed “hit after hit” on my shunpiking post, following my return to the States on Queen Mary 2, detailing my wanderings through Connecticut and past my former shop. That was followed by emails and finally phone conversations with Anne who was thinking of buying the place. As always, the truthful me with nothing to hide, I shared everything I could by phone and email, answering sufficient questions for her to purchase the former home and shop of Ray Boas, Bookseller.

I had been given information on the old barns and mill back to its first restoration into a residence from ruins in 1953/4, and much subsequent material. Cathy also saved (in multiple copies) anything ever printed about our shop, including the Sunday New York Times from January 19, 1997, when I was featured on the front page (well, front page of the weekend Connecticut section — but that still counts — copies available, of course, upon application). Living in the city, Anne was afraid of my mailing all the materials to her, including a book published in 1954 on the original restoration. Over the past several years we could not coordinate a date during her renovations. But, “timing is everything” you hear me say, and last week she emailed saying, “would you like to come visit Rich and me on the 29th.”  Only hesitation I had was, what else would I do on the trip, but then decided to devote the day to that mission. Off I left, arriving shortly after noon, realizing I could always leave if not comfortable, but the day was great, and Anne and Rich the perfect custodians of the property. We hit it off well, it was perfect that Cathy and I had kept all the materials (instead of passing them to the divorced luminaries) I have now turned everything over to the right people to conserve with their home on the waterfall.

When I arrived and parked in my usual spot, the sun was not quite right.

np-2But, later in the day as Anne and I were walking the property, this came out better, showing her work and touches better.

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But, first we headed off to Bantam for lunch at Arethusa, one of the most incredible dining experiences I have had, and worth the trip from home just to eat there. The presentation was the best ever, and Anne later wondered why I did not take my usual “food picture” (she faithfully follows my posts – in fact, remember awhile back I asked for hard to find Connecticut state maps? She gave me three she found for me). “Well, I just did not think it would be appropriate being there with others.” I replied.  Next time there I will take pictures of everyone’s meals, and not just at my table.

Returning, she and I toured the grounds. The “in-between owners” spent massive amounts on landscaping. Here are a few views, that you can click and enlarge.

I could not believe the extensive and beautiful workmanship both in the basement area with all the mechanicals, and the changes in the floor plans she made. Since this property was featured in House and Garden in 1954, I encouraged Anne to contact the magazine for a follow-up. Anne’s tastes in everything were amazing, I just kept gaping. Later when I was turning over the various materials and duplicate pictures I had from our stewardship we realized that she had some of the same style furnishings in the same place that my Cathy had things. They would have been great pals, I am convinced.

This picture will give you an idea of my shop looking down from the other end of the balcony seen above on the left. By the way, the proud person I am, you can click the next two images also for much larger sizes and details of my collections.

np-7And, from the front door as you entered my shop on the waterfall, here is my counter. I have decorated in early country store since the early 1970s.

np-8Well, we spent over three hours going through the materials I was transferring custodianship of. Even though I had an invitation to spend the night, I thought I should head back home, and let them enjoy their weekend in Connecticut “heaven” while I returned to my “heaven.” But, subsequent emails since my return, Anne and Rich will come visit with me “sooner than later.”

So, now at long last, onto A WALPOLEAN IN PARIS – 11-17 OCTOBER 2016 PART II. Part I was one of my most visited posts, with many nice emails complimenting the content. Maybe less words was part of the charm. So, posted back on October 24, a week ago, click on this link if you need to catch up on my Wednesday and Thursday in Paris.

Friday, Mari’s parents from Cortona and I had the day together with Alex while David and Mari were at the conference. Alex, thinking he should sleep in while on vacation (not this type of vacation, Alex) he did just that no matter what I tried (I had already realized an early morning departure for a long day in Normandy was not going to work). We caught up with his grandparents at Musee d’Orsay before noon. RAY RECOMMENDS – if you do nothing else in Paris, visit Musee d’Orsay. An architectural treat transformed in 1977 from an abandoned railway station built in 1900 for the World Fair, the building itself is a museum. In addition to the station it had grand reception halls and a hotel.

The grand entrance hall (former railroad shed) of Musee d'Orsay.

The grand entrance hall (former railroad shed) of Musee d’Orsay.

 

 

Covering all the decorative arts, the emphasis seems to be on the Impressionists. Here are some images (again you can click for larger images), just a smattering to whet your appetite.

 

And, concluding with some great architectural detail – first the massive clock

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And, then looking through a clock on the outside wall towards the Louvre.

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After lunch, Alex, his grandmother and I walked back to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. When we walked there on our first day I noticed the Crypt – an archaeological discovery. With an affinity for ancient ruins, I wanted to experience what had been discovered during renovations begun in 1965, but underground of what was previously there.

These images provide an idea of what was discovered under the square in front of the cathedral. (remember you may click to enlarge)

And, then we went inside the cathedral and toured around.

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Saturday morning, the 15th, Mari’s parents left very early to fly back to Italy. Alex wanted to see the Air and Space Museum, so I was able to get him out “earlier.” The plan was to first take the Metro to the The Paris Catacombs.  Rick Steves’ guidebook says, “find the lion in the big traffic circle; if he looked left rather than right, he’d stare right at the green entrance.” Don’t be confused — to “his left.”

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We got there minutes after opening time, I figured, in and out and off for the hour Metro and Bus ride to the air and space museum. But, everyone else in Paris was already in line wrapping around the block. We opted not to wait, and left. I later learned only 250 people are allowed below ground at a time.

Located on the grounds of a lovely Art Deco airport built in the 30s, but now only used for business flights, not commercial flights, and Europe’s largest for that reason. The Museum of Air and Space was something Alex wanted to do and really enjoyed. We spent over three hours there, including lunch.

We started in the space exhibition hall.

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I found most fascinating this cutaway-plexiglass mock-up of a Mirage jet fighter. Pushing the button (fortunately one for English) a series of lights and commentary tour you through the plane’s systems.

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But, most important, how many CONCORDEs have you been in?  We got inside two at the museum.

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Surprisingly small, I guess for the speed, the (expensive) seats and passenger accommodations were not luxurious looking.

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But, hey, I have now been on a CONCORDE

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Finally we were fascinated by this DAKOTA. Outfitted for paratroopers, this plane participated in the Normandy Invasion.

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It was then travel back to The Catacombs. The line was now even longer, but we stayed. Eventually we arrived at the unassuming green entranceway to begin our journey down 130 steps “leading 20 meters underground.”

Unassuming entrance to The Catacombs in Paris.

Unassuming entrance to The Catacombs in Paris.

Easiest to share this panel with you for background.

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You follow long tunnels before getting to the actual bones, one of the first to greet you is…

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And, here are a few more views from this very popular (for centuries) place to visit.

