November 17, 2014

  • A Peacock Christmas

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    I’m taking a little break from the Vermont pictures, because we enjoyed an early Christmas with my mother,
    my sisters and their families yesterday ~ four people were unable to be there and were greatly missed,
    but it was still a very special day.

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    My youngest sister was in charge this year ~ she chose a peacock theme.

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    The table decorations were absolutely stunning ~ the colors so very rich and vibrant.

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    Amidst the peacock feathers, were ginkgo leaves, milkweed pods and hedgeapples;
    there were bright-colored chocolates, pretty candleholders and even a little bling ~ :)

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    ~ peacock feather napkins ~

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    My sister is an antique dealer, so she used some antique peacock vases.

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    On one table, she had perched a few vintage hats and gloves ~ one was actually called a peacock hat.

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    She had wrapped her gifts in peacock feather paper.

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    The newest (2½ weeks old) great-grandson didn’t lack for someone to hold him ~ such a sweetie-pie.

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    My sister (with the peacock-feathered apron) and Mother ~ watching the dinner preparations.

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    Little boys created a game where they had to say their cousin’s name before tossing the ball in their direction.

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    There were peacock children’s books amidst the many books she brought for the little ones.

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    The meal was yummy, of course ~ our plates seemed way too small ~ ;)

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    ~ the most scrumptious dessert imaginable ~

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    Communion bread is a favorite treat at our family gatherings.

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    ~ gift time ~
    This year, everyone (except for the youngest children) bought a toy to fit the personality of the name they had drawn.

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    Those toys will now be donated to a toy drive in a nearby town;
    my gift was a toy camera and a stuffed bird ~ imagine that!  :)

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    Mother (sitting beside my middle sister) enjoyed all her gifts so much.

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    Then a craft table was set up ~ my sister taught them how to make things out of peacock feathers;
    some made clips for their hair, or headbands, etc.  Others made small toys.

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    Lots of fun, good-natured arguing and teasing went on while many different games were played.

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    Mother so enjoyed playing 42 with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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    Some relaxed and visited, read the newspaper or checked their cellphones.

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    Too soon, the end of another splendid Christmastime with Mother came to an end;
    we all left in the middle of a snowstorm ~ heading home with lots of warm memories of a very wonderful day.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks?”
    Job 39:13

November 13, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part VIII

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    One of our stops that day was at this shop with an intriguing name ~ clever play on words with “Scotland Yard”. ~ :)
    It was filled with wares imported from Scotland ~ tartan plaid fabrics, Celtic clothing and jewelry, etc.
    Jacob sheep roamed the pasture in front of the store; a few tried to stay dry in the little barn.

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    We crossed the Quechee covered bridge which spans the Outauquechee River.

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    In the village of Quechee, we found a place for lunch and had a bowl of sweet corn bisque soup each
    while we watched the rain pouring down outside ~ rather a chilly day.

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    After lunch, we stopped at the Simon Pearce Glass Factory where we watched glassblowers at their craft.

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    The display floor absolutely shone with their beautiful wares ~ we didn’t buy a thing ~ ;)

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    Demonstrations for the many tourists took place on the lower floor.

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    Wooden bowls also are made at Simon Pearce.

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    I took a few more shots of the Quechee bridge from the back balcony of the factory.

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    On the morning of Sunday, October 5, after a French toast breakfast at our B&B, we set out to find
    a couple more covered bridges in the area ~ this one is Lincoln Bridge, just west of Woodstock.

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    The Cornish-Windsor bridge at Windsor spans the Connecticut River ~ Vermont on one side, New Hampshire on the other.

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    These photos were shot from the New Hampshire side.  The 460-foot bridge is the longest wooden bridge
    in the United States and the longest two-span (double-lane) covered bridge in the whole world.

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    This whimsical sign above the bridge entrance produced a few amused smiles.

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    We were delighted to see two beaver basking by one of the bridge pillars.

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    Next, we parked at the Quechee Gorge to spend a bit more time enjoying it on that sunny day.

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    Upriver, four kayakers were shooting the rapids through the gorge toward the bridge.

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    We could soon see they were beginning to have somewhat of a struggle through the whitewater.

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    As they began to emerge on the other side of the bridge, one of them overturned in the roiling water.

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    The others decided to portage around that turbulent section to avoid the same fate.

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    The blue kayak shot on downstream while the stranded fellow floundered ashore
    and perched on some rocks with a soon-to-arrive teammate;
    they then awaited the other two who chased it downriver and towed it back ~”
    it had gone completely round that far bend in the river.

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    While that was going on, we decided to take the hike toward the bottom of the gorge.

