Friday, August 17, 2018

On to New Hampshire

Despite having to backtrack for 5 miles when we came upon a bridge that was out, we arrived safely at our New Hampshire campground not too far from the Auto Road to Mt Washington. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll have a pretty day for our drive to the top. There are a lot of cloudy/rainy days in the forecast for the next week.

Our trip here was full of beautiful scenery. Here are some of my favorite photos.






Note the sign. Fortunately we didn’t run into any moose. But it would have been nice to see one.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Montpelier, VT

Bob and I left West Chazy, NY in the rain on Tuesday but by the time we got to Vermont the sun was out and it was a beautiful day. There are three ways to get from West Chazy to Williamstown, VT and two of them involve a ferry. We chose the northern route which was less direct but didn’t involve crossing Lake Champlain on a boat. Here’s a glimpse of the lake with moored sailboats floating in it.
The scenery along the way was breathtaking.
Our campsite gets a thumbs up for internet and for scenic views but a rhumbs down for cell service, causing any phone call to be dropped without warning. But it sure is pretty here.

On Wednesday Bob and I drove north about 25 minutes to the state capital of Vermont, Montpelier. This city is proud to be the smallest state capital in the country, with a population of 7,535 residents. It is also the only capital without a Walmart or a McDonalds. But it does have several Bergamascos, large dogs with felted dreadlocks that hang around in a store called The Quirky Pet.
These guys (there were three in the store) were the official greeters and receivers of love, when they weren’t sleeping in front of a fan.
We ate a very nice lunch at a Mexican restaurant called Julio’s, where our waiter Draco brought us Margueritas, burritos and fajitas. Ah, such is the life! Afterwards we walked around the small downtown area and enjoyed the sights.

On Thursday we head for New Hampshire.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Montreal

Internet woes have prevented me from posting every day but I do it as I am able. We always hope for a better signal tomorrow!

On Friday Bob and I followed signs to a local antique barn’s Rooster Palouza, a flea market and antique sale near our campground. We enjoyed wandering through the offerings and I picked up a couple of treasures for our Mesa home.
We had been watching weather reports which predicted lots of rain in the forecast but those predictions did not come to pass. We had great weather almost our whole week here. Therefore on Saturday we decided to celebrate Bob’s upcoming birthday in style and leave the country.

It took us about a half hour to make it to the border and about five minutes to pass through. Easy Peasy! Another 45 minutes later we were pulling in front of a parking meter in Old Montreal. Parking in any big city can be difficult so I had researched possible sites through www.parkopedia.com, my new favorite parking guru webpage.

Our first stop was at the Château Ramezay, a lovely home built in 1705 for the Governor of Montreal.
It was filled with exhibits of life in colonial Canada such as finger woven sashes, paintings, and recreated rooms.

This portrait of Benjamin Franklin was one I have never seen before. It’s from the late 18th century and is from an English original preserved at the Offices Gallery in Florence, Italy. 
In this kitchen you see a large round cage set into the wall. A small dog would have been put into it to turn a roasting spit in the fireplace. When the dog ran, the wheel turned and so did the spit. This method was used at the end of the 17th century although spits were usually turned by hand.
The cigar store Indian was used as a tobacconist’s signboard. Since they were the first to grow tobacco in North America, Indians (called Amerindians in Canada) became a symbol of tobacco vendors beginning in the 1850s.
We had a lovely time wandering through cobblestones streets and visiting shops, and enjoyed a lovely lunch at Maggie’s Oaks.
Construction played havoc with our exit from Montreal but after being redirected several times we managed to get back on the road back to the States. And as a plus, the border crossing we ended up using was much less crowded than the one we had planned to use. So after five minutes we were through again and heading to the campground.

Bob’s actual birthday on Monday was more low-key. I made him a big breakfast and in the afternoon we took in a movie. It was a lovely day.

Tuesday is a moving day for us and we head for Vermont.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

West Chazy, NY And the War of 1812

Happy Blogaversary to all of my loyal blog readers! This marks four years since I started recording our travels and I appreciate all of you for following my rambles.

On Tuesday, Bob and I traveled north from Rhinebeck, NY to the sleepy town of West Chazy, located on the NY/Canadian border. It was not a trip without issues; after 14 years or so of RVing we made the embarrassing mistake of driving off without unhooking our electric cord from the pedestal. Bob called the campground after discovering this and we are still waiting to hear if we will have to pay for the damage done. It could have been worse. Our cord is still useable and photos from the campground of the damage show just a small portion of the outlet having been torn off.

Apart from that, the trip went smoothly and we settled in for a week in upstate NY. It is beautiful country here and is filled with history. The next town over, Plattsburgh, NY, was the site of the deciding battle in the War of 1812. We visited the museum there on Thursday and learned quite a bit about the war itself and the battle that changed the course of the USA as well as Canada and England.
Do you remember much from your history lessons about this war? I sure didn’t. On June 1, 1812, President James Madison sent a war message to Congress, with the intent of declaring war on Great Britain. There were four main reasons:
  • England had been seizing American sailors and forcing them into impressment on British ships. Between 3,000 and 6,000 American men were taken between 1807 and 1812.
  • The U.S. wanted to trade with both Great Britain and France, who had been at war with each other since the 1790s. However, both countries tried to prevent the U.S. from trading with the other one by seizing American ships. 
  • It was believed that the British were supplying Indians with arms in an effort to stop U.S. western expansion, which exacerbated attacks against American settlers in the Northwest.
  • The U.S. wanted to take Canada. While this was not in the war message, a plan had been in place that if we went to war with Great Britain we would use this as an excuse to conquer lands north of the Great Lakes. It was generally assumed that it would be an easy conquest.
Less than three weeks later the United States declared war on Great Britain.

