USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial
On the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Green Mountain Inn in Stowe Vermont

We stayed at some very nice, upscale, cozy Inns on this trip.  We loved them all.  Well, the Green Mountain Inn in Stowe Vermont was another very cool and historic place to stay.

We checked in a bit early, and we were thrilled with our room.  It was very nice.  We did notice some garbage in a garbage can, and we immediately called housekeeping about this.  A very kind lady came in and took care of it, apologized, and said that it was her fault personally that the garbage can had been ignored!  I was very impressed with how quickly it was taken care of, and by the fact that someone took responsibility for this small mistake.

We enjoyed some tea and cookies set out in the evening.  We thought this was a nice touch.  We also relaxed in rocking chairs on the Inns front porch!

We walked around town some, and checked things out.  I mentioned before that this is a very nice, walkable area.  There is a lot to do right around the hotel.

That evening, we had dinner in their restaurant.  We had a very sweet waitress named Barb.  The food was good here too!  I had a great Reuben and fries. 

One big thing that the Green Mountain Inn had on its competition was a Presidential connection.  Chester Arthur spent some time here, and so did Gerald Ford.

Both of these visits are kind of curious and unique.  Arthur was a local guy, but he is noted as being here while performing in a play.

Future never elected President Gerald Ford was here way before his political career got moving.  He did a photo shoot while working as a young model!  There are some photos and displays on the hotels presidential connections by the elevator.

As we checked out, the friendly front desk staff gave us a punch card and explained their loyalty program to us.  It is pretty cool actually.  Our card never expires (so if we don't get back to the area for several years, that's OK).  It was an easy to understand and utilize program.

This was the last historic hotel we would stay at while in Vermont and it was a real treat!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Stowe Vermont

Stowe is such a perfect little place.  I think it might be the ultimate stereotypical Vermont town.  It seemed very comfortable, and very attractive to us.

We walked around and took it all in.  There was a nice, helpful visitor center.  We enjoyed coffee at the very nice Black Cap Coffee.  we enjoyed some interesting sculptures around town.

Here are some pictures we took while we walked around the area.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe Vermont

We were in the Stowe area for some time.  We had thought briefly about trying to get a room at the Trapp Family Lodge, but we decided not to.

An acquaintance had visited several months earlier, and described the staff as "prickly" towards non-hotel guests.  And, we got the same vibe while reading some online reviews.  Plus, another historic inn in the same area had better reviews, and was significantly more affordable.

Still, it is THE Trapp Family Lodge, and we were in the area, so we decided to swing by just to check it out.

We didn't spend a lot of time at the Lodge, but we did take in the views, chatted with staff, and walked through the gift shop.

After driving up hill for some time, we walked in.  There are displays about the family on the walls.

I asked a fellow at the front desk where the gift shop was located.  He very enthusiastically pointed the way for me.  So far, the place seemed very nice and friendly.

In the gift shop, we found several items we had to have (a patch, some postcards, etc.).  As I checked out, another very nice fellow helped me with my purchase.  I asked him about how it was working for the family.  He said that the Trapps are great people.  He also told me that three of the children are still living and that they are around the property!

We told the staff at the gift shop good-bye, and they responded with a very appropriate Auf Wiedersehen.

I have to be honest...  We loved the other place we stayed at in Stowe, but I hope to give the Trapp Family Lodge a chance at some point.  Our personal experience was much nicer than we expected.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Vermont Brewery in Burlington Vermont

I wanted to take a second to tip my hat to the Vermont Pub & Brewery in Burlington.  The place has a ton of history if you are into microbrewers and that kind of thing.  Being that I don't drink at all, I can't judge them on that, but man do they have a great atmosphere, and good food!

I was craving some onion rings and they brought out a massive plate of huge rings.  Me and three other people couldn't have finished them off.

This was some of the best bar food I have had in a while....

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.