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    As we neared the river, the drama continued to unfold as the kayaker clung to his teammate’s vessel which was rowed
    to a place on the shoreline that was a bit more accessible for him to safely board his rescued kayak.

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    They were eventually successful and again set off on their excursion down the gorge.

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    The hike back up the trail was a tad bit more taxing for us than the descent ~ :)

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    We did a bit of shopping in the Quechee Gorge shops, then made our way through more beautiful scenery . . .

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    . . . to eat lunch at a little restaurant called Worthy Kitchen.  We shared chicken tacos and their yummy fries.

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    Needing to walk off our lunch, we drove to a trailhead that is on the national park grounds;
    we had been told it was a very nice hike to “the pogue” ~ which apparently is a pond.

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    I was very anxious to see it, but somehow, we got confused on the carriage trail and never did find it;
    it was a gradual climb up the mountain, less than two miles, they said ~ so we climbed and climbed,
    but apparently made a wrong turn somewhere ~ oh well ~ got a good hike in anyway ~ :)

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    After returning to our room and watching the exciting end of the Colts game,
    we again drove across the Connecticut River to eat supper in Hanover, New Hampshire,
    at Molly’s Balloon ~ rather a student hangout in that college town.

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    My eggplant sandwich, topped with tomato, caramelized onions, avocado, pesto sauce
    and goat cheese was served with a cup of roasted tomato soup ~ quite tasty.

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    Clayton chose a CBC sandwich ~ we decide that stood for chicken, bacon and cholesterol ~ :D
    Then it was back to the motel to rest up for moreVermont adventures the next day.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river
    were very many trees on the one side and on the other.”
    Ezekiel 47:7

November 11, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part VII

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    Very early on October 3, we left Burlington, Vermont, and headed for the northeast part of the state.

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    ~ the morning drive was beautiful ~ lovely scenes around every bend ~

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    There are little white churches all over Vermont ~ and we were told that many do not have stain-glassed windows,
    but this one did ~ earlier-built churches have clear glass, so perhaps this one was built
    more recently or had stained glass installed at a later date.

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    In St. Johnsbury, we made a too-short visit to the Fairbanks museum, founded in 1889
    by industrialist, Franklin Fairbanks ~ definitely, a must-see stop for tourists.

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    Photos were allowed ~ but without flash ~ so some of the pictures are dark or blurred.
    The extraordinary domed ceiling really attracted my attention.

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    The most startling exhibits are of the over 3,000 mounted birds ~ have never seen such a sight in my life!

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    One can stand right next to the monstrous bears, but cannot touch ~ no problem!

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    There are many interesting visits on the second floor ~ shells, fossils, dolls ~ wished we could have spent more time.

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    I was interested to learn about Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, who invented microphotography
    and was the first person to photograph a single snowflake in 1885.  By the time
    he died in 1931, he had captured over 5,000 photographs of them
    and “proved” that no two are ever alike ~ fascinating ~

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    Traveling on northward, we went through an area with 3 little villages containing “Burke”
    in their names ~ had to send pics of the signs to our grandson ~ :)

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    Our main goal in the area was to visit Lake Willoughby ~ the color there was just past peak, but still quite lovely.

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    ~ view from south side of Lake Willoughby ~
    The 5-mile-long lake is a mile wide and over 300 feet deep in places;
    it sits between two mountains ~ quite dramatic ~ a breathtaking site.

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    ~ north end of the lake ~
    We drove all the way around the lake, then headed back south even though we wished we could have had
    more time in the area.  It is the least inhabited part of the state and those who live there are quite partial to it ~ :)

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    We traveled south toward Woodstock, driving the scenic route along the Connecticut River ~ on the Vermont side.

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    There is also a scenic drive on the New Hampshire side, but we didn’t have time to do both.

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    We had not planned to stop at Quechee Gorge that day, but since we were traveling right over it,
    we stopped for a few quick photos.  The bridge is 168 feet above the water ~ yeah, it made me nervous ~ :(

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    The view literally takes your breath away ~ stunning!

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    On the outskirts of Woodstock, I snapped a quick photo of the Taftsville covered bridge (more photos of it later in the post).

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    ~ our bed and breakfast ~

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    After checking in, we ventured into the downtown of Woodstock (terribly blurred photo) to find a place to eat supper.

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    The shop windows were so attractive in the quaint little village ~ this was my favorite.

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    We ate at Bentley’s and split a pulled pork and slaw sandwich ~ quite delicious.

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    The next morning, we drove into town to photograph the Middle Bridge which sits near downtown.