The Battle of Plattsburgh, on land and on Lake Champlain, took place September 6-11, 1814. Despite facing an Army and Navy of greater numbers, the U.S. forces out maneuvered the British and were victorious in this battle and in the Battle of Baltimore the very next day. This determined the end of the war and the Treaty of Ghent was signed soon afterwards.

According to a plaque at the museum:

“The War of 1812 has been called the “ Forgotten War.” Two years of fighting ended with no clear victor. There was no transfer of territory, no grand surrender. Instead each side gained a quiet victory. The war protected British interests in Canada while giving the Canadians an opportunity to show their loyalty to the Crown. Canada’s success in staving off American attacks gave rise to a budding feeling of Canadian identity. 

As the British tried to forget the War of 1812, Americans fully capitalized on it. The War solidified, once and for all, the concept of American independence. The country successfully came together as one to defend against the force of the British Empire. At the conclusion of this conflict there was a renewed sense of national unity and pride within the United States.”

For me, I came away with a greater understanding of why the war was fought and what was the outcome, which has always been much more interesting to me than the names and dates that my high school history teacher made me memorize.

The museum has a lovely collection of artifacts and paintings of the battle.


Tomorrow I’ll write about the rest of our week here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Rhinebeck, NY

On Saturday Bob and I headed west to the town of Rhinebeck, to visit the FDR Presidential Library and Museum, and to see Bob’s cousin Beth. While there, we stayed at a Interlake RV Campground, a very nice spot we have stayed at in 2012 while visiting the New York Sheep & Wool Festival (otherwise known as “Rhinebeck” in the fiber world.)  We still had our “Eco” travel trailer at that time, and I recall the horror I felt when we returned from the Festival to find our RV covered in ladybugs. Inside and out. Apparently, the insects swarm in September or October. Bob ran to the campground office and was able to borrow a vacuum cleaner, which we used to suck up every insect inside, otherwise we’d have had to drive home that night. I was NOT sleeping in an RV full of bugs!

Fortunately, we had a really nice time at the Festival, which made up for the swarm of bugs. And this time we saw no ladybugs at all. It’s really a very nice campground, with a lovely duck pond on it.
We drove over to the FDR Library on Sunday morning and got in on a ranger-led tour of the house, before going through the museum. When we left, we felt we knew a lot more about Frankln and Eleanor than before.
The Museum and Library
Franklin’s home
Hanging out with the Roosevelts
The library where FDR entertained guests
Statue of Fala, FDR’s beloved dog

On Monday, Bob and I met Bob’s cousin Beth and her SO, Gary, at Terrapin in Rhinebeck. Terrapin is in a converted church and is a very cool building.
I first met Beth on our honeymoon cruise to Mexico, 17 years ago, and we haven’t seen her since. We had a great time catching up but our meeting was all too short! We’ll be sure and see her again soon.
Today we head to West Chazy, New York, up on the Canadian border.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Sturbridge Village

Bob and I have both been to Sturbridge Village before we met each other, but it had been many years since either of us had visited this famous living history museum. And despite the hot and humid weather on Wednesday, with temperatures in the 90s, we had a great time. It’s a great place to go if you want to “time travel,” and for taking pictures, too. Here are some of my favorite photos.





Afterwards I dropped Bob off at the campground and went back to Jeen’s house to pick up this little beauty, a 9 1/2” 8 shaft Leclerc Voyageur.
This photo is not my loom but gives you an idea of what it looks like. Mine is folded up and in its storage bag under the bed, all set to travel. I’m going to have fun with it.

Speaking of new looms, on Tuesday I brought this one home from my visit with Jeen. 
It’s a Spriggs Creations floor inkle and I wasted no time getting a warp on it. I can also use it as a warping board on the road.
Thanks, Jeen!

To top off this most wonderful week, yesterday Bob and I drove up to Northampton to visit Webs Yarn Store and I got the supplies for two baby blankets, a knitted baby sweater, and knitted slippers.
Webs is having it’s annual summer sale so I got some good deals. Does life on the road get much better than this week? I’d say not. My hands will be busy now!

All too soon, it’s time to move on. Next stop is Rhinebeck, NY.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

A Friend & I Visit Vävstuga Weaving School

Bob and I have been staying at a very nice campground in Monson, MA, west of Worcester and near Sturbridge, since this past Monday. Apart from the fact that we had no cell service here and only a weak internet signal, we have enjoyed our stay very much. Our campsite is in the woods near a state park and is quiet and peaceful.

On Tuesday I went to my friend Jeen’s house to pick her up for a drive to Vävstuga Weaving School in Shelburne Falls, MA. Jeen and I originally met on Ravelry years ago and have gotten together every year or two since then. It was great to spend time with her, as always!

Despite a rainy forecast, we had a very fun time. Vävstuga (Swedish for “weaving cottage”) is set overlooking the Deerfield River in a lovely little northwestern Massachusetts village. I had called ahead to be sure the items I needed were in stock and to request a visit as the store is open by appointment only. Tanya gave us a tour of the school, showing us the weaving room and the student’s rooms upstairs. Most students stay at Vävstuga during their weaving course.




One day I’d love to take a course or two here.

Tomorrow: Sturbridge Village