Sunday was our last full day in Paris. David and Mari would be done at 5PM with the

The Conciergerie on The Seine

The Conciergerie on The Seine

conference, so Alex and I had until then to “play.”  Lots of discussion, and we came up with a plan to see where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned, the Paris Sewer exhibit, and Napoleon’s Tomb.  We first walked over the Seine to The Conciergerie. Walking in, Alex, asked, “what’s the point?” It is the former French Palace (10th to 14th centuries), then a prison, but a masterpiece of Medieval architecture. Just take a look…

It was then onto the Metro, heading west, and exiting for the entrance of the Paris Sewer System Museum. Listed as a unique experience designed to document how Parisians got rid of their waste waters, I expected old abandoned cobblestone lined tunnels, eerily lit. I was fascinated, but…

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Alex was not. “It smells, I am sick, I want out…” It was not that bad, I gave in, at least I have the brochure with some history.

Next was a visit to Napoleon’s Tomb and the Military Museum, but first came lunch. Alex choose a little cafe — and it was perfect, and worked. You see, particularly for an 11 year-old, it is hard understanding the foods of different cultures, and knowing what you are going to get (e.g. cheese comes automatically on a hamburger, and it is a liquid-like juice – does not work for an youngster wanting a simple hamburger).

Leaving the cafe, we continued our walk to Napoleon’s Tomb.  RAY RECOMMENDS – use Google Maps overseas, and even in cities here, to plan your walking or transit routes — Absolutely Amazing — of course, you need an overseas wireless plan (my kids have that for all their travels).  It was difficult to get you an overall view of this impressive place.

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And, here are some images inside the tomb itself.

We then toured various galleries in the military museum and discussed World War I, World War II, the French Resistance Movement, and much more.  We allowed just enough time to get back to the apartment, arriving 10 minutes before David and Mari got back from the completed conference.

Shortly after 5PM we headed off for the Metro to Montmartre. This is a large hill to the north, and a popular night spot (well, probably all day long). The large Bascilica de Sacre-Coeur (built 1875-1914) is a focal point. Here is the view walking further up the hill from the Metro stop.

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and, the crowds on the steps…

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listening to a band, and waiting for the sunset over Paris…

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As the sun set we walked up behind the Bascilica to the nightclub district for dinner.

We began walking back to the Left Bank and our apartment, and heading down the hill first passed…

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and, then the Opera House that I had been fascinated with the model of at Musee d’Orsay.

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through the court yard of the Louvre with the Pyramid entranceway…

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and, across the fantastic iron footbridge to the Left Bank…

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David told me we had just completed about 5 miles walking. Remember, Alex and I had already been out and about walking all day; and, it was six months ago that I could not walk, and friends loaded me into the car to get to my back surgery.  GOOD NIGHT PARIS, and thank you.

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A WALPOLEAN IN PARIS – 11-17 OCTOBER 2016 — PART I

As my friends know, this has been a limited traveling year due to inability to walk, and back surgery. When my son, David, accompanied me to an appointment with my back surgeon earlier this year, he said, “my Dad is not ready to slow down.” Well, I am not, and back surgery went well, and I am beginning to get back on the road.  In fact, I just returned from Paris (France not Tennessee). David and Mari asked, “would you mind touring Alex around Paris while we are at a conference?”  Microsecond of thought, “HAPPY TO!” I had the same problem, and had to to go to London to help four years ago. So, off we flew on Tuesday, October 11.

Mari arranged to rent an apartment on the Left Bank near the site of the conference at Université Paris Descartes. We arrived the morning of the 12th, and the apartment was just south of River Seine at 9 rue Guenegaud.

View across to the Louvre from the end of our street.

View across to the Louvre from the end of our street.

You can “click” on the images below to see larger views (as with any of my image galleries).

 

As you can see on this map, it was a perfect location, with what you see below just minutes of walking, including Metro stops (click for much larger view).

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Mari’s parents joined us for a few days, arriving about an hour after we did at Charles De Gaulle Airport. They flew in from Cortona, Italy, Mari’s home town. After getting something to eat before the apartment was ready, we rested a few hours before “hitting the pavement.” The plan for the first day was the Eiffel Tower – tickets are sold out weeks ahead, but Mari booked a “private tour” – a more expensive way to get in when you want. We crossed over the Seine first to Île de la Cité …

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and then walked down to Notre-Dame Cathedral …

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It was then onto the Metro for David, Alex, Mari, her parents, and me to head to the Eiffel Tower for our tour. We arrived in short order.

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David and I reminisced about our visit here 30 years ago – but that was a fast partial day drive through the city, with the only real stop to go to the top of the tower. Built in 1889 for the “world’s fair” celebrating the centennial of the French Revolution, there are three levels to visit (each costing a tad more for entry). The first level (with exhibits) is at 200 feet, the next level is at 400 feet, and the top level at 900 feet. Each level, of course, is smaller than those lower. A few interesting facts: Three different shades of paint are used as you go higher, the tower is painted every seven years, by twenty-five men by hand, completing the job in 15 months.

Below is a gallery (click to enlarge) of “Everything Eiffel – with commentary”

And, now a few views from atop various levels of the Eiffel Tower. The first is a panorama that you can click for the larger image.

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The above (remember to click to enlarge) is looking southeast over the Champ de Mars towards Ecole Militaire (straight ahead), and Napoleaon’s tomb a tad to the left. Note the large “skyscraper” in the distance. Our guide told us this is affectionately called “the middle finger of Paris.” The original plan was for six of these “fingers,” but Parisians, being Parisians, there was an outcry of complaint over the spoiling of the skyline, and zoning was passed to limit building height to seven stories within city limits.

Looking east along the Seine from the Eiffel Tower

Looking east along the Seine from the Eiffel Tower

And here is a comparison of two different levels on the Eiffel Tower looking to the northeast across the Seine to the Palais de Chaillot at the Trocadero (which I did not get to visit this trip).

 

From the middle level of the Eiffel Tower

From the middle level of the Eiffel Tower

Hopefully, you noticed the tall buildings in the distance, and if like me remembered that Paris buildings were limited to seven stories — yes, I asked. The city’s business district is actually outside the city limits, and building height not restricted.

And, from the top level - 900 feet.

And, from the top level – 900 feet.

And, timing was good as we were getting ready to leave.

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Heading back to the Metro, and “home” and dinner on the way. Good night, first night.

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Thursday, our second day in Paris, the conference began at 5PM, so our plan was to first get to the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre. We walked across Pont Neuf and the island to get to the Metro.

Crossing Pont St. Michel looking west "down" the Seine

Crossing Pont Neuf looking west “down” the Seine

And, then we arrived at the Arch of Triumph, 165 feet high and 130 feet wide, commissioned by Napoleon to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805 .

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You know I have great timing ….

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Here are a view views from the top observation area.