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    ~ photographed from inside the bridge ~

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    We stopped to shop at Gillingham’s ~ another one of those interesting general stores.
    Vermont does not allow billboards (such a good thing) ~ we really had to be on our toes to find
    the places we wanted to stop ~ the signs are small, definitely what you would call, “hanging out your shingle”.
    Our innkeeper told us we should definitely check out this particular store.

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    It was a very misty/rainy morning ~ we decided to first venture south of town
    and try to find the “most-photographed farm in America” that I had read about online.

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    On the way we saw the above covered bridge which crossed onto a steep lane
    going up to this barn in which was stabled a zebra! another guard animal?? ~ :)

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    ~ blurred photo taken through the rain ~

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    We searched for nearly two hours to find the “famous” farm, turning our car around several times,
    asking directions, knocking on doors, making wrong turns.  Many of the roads were dirt and all were very curvy and hilly.
    Most of the local people had never heard of it; even the directions we did receive were rather vague,
    because everyone assumes you just know which curve they are talking about ~ :D

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    We were beginning to think we would never find it ~ the online information had said it was 15 miles south of Woodstock . . .

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    . . . but when we finally found the place, it was actually only 7 miles south!!  We were slightly frustrated.

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    ~ Jenne Farm ~
    But our determination finally paid off ~ even though it was raining, the farm’s setting was still quite beautiful.
    A special place atop this hill is set aside for photographers ~ can you imagine!?  I had to use an umbrella
    to protect my camera while taking pictures ~ others were there taking photos too ~ I wasn’t the only crazy one ~ :D
    We went back another day in better weather ~ those pics will come later.

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    We then drove back through Woodstock and headed up the steep hills north of town to visit a working maple syrup farm.

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    It wasn’t a fancy or modern farm, but a fascinating place to visit;
    we bought several things in the gift shop, including pure maple syrup to take to relatives.

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    Wild turkeys roamed the pasture, searching for their lunch in the drizzly rain.

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    On the other side of the parking lot, a walk through the woods had displays of how the sap is gathered.

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    ~ small chapel in the woods ~

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    We drove back down into town through the Taftsville bridge.

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    ~ enough photos for this post ~ still many more to come! ~
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “. . . they went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise.”
    Matthew 22:5

November 5, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part VI

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    We continued our drive on those curving roads, searching for the Trapp family lodge;
    the family’s story has become legendary in the musical, “Sound of Music”.

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    After winding around and climbing ever upward, we finally found the place;
    the vast complex looks quite different now than I’m sure it did when the von Trapp’s
    originally settled there on an humble farm after their immigration to America.

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    From the front porch of the current lodge, we looked out over valleys and the tall mountains beyond;
    the family settled at that spot because the view reminded them so much of their beloved homeland, Austria.

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    I wish it had not been so foggy that morning so there had been a better view of those mountains.

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    The lodge, restaurant and gift store now welcome tourists year-round and many condos sit nearby.
    We were too late for the film and opted not to take the tour ~ just roamed around for awhile, enjoying the place.

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    Above the entrance, “Guten Tag” (“Good Day!” ~ in German) greets each visitor;
    displays tell of the family history and murals grace the walls.

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    “Auf Wiedersehen” (“Good-bye”) above the exit bids all farewell.

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    We wound our way back down into Stowe and I had to spend a bit of time
    at this spot ~ just to photograph this church amidst the foliage.

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    ~ my favorite shot ~

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    It was a chilly day ~ we had ½-sandwich/soup combinations; Clayton chose a BLT with clam chowder,
    but I ventured out and tried the turkey/cole slaw/Swiss cheese on rye
    and roasted red beet soup accompanied with horseradish cremé fraîche, which was absolutely scrumptious!
    Our oldest son asked me, “What were you thinking?!” ~ :)

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    Outside the café, I noticed this tree with sculptures of knitting needles stuck in balls of yarn
    nested in its branches ~ the tree stood in front of a sewing shop ~ interesting ~ :)

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    Fallen leaves sat atop our sunroof as we set out on another of the scenic drives around Stowe.

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    Our first stop on that 8½-mile drive included the second Moss Glen Falls we had seen in Vermont.
    I haven’t figured out why they call two separate waterfalls by the same name ~ many miles apart.

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    We hiked the mile (round-trip) to see the falls, including the nearly straight up cliff
    at the end of the trail ~ it quite stressed both of us, but it was so worth it!

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    The 60-foot falls are spectacular ~ these pictures just look ridiculous to me
    because by looking at them, you cannot tell at all that we were standing level with the top
    of the falls and that the bottom was 60 feet below us.  It was a bit tricky finding a place amidst the tree roots
    to safely take photos without getting too near the cliff edge ~ not my cup of tea!

