Friday, August 5, 2016

A Week in Vermont

Since my last post at the start of the week, I've figured out how to add descriptions to the photos in my Google Photos albums. Of course, unless you click on the little "info" icon (an "i" in a white circle near the top right corner) you won't see those descriptions; and you'll think, "Huh...I wonder what that's a picture of. Oh, well, it doesn't matter." And you'll be right, of course, but probably less impressed with my composition.

Stowe Village, from the back side
Anyway. So the first day in Stowe, a Sunday, we didn't do much of anything, after a very late night due to airline delays. We went to the farmers' market for stuff for meals (then to a grocery store for other stuff), then in to the village center where we had some ice cream ("New England" is, I'm sure, an old Algonkian term for "really good ice cream") and got lost on the "quiet trail," an unpaved walking trail where bicycles aren't allowed. Ended up walking quite a ways around the village and back down the main highway. Everybody got all their Fitbit steps in that day.

The next day it rained all day. We puttered around the apartment for a while, then went to a couple of shops down in the village. We, the members of the Once-a-Year Bowling League, went to the one bowling alley in town, which has 8 lanes and opens at 2pm and charges by the hour for the privilege of bowling under flashing disco lights between groups of children who don't know the first thing about bowling (and who are supervised by nominal adults who don't know the first thing about teaching children proper behaviour in public). They had a waiting list and said they'd call us when a lane opened up. So we went and did things, ending up eventually at a yarn shop in the Village where the wimmenfolk spent entirely too much time. Then the bowling alley called, yay! and we went and threw balls at pins in the dark for about an hour. Came back and had burgers at the condo.

The Round Church
We went down to Ticonderoga the next day, with a couple of stops along the way, first at the Round Church in Richmond, Vermont, and then at the old lighthouse on Lake Champlain at Crown Point, New York.

Steamboat dock and
Lighthouse on Lake Champlain

Fort Ticonderoga from
Mt Defiance

I heard so often about Ticonderoga when I was in school that I was pretty sure it must be an important place. Having been there three times now, I've come to the conclusion that it was a mistake for the French to put a fortress there in the first place, but that, once that mistake was made, it became necessary for competitors, British and American, to take the fort. In a nutshell, the fort's only real relevance to American history is that it provided the guns that forced the British out of Boston, and helped keep the Americans from taking Canada later on. The fort was completely destroyed by the British when they evacuated it at the end of the Revolution, and would have been an unlamented loss had not some rich guy bought the property for his country home, and then had some layabout descendants who thought rebuilding it would be a Good Thing. Well, okay, so they spent a lot of time and money doing just that, and the foundation they set up to operate it is making plenty with it (and Mount Defiance, a better location for fortifications and the undoing of Ticonderoga); still, had they not it wouldn't be missed.

The bulk of our Wednesday was spent at Ben & Jerry's, down the road at Waterbury Center; and then going up through Smuggler's Notch and down to Bingham Falls, both very pretty places near Stowe.
Smuggler's Notch
Bingham Falls

Moss Glen Falls
On Thursday we hiked down to Moss Glen Falls
first thing in the morning, then went to the Shelburne Museum. Like Ticonderoga, the latter is operated by a foundation dedicated, it would seem, to keeping alive the memory of a local heiress, her children and their friends. It's a collection of old buildings brought together from around Vermont, spread over 20-something acres of well-tended landscaping. There are bits and pieces of living history, and some very knowledgeable curators and guides on hand, but basically it's about the woman who owned the place in life, and her family and friends. Get past that self-glorification, though, and you can enjoy your time on the property.

Hansom cab
There are some very interesting things in the museum. I was interested in the collection of vehicles, except that they include a lot of sleds and sleighs. For me, it was all about the carriages. And the train. And the 60 or so vehicles that I didn't get to see.

supposed bust of
Crazy Horse 

After the museum, we headed into downtown Burlington for a bit, but there wasn't much to see there, so we just had dinner in their pedestrian mall and headed back home.

Today -- Friday, our last day here -- we went for a drive up through Hazen's Gap, just so that I could go through the last two counties in Vermont. Now I've been to every county in New England except the two island counties off the Massachusetts coast. Next week (after Montreal): New York state.

And after lunch, we found this covered bridge right outside of Stowe. Built in 1844. Some of the timbers are original. (The bridges were covered to keep them from rotting. Seems to work.)

These pictures, and many others, can be seen in my 2016 Vermont Trip album.

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