We then began walking down the Champs-Elysees, and David and I checked out eating establishments while everyone else checked out the Disney store – go figure, in Paris. Following lunch, Mari and her Dad went back to the apartment so she could continue preparing for giving the conference key-note address, and we walked to the Louvre.

LOUVRE — OVERWHELMING

But, Alex wanted to see the Mona Lisa. Doesn’t everyone? The Jumbotron recorded that I was the 1,479,985,955th visitor — BUT, I knew better. On display was the larger size (and easier to see) reproduction — the rare national treasure is actually kept safe away somewhere in a secret place.

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Yes, I was really there — I am not good enough with photoshop to combine images.

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Back to apartment, get ready for opening of conference, and a short ten minute walk to the historic auditorium at Université Paris Descartes. I am still trying to totally understand the research son David, and my daughter-in-law, Mari have accomplished. In simple terms, they work with lasers in bio-medical research, and currently working with the flow of blood in the brain (hope I have it correct). David runs a research center for Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard, but Boston University has hired him away in July 2017 to establish a new research center for them. Among his other pf-35accomplishments (and Mari is right there with him along the way, working in his labs – google them separately – David Boas – Maria Angela Franceschini) he established The Society for functional near-infrared spectroscopy (SfNIRS), a professional organization of basic and clinical scientists seeking to understand the functional properties of biological tissues, especially the brain, using optical methods. David is now the past-president.

One of Mari’s accomplishments is the first movie of imaging of the brain using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) as an effective technique for the non-invasive monitoring of cerebral hemodynamics and oxygenation (again I could have it wrong). She shared her paper on the work with me at this link. She mentioned this work during her keynote speech.

Quite a lot for two days.  Thus my decision to break this post into two parts, and Part II will cover Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Thank you for joining a Walpoleon in Paris — as always, yours, RAY

RAY RECOMMENDS:

1 – Wear all black in Paris so you mix in — even better if you adorn yourself with a scarf. Regardless, even if in black, your shoes will give you away as a tourist.

2 – Do not believe weather.com predictions. It was colder than I thought it was going to be. Maybe why the Parisians were in black, with black jackets and scarfs.  Really not all necessary in 50s, but there was little sun.

Posted in 2016-c Paris in October | 8 Comments

LEAVES — 20 OCTOBER 2016

I was working on “A Walpolean in Paris – 11-17 October 2016” Part I and Part II, but could sense that BLUE BELLE was “blue.” She was pining, “there is all that color out there, but no blue. I can change that.” It was not supposed to rain until early evening, and you know I cannot say no to my ladies, so off we went “leaf peeping.” But our 73 kilometers were shortened after 45 — the building clouds opened up with rain. So, we headed back home. In sprite of the rain, I arrived totally dry. You see, the windscreen (now operating as a rain screen) is aerodynamically designed to keep the cockpit dry above 35MPH (56KPH). A wonderfully dry environment is created. Only a few errant drops that accumulated at the top of the screen splatted back onto my forehead. So, here are some colors – sadly somewhat muted due to the overcast.

We started overlooking the village from North Road. A favorite spot of mine to see the village in various seasons. HINT – you may wish to click on my panoramas to open a larger view. Below is the first panorama.

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Below you can see the Town Hall’s cupola (next to my house) in this image looking from a slightly different angle. I have almost the exact image from last year on The Walpole Clarion website – once there, just scroll down a tad.

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We then headed up to Barnett Hill. One of the most expansive views in town looking west. Vermont mountains, dozens of miles distant, are in the background. Here is the second panorama.

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A tad further up Barnett Hill Road heading east.

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You know we love back dirt roads, and here were mostly yellows.

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And a tad further, we had to back up to share this panoramic view with you.

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I wandered around Marlow, which is always pretty to visit, and captured this bucolic image, albeit with few leaves.

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Left turn onto Route 10 heading to Newport, and possibly Lake Sunapee, there walking along the side of the road was Andrea. I was going to stop and see her at the Marlow Post Office (she used to be my clerk in town here). We waved, I u-turned, pulled over, and we visited for awhile — she was on her lunch break, and walks for an hour plus. Lovely chat catching up, but some rain drops began hitting me. “Route 123A has recently been repaved,” she told me. Hating to cut my journey short, at least here was an option. Previously on 123A it was easy for light-weight BLUE BELLE to go airborne over the bumps, even at 30 MPH.

By the time I got to 123A, it was obvious I had to head home through Acworth and Alstead. A two plus hour tour, arriving home to start writing and then lose power — yes, I am on a battery laptop.  So, if we can get out again with nice sun, and get some more images, I will let you know and add them here. Power has been out over an hour or more, hopefully I will be able to get this to you today.  Bye — as always, yours, RAY

Posted in Day (or maybe two) Trips | 6 Comments

EVERYTHING DUTCH IN THE HUDSON VALLEY – 18-23 SEPTEMBER 2016 – ROAD SCHOLAR

Two weeks later, but I still need to share this Road Scholar program with you. This was a great learning experience for me — we just do not learn in school the extensive contribution (and lasting impact) of the Dutch in the 17th century to our country, particularly in the Hudson River Valley.

I have a difficult time remembering details, but as I tell my friends, “I am good with concepts.” May I recommend that you learn the details of this fascinating time period by reading about the places I visited, and pick up two books. First, read Russell Shorto’s THE ISLAND AT THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD. Start with the epilogue, and you will find out how this history was preserved and hidden away. This book may appear scholarly (and it is) but it well written and easily read. I have yet to read my copy of NEW NETHERLAND IN A NUTSHELL, by Firth Haring Fabend, but in glancing through this will be a detailed chronicle. I posted my trip to and from this program on September 30th.  With the passage of time, I have concepts for you, with just enough detail, hopefully, to encourage you to learn more on your own.

Monday, the 18th, was a day of lectures in preparation for our travels. Dr. Janny Venema from The New Netherland Researh Center in Albany was our speaker. Working with Dr. Charles Gehring, it is the center’s work that provided the resource for much of Shorto’s writing. Then, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were packed travel days to three Dutch sites each day, and as much as 6 hours bus travel time. But, even though not a bus or “group” person, this is the best way to get so much done and seen in this time frame. And, I have found I can read and study on a bus.

Monument and grave of George Clinton

Monument and grave of George Clinton

 

Tuesday, September 20th, we started driving north from the conference center to Kingston, NY, to visit the Old Dutch Church. organized in 1659. A very rich history and interesting cemetery surrounding the church, which is located in Kingston’s historic stockade district. Buried here, George Clinton was a Brig. Gen. in the Revolution; first Governor of NY 1777-95 and 1801-4; and Vice-President of the US from 1804-1812.