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    After returning to our vehicle, we continued on the scenic drive.

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    We were soon on a dusty, leaf-strewn byroad . . .

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    . . . which narrowed . . .

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    . . . then started to concern us ~ we were wondering if we had made a wrong turn and somehow driven
    onto a hiking trail.  The road at that point was barely one-lane and simply a rutted dirt path.
    We wondered what to do, but slowly kept creeping over it ~ the “road” finally widened and smoothed out again ~ oh my!

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    It was worth it ~ there were gorgeous views and foliage through there,
    but we just couldn’t imagine that they actually call that trail a road!

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    After emerging back into civilization, we decided an ice cream break was in order.

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    What better place to stop for that than at the Ben & Jerry’s factory at Waterbury?

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    Clayton chose “Hazed and Confused” (hazelnut) and I had “Coconut 7-Layer Bar” ~ quite yummy.

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    Next, we moved on to the Cold Hollow Cider mill, where we had tiny samples of the cider and shared an apple cider donut.

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    We drove back into Stowe, then headed toward Smuggler’s Notch ~ we had been looking forward to the site all day.

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    The drive upward to the “Notch” was absolutely gorgeous.

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    Huge boulders littered the very edges of the roadway.

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    The “notch” is a very narrow pass with 1,000-foot cliffs rising on either side.

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    Only one car at a time can fit around the boulders leaning over the curve.

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    ~ maple syrup vendor with a good vantage point for sales ~ :)

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    The foliage seemed to actually glow in the pass ~ the sun shone through the golden leaves like neon.

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    We made our way down from the pass, then took backroads back to our motel.

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    Farm Bridge crosses the Seymour River in Cambridge.

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    In Westford, we stopped to asked a pedestrian where the local covered bridge might be.
    He replied that there used to be one “back there, around that corner.  I’ve lived here 20 years,
    but really haven’t walked down that way for 10 years or so ~ I don’t know if it is still there or not.”
    ‘That corner’ was probably only a block away, and when we turned back
    and rounded the corner, the Brown’s River Bridge was right there!
    We laughed at the thought that the dear man had not walked that one block in 10 years ~ :D

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    I am posting this last photo for that day just for our good farmer friends at home.  Harvest was in full swing.
    We had a light supper at a lovely little candlelit restaurant that evening, which had turned misty;
    I chose stuffed acorn squash ~ filled with polenta, caramelized onions,
    dried cranberries and mushrooms ~ Clayton had chicken marsala.
    ~ more Vermont adventures next time ~ :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys
    unto the place which Thou hast founded for them.”
    Psalm 104:8

October 31, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part V

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    The morning of October 1, Dianne, her husband, Larry, and their daughter, Claire, joined us
    for another yummy breakfast before we headed on north.

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    She told us to be sure to stop at a couple of the farmers’ markets on the way;
    we tried, but it was too early in the day and they weren’t yet open.
    I still had to take a couple photos ~ of the field of sunflowers and . . .

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    . . . this squashy “bedfellow” ~ :)

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    As we drove on toward Burlington, Clayton suddenly slowed and turned the car around;
    he said he couldn’t quite believe what he had just seen and wanted me to get a photo ~ a camel amidst a flock of sheep!
    Huh??  What on earth!!??
    (Dianne just informed me the camel’s name is Dudley and he is a guard animal for the sheep ~ :) )

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    We shopped a bit at a Vermont products store ~ bought more maple syrup to take to family.
    Do you think it will be enough? :)

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    Vermont is full of general/country stores ~ seems like there is one in nearly every village or town.

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    After checking into our motel, we drove to Lake Champlain and out over the bridge to the islands.
    It was rather a drab day ~ the water and sky were painted with the same steel gray hue.

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    There wasn’t a lot of activity on the islands while we were there;
    it looked like many people had already vacated their summer cabins.

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    I just had to stop and photograph these morning glories ~ had never seen such a pale blue variety before.

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    Another little country store/café sported these two benches in front.

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    One of the islands has a huge fossil bed ~ we stopped and walked around a bit;
    fossils aren’t real exciting for us, but they were interesting to see anyway.

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    If there had not been rings of stones around each fossil, we would never even have found them.

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    This is a horrible picture ~ so out of focus.  Basically, the sign states that on September 6, 1901,
    Vice President Teddy Roosevelt was visiting here when he learned that President McKinley had been shot.
    Eight days later, Roosevelt became the 26th president of the United States.

