Salem’s Ropes mansion is open again!
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The Rope’s Mansion at 318 Essex Street is a 1727 home. Lisa and I got in line this spring for the first public tour since a fire that had started in the attic during a renovation back in 2009.  It’s located in … Continue reading

Halloween Wasn’t Invented in New England, but We Do It Right

We have the best of times at Halloween here in New England. With crunching leaves underfoot and wicked history to entertain, it can’t be any better.

Jeff and I traveled to Providence RI a couple of weeks ago to take in the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the Roger Williams Park and Zoo.  It was something we always talked about doing, so when we were invited to meet up with friends in Providence, we jumped at the chance!

At the beginning of the attraction, we were a little underwhelmed with the kiosks full of glowing, whirling light wands and items to attract the kiddos, and the food to fill their faces.  Wondered how long we would walk before we saw anything of quality.

We passed the elephant, which was the only animal we saw. So if you think you will see some of the zoo animals at this event, no, you won’t.

Elephant at Roger Williams Park and Zoo

Elephant at Roger Williams Park and Zoo

After that it got better, with themed displays of carved and painted pumpkins.

It's Only the Beginning

It’s Only the Beginning

Totems of Pumpkins

Totems of Pumpkins

Pumpkins in the Pond

Pumpkins in the Pond

Pumpkin Trees

Pumpkin Trees

Yea, that was pretty cool.

Alien Pumpkins

Alien Pumpkins

Pirate Pumpkins

Pirate Pumpkins

Not in Kansas, That's for Sure

Not in Kansas, That’s for Sure

But best of all are the laughing pumpkins. Gets me every time.

The event continues until November 1, so you have time to see it for yourself!

Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween!  Have fun, be careful, and be safe!

Full blood moon eclipse-54

~Lisa

The Last of Summer Holding On, and the Lunar Event-Pt 2

I wanted to tell you about a covered bridge on Route 15 in Vermont Jeff and I saw on our trip we took on the last weekend of September. It is not in the Vermont Gazetteer and we wondered why.  Well, the funny coincidence is that I found a little booklet at the Stark Village Inn in Stark NH, that had some info about this Vermont covered bridge!  Serendipity!  The place has tons of magazines and pamphlets about all of New England!  More about that later.

Gates Farm Covered Bridge

Gates Farm Covered Bridge

The Gates Covered Bridge (originally the Little Bridge) on Route 15 in Jeffersonville, VT, but is shortly after the town of Cambridge at a bend in the road.  You can see it from the road and there is a slight pull off if you want to snap a photo.  But be respectful since it is now on private property which is why you won’t find it in the Vermont Gazetteer.

The pamphlet we found says the bridge was built in 1897, and originally spanned the Seymour River on the eastern edge of the village.  It moved 20 feet off it’s foundation during the Great Flood of 1927 and stayed there until 1950 when the new bridge was built.  It was moved to its present location on the Gates Farm so that farmers could access their fields.  It received flood damage again in 1995, and so, it has undergone restoration. Also, the bridge originally had a pedestrian walkway which is no longer part of the bridge.

 

Otter have a good time here!

Otter have a good time here!

We meandered our way through the Vermont and New Hampshire countryside to Stark NH.  Nancy Spaulding had just had a full house all weekend, but we had the place to ourselves on a Sunday night.    She gave us a tour of the old rambling farm house.  We loved that the house was filled with old New England memorabilia, family mementos and little oddities hidden here and there. The old farmhouse has vintage charm, but each room has a private bath.

Our Bedroom at the Stark Village Inn

Our Bedroom at the Stark Village Inn

If you want to get away from everything, this is the place–no WIFI and iffy on the cell service.  But if you want peace and quiet and the beauty of small town New England, this is THE place,  the river in the back yard and the covered bridge right there with it, and right across the river is the little white church.

Back yard view from the Stark Village Inn

Backyard view from Stark Village Inn

 

Mrs. Spaulding (a semi-retired school teacher so I can’t help but be respectful) does not take credit cards and there is no website, so the only way you can make a reservation is to call her directly at (603) 636-2644.

