Vermont: More than Scenery

Vermont has so much to offer on top of the scenery. But I’ll start with that.

The hills are alive overlooking a breathtaking view of the distant Green Mountains. That was what attracted the von Trapp Family to settle there. Right, that’s the Family von Trapp of The Sound of Music fame. Goerg and Maria moved to Vermont in 1941 and bought a 300 acre farm near Stowe, as that location reminded them of their native Austria. There on the mountain top they started a guest lodge and had since developed into what is now an upscale resorts on 2,500 acres.

The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT, owned and operated by the eldest son of Maria and Georg von Trapp:

Trapp Family LodgeJust 36 miles west of Stowe was Lake Champlain on the edge of Burlington, a vibrant college town. The Lake is a large body of fresh water, once called the sixth of the Great Lakes. It borders the States of Vermont, New York and stretches up north to Quebec, Canada.

At the pier of Lake Champlain:

Lake ChamplainI totally get how this boat is named:

DSC_0096I took the Vermont scenic drive Rt. 100 and headed south from Stowe. My destination was Bennington in the southwest corner of the State.

Not far from Stowe I arrived at Waterbury, a town with lots of restaurant choices for such a small place. I visited two major tourist sites there.

Just off RT 100 was the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, and they sure were prepared for the hundreds of visitors on the day I was there. A well organized and informative factory tour let me see how two college buddies’ $50 investment on an online ice cream making course had come to fruition. What’s impressive is their commitment to use supplies from local farms and cows that are steroids-free. A fair trade business to ensure global responsibility. (no, I don’t get a buck for writing this.)

Product MissionIn contrast, not far from the madding crowd at Ben & Jerry’s was the serene Waterbury Reservoir. When I got there it was already past sunset. So glad I could still take these photos:

Waterbury Reservoir

W R

Reservoir

Continued on Vermont Rt. 100 south I came by this most interesting site in the fields outside the small town of Waitsfield, population: 1,719 (2010). Here I found The Big Picture Theater, screening The Martian:

DSC_0103Two posters at the door caught my attention:

Kickstarter FFDownton Talk

One was a “Kickstarter Film Festival”. An indie film festival in this area? I was most impressed.

Another poster was about a talk on “The Costumes of Downton Abbey”. Here’s what the poster says if you can’t see it clearly (above right):
“Jule Emerson, former Costume Designer and Theater Professor at Middlebury College will discuss the fashions worn by Lady Mary and her family in the popular PBS series Downton Abbey. Free and Open to the Public”

No place is too remote for films and the Crawleys.

Rt. 100 offered some fall scenery very different from NH. I was attracted by the clumps of trees in distant hills along the road. It was a cloudy day, so instead of seeing bright and cheery foliage, I was captivated by the moody atmosphere. Just as beautiful:

Moody

Before arriving at Bennington, I stopped by South Shaftsbury to visit Robert Frost Stone House Museum. Frost bought the stone house and its 80 acres land in 1920, moving from the White Mountains in NH to warmer Vermont mainly for “a better place to farm and especially grow apples.” Aren’t we glad that he threw in some poems as well in his time-off from apple-picking.

In this fertile soil Frost not only gathered apples but poetic harvests as well. In the Stone House, there’s a “Stopping by Woods” Room where the Poet wrote his most famous “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” A facsimile of the handwritten manuscript and many other pertinent materials – parody included – were displayed. Trust my words. I didn’t want to get caught taking pictures in a ‘Photography Forbidden’ premises.

I did take photos outside of Frost’s Stone House:

Frost's Stone Houseand his juicy legacy, the apple tree in front of the house:

DSC_0205From Shaftsbury I drove the few blocks to Bennington, There at the back of the First Congregational Church was the cemetery where Robert Frost was buried.

Yes, the sky was that blue that day:

DSC_0270Frost’s grave gathered no pens or pencils as I saw in Authors Ridge of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord ; instead, people have left pennies there. If they were meant to be tributes to the Poet, it’s simply mind boggling to see how people could think a penny would suffice. Allow me to offer a little alteration to a common saying, standing in front of Frost’s grave: If you don’t have anything poetic to leave there, don’t leave anything.

DSC_0251Coming up: my last stop, Lenox, MA.

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Arti

If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review.