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    We traveled around the perimeter of some of the islands ~ then drove
    very close to the Canadian border as we crossed back to the mainland and made our way south to Burlington.

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    We ate supper on the shore of Lake Champlain at this seafood restaurant.

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    ~ Clayton’s seafood platter ~

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    ~ my salmon ~ broiled in Vermont maple syrup and ginger ~

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    ~ sunset over Lake Champlain ~

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    Thursday morning, October 2, we drove east toward Stowe ~ an extremely foggy morning at first;
    we were told that Vermont autumn days often begin with fog, sometimes lasting till late morning.

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    By 9:30, the sun broke through and the foliage began to glow.

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    The road to Stowe was winding and the autumn leaves were just gorgeous.
    Upon arriving, we stopped at the visitor’s center and asked lots of questions about the scenic drives around the village.

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    We first drove to Emily’s bridge which spans Gold Brook.  Many stories/legends exist about this bridge and the ghost of Emily.
    Most involve a girl named Emily who was jilted by her groom on their wedding day;
    all the stories say she died at the bridge ~ either by suicide, murder or wagon accident.
    Many people claim to have seen her apparition while visiting the bridge;
    we knew nothing of the stories till later ~ our visit there was entirely peaceful ~ :)

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    We next visited the “Red Bridge” (or Sterling Bridge) which sits over Sterling Brook;
    one has to strictly follow written directions to find these bridges, because they truly are out in the “boonies”! ~ :)

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    This dilapidated barn was just across the dirt road from the Red bridge ~ I loved this shot.

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    We then wound on around the bends and over the hills ~ our goal was to find the Trapp Family Lodge complex;
    it is the site where the von Trapp family featured in the Sound of Music settled when they came to America.

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    The countryside around Stowe is so stunningly beautiful, it simply leaves one in awe!

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    I’ll show you pics of the Trapp family’s lodge next time ~ :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.”
    Job 40:22

October 29, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part IV

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    It seems like there are sugar shacks on every back road in Vermont;
    since there are maple trees almost everywhere in the state,
    anyone who chooses to tap their own trees may have syrup for sale.

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    The Warren covered bridge spans the Mad River ~ built 1879-80.

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    ~ looking through the bridge window ~ village of Warren, Vermont ~

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    After leaving Warren, Dianne drove us over the Lincoln Gap road to the village of Lincoln;
    this particular gap road crossing the Green Mountains claims the steepest paved mile in the continental USA.
    She confessed later to being a tad bit nervous when we were heading down on the steep, unpaved part,

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    Dianne said we crossed the Long Trail twice that day;
    it is the oldest long-distance US walking trail,
    built between 1920-1930, and runs the length of Vermont.

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    We bought a sandwich lunch at the Lincoln General store
    and ate it on the wrap-around porch of the Lincoln library.

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    ~ deer scales ~

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    ~ yet another sugar shack ~

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    With Dianne driving, we then “rode the ridge” road between Lincoln and Ripton;
    it was one of the most beautiful parts of the day.

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    This shot frustrated me ~ I wanted to get the beautiful foliage through a break in the trees,
    as well as getting the stone wall in the shot, but there simply wasn’t a big enough gap through the tree trunks.

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    ~ one of my favorite photos ~

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    ~ another favorite shot ~
    I could have stayed in this spot a long while, wearing out my camera ~ :)

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    ~ Foote Street Cemetery ~ Middlebury, Vermont ~

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    ~ “mourning woman” tombstone ~

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    Dianne and her family live in that beautiful village; she gave us a tour of their home;
    she told us that she once saw a black bear in their backyard ~ oh my!

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    She drove us past the Middlebury Marble Works to see the Middlebury Falls.

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    On a couple of the homes, she pointed out these very unique “Indian doors” to us.
    It is said by some that in colonial times, they gave protection from Indian raids;
    others say not and that they were simply an extra layer of winter protection.

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    From there, she drove north to Vergennes, settled in 1766 ~ smallest and oldest chartered city in Vermont.
    ~ the beautiful Vergennes Falls on Otter Creek which spills into Lake Champlain ~
    While in that town, we visited the elegant Bixby library (she worked there for a few years),
    and the Daily Chocolate shop, where we simply had to buy a few tasty morsels.

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    Dianne is on a Lake Champlain rowing team ~ she took us to the Champlain Maritime Museum area
    where some of their teams’ skiffs and 900-lb. rowing gigs were moored.  A team consists of 6 rowers and a coxswain;
    her 60+ team placed 4th in the world championships in Scotland last year.

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    She also bikes 20-40 miles several times a week ~ has done 200-mile and 400-mile trips
    in the last couple of years.  I’m quite impressed ~ :)
    ~ and think we should probably get in gear with some biking of our own ~ have neglected it of late.

