Waybury Inn

Waybury Inn
The Waybury Inn in Vermont- as seen in TV's Newhart!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Burlington Vermont

Here are a some photos I took in Burlington Vermont.  We actually only spent a small amount of time here.  We did fly in and out from the town (LOVE the airport, small and easy to navigate) but we really only had a few hours to explore.

The town is vibrant and hoppin'.  There is a lot going on, and a lot of characters making the rounds.

On a normal day, I would explore a place like Burlington and describe it as cozy and casual.  After spending some time driving around the state of Vermont, and seeing towns like Woodstock, Montpelier, and Stowe... well, Burlington almost felt overwhelming.  You know you are in the biggest city in Vermont.

Here are a few photos....

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The St. Albans Raiders by Daniel S. Rush and E. Gale Pewitt

While we were in St. Albans Vermont, I picked up "The St. Albans Raiders" by Daniel S. Rush and E. Gale Prewitt.

I really like this compact but complete telling of the story of the St. Albans raid for a couple of reasons.  First, Rush and Pewitt do a great but brief retelling of the Raid events.  You get the complete story here.

BUT, you also get a lot of other information on the Raid, mostly concerning what happened to each of the Raiders afterwards.  I really like the fact that the authors include burial information!

The Raid involved former Confederates associated with John Hunt Morgan.  Many of those Confederates were from Kentucky, specifically the Lexington area.  These raiders got together in Canada, and decided to rob some banks in the north, hoping to pull Union military resources away from the South.

In addition to giving the well known story of what happened, this volume includes well researched facts on what happened to the money stolen, including conflicting information on the exact amount.

The authors discuss the conflict about how this event is looked at by history- was it a raid by a bunch of outlaws, or was it a legitimate battle involving two opposing groups in the Civil War?

The book is full of great photos, including pretty much a photo of each participant in the raid.  There is a nice photo of some of those involved in front of Niagara Falls.  My favorite picture in the book is of raid leader Bennett Young speaking in 1917 at the dedication of a Confederate Memorial.  Woodrow Wilson is seated close by.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The St. Albans Raid- St. Albans Vermont

St. Albans Vermont just recently got put on my short list of places to retire.  This is a cool little town jam packed with history and small Vermont town coolness.

We swung by mostly because I wanted to see the town where the northern most land battle in the Civil War occurred.

In 1864, former members of Morgan's Raiders regrouped in Canada and plotted a raid into Vermont.  They ended up robbing 3 banks in this little town, and taking the loot back north with them.

The story gets really interesting because of how they were handled after being caught.  Some viewed them as thuggish bank robbers.  Some saw them as legitimate Confederates helping out with their governments war effort.  Anyway, it is a very interesting side note in Civil War history!

Our main goal of our visit was to stop by the Saint Albans Museum to see their display on the raid.

This is a great community museum ran by some friendly staff who seemed very excited about helping out.  We spent a couple of hours at this museum.  There is one room devoted to the raid, and I was most impressed with a display of actual stolen bills from the event!

They had various other rooms at the museum, and had exhibits on an old school, an old doctors office used in a Normal Rockwell painting, a model of  Phineas Gage, a display on an old theaters, and other things. 

ALL of the other displays were unique and fascinating, and absolutely worth mention in their own right.

We walked the town a little bit.  A nice lady asked what we were looking for, thinking we were lost.  We told her we were doing the walking tour of the town.  We thought it was very sweet that a local asked if confused looking tourists needed directions!

We also stopped by the extremely cozy little coffee shop called The Traveled Cup.  I love the name, and the coffee was great too!  You know I have mentioned that some places get it right, and some don't.  Well, these guys nailed it.  The place was so relaxing too.  If I lived in the area, I would be here all the time.

This is just such a neat little town, with a perfect museum, a perfect coffee shop, and great history.  I think the Norman Rockwell display at the museum is very fitting.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch, Vermont

I told a young friend about our trip to Vermont when we got back.  I told them that we stopped at the Calvin Coolidge State Historical Site and they asked me, "Who is Calvin Coolidge?"

Well, if you don't know, Calvin was the 30th President of the United States, and he was a former VP.  Without getting too detailed about his run, he was a conservative endorsing small government, and racial equality.

