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Musings: to meditate, think, contemplate, deliberate, ponder, reflect, ruminate, reverie, daydream, introspection, dream, preoccupation, brood, cogitate.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

New England Adventure-Day 5

Day 5 – Wednesday, October 11, 2006

We had a delicious pancake breakfast with three of the other guests who’d flown up from Texas and rented a car—a couple traveling with his elderly mother just to see the changing leaves.  They’d come from northern Vermont the day before and gave us news we did not care to hear—the leaves were mostly off the trees.  Our host answered our questions about the house.  It seems Emily was not at all happy when it was built because it blocked her view of the mountains.  But she soon made friends with the children of the family, baking them cookies and playing with them.  However, they were all soon to die of typhoid fever and Emily began to refer to the house as the house of sorrows.  Here is one of the poems she wrote about the house we stayed in:

There's Been A Death In The Opposite House
by Emily Dickinson

There's been a death in the opposite house

As lately as to-day.

I know it by the numb look

Such houses have alway.

The neighbors rustle in and out,

The doctor drives away.

A window opens like a pod,

Abrupt, mechanically;

Somebody flings a mattress out,--

The children hurry by;

They wonder if It died on that,--

I used to when a boy.

The minister goes stiffly in

As if the house were his,

And he owned all the mourners now,

And little boys besides;

And then the milliner, and the man

Of the appalling trade,

To take the measure of the house.

There'll be that dark parade

Of tassels and of coaches soon;

It's easy as a sign,--

The intuition of the news

In just a country town.

This is the view of the "House of Sorrows" that Emily would have had from her house....
I had Ken take my photo on Emily's porch, too, and vowed to return another time when it was open....

We were on our way as soon as breakfast was over—back on the Mohawk Trail.  It was another beautiful drive, this time in a more mountainous region.  After an hour we took a detour off the road to a little village called Shelburne Falls.  It is famous for it’s Bridge of Flowers.  At one time the bridge carried the trolley across the river.  When it fell into disuse in 1928 the Women’s Club was given the task to plant and maintain a flower garden on the bridge.  From a distance it looked like a bunch of greenery, but once we were on the path that led through the garden we were enchanted with it.  I can imagine how pretty it must be in the Spring and Summer....

Butterflies and bees were visiting the flowers and because the garden was suspended over the river it gave the whole 400 foot span an ethereal feel....

The picturesque village was a feast for our eyes, complete with a Calico Cat asleep in the bookshop window.  We visited several shops, one of which overlooked the glacial potholes the village is known for.  It was an "amazing rock formation carved in the riverbed--nature's own handcrafted sculpture several hundred million years in the making" according to the brochure....
Back on the Mohawk Trail we stopped at an overlook and drove through quaint towns.  Before long we were in Vermont.  We stopped at the Apple Barn where we decided the apple and raspberry pastries would make a good late lunch with vanilla ice cream and a cup of coffee.  Before long we were in Bennington. 

Our first stop was the Potter's Yard Store and Factory where we browsed for a bit.  As we headed out of town we stopped at the Bennington Battle Monument, which honors the Revolutionary War battle of 1777 in Bennington.  The 306-foot obelisk, the tallest structure in Vermont, was started in 1887 and finished in 1891.  Unfortunately, the elevator was broken so we were unable to ascend to the top to view the surrounding mountains and valleys.  HERE is the view we would have had.

We soon learned that the Vermont road map wasn't any more accurate than the Massachusetts map and had to rely on the compass and common sense to guide us back to the main road that would take us to the Robert Frost Stone House Museum in Shaftsbury, VT.  It was at this house that the Frost family lived in the 1920's and where he wrote "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" on a hot summer's morning after staying up all night working on another poem...."he rose and went out to get a breath of air and an entirely new poem came to him and he returned to write it down while sitting at the dining room table" in "pretty much one stroke" he is quoted as saying.  The Museum consists of two rooms and a hallway and is self-guided with photographs and narrative about parts of his life.  It was quite inspiring to stand in his house and walk around his yard where he received much inspiration.  Here is a photo of the house....

HERE is more information on Robert Frost’s life and his works.

It was getting late so we headed straight for our B&B, the Battenkill Inn, along the Battenkill River, which has since closed, regrettably....

We were pleasantly surprised by the fine accommodations and the friendly hosts.  Alan and Judy Edmunds were originally from the Northern Virginia area at one time.  We enjoyed listening to them talk about their decision to move to Vermont from New Jersey and run the B&B the year before.  The house had been built in 1840 and added on to by previous Innkeepers.  Our room, named Cahill, was on the second floor in the addition with a door to a porch that spanned the back of the house.  After unpacking we walked down to the river and along a path to enjoy the changing leaves on the surrounding mountains....

At 7:00 we ate dinner at a fine restaurant in the Arlington Inn, a much larger 1847 estate, down the road a few miles.  We spent the rest of the evening by the fire in the downstairs den visiting with our hosts and another couple from Michigan.  When it was time for bed we headed back to our room which had its own fireplace.  That night we listened to the rain falling outside our window--the first since leaving home--as we fell asleep by the fire.

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