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    Nearby, she drove us through the Basin Harbor Resort at Lake Champlain;
    many of the cabins have uniquely decorated doors.
    I photographed this one especially for our golfing sons and grandson.

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    The view of the Adirondacks in New York ~ to the west, across Lake Champlain ~ was stunning right about then;
    for some reason, the sun was casting a soft peach glow into the late afternoon sky,
    and the gently rolling mountains stood in stark periwinkle contrast.

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    We were near the Dead Creek Wildlife Refuge at Addison ~ I had been hoping to swing by there
    to check for migrating snow geese.  It was at least 2 weeks too early for them to be in the area, she said,
    but I was still just really wanting to check ~ just in case a few had arrived.
    The leaves were turning color early this year ~ maybe the fowl would fly in earlier than usual too.

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    We were both shocked to see there were actually a few there already, mixed in with a flock of Canada geese.
    I was so excited ~ even if they were quite a distance away, it was a thrilling first sighting for me.
    Both these photos are greatly cropped.

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    She thought we might like to see this unusual barn with its “cow” weather vanes.

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    By the time we got back, it was nearly dark ~ we decided to eat where the famous poet,
    Robert Frost, frequently dined ~ at the Waybury Pub in East Middlebury.
    Dianne was so sad that she was unable to locate his cabin during our drive that day;
    she thinks they may have removed the road sign directing tourists to it because of trouble with vandalism ~ :(

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    We ate in the dining room next to the pub ~ Clayton had salmon mousse on bruschetta with French onion soup;
    I had the same soup with a very pretty salad that had roasted walnuts, goat cheese and some other cool stuff in it ~ yummy ~ :)
    I must have been too tired by that time to remember to photograph the food ~ :(
    I even forgot to shoot photos of the exterior ~ Dianne took the outer door shots for me later.
    What a wonderful day ~ wouldn’t have changed a minute of it ~ thank you so much, dear Dianne!!!

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    “For Thou art great, and doest wondrous things; Thou art God alone.”
    Psalm 86:10
    “Let all the earth fear the LORD:  let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.” 
    Psalm 33:8


October 27, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part III

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    On the morning of September 30, my long-time friend, Dianne, picked us up at our motel
    and took us to join her husband and daughter for breakfast at the local diner in Middlebury.
    She and I worked together in our little hometown library for many years ~ she now lives in Vermont.

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    After a sumptuous meal, those two went on their way and
    Dianne proceeded to drive us around the Middlebury area for the day;
    she gave us a two-day tour in one ~ it was a very full day!

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    ~ Congregational Church in Middlebury ~

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    She drove us by the cute shops downtown, the Town Hall theater, the beautiful Middlebury Inn
    and then halted for a few quick pictures of the Pulp Mill covered bridge.
    At some point, we visited Danforth Pewter for a fascinating demonstration
    and also made a stop at Geiger’s of Austria where I purchased a few buttons.
    I neglected to take pictures at either of those stops ~ :(

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    One special stop was at the Morgan Horse Farm ~ we didn’t take the tour, but took time for a few photos.

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    Dianne said to be sure and get a photo showing the “elf” ears of one of the Morgan horses ~ a distinguishing characteristic.

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    This church, along with many others, has the elongated symbol
    on their steeple which symbolizes the breath of God or Spirit of God.
    The pineapple at the top of the steeple is a hospitality/welcome symbol
    often seen on fences or over doorways, etc.

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    ~ Snake Mountain in the distance ~

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    ~ Cornwall Congregational Church ~

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    ~ driving through the Cornwall swamp ~

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    ~ Cornwall Swamp covered bridge ~
    This tiny bridge spans Otter Creek.

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    ~ loved this stone wall ~

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    “A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together . . .”
    Ecclesiastes 3:5

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    ~ Shard Villa ~
    It was built by Columbus Smith from 1872-1874 and is now inhabited by older folks;
    the serpentine stone walls on the estate kept in a herd of buffalo at one time.

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    I am fairly convinced there are no straight roads in Vermont ~ :)

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    ~ picturesque shed ~

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    ~ Ripton General Store ~ 
    ~ such a friendly place ~ Dianne knew everyone there, I think ~ :)

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    We never knew what stunning foliage we would see around each bend ~ it was a gorgeous day.

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    ~ dormitory on Bread Loaf campus near Middlebury ~
    This former hotel was once a stagecoach stop.
    The campus houses a writers’ conference and other events throughout the year.
    Robert Frost was one of the founders of the literature school which meets there each summer.

