Every year since I was a little girl the family has gone to Stowe, Vermont for a week in mid-July. They stay at the same condo that has the same furniture and decor and the place has never changed as far as I can remember. Stowe itself has changed around it. There are a lot of for sale signs. Stores change from year to year. There aren’t any true general stores anymore. They all sell chachkis. The Moscow Store was one of my favorites and closed a couple of years ago. You could buy some gas from the single pump, get some deodorant you forgot, your hunting or fishing license, some advice as to a good place to go hiking, fishing, or tubing, and some jerky all in one visit. It was a gritty place but friendly and you could always find what you were looking for without having to travel into downtown Stowe.
I think I am sounding too negative. I love Vermont. I dream every time I go there of having a little farm with more than a postage stamp of land and saving some barn or house that I see falling over in disrepair every five feet. It has such open space. There aren’t people every two feet. I always feel so crowded on the Island in the summer and Vermont makes me think about wandering away from here. But, I won’t so a week in July it will be.
One place that I went that I had never gone before was the Shelburne Museum. This place is beautiful and there is so much to see. There are 39 exhibition buildings on 45 acres and many of the buildings are historic and of some significance to the history of Vermont even without the exhibitions in them. It was sooooo hot out, I only got to see a small portion of the property but what I saw was great. I started in the round barn.
I’ve always wanted to see the inner workings of a round barn. There was an inner silo or hay chute. It was closed and you couldn’t see inside. The top floor had an exhibit on carousel animals all restored with great attention to detail. I believe it would have been originally used as storage for hay and feed. The middle floor where the door is, had an exhibit on paper as a medium. So there was all this paper artwork hung around the original milking areas. The stocks and feed troughs were all there and it was painted white. The bottom floor was mostly underground and walled in stone. I don’t know the use for that area. Perhaps living space for animals. There was an exterior door to the right. You can almost see it.
My favorite part of my visit was the paddle steamer Ticonderoga. The Ticonderoga was built in 1906 and plied the waters of Lake Champlain until the 1950s. She has been fully restored and it is a bit unsettling to come down the path and see her sitting in full splendor with accompanying lighthouse in the little valley built for her like a pond that has lost all it’s water.
You can crawl all over the ship from the cargo area to the passenger area and the bottom to the top. I kept thinking that it must be similar to how people traveled to Martha’s Vineyard from New Bedford and on to Nantucket in the Victorian age. I love the attention to details and the “T” is incorporated into many things.
There was a very nice woman in the bridge that told me all about it. I felt like I had my own personal tour guide. It was soooo hot! Have I mentioned that yet? On my way back to our meeting point I stopped by the carousel and the circus building. It was a good thing we were meeting to leave when we did. The skies had grown dark and imposing while in the circus building and they opened up and dumped buckets as soon as we made it to the car. Unfortunately, the rain didn’t really relieve the temperature issue. I had a wonderful and restful time in Vermont. But, I missed my husband, our animals, and the sea.