Thursday, August 23, 2007

Traveler's Tales Days 1 and 2

I started from Alexandria at about 5 a.m. on Tuesday, August 14. I hoped to avoid the East Coast rush hours, by getting north of Baltimore before 7 and into the New York area after 9 a.m. I was successful skirting DC and Baltimore, and made it onto the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey at about 8:30. The *bang*! Gridlock. It soon cleared out and I headed onto the NY State Thruway toward Albany, with just myself, a few cars and a lot of trucks sharing the road.

My first mountain view excited me so much, I took video while driving (shhhh). I thought I had first sight of the Adirondacks, but as it turns out with was the Catskills. Oh well. I won't post the vid, though, because you can't actually see the mountains.

I cross the Champlain Bridge at Crown Point et voila! Vermont! The drive from Crown Point to Burlington was really lovely. I passed through Vergennes, which seems to be enjoying a renaissance. Last time I passed through there, it was a depressed former industrial area. Now it's got lovely little sidewalk cafes and shops. Good job, Vergennes! No pics, because after 9 1/2 hours driving, I wasn't gonna stop til I got to the hotel.

On Wednesday, my first order of business was to drive up to Essex, and explore the old neighborhood (you recall I spent 1st - 8th grades there). It's changed a lot - there's a highway cutting through. The old Grannis house is still there - it was my favorite of my friends houses because it was supposedly and Underground Railroad stop, and it had lots of nooks and crannies and even a staircase hidden behind a cabinet!

I hit Brigham Hill Rd. in the rain, noticing the other Underground Railroad house on the corner is in sad shape. A long time back, the Shelburne Museum offered to buy the house, but the owners said no. I don't know if the museum has enough money now, but it sure would be nice if the house could be preserved professionally.

I stopped at 171 Brigham Hill Rd. (the ol' Steingrandt homestead). The driveway was all nice gravel now, probably because it was on the market recently. They added a nice split rail fence, and cleared and mowed the little grassy area. It looks like they also planted a couple of pine trees.

I continued up to Brigham Hill Ln. (mostly just so I could turn around), and encountered this little pond. I don't recall this from living here. Maybe beavers came along, but I didn't see a lodge.

I drove back out toward Old Stage Rd., and stopped at this farm, still there after all these years. That is Mt. Mansfield in the background, highest point in Vermont. I remember the farmer herdering his cows across the road. No such luck this day.
This is on Chapin Rd., near Tower Rd. on my way back to town from Brigham Hill. That's Vermont's second-highest peak, Camel's Hump. The houses are where the model airplane field was. My Pa crashed a couple planes there back in the day.

I had to head to Shelburne for lunch with Jenn Brown, friend from way back. She was a Nick Rhodes gal, I was a Simon Lebon gal. Our little Middle School fan club had the members of Duran Duran neatly parsed between us. This is the restaurant we were to dine in, Bistro Sauce, 95 Falls Rd. in Shelburne. It was delish! I had grilled salmon with a potato pancake and salad (perfectly dressed), and the key lime mousee for dessert.

We were stuffed!! It was so good to see you, Jenn!!

I headed up to downtown Burlington to check out the scene on Church St. I stopped at April Cornell to stock up on frilly clothes, but was otherwise disappointed. Urban Outfitters? Macy's? Nope, sorry, doesn't work for me.

The old vintage clothing store was still there, but not as vintage as in years past. Although maybe the 80's are considered vintage now?

Downtown Burlington:

I thought since I was a DC wuss, 80 degree weather wouldn't affect me at all! But I was sweating like a hog at the fair, so went back to the hotel to clean up, then off to the Groleaus'! These folks always treated me as daughter #2, and it was so good to see them again and be back at the house at which I spent many a sleepover. They fed me (awesome pasta!!) and got me drunk. I was sober by the time I went back to the hotel, totally pooped, at 10:30 p.m.

More to come.....


Anonymous said...

You look great!!!


JennB said...

It was so great to see you, too!
Come back to stay!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story Kristen. Get your butt up here so I can come to Vermont and visit!!! Mom and Dad were here last night for dinner with Higbee. What a sketch.

Lloyd A. said...

house # 2 with pond--then I will visit!!1

Lloyd A.

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