My husband is preoccupied with a kayak fishing tournament, my house is being painted, and my street (finally–the last time was in the early 1970s by all accounts!) is being paved: it was time to get out of town. So off I went yesterday, on a circular tour of New Hampshire, Vermont, (a bit of) New York and Western Massachusetts. That’s the thing about New England: it is small, and you can cover a lot of ground–even when you only travel on routes marked “A” and stop at every historical marker, as is my inclination. I drove leisurely towards my childhood home of Strafford, Vermont, perhaps the most picturesque village on the planet, and then poked around central Vermont for a bit.
Strafford Meeting House, built 1799 with additions of belfry and tower in 1832. As a child, I lived in the shadow of this amazing building, described in a 1959 HABS report as “a well-preserved, severe, wooden structure on an imposing site”. Severe indeed. Often mistaken as a church, it has served in a secular function for most of its life, and I remember: rummages sales, plays, and of course town meetings.
The Meeting House yesterday and in a 1959 HABS photograph, Library of Congress, along with a 1964 cover of Vermont Life (my little brother and I were actually on a cover about 10 years later, but I can’t find it!)
My childhood memory of Thetford, next to Strafford, is of a town of brick houses. It did not disappoint, although there were some non-brick houses too. These two neighboring houses were perfect, and perfectly situated on lovely grounds.
The corn is high in central Vermont::
The Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge, linking the New Hampshire town of Cornish and the Vermont town of Windsor, is one of the longest covered bridges in the United States. It was built in 1866 and substantially rebuilt in the 1980s. Also in Windsor (actually I guess the bridge is actually in Cornish) is the Old Constitution House, where the constitution of the Vermont Republic was signed in 1777 , in effect until Vermont was admitted to the US as the fourteenth state in 1791.
On to Woodstock, where I spent the night. You could spend several days in Woodstock: there are shops, restaurants, the Billings Farm & Museum,the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, and countless amazing houses. It is yet another one of those achingly beautiful towns in Vermont, but also a busy and obviously wealthy one. It’s a “shire town”, or county seat, to use the term we use in the rest of New England. Vermont is always a little bit different, perhaps because of its brief republican experiment.
Woodstock: houses, another bridge, and a case of vintage tins in FH Gillingham & Sons General Store.
August 19th, 2012 at 7:22 am
Could not love this post, nor these quintessential New England spots any more. Thanks for taking me home, even though I’m living here now.
August 19th, 2012 at 7:34 am
Interesting ‘journey’ Donna.
August 19th, 2012 at 8:03 am
Great idea to take a little road trip on your own. I always find it more fun to explore on my own without an agenda. Love the House of Three Gables with the picket fence that repeats the pattern.
August 19th, 2012 at 9:57 am
I love it – I know all of those places, too. What beautiful photographs you took. Thanks for sharing.
August 19th, 2012 at 11:28 am
I love those road trips and covered bridges. My MGB and I have been through many over the years. These days we have been doing a lot of touring around Nova Scotia, rural, small fishing villages, lots of british, french and Mi’kmaq history. If you can ever get that husband of yours off the kayak and out on the road, head on up.
August 20th, 2012 at 7:47 am
My sister loves covered bridges. She’d like these.
August 20th, 2012 at 10:24 am
Sounds like a great trip. I just love the architecture in that part of America. The bridge is amazing.