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    ~ view from the porch ~
    It was once owned by Battell who gifted the mountain and lands to the college.

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    ~ Texas Falls ~
    (in Vermont) ~ :)

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    ~ interesting rock formation at the falls ~

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    ~ tiny library in Hancock, Vermont ~

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    ~ Hancock Village cemetery ~

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    As you know, I love old cemeteries ~ would have enjoyed spending more time in them this trip.
    ~ an old stone for a Hannah Church who died in 1851 at age 39 ~
    Her epitaph reads, ”devoted to her God and to her children”;
    her husband, Charles Church, had preceded her in death in 1839.

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    ~ Moss Glen Falls ~

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    I’m planning to post the rest of the that day’s photos next time ~ :)

October 20, 2014

  • Vermont Vacation ~ Part II

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    As we traveled north on route #100, our first stop was in Weston ~ at the Vermont Country Store.
    It has been in business since 1946 and seems to have everything from soup to nuts;
    they pride themselves in still seeking out items to sell that one cannot find just anywhere.
    Different sections of the store are actually like a museum.

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    Clayton liked the car exhibited on the grounds.

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    I so loved the stark white trunks of the birch trees intermingled with all the stunning foliage.

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    After jutting west on route #4 to route #7, we headed north again and stopped at the New England Maple Museum.

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    For some reason, it surprised me to learn that Native Americans were actually the first
    to discover how to turn maple sap into maple syrup.
    I guess in my ignorance, I assumed early European settlers figured it out.
    It was interesting to learn about the whole history of American maple-syrup making.

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    Throughout our time in Vermont, we saw several churches with steeples that looked similar to this.
    After asking my Vermont friend about them, she explained that many churches had either lost the top part
    of their steeples in storms or had never gotten enough funds to complete their steeples in the first place ~ interesting ~

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    We arrived in Middlebury in mid-afternoon and promptly took a nap.
    We didn’t need lunch after that ample breakfast.
    Upon advice from my friend’s daughter, we dined at Fire and Ice that evening;
    “They serve anything you might want, she said.” ~ quite the understatement!  :)

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    When we walked into the lobby, I was stunned by the decor ~ quite beautiful.

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    We were seated in the absolutely gorgeous “library”.
    They had no idea how special that was for me since I worked in our local library for 24 years.
    It was difficult to not pluck books off the shelf to examine.

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    This was the salad bar room ~ over 55 items, including a half dozen kinds of bread, scrumptious hummus,
    marinated mushrooms, artichokes, shrimp cocktail, sushi, fruit and a few things I didn’t recognize.

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    The salad bar was all we ordered ~ it included a cup of clam chowder and then carrot cake
    for dessert ~ that was way more than we needed.  Whew!

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    Other rooms were labeled things like, “Lake” or “Tearoom” or “College”.
    Oh, how our sons and grandsons would have enjoyed seeing the “Lake” room.

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    The ceiling of the copper dome room was quite impressive.

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    ~ light fixture in the pub section ~

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    They said we were welcome to stroll through the place and to take pictures ~ didn’t have to tell me twice!

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    ~ beautiful sunset on our first evening in Vermont ~
    Many more pics from our trip to come ~ stay tuned!

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    “The trees of the LORD are full of sap; . . . which He hath planted.”
    Psalm 104:16

October 16, 2014

  • Arriving in Vermont (Vermont Vacation ~ Part I)

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    After leaving our niece’s home, we traveled another couple of hours east, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania,
    for an overnight visit with longtime friends, Cerwin & Doris, (met her through Xanga years ago).
    The first and fourth photos are from her camera ~ :)

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    They took us to Sight & Sound in Lancaster to see the production of Moses.

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    I was so excited to be there ~ we had been wanting to go for a very long time.

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    We learned that they can seat 2,000 people at one time and usually run 11 shows a week!
    Most shows are packed out ~ the place is absolutely huge!
    The stages wrap around both sides and nearly reached our right-side balcony seats.
    They also have a theater in Branson, Missouri, if you get down that way.

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    The show was amazing and the ending with the parting of the Red Sea left me speechless ~ how do they do that!?
    There were lots of animals ~ even camels going up the center aisles, right next to seated patrons ~ wow ~ !!
    Apparently, I was not supposed to take photos during the show, but I didn’t hear the announcement ~ :-/

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    The next morning, we went with them to their church service and Sunday school.

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    After lunch, we drove on toward our vacation destination ~ saw just a few horses and buggies near the Amish area of Lancaster.

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    The foliage was just beginning to turn in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New York.