 

Back on the bus – one of many such evolutions – and off to Coxsackie, and The Bronck Museum, built in 1663. The Hudson Valley’s Oldest Home (the original part) it has been owned by The Greene County Historical Society since 1938. We had a picnic lunch on the grounds before beginning the tour. I must also add another important point to the advantage of taking a tour such as this. The places that were opened to us usually have limited hours, resulting in my not being near them to visit when open; and, many of the things included on a trip such as this are not offered to the public.

The Bronck Museum - original part of house on left dating to 1663.

The Bronck Museum – original part of house on left dating to 1663.

Here are some views during the tour:

 

Dutch Barns were designed with usually about five H supports in the center. The side walls are further out, and do not support the roof, nor are they supported by the main frame. Designed for the processing of wheat (I learned more about this later), the cut wheat dried in the overhead and then the wheat and chaff were separated on the main floor. Opposing doorways were opened to allow a cross breeze to aid in the separation.

Dutch Barn (with exhibits) at The Bronck Museum. Note massive H patter supporting beam structure.

Dutch Barn (with exhibits) at The Bronck Museum. Note massive H patter supporting beam structure.

You know I am fascinated with 19th century hotels, inns, and tourist destinations. The Catskills and Adirondacks rivaled the White Mountains in what was available for city escapes. In one of the exhibitions here I was thrilled to see what remains of the Catskill Mountain House  which opened in 1824, closing in 1941 with the beginning of the war. The state of NY took over the property, and with the “forever wild” philosophy, instead of restoration the hotel’s remains were burned January, 1963.

One of my now all-time favorite images.  What is it?

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And, we ended the day heading north above Albany, but on the east side of the Hudson above Troy, to The Knickerbocker Mansion in Schaghticoke – something I could not do unless there on a Sunday between 11 and 3. Again, one of the advantages of an educational tour such as this. I never would have been here at the right time, or learned so much.

The Knickerbocker Mansion - 1780s - Schaghticoke, NY

The Knickerbocker Mansion – 1780s – Schaghticoke, NY

Saved from destruction, in the valley of the Hoosic River, this home has been undergoing years of restoration, and is far from done. A meeting point for Native Americans, following a treaty signed on the grounds between the Indians and Colonists, The Witenagemot Oak was planted in 1676 in commemoration. Its concrete filled remains lie on the ground to the rear. Here are some views showing the interior restoration:

This plaque piqued my interest in Washington Irving, and led to my purchase of 7 books on the writer in the past 10 days.

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Yesterday I began WASHINGTON IRVING: AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL by Brian Jay Jones. Well researched and written, Jones on page 108 questions whether Herman was the inspiration for the pseudonym. Does not matter — I am still “hooked on Irving.”

And then, something only done once a year for this tour — an authentic Dutch meal. And, immediately below is the ONLY WAY TO HAVE DINNER !!!

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Served family style, we started with strawberry soup, and then I heaped my plate with chicken, special sweet potatoes, and more.

Back on the bus for three plus hours back to the conference center (actually I was closer to home) — but a very worthwhile day accomplishing and learning a great deal.

Wednesday, 21 September — back on the bus at 8:15 AM, and off for Hurley, NY (essentially the southern part of Kingston). You do have to visit the early Dutch Stone Homes here – we got to tour two – but otherwise, open only once a year during Stone House Day – next on July 8, 2017.

We first toured the Old Guard House (Spy House) built prior to 1685. After capture, a British spy was confined in the dungeon like cellar before being hanged across the street in an apple tree.

Old Guard House c1685 - Hurley, NY

Old Guard House c1685 – Hurley, NY

The 98 year old owner greeted us inside. The home is packed with wonderful treasures from around the world. His 77 year old son also toured us. Note the massive summer beam, so typical in these early homes we toured.

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some additional things I saw inside, including the side wing which at one time served as the post office.

In October 1777 when the British attacked and burned Kingston, NY, then the capitol of New York, Hurley served as a refuge, and became the capitol for one month. George Washington was in Hurley and the surrounding area many times, and on his visit October 1783, at a reception in the stone tavern at the far end of the street, thanked the citizens for providing the wheat saving his troops during the winter at Valley Forge.

The other home we toured, packed with antique treasures of the 80+ year old antique dealer owners, was the 1723 Van Deusen House. This home housed the state government in October 1777.

Van Deusen House, 1723, Hurley, NY

Van Deusen House, 1723, Hurley, NY

You know I like texture and windows (and I think now subtle clotheslines). Seen behind one of the stone houses on the path to the town cemetery.

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Back on the bus — next stop, Albany, and the Schuyler Mansion.

Model of the Albany Schuyler Mansion in its prime in the 1760s

Model of the Albany Schuyler Mansion in its prime in the 1760s

Good continued history, but starting to get “house brain-dead.” Wonderful history here, but you do not need to visit unless you are really into Colonial New York, its merchant development, and Alexander Hamilton. You see, Hamilton married Schuyler’s daughter Elizabeth here in 1780, twenty-four years before he lost his life in a duel with Aaron Burr (oh, I had fun reading about that as a result, and then the Burr Conspiracy — one thing leads to another – I get nothing done, learn lots, and keep the brain going to keep young – highly recommended by me – for me!!!).

In their mansion, the Schuylers hosted guests such as George and Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, the Marquis de Chastellux, James Madison, and the British General during the Battle of Saratoga, John Burgoyne, who stayed at the mansion as a “prisoner guest” in 1777.

It was then across the river to see Fort Crailo.

Fort Crailo - Rensselaer, New York - car, and our bus.

Fort Crailo – Rensselaer, New York – car, and our bus.

Built circa 1707,  but with a history going back to 1663, fortunately this property was saved. But, not properly restored, it serves solely as a museum with information panels. If you do not have the time – you can skip a visit. Sorry, State of New York for my honesty. Across the street you look across the Hudson River to Albany.

Albany looking across the Hudson River from Fort Crailo.

Albany looking across the Hudson River from Fort Crailo.

Yes, back on the bus – and about 3 hours back to Warwick Conference Center, but dinner first at the Hoffman House in Kingston – a Dutch stone tavern, circa 1711. I poked around, and chatted with the owners – of course.

Thursday, September 22, the last full day on this adventure. Actually had an extra 15 minutes sleep not having to board the bus until 8:30 for Tarrytown, NY. Only scary part (besides Sleepy Hollow) was crossing the Hudson on the Tappan Zee Bridge.  I remember it being built well over 50 years ago (don’t do the math), and it was proudly advertised it was built to last 50 years.  Yes, falling down, I hate to cross it. A new bridge is being constructed, hopefully with a longer life expectancy. Our first stop — Sunnyside, home of Washington Irving – my new “hero.”

Sunnyside, Tarrytown, NY - Home of Washington Irving.

Sunnyside, Tarrytown, NY – Home of Washington Irving.