22 thoughts on “Vermont: More than Scenery”

    1. Stefanie,

      Yes, that’s another big story but I won’t be posting it. I got special treatment at B & J’s cause it was my birthday. Yup, got a free tour and a free cone. No kidding. 😉

      As for the pennies. I know people do that at monuments, fountains, and yes, graveside, but here pennies were all over the gravestone. I had to clear them away to the edge before I could even read the engraved names on it. It looked more an annoyance than respectful tributes.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Michelle,

      Glad over here at the pond you can just throw in your two pebbles without blocking any views. 😉 And yes, I’m having a great time recalling my trip and sharing the photos. Thanks for reading through them!

      Like

  1. I’ve visited Vermont a few times and I visited the Ben and Jerry’s factory. It was fun and I recall getting my brother a fake melted ice cream flowing out of a cup. That was when I could still digest ice cream … somewhat. I take it that you resisted seeing “The Martian” while in Waitsfield. One of the times I visited Vermont I saw “The Pianist”. It was opening weekend and there was one other couple, my then partner, Voom, and me in the theater. Voom had a house there back then. She said to me, “Behold, all the Jews of Vermont.”

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    1. LA,

      As I was saying in my reply to Stefanie above, I got a special treat at B & J’s cause it was my special day. Got a free tour and a free cone. That I won’t ever forget. And no, I was driving by that theatre in the open fields, stopped to take some photos and saw the posters. What a find!

      I saw “The Martian” just tonight. As for “The Pianist”, when I saw it I was one of only two people in the whole theatre, just my friend and I, two gentiles, at a 10 pm showing. We sat at the very last row just in case anything happened we could run out easily. Anyway, we sat through the whole film with no mishap, and that was the only time I could talk while watching a movie without having had to lower my voice. And I won’t ever forget that experience either. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a trip you had, thanks for sharing the moments and your thoughts. I once sailed on Lake Champlain to NY from Vermont, how time flies, that was many years ago.

    I have yet to explore New England like you did. Thanks Arti.

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    1. Mabel,

      I got on a scenic cruise but it didn’t go all the way to NY, just saw the mountains from afar. I still have many places I haven’t set foot on in NE. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. 😉

      Like

  3. A friend who traveled to Vermont a couple of years ago brought back reports of the pennies on the grave, too. For what it’s worth, some locals told her the coins are an oblique reference to Frost’s wonderful poem:

    Nature’s first green is gold,
    Her hardest hue to hold.
    Her early leaf’s a flower;
    But only so an hour.
    Then leaf subsides to leaf.
    So Eden sank to grief,
    So dawn goes down to day.
    Nothing gold can stay.

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    1. Linda,

      Considering the poem, all the more nothing should be left there. Anyway, I can appreciate the pennies had all been fond tributes out of good intention.

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      1. I’m more tolerant of such things these days. The very thought that people are traveling to the grave of a poet, and leaving tokens there as a way of leaving a part of themselves seems touching. Of course, I live now in a world of grave offerings. At All Souls’, and even through the year, the Hispanic communities are fond of leaving tributes. And in Anglo country cemeteries, there often are the same sorts of things. I guess maybe I’ve become accustomed to it.

        In any event, I’ll just say again how much I’ve enjoyed this series, and the work you’ve put into it. What a wonderful experience for you!

        Like

  4. Of all your travel days, this is my favorite. Ever since I read “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers” some 40 years ago, I wanted to see the lodge at Stowe. I think Rick has been there (but not stayed — I think it’s a tad pricey!). My heart stopped when I saw the Downton poster. I’m really sorry you missed it — that was MADE for you!

    And Ben & Jerry’s. Always wanted to tour there. And Bennington! Did you bring home any of the famous Bennington pottery? I wouldn’t be able to control myself!

    That reservoir is fabulous. Your light perfect for these shots. Oh, I’m so glad you have been having such a wonderful time!

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    1. Jeanie,

      We didn’t stay there either at the von Trapp Lodge. But had lunch at a deli/cafe down the slope with a magnificent view. You’d love it there, Stowe, The von Trapp Family Lodge, Waterbury and its surrounding areas. And yes, Ben and Jerry’s too. That was one treat I’d never forget… free factory tour and free cone all due to my special day. 😉 The Downton Poster was a serendipitous find. I was happy just have discovered that, in such a ‘remote’ small town in VT.

      Like

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