After a dinner at the North Country Family Restaurant in nearby Groveton, filled with locals, tourists and bear hunters, we settled in on the backyard patio to watch the amazing lunar eclipse.  As the shadow fell across the moon, and the landscape darkened, the stars filled the sky.  What a light show!

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

Thank you for reading!~Lisa

The Last of Summer Holding On, and the Lunar Event-Pt 1

The very last weekend in September and summer kept hanging on.  Oh, how great it was to have the car windows open, and the sun gleamed, as Jeff and I set our sights North to find fall foliage!  We headed up I-93, then scooted over to Vermont and up to Derby Line.

On the US Canadian border next to the Haskell Free Library and Opera House

On the US Canadian border next to the Haskell Free Library and Opera House

 

Our destination was the Haskell Free Library and Opera House which was intentionally built right on the US-Canadian border by the benefactor, Martha Stewart Haskell. (the original Martha Stewart!)

When arriving in Derby Line, you might find it odd that the border runs right down the middle of the towns of Derby Line, VT and Stanstead, QC (Quebec).  Way back when, the communities were seamless, people coming and going about their business, with little mind to the imaginary line.  You can imagine that now, things are a little different.  Residential streets are blocked off to prohibit travel, and if you take a wrong turn, border patrol agents seem to appear out of nowhere to reprimand the unknowing. (believe me, it happened to us!)

Standing with one foot in US and one in Canada

Standing with one foot in US and one in Canada

The “border” in the Ladies Dressing Room in the Opera House

 

 

But inside the Library, things are just the same as they always were.

Citizens of the US and Canada use the library and opera house, with only the black tape line on the floor to remind you that you are straddling an international boundary.

 

 

 

And the interior of the building is much as it was back when it was built, with original woodwork, fireplaces, and the opera house is one of the few around with the original carvings, moldings, and painted backdrops.  Tours are given about every half hour, some in English, some in French, so you can learn the history of the building.

Interior of the Opera House

Interior of the Opera House

Ciderhouse Bar and Grill

Ciderhouse Bar and Grill

 

Afterwards, we headed down Route 5 to Newport VT, one of my favorite towns, and stopped for lunch at a farm-to -table restaurant, the Newport Ciderhouse Bar & Grill, located in the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center at 150 Main Street.

Fresh and Tasty!

Fresh and Tasty!

We had some awesome burgers made with local beef, bakery made rolls, fresh sides and cider.

 

Besides the restaurant, the building houses a tasting area and local farm products like maple products, honey, cheese, wine, cider, baked goods, and also local artists’ work.

We then set out on Route 100 south and ended up in Montpelier, tucking in for the night at the Econolodge.  Ok, it is not anything to write home about, a very overdue updating is needed, but it was clean.

Jeff's pick on the left, Lisa's pick on the right

Jeff’s pick on the left, Lisa’s pick on the right

 

We had dinner downtown at Positive Pie and sampled some local HARD ciders, Citizen Cider and Champlain Orchards. We liked the Champlain McIntosh & Maple so much we bought some at the liquor store.

 

 

On the way to do some family stuff, like birthdays, up in northern Vermont, we stopped in at the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington, VT.

Ethan Allen Homestead

Ethan Allen Homestead

Growing up in Vermont, every child learned about Ethan Allen.  His actions brought about the formation of the 14th state of the Union so it didn’t become a part of New York or New Hampshire, and for a short while, was it’s own country.

The last two years of his life were spent at this location, built to Ethan’s specifications, and has been refurbished to be historically accurate.  This is a great little hidden gem, and even if you’re not into the historical aspect, this is a peaceful place for a picnic or just to stretch your legs.  Admission is not required to stroll the grounds.

Interior of the Ethan Allen Homestead

Interior of the Ethan Allen Homestead

After our family obligations, we were on the road again.  We traveled cross country, taking Route 15 and then back onto I-93 and onto Route 3 and then 110, working our way to Stark NH where we had reservations at the Stark Village Inn.

Check out Part 2 of this trip in my next blog post where I will tell you all about where we stayed and the lunar eclipse..

Thanks for reading!  ~Lisa