Thank you, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. If I recall correctly, he purchased this property in 1943 from the family, establishing Sleepy Hollow Restorations (now known as Historic Hudson Valley), which has expanded to a number of significant properties within a few miles. Did I tell you I have become hooked on Washington Irving? He purchased the small stone cottage here in 1835, and expanded it (not too much) into the Dutch looking cottage it is today – but added the tower to the right later. When the railroad came up the Hudson River’s bank, Irving was forced to sell land for the roadway, and the inlet in front of his home became “landlocked.” The funds he received, however, allowed some additional improvements to his property. Here are a few images I took here:

You will hear more about my new interest in Washington Irving this coming year. Our next stop was Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow. It is a colonial milling and trading complex owner over the years by the Dutch and then British.

Philipsburg Manor from the parking lot. I have seen the large green area under water, as it should be. This is a dry year.

Philipsburg Manor from the parking lot. I have seen the large green area under water, as it should be. This is a dry year.

We toured the complex, and the most fascinating part was the young docent who explained how wheat was processed in the Dutch Barn. I now know that wheat and hay are two different things – stop by and visit me for a 3 hour dissertation – (not a tour on the Minnow).

And, last, we visited the Old Dutch Church circa 1685, and yes, of note from Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The bus parked on The Headless Horseman Bridge, and up the hill we went.

Old Dutch Church - Sleepy Hollow, NY

Old Dutch Church – Sleepy Hollow, NY

So much history, and between visiting here, the cemetery, Sunnyside, and Kinderhook on the way home — I experienced the paths that Ichabod Crane traversed.

And, you know I like windows, so here is looking out at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (if you look closely, you can see a horse with a mysterious rider).

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And, on the way back to the conference center, I again held my breath and prayed crossing the old Tappan Zee Bridge while looking at the new construction through the bus’ windows.

Construction on the new spans of the Tappen Zee Bridge.

Construction on the new spans of the Tappen Zee Bridge.

Friday was a lecture on Dutch music, lunch, and then departure. End of story???  No, just the beginning for you, because —

RAY RECOMMENDS

Explore the Hudson River Valley to its fullest extent from the Dutch in the 17th century to the summer resorts in the 19th, and the museums and amusements in the 21st.  ENJOY

Posted in 2016-b Dutch in the Hudson River Valley | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

TWO LOCAL THINGS YOU NEED TO DO – NOW !!! — 3 and 4 October 2016

This is not the conclusion of “Everything Dutch in the Hudson Valley” – I know that. But this will be a brief encouragement for some nearby explorations you need to do very soon. Scott and Betty arrived with their Airstream on Monday afternoon on their way to Maine. We planned a full day of play and exploration on Tuesday before they left today, Wednesday. Shortly after arrival on Monday Betty said, “I need to accomplish some sight seeing today in NH.”  Well, you see, they had to sleep in the Airstream even at my house, because they had not slept in it in NH, and now have just about done so in all states. Part of her “check-off” is to actually play tourist. Her desire – visit the old Steamtown yards since they live just about one hour south of Steamtown’s new Scranton home. The yards here are now the home of the Green Mountain Railroad.

I believe I am going to become a professional tour guide. Having just completed my Horse Thieves lecture on “The Development of a Village;” and, my Saturday tour for Louisa May Alcott aficionados around Alcott associated spots in town, I was motivated, and animated to tour my dear friends, and impressed myself with the knowledge I was able to impart. But we have explored before together, and learning one thing leads to at least two more questions to answer (and those answers usually begat more questions). It does not end.

We explored the yard in North Walpole examining the round table and rolling stock. I explained were the tracks came from and went. We looked at the old stone bridge, and then I needed to also show them the old yard in Rockingham, north of Bellows Falls. But on the way, we toured the “island,” and its rail facilities, old factories, and the Indian Petroglyphs. Heading back to the Village Square I proclaimed, “I need to show you the railroad tunnel under the village.” So I turned left down the alleyway, which I had only walked down a few dozen feet before. There were the tracks, the tunnel to the left, and I continued down the road to:

Bellows Falls Historical Society - Adams Grist Mill Museum

Bellows Falls Historical Society – Adams Grist Mill Museum

The door was open – on a Monday evening – we have done this before elsewhere, we just went in. “Bound to be someone inside I know,” I said, and yes, Chris said, “hi Ray, and welcome.”  My first visit ever, and to be repeated. Built in 1831, converted to electricity in the 1920s, and operated until 1961, the equipment is amazing, complete, and we all bet you could just turn the power back on and grind away. Here is a sample of the inside you have to explore:

Remember you can click on any image to open larger size images.

Chris before one of the original Steamtown signs

Chris before one of the original Steamtown signs

We departed, leaving a nice donation for the museum. I also asked Chris if we could meet sometime to develop an article for my Walpole Clarion readers, and we are going to do that.

My 1929 Model A Ford Roadster

My 1929 Model A Ford Roadster

Tuesday, our plan was to head to Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts, less than an hour away. I first drove through Deerfield in the pouring rain in the summer of 1963 in Belzebuth, my 1929 Model A Ford Roadster. Since living here, I drive through many times a year stopping at the giftshop/book store, and to have lunch or dinner at Champney’s Restaurant & Tavern. BUT – for some reason I have never toured the homes and museum buildings. It was “meant to be” to share with Scott and Betty.

The view as you enter Old Main Street from the south. I always enter this way because I first did in 1963.

The view as you enter Old Main Street from the south. I always enter this way because I first did in 1963.

Historic Deerfield Visitor Center

Historic Deerfield Visitor Center

 

We bought our tickets at the Visitor Center — $14 – a tremendous bargain — and were given an introduction to the day’s events. Four homes were open for guided tours, and others for self-guided tours to see the homes or collections inside. Our timing was perfect to start with the Frary House at 11AM.

Frary House - Historic Deerfield

Frary House – Historic Deerfield

Built c1750, Miss C. Alice Baker began restoration in the 1890s in the Colonial Revival style. She was an early saver of the village, and was instrumental also in the Arts and Crafts movement with cottage industries that developed here making items for tourists, developing the tourist trade early on. The guided tours of this home and two of the three others were absolutely fantastic with exceptional well-informed docents. The tours are planned to last about 35 minutes, but we were fortunate. We spent 45-50 minutes here (with two other guests), but (more later on these) at the Ashley House and later at Wells Thorn House we spent over an hour – ending only because the next tour was to start. We were alone on those tours, and the paid docents could tell we were knowledge thirsty, and knowledgeable visitors.  It makes a difference, as Scott and Betty can attest having now served two stints as National Park Service volunteer guides. We headed north up Old Main Street to the Williams House for the noon tour. Docent not the best, we had 11 people total on the tour, but glad we at least saw the house. Finishing up, we crossed the street to the Ashley House for the 1PM tour.