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    We were so thankful that we were not trying to return to New York City from the north ~ traffic was backed up for about 100 miles;
    we were told at a travel stop that it is like that at the end of every weekend ~ not our cup of tea ~ good grief!

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    Early the next morning, we drove a bit east into the sunrise and arrived in Bennington, Vermont, in time for brunch at
    the Blue Benn Diner ~ we were told about it at the welcome center ~ they said Martha Stewart recommended it.

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    Someone should have warned us to share ~ Clayton’s blueberry almond pancakes were as big as the plate,
    complete with SIX slices of bacon and an egg.  I ordered a spinach and asparagus omelet;
    it was delicious, but so huge, I sadly had to leave half of it behind.

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    We scooted on east to the scenic route #100 and headed north, skirting through the Green Mountains.

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    We saw some of the most colorful folliage of our whole trip that day ~ simply stunning!

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    There are over 100 covered bridges in Vermont ~ this is the first one we saw.

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    Near Killington, we cut west on route #4 to head toward Middlebury and drove past
    many ski areas ~ a popular winter pastime in Vermont.

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    We were off to a good start ~ and it was still before noon on our first day in Vermont.  We were smiling.  :)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “In the midst of the street of it . . . was there the tree of life,
    . . . and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
    Revelation 22:2

October 14, 2014

  • On the Way to Vermont

    Near the end of September, we set off for a vacation in Vermont;
    but on the way, we stopped for a short visit with our niece and her husband
    who live on a dairy farm in southern Pennsylvania.

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    Their home is on the right ~ a little stone house built in 1810.

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    It was so very good to see Maria ~ she warmly welcomed us to their lovely home;
    Levi was already in the barn doing the evening milking.

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    I took lots of photos of their quaint little house because
    my mother ~ her grandmother ~ especially wishes she could visit her.
    Maria has a true gift for decorating ~ her special touch was in every nook and cranny.

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    The windowsills in the little house are very deep due to the thick stone walls.

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    Levi’s parents live up the hill in the big brick house.
    After Maria gave us a tour around outside, Clayton spent some time in the barn with the men.

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    A very embarrassed peacock (because his new tail feathers have not yet grown in)
    and three funny geese roam the premises.  Maria told us that the
    gray one always seems to be in the back of the parade ~ :)

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    These two little calves are twin girls ~ Levi is pretty happy about that ~ a big plus for a dairy farmer.

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    Clayton made friends with their dog as he watched the men do the milking.

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    When the chores were finished, Levi & Maria drove us to the top of their nearby field
    to look down over the homesteads and pastures ~ a beautiful scene.
    I was unable to get a photo of the little and very old family cemetery up on that hill
    because it is totally overgrown now, but their intentions are to get it all spruced up soon.

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    Then they drove us to High Rock from which we could see the whole valley.
    Although the view was spectacular, it literally about took my breath away;
    I was a tad bit nervous because of the heights ~ :(

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    Back at the farm, I couldn’t resist snapping this shot across their pond as the sun went down;
    Levi’s mother told me that photographs of the farm are taken from that spot often ~ :)

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    ~ sunset through Maria’s kitchen window ~

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    The next morning, I awoke to a rooster crowing and an owl hooting from a nearby tree.

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    I ventured outside in the heavy dew and could barely see the cows through the morning fog.

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    Levi’s father has an aviary in which he raises pigeons, peacocks and guineas;
    the morning sun was bringing to life the morning glories which shaded it.

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    I tried to get a photo of the baby peacock;
    just as I snapped the picture, the mama stuck her head in ~ too cute ~ :)

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    After the morning milking, it was time for a wonderful breakfast;
    the napkins with birds on them were adorable ~ loved them, Maria!

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    The geese headed toward the pond for a morning swim.

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    Levi knew I liked old cemeteries, so during another drive that morning,
    he drove us by this little tiny one ~ I loved it.

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    This stone was for a 52-year-old man who died in 1819.  The verse read,
    “You that are old, prepare to die.
    For I was old and here I lie.
    My resting place is in the dust.
    And Jesus Christ is Whom I trust.”
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    They also took us by another small, private plot which I didn’t photograph,
    but I loved the epitaph ~ “She hath awakened from the dream of life.”

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    ~ Lazy Lane ~
    This is actually a shortcut to another main road ~ :)

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    When we returned from the drive, the local great blue heron was hanging out with the cows.

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    ~ the farm’s very lovable dog, Maddy ~

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    After lunch, we bid them good-bye and headed on toward our Vermont vacation.
    What a sweet time we had with them ~ thank you, dear ones.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    “From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed:
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
    Psalm 61:2