Anyway, the Coolidge site in Plymouth Notch is the only major site directly associated with a former POTUS in Vermont.  It is spectacularly maintained too!

We drove to the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, which was very nice.  We bought our tickets and watched a film on Coolidge and the area.  Plymouth Notch has several buildings associated with Coolidge and his family.  There was a large tour group there on the day we visited, so there were no formal tours going on, just guides at various stops. 

We saw where he was born, where his dad swore him in as president, and other associated sites.  We talked to the director of the site at one stop who said Ladybird Johnson had spent time on the grounds, and she was a big fan of the place.  The director did get to meet her during her lifetime. 

There is a cheese shop among the buildings, where we had samples.  They still use cheese making equipment from the 1890s.  A very enthusiastic employee told us about the shop, and the cheese making process.

The old post office (which is still a working US post office!) is on the grounds, along with a small country store where the Coolidges worked.

Calvin's summer White House is here, in a basic upstairs area above the post office and store.  When we visited, we had the entire summer White House to ourselves!

After that, we drove to the cemetery and found Calvin Coolidge's grave.  It is a short drive (you could walk it) from the main historic site area.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury Center Vermont

While we were driving around Vermont, EVERYONE told us that we had to stop at Cold Hollow Cider Mill.

One local actually encouraged us to skip Ben and Jerrys and to spend all of that time at Cold Hollow.

Well, Cold Hollow Cider Mill ended up being a site that we spent a good amount of our time at.  There is a lot to take in here.

We had been traveling, and we needed a place to stop for lunch anyway.  We decided to have lunch here as there is a very nice café on the property.

We each had a nice sandwich and salad.  It was very fresh and satisfying.  I had a great chicken cordon bleu wrap with horse radish that really hit the spot.  The café was worth a stop on its on.

BUT, after our meals, we went over to the main area at the cider mill.

They did have some displays on making the cider.  They also had an actual bee hive where you could observe the bees doing their thing.  Near that display, you could sample some honey cider.  I expected that this would be sweet, but it wasn't.

Their shop had all sorts of Cold Hollow local items.  I did buy a cup of hot cider for myself, and some of their cider donuts.  We enjoyed these on some comfy chairs outside.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ben and Jerry's in Waterbury Vermont

We stopped at the most popular tourist attraction in Vermont.... on a VERY busy weekend.  In fact, we decided to skip it on a Saturday, and come back around to it on a weekday... we were going to be back through the same area.

It was a lot easier coming back during the week- it was still lively, but we were able to pretty much by tickets for a factory tour and to go right on it. 

It was $4 to take the factory tour, which lasted about half an hour.

We were taken to see a short film about the company and its history.  Then, we were taken to an area where we could watch production through windows directly over production machinery.  Our witty guide told us that we could not take photos in this area- as there might be spies from Hagen Das amongst us.

At the end of the tour, we were given a sample of a flavor that is only available at the end of the tour!  You can't buy it anywhere!  It was a strawberry cookie flavored ice cream, and it was very nice!

There is a large and well stocked gift shop area to explore after your tour, and there is a place to order more ice cream if you would like.  The place is very large in general, and there is an outdoor trail that leads you to the famous "graveyard" where defunct flavors are memorialized on tombstones.

The factory tour is nice, and this is a cool place just to hang out.  I see why this is a top Vermont attraction, and if you are going to the area, you must stop by once.  But, once is enough.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Vermont Teddy Bear Factory Tour

The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory was another stop on our trip through Vermont.

We arrived at the factory on a weekday morning, so the place wasn't overrun with other tourists or anything.  There may have been 15 people here, counting staff when we arrived.

It was $4 each to take the tour.  The tour itself was not too long.  We did each get a cute button to wear for the tour, and we were given bear shaped pieces of fur made from extra fur on the tour, which was a cute bonus.

We had a great tour guide named Mark who showed us around.  He pretty much took us on a walk around the factory telling us about the process.  Many of the areas weren't really working factory areas but they were cute displays.  There was a "hospital area", where bears are repaired because all of the Vermont Teddy Bears have lifetime guarantees.

Mark was fun and witty through the entire tour, making numerous bear puns that cracked us all up.  He was a great guide!

There is a large visitor center gift shop here too.  They had a lot of bear clothes, bears, accessories, etc.

We had a great time here and it was a lot more fun than we expected!