Ashley House - Historic Deerfield

Ashley House – Historic Deerfield

The docent met us outside and began visiting – it was only the 3 of us entranced and learning. He started with the geology and Native American background of the area. Old Deerfield is on a small extremely fertile plateau surrounded to the south, west and east by plains prone to flooding. Flooding resulting from the Deerfield River (to the west) which flows north from the west to empty into the Connecticut River in Greenfield. During freshets, the water flowing south down the Connecticut battles up against the water attempting to empty into it from the Deerfield River. The resulting flooding over millennium depositing exceptional soil and Native American settlements long before English settlers came in 1669. And, then there was the 1704 massacre and subsequent abandonments, but those are stories for you to find out on your own. For the next hour, we knew we were getting an exceptional insight into history, and answers to the questions we posed. And, always wondering why Old Deerfield was what I thought was a loop road off the newer US Route 5, I now know it was the fertile plateau and surrounding lowlands that cause the original road to curve in and out as it does.  I love learning why something is the way it is. Before I head to the last house, here is a gallery of images for you, and you can click any to get to the larger images.

At 3PM we arrived at the Wells Thorn House for a “walk through time.”

Wells-Thorn House at Historic Deerfield. Painted blue by the original owner, a lawyer, so everyone knew where he lived.

Wells-Thorn House at Historic Deerfield. Painted blue by the original owner, a lawyer, so everyone knew where he lived.

The rooms are set up to show a progression of furnishings from 1725 to the 1850s. Nicely done. At the conclusion, when chatting with our docent, he asked where we were from. For some reason, for the first time today, I mentioned the town too, and that opened up a whole new line of conversation. Ends up he plays in a band in front of my house each summer, and then he added, “I worked for the Green Mountain Railroad.”  Well, we bombarded him with questions left over from the previous day’s explorations. And we now have the answers.

But, at 4PM we were “housed out.” We had only gotten into one of the house exhibitions – the furniture. So, I have at least two more trips back to see everything else. We headed out, stopping in front of one more private house.

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Scott, Betty, and friend at Yankee Candle

Scott, Betty, and friend at Yankee Candle

 

 

I suggested we head a tad south to Yankee Candle’s flagship store, and Betty said, “you have always told us we had to see that, let’s go.” Scott chimed in, “oh, no!”  It is always fun there, full of eye-candy, and worth a stop when there are no cars or buses out front. So, off we went.

 

 

 

You never know what you are going to see, I told Betty to take her camera in. She did, and I did. You know I like diners, and here are two that were in the room of villages (click to enlarge).

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It is always a magical place here.

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Betty just posted on their site all about our adventures together. Great images (which I did not include) of our visit to the Green Mountain Railroad — so, please visit what Betty just posted (about 10:10 PM Wednesday) — click on the on the link that follows — https://scotttho.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/its-fall/

RAY RECOMMENDS:

1 – Plan a number of visits to Historic Deerfield in Old Deerfield, Massachusetts

2 – Plan to visit and experience the Adams Grist Mill in Bellows Falls, VT

ETYMOLOGY — LEXICOLOGY — PHRASEOLOGY

A new addition (as long as I remember) of some of the fascinating things I learn

1 – MIND YOUR P’s AND Q’s — shouted out in a colonial tavern by the barkeep to patrons meaning “Mind your pints and quarts.” Time to come fill up for a final round.

2 – ROOM AND BOARD — In colonial homes/taverns, with your room for the night you could also get fed. With limited furniture a board could would be brought out, placed upon trestle or “saw horses” to serve as a table for your meal.

Posted in Day (or maybe two) Trips | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

18 SEPT 2016 HEADING TO — EVERYTHING DUTCH IN THE HUDSON VALLEY — AND BACK FROM 23 SEPT 2016

Welcome back to SHUNPIKING WITH RAY. I seem to find it harder and harder to find the time to document my explorations for you, and those documentations are coming later after a journey. I thought of a good way, however, to split up my recent Road Scholar program – Discover Everything Dutch in the Hudson Valley. First I am going to tell you what I did on the way to the conference center in Warwick, New York, followed by my journey home. In my next post (hopefully soon) I will give you some of what I learned about the neglected history of the 17th century Dutch in the Hudson River Valley, and encourage you to learn about it also.

First, I highly recommend you get a copy of Russell Shorto’s book, THE ISLAND AT THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD. Recommended reading for the program I attended, it is amazing, and highly readable giving you a wonderful flavor for the Dutch presence from 1609 in the Hudson River until the British took over in 1674. You will not be disappointed, and please first read the Epilogue to learn how all this history has been compiled in spite of what has been lost. Remember too that “the victor writes the history,” thus we all have learned little from prior to British rule. But more on that in my next post.

Sunday, September 18, I crossed Vermont on Route 9. In the mountains, the leaves were changing already – reds and oranges glistening in the rain. Picking up the NY State Thruway, I exited at Kingston. My plan was to start in Hurley, NY, which I told you about in July when I came back from Scott and Betty’s at the end of the post. I was not sure if during our visit to Hurley during the program whether a visit to the museum would be included (ends up it was).  I stopped in Hurley, and a festival was going on in town, and outside the museum.

Hurley, NY, Historical Museum at festival time.

Hurley, NY, Historical Museum at festival time.

On my way to my main exploration for the day, I stopped at The Bevier House – the museum of the Ulster County Historical Society. Built c1690, the house was given to the society in 1938.

Bevier House - circa 1690

Bevier House – circa 1690

The docent told the history of the house, and the changes over time. In housing their collections, the various rooms are furnished reflecting different centuries as they would have appeared. Below is the 17th century kitchen with some interesting implements with clock mechanisms for roasting. One is on the wall above the mantle on the right, and the other hanging from the mantle on the left.

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dut-4My main destination for the transit to Warwick, however, was the D&H Canal Museum and Five Locks Walk in High Falls, NY. I wanted to learn more about this canal after discovering it when traveling back from Scott and Betty’s. You know I am fascinated by canals, and this was a fantastic stop. Not only did I get to see the museum, but I was there on a day when there was a guided tour of the locks – I waited and joined in with about 30 other people.

I thought it would be easiest to share these information panels from the museum (and save for my own further review and study). If you wish, you can click and open the gallery to read further.

The key historical fact you should take away from this post is that the War of 1812, cut off the US supply of soft bituminous coal from England. The coal was cheap fuel, even when brought across the Atlantic. The Wurt brothers soon proved that anthracite coal from Carbondale, Pennsylvania, was the answer, but how to get it to New York City? They built a  108 mile canal with 108 locks along rivers from Carbondale to Kingston, NY, where the coal was then transported to NYC and elsewhere. The easiest route – going east then north to go south. Even coal “shunpikes.”

