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Sunday, October 30, 2016

The First Congregationalist Church of Bennington, VT


Several weeks ago, we visited The First Congregationalist Church of Bennington, VT -- the "Old First Church."  We had been at Robert Frost's Stone House Museum in nearby South Shaftsbury, VT and learned that Frost was buried in the cemetery behind this church and decided to check it out.  It was worth the visit to soak in the history that exudes this place.  The church is in Old Bennington visible from Route 7 just as you swing into Bennington at 1 Monument Circle.  This day was good timing, since we were able to take the tour.  The church is a short distance away from the Battle of Bennington Monument (click here for the Old Bennington Walking Tour)



A stunning example of architecture from the Federal period.



Click here for a pew rental agreement (I said hey, you, get off of my pew!)



Each column was made from a single pine tree and hand-planed.  There's a Wicks pipe organ.



Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Robert Frost said "I don't go to church, but I look in the window."

Don't be like the turkeys who dropped coins on Frost's grave.  Instead, emulate Charles Dewey.



David Redding (1754-1778)

The cemetery contains the graves of about 75 Revolutionary War patriots, as well as British and Hessian soldiers killed in the Battle of Bennington.   





Old First Church, Bennington (VIDEO)

Find a Grave - Old Bennington Cemetery
New England: True Northeast; Cemetery; Bennington, Vt.
The Old First Church
Robert Frost's Grave
Robert Frost Museum in Shaftsbury, Vt.
Stopping by a Bennington cemetery on a spring morning

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Arrowhead


We visited Arrowhead, Hermann Melville's home in Pitssfield, this week, enjoying the fall foliage and the wonderful tour of this historic author.  Meville named this place Arrowhead due to the many arrowheads he found when he plowed his fields.



Melville's study was in the corner room over the porch. He built the porch and later wrote a short story about it, "The Piazza." The house was built in 1780. Herman bought it in 1850 and lived here for 12 years, though the house remained in the family until 1927.



The trees on this property are beautiful. Again, Melville's study is the room on the left corner, second floor. 



Melville wrote Moby Dick here on a table like this. The actual table is in the Melville Room in the Pittsfield Athenaeum, which we also visited. (lots of Melville archival material and books). He purposely arranged his chair and desk so he could gaze out onto Mount Greylock, highest peak in Massachusetts and featured in the wizardry story in J.R. Rowling's latest book.



The view of Mt. Greylock. Unfortunately a hazy day when we visited this week. 



A close-up of the window with the view to Mt. Greylock -- again, too hazy of a day to catch the mountain in the distance.



The chimney bears painted inscriptions from 1868 of text from Melville's story "I and my Chimney." written about Arrowhead.



Meilville's barn. Melville's writings, especially Moby DIck, never achieved much commercial success in his time. He gave up writing and worked in a customs house for most of his working life. A real shame, though a familiar pattern for many creative people. 



Spectacular trees. We saw photos of these trees from Melville's days there and they were tiny: 10-15 feet. Most of the area then was relatively deforested.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

RRR Brooks Trail


RRR Brooks Trail head sign off Bee Hill Road
The RRR Brooks trail is a nice 2.5 mile hike through the Hopkins Memorial Forest, a 2,600 acre reserve in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  It is accessible from either the parking lot at the top of the Petersburgh Pass (see Hike to the Snow Hole, which uses this same lot), or use the access point on Bee Hill Road -- driving from Route 7 in Williamstown, turn off onto Bee Hill Road and proceed a short ways; cross the wooden bridge for Flora Glen Brook and the trail head sign will be on your right (approximately 1.3 miles from Route 7).  We used two cars, starting at the Bee Hill Road trail head and finishing at the parking lot atop the Pass.  By combining the RRR Brooks trail with the Sara Tenney Trail, you can use one car though the total hike then approaches 5 miles.

Click here for a trail map.  See also Trail Mix: Hopkins Forest Tour.  You also have the option of taking the Fitch Trail to where it intersects with the RRR Brooks trails (See Fitch Trail Hike)

RRR Brooks Trail head is on Bee Hill Road near this classic bridge

















Petersburgh Pass from the RRR Brooks Trail (Video)


Other Hikes
Fitch Trail Hike
Grafton Lakes State Park Hiking Trails
Grafton Lakes State Park Trails
Hopkins Forest

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Oldcastle Theatre Company in Bennington

Oldcastle Theatre - 331 Main St. Bennington, VT
Last night we attended the premier performance of Arthur Miller's The Ride Down Mount Morgan at Oldcastle Theatre Company in beautiful downtown Bennington.  After enjoying Shakespeare's The Lion in Winter last year, we knew, minimally, we would be attending a performance a year.  The Ride Down Mount Morgan did not disappoint.  Nigel Gore as Lyman was simply outstanding and the supporting cast admirable as well.  This show runs through October 23rd.  Click here to order tickets online and pick them up at the window to enjoy live professional theatre in an intimate setting with very comfortable seating.  Click here for an article in the Vermont Guide on the production.

Theatres around world are celebrating Arthur Miller's 100th birthday.  Oldcastle Theatre Company can be proud of the terrific production of The Ride Down Mount Morgan.

The Oldcastle Theatre Company cast discuss their roles in The Ride Down Mount Morgan
(Video)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Clark's Walking Trails


The Clark in Williamstown, Massachusetts is first and foremost a world class art museum.  However, especially for those of us within driving distance, its 140-acre campus also provides wonderful grounds with walking trails that provide spectacular views of Williamstown and the Green Mountains of Vermont -- particularly attractive at this time of the year.  Click here for their trail map.

Other Hikes
RRR Brooks Trail
Snow Hole
SVC Trails

See also