On Thursday morning Carol and I got up well before breakfast. We packed the car and with coffee in hand we backed out of the driveway promptly at five AM. Our destination is Shelburne, Vermont, a place I had never visited and the last time Carol was there she was a teenager..so it has been a while. As we headed north on route 95 the traffic started to get heavier as we approached Boston so a decision was made to skirt around the city and take route 495, which, as it turns out if only about 7 miles longer and a whole lot faster. Conversation was good and the time passed quickly and soon were were heading due North on 93 and into New Hampshire. We were both a bit surprised by the lack of color in the trees, color is coming late this year. With warm days and little frost the color seems to still be a ways off. Soon we were on Route 89 which cuts diagonally across New Hampshire and Vermont and straight to our destination. Crossing into Vermont around 9:00 we started to look for a place for breakfast.
The driving had been easy but our coffee had long since run out and it was about time to stop and eat. We saw a roadside sigh that announced food at the next exit and took a chance, and discovered Eaton’s Sugarhouse. This restaurant in in an old cider mill which still has the press and serves breakfast all day. The service was great and the food was fantastic. Carol and I split a large pancake for ‘breakfast dessert’ complete with real Vermont Maple Syrup. This of course is on neither of our diets. . . With full stomachs and brains refreshed with good coffee we made our way back to the highway and continued toward Burlington and Shelburne on Route 89. By 10:30 we pulled into the Red Rock Park in South Burlington, right on the shore of Lake Champlain.
The trail here is just over three miles long and is wide and well marked with scenic overlooks and side trail that go to the beaches and elsewhere. I had packed my drone, as it was a perfect day for flying… warm, sunny and no wind at all. Hopefully I can edit a short video in the coming days. After the hike we headed toward the Shelburne Museum. Carol had claimed this place as a destination and our plan was to spend a couple of hours at the museum and then explore the greater Shelburne area.
The museum was completely unexpected in it’s size, scope and diversity of subject. We started our afternoon with a tour of the Ticonderoga, a ship that used to travel the waters of Lake Champlain. This is a beautiful side-wheeler steam ship that was built in 1909 and was in service until 1950 and was saved from being scrapped and brought to the museum, two miles overland to her current resting spot. She is fully restored and is a wonderful example of a lifestyle and an era gone by. After touring the Ticonderoga we started around the museums many buildings visiting a blacksmiths’ shop, a barn full of horse drawn wagons, a museum of dolls and one of cut crystal , a room full of clowns, and even rooms of glass walking canes. There were collections of ship figureheads and quilts and early American paintings. This was all too much for one afternoon. We stayed until closing. After checking in to a hotel down the road we found a local pub for supper. We both turned in early as the day had worn us out.
After breakfast Friday morning, we arrived back at the museum to finish what we had started. Fortunately your ticket purchase gets you in for two days. So we spent the next three hours look at the light house they have and a wonderful exhibition of hooked rugs by Polly Yoder. Her rugs are as good as it gets in rug hooking, so good I may try it myself. Absolutely amazing art, and I would guess these are ever really used as a rug. Another exhibition was themed ‘candy’ and had everything from oversized candy wrappers to sculptures made entirely of chocolate, shoes that looked like cake and many paintings and sculptures of even more candy. I think we both came out of there longing for something sweet.
In another gallery I discovered an artist I did not know of, Ogden Pleissner, who was a friend of the family that created this wonderful museum. His watercolors of the outdoors, and hunting and fishing and logging and just everything were so inspirational for me. Amazing work, and I am a sucker for good watercolor.
And then there was the model of a circus parade. A guy named Roy Arnold carved and built a circus parade consisting of thousands of carved figures and wagons and the parade extends over 500 feet. It took Arnold forty years to complete the circus parade, a representation of the Barnum and Bailey Circus Parade. The parade is housed in a huge U shaped building and is displayed as though it were traveling down the street. And then there is the large round barn and just so much more. We arrived Friday morning when they opened at ten and planned on leaving at noon, it was well after one when we left and we still hadn’t seen it all. We are going to need to make another trip to Vermont. The ride back home was fairly uneventful until we started hitting traffic. It seemed as though we would never make it home, just grow old trying to get there. Poor planning and a fascinating museum put us square into the Boston Friday night rush hour... then were was a backup all around Providence so we took back roads throughout Pawtucket and into East Providence only to find road construction just a few blocks from home. But we made it, and it was a fine two days and as with most travel it went by too fast.
Here are a few more pictures, click any image for a larger view.