The museum was nicely done, but small. The 1797 DuPuy Canal House at Lock 16 was recently purchased, and is to be restored to house the museum. I will revisit when that is done. Joining the walking tour, I learned from the director and his assistant. Here is a gallery of views from the museum and along the walking tour of the 5 lock area. High Falls was one of the many towns that emerged with the building of the canal in 1828.  The last coal was transported in 1898.

It was then time to head to Warwick. WAZE routed me over the Shawangunk Mountains on back roads (WAZE knows me), and past the entrance to the Mohonk Mountain House where Cathy and I “honeymooned” in 1995. I need to get back someday for a stay. From New Paltz south I had some lovely views of the Shawangunks, and ultimately arrived at the Warwick Conference Center about 5PM – just in time – but aren’t I good at timing?

A great learning, visual, and gastronomic experience followed for the next 4 1/2 days. But, that will come in the next post on the Dutch in the Hudson Valley. By 11:30 AM on Friday the 23rd, I was back on the road with one goal in mind – Martin Van Buren’s home in Kinderhook, NY. Less than 30 miles from the Red Lion Inn, I have never been in the area at the right season, or the right day to tour the home. The 23rd was my opportunity. But also, I have become “hooked on” Washington Irving (more on that in the next post about Sunnyside and Sleepy Hollow), and Irving visited this home when owned by the Van Ness family, and later he visited and stayed with Van Buren.

Martin Van Buren's Lindenwald in Kinderhook, NY

Martin Van Buren’s Lindenwald in Kinderhook, NY

Completed in 1797, Van Buren (1782-1862) purchased this home in 1839. As Scott and Betty will tell you, a game question coming up often is “which President was born, lived, and died in the same town?” Of course you guessed correctly, otherwise I would not have asked – Martin Van Buren (remember to share your winnings with us). The tower on the left is part of Van Buren’s later modifications. The home and tour was somewhat of a disappointment to me – but at least I have now been there. Restoration and furnishings are not the most impressive, and my volunteer guide was lacking. When I responded to her question, “which President was Van Buren?”  I replied, “our 8th President.” To which she replied, “yes, and he was followed by Lincoln, our 9th!”  NOT !!!

Located in Kinderhook, I had never been in Kinderhook before, and hope to return — it is lovely. And, also with my new interest in Washington Irving, there are connections between this village and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Here are some images of the home, and the village (remember to click to open slide show).

But, it was time to head home.  Did I say I was less than 30 miles to The Red Lion Inn? You know I stopped.

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And, then home, and now a week later reliving the fun.  Next coming is what happened in-between going and coming. Later, as always, yours, RAY

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A NEW DISCOVERY AND “HIT AND MISS” – 10 SEPTEMBER 2016

 

This weekend was the 45th Annual Dublin Gas Engine Meet in Dublin, NH, on Route 101. Fascinated for decades by the old “hit ‘n miss” engines, you may recall I went last year, and that Alex and I had a fantastic time at a similar show in Orange, Massachusetts in June of 2015. You may enjoy clicking on the links above to see some of what we saw.

BLUE BELLE and I tooled off through Keene and down Route 101 in spite of foreboding skies, arriving at 11AM. We had our $5 admission ready while in the queue to enter, but then the lady flagged us instead onto the field.  “We want you to exhibit your car, just pull in here instead, and park down on the left – no charge.” And, no argument – I was now parked right on the massive field, and off I went to see the vendor’s exhibits, and the machines on display and operating.

One vendor had a model of a machine I would have wanted, and when I went back hours later to make the purchase, it had been sold. I know, “meant to be” but also, “when you see it, get it.” Here is a gallery of some of the different machines I saw this time, and remember you can click on any one to start a show of larger images.

During one shower I moved BLUE BELLE under some trees at the side of the field. The rain was heavier, and people were leaving. I pulled her original top out for the second time ever to keep some water out of the cockpit. Eventually, the skies cleared, and at about 1:15 I decided to just head back home.

Back on Route 101, and heading west through Dublin. Up the hill, around the round-about at Yankee Publishing, up the hill, and coming into the curve at Dublin Pond. BUT WAIT !!! How many times have you gone east to west, or west to east across New Hampshire on Route 101? How many times have you looked across Dublin Pond from 101 to  Monadnock Mountain? Have you ever wondered what was on the other side of the lake? This time I did – and turned onto East Lake Road. REMEMBER – IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN ON A ROAD BEFORE — TAKE IT !  Checking my extensive archives this morning, I found a used map of the area to share with you what I did.

Route 101 is in pink — what I did is in yellow — and your assignment is to pack a picnic lunch and bottle of wine and head to the pink circle on the back route I discovered. (you can click on the map for a larger size)  (PS – explore Harrisville when you can – absolutely amazing – someday I will have to give you a full photographic study)

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Lake Road is great, and different mountain views. And, YEAH, eventually became dirt. I was not concerned about getting lost. I knew I was in NH, and my sense of direction keeping me heading west. Eventually I would come to a familiar intersection.  The road became Stone Pond, and soon I had a choice – I kept to the right onto Colonial Road assuming it would get me back to Route 101 eventually. GLAD I DID – because at the stop sign at Frost Hill Road, looking to my left was a sign “Historic Cemetery – Historic Site – 1 Mile.” Left turn, and up the hill I roared. I passed three wonderful period homes, and then arrived at the cemetery, and historic site – the original Marlborough Village – the pink circle above.

One of the most beautiful spots I have visited. BB2 parked in front of the cemetery and village site.

One of the most beautiful spots I have visited. BB2 parked in front of the cemetery and village site.

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The above can be “clicked” for a larger readable version.

This is the site of the Old Meeting House with Mount Monadnock in the distance. Construction began in 1770 with completion in 1779. It was last used in the 1840s, and in 1865 fell down due to the lack of repairs.

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At the edge of the village site (walk from spot above towards the mountain) is the Town Pound. Found in most colonial villages, the pound was for impounding stray farm animals. A farmer could reclaim his animal paying a fee to the Pound Keeper for the animal’s care and feeding.

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I could not resist sharing these granite fence/gate posts. At the fantastic three homes and fields north of the original village there are many more such cut stones in current use.


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and, most unbelievable, and the first time I had ever seen vaults like these, these family vaults have stone doors which have been sealed. Further south there was another similar number of vaults.

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Back to my map above.  I had to know if and where Frost Hill Road joined with Route 101, so back past the fantastic estates, fields, and views, and yes past the Frost Free Library the road intersects with Route 101 at the eastern edge of the commercial area. My guess is that the Marlborough we know today, is where it is today because of the river and water power usage to run the mills. The population and village just moved down the hill abandoning the original site.

But before I went down the hill, I continued south on Frost Hill Road and came to Route 124. Reversing direction, Frost Hill Road ultimately connects with Route 124 at Route 101 (hope this makes sense). So, I headed back out this time on Route 124 toward Jaffrey (filling in the map) until I arrived back at Frost Hill Road where instead of continuing to Jaffrey I turned on Old Troy Road, to head to Troy and Route 12. Arriving on 12, it was time to head home.

WHAT A GREAT DISCOVERY. Between Old Marborough Road and Frost Hill Road there are views of Mtn. Monadnock that most people do not see.

RAY HIGHLY RECOMMENDS – IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN ON A ROAD, OR THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LAKE — DO NOT WAIT

And, plan a picnic at the Original Town Center of Marlborough. You will not be disappointed.  Enjoy, yours, RAY

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BONUS DAY – BONUS 164 KILOMETERS WITH BLUE BELLE – 5 SEPTEMBER 2016

Happy Labor Day. You may be caught in traffic – I was not, as I am in “heaven.” I expected today to be bad weather wise with the storm that hit the south earlier in the week, but I was proven wrong. Saturday I had a “date” with one friend in BLACK BEAUTY. She suggested a sojourn to Peterborough, and lunch there. Well, hurry and go to Nature’s Green Grocer Market and Cafe. The most amazing selections in their market, and the cafe – AMAZING. We sat on the patio eating, listening to the river. I felt like I was back on my waterfall in New Preston, CT. We backroaded home via Harrisville, and some more roads I had not been on. She is good at saying — “Did you see that sign? TURN THERE!” But she “chickened out” in the wilderness on the way to Cobb Hill Estate. Sunday, I had another “date” with a dear friend, and we traveled to (no surprise here) Plymouth Notch, Vermont, to hear a Folk and Blues Festival at the Calvin Coolidge site. It was BLUE BELLE’s turn to Plymouth Notch.

Today I planned to “work” at home — but, “work” can wait – the weather was going to be nice. So, out came the map, and soon a route was formulated on unexplored areas to “fill in the map.”  And, this map will “set the stage” for today’s 164 kilometers.

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By the way, Vermont and New Hampshire are very generous with their maps – they want tourism. When, and if, you ever see Massachusetts or Connecticut state issued maps, grab them — no grab 6 or more, and send me a few.

I crossed the Connecticut River, drove through Saxtons River arriving in Grafton. You may know the significance the Inn at Grafton holds for me. It changed my life, and that story is on rayboasbookseller.com.

The Inn at Grafton, Vermont and the Phelps Barn Tavern

The Inn at Grafton, Vermont and the Phelps Barn Tavern

I headed out of town on VT 121 – usually I only head into town on this route from Route 11 outside Londonderry. I love this road ! And, so do my ladies — DIRT ! Who cares about paint jobs and dust – just have fun!

For those of you who do not know what schooling is like in our area, here is a small school on this road.

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And, then downtown Houghtonville — well, this is downtown Houghtonville.

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And, here is just a typical bucolic setting along Route 121, and it is for sale.

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There is a four corners I had never turned on, and today was the day. I assumed Windham Hill Road would take me to West Townsend on Route 30 – and I was correct. Excitingly, it was all down hill. Eventually I saw (and pulled in) to the Windham Hill Inn. I had been here once before coming up from Route 30 – it is a setting in one of Archer Mayor’s mysteries.  And, then I arrived at the intersection on Route 30, and for the first time went inside the store.

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You know I love old country stores.  Nothing special inside as to originality and decoration, but if hungry a place to stop and eat. BUT, inside was a flyer (you know I have a massive travel library) for exploring Vermont Byways via GyPSyGuide. I have yet to download the app — Gypsy Guide Vermont — but it appears that once you load it you can get commentary while traveling the state — and when not in range of cell service (duh – majority of Vermont) as it works off GPS which is free.  Check out Vermontvacation.com/byways and get the app — I will play with it once I get this post off to you.

In the parking area was this sign. Taft and Coolidge – WOW.

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Approaching Wardsboro I saw I sign for Our Lady Of Ephesus House of Prayer. Cathy and I traveled there several times, including a wonderful Christmas celebration. But, since it’s address is Jamaica, Vermont, I was not able to find it a couple years ago when touring a friend in Vermont. Well, postal address may be Jamaica, but the turn is off Route 100 in Wardsboro.

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Some more dirt, yeah, and BLUE BELLE and I arrived.

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I had packed a lunch (cucumber and tomato sandwiches – good for my figure), and figured I would find the perfect spot to lunch. This was it, and there was a gazebo with table and chairs. Here is the view from the gazebo while BLUE BELLE was resting while I ate.

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And, a few views of this shrine replicating Mary’s last residence in Ephesus, Turkey. I have been to Ephesus, but with a tour, and only got to the old ruins not to her home site.

Then, back to Route 100, and crossing it on the back road (is there any way else?) to South Wardsboro. Ends up that South Wardsboro is three, maybe four homes (hard to tell when they are falling down) but I wanted the left turn to Newfane. That exciting dirt road is all down hill — again, down hill – I do not remember going up hill all day. And, I arrived in Newfane eventually, the Windham County Seat.

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Typical and wonderful New England. Have any idea why I love it here?

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I then headed down Route 30, and past the Dummerston Covered Bridge.  I have not been south of the Dummerston Covered Bridge on Route 30 in maybe 16-18 years – no need to have done so.  And, I reconfirmed, nothing there, unless you are going up or down Route 30 from Brattleboro to points north.

But, I scooted off Route 30 before getting downtown. Would you believe I found dirt roads in Brattleboro?  Yes, up around the country club. My ladies know the kind of roads they prefer, and can find them. We eventually worked our way down to Route 9 and then into downtown Brattleboro and up US 5 to cross the bridge into New Hampshire.

Not done yet, I turned left to head home on River Road – yes along the Connecticut River. First you approach the old community house which now houses a theater on the second floor. I have attended a show here. Great, yes?

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And, the old store in West Chesterfield, NH. I probably ran such a store in my previous life.

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Tooling down River Road (maybe over the speed limit) I saw a monument. Brakes, U-turn, and here is the site of the first house in West Chesterfield on the Connecticut River in 1761.

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Going through the county complex area (prison abandoned, nursing home status in the air) I needed to turn down Ferry Road.  On my list is to write about the Connecticut River Ferry Landings in my area. But, alas, no definitive spot for that, however, I did find a built up elevation over the river which is the site of the Cheshire County Alms House Cemetery – 1867. Now another research and writing project.

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It was home about 3:30, and I sat down to document today for my memory and to share with you. But more importantly to encourage you to journey and explore the same route. If not this route — JUST GET OUT THERE, EXPLORE AND ENJOY.

It is getting harder to explore alone. Today was alone, but tomorrow will make up for it because I have “two dates” for tomorrow’s adventure.  That will be written about — and I still have a week in Maine (22-26 August) to share with you.

Take care, be safe, and just enjoy every moment to the fullest. I am trying to do so. As always, yours, RAY

 

 

 

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