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Unitarian Universal church Strafford
The next two Wednesday night concerts seem to be made just for me, the Brittany “girl” who I am… This Wednesday (July 30), at the historic Unitarian Universalist Church in South Strafford, the concert is traditional music and folklore from the Celtic lands of Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and beyond, and next Wednesday (August 6) it’s sailors’ songs! Everything my childhood in Brittany was made of! It is actually pretty rare to hear Brittany songs on this side of the ocean, at celtic concerts. I am pretty excited!
And the location (we have not been there before) must be lovely. It is not in the famous Strafford meeting house on the top of the green, built in 1799, which actually was the original Universalist Church. However, as we know, the State later had forbidden ties between church and state, and the 1799 building became solely the meeting house and a new church – the one that welcomes this series of folk concerts – was built in South Strafford and dedicated in 1833.
Well, it holds the promise for an enjoyable evening… may be you’ll join us there!
Details on these 2008 Strafford Unitarian Universalist Church Summer Folk Concerts: Wednesday evenings at 7:30 pm – $12.00/adult, children under 14 free
Directions: Coming from I-89 you get off at exit 2 and head north. That is a left hand turn if you have been going south on I-89 and a right turn if you have been heading north. You continue up 132 for 8 miles and come to a stop sign. The Universalist Church is directly in front of you. Parking is up by the Church or across the street in the Barrett Hall lot.
Complete schedule:
July 30 – WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY – Celtic Music with Bob DeMarco, Rachel Clark, Bob Smith and Steve Brittain. From the mountains of Vermont, Wind that Shakes the Barley presents a tantalizing mixture of traditional music and folklore from the Celtic lands of Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and beyond.
Website: www.windthatshakesthebarley.net
August 6 – DAVID COFFIN – Maritime Songs & History. Explore the life of a sailor, a whaler, a fisherman and hear the songs that illustrate the life they pursued at sea. Sing along on a shanty as we “hoist” the sails, “haul” on the lines, and stamp around the capstan.
Website: www.davidcoffin.com
Aug 13 – JESSE LEGÉ – Louisiana’s Cajun Music with Andy Stewart and Mary Jo Slattery Jesse Legé (vocals, Cajun accordion), Andy Stewart (fiddle) MJ Slattery (guitar, vocals). Louisiana’s renowned Cajun accordionist and vocalist Jesse Legé joins the locally-based Slattery & Stewart duo to serve up a rousing program of Cajun two-steps and waltzes.
August 20 – LUI COLLINS – folk singer/songwriter. Lui Collins’ music, poetry and inspiring spirit have spread into the hearts and homes of people of all ages. Lui will be joined by other local musicians celebrating our community of music and friends. Benefit concert.
Website: www.luicollins.com

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Dragon Boat FestivalNew this week!
5th Annual Vermont Lakes Region Cycling Weekend – It’s both Saturday and Sunday and seems like a really nice event for cyclers. They are 13 rides to choose from, from rolling to hilly terrain, and from 19 to 65 miles in length – on paved, scenic, rural roads. The small groups of cyclists gather at Green Mountain College in Poultney. And for all the rides, they are given detailed maps and clues, and are accompanied by an experienced leader. And to make it even more attractive, some rides lead to interesting cultural or historic places, such as the Slate Valley Museum, Fort Ticonderoga (on the NY side) or Hubbardton Battlefield. Accommodations are available.
More information at: www.cyclingvermont.org
Related Post: Battle of Hubbardton Reenactment
3rd Annual Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival – Sunday August 3, in Burlington, at the Waterfront Park, from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm – The traditional Chinese Dragon Boats are competing! Teams of 20 paddlers (and a drummer) in 40-feet boats. Definitely a popular event, as the registration for participants is already full! And it’s a fund-raising event for Breast Cancer. We’ll be there!
More information at: Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival
2008 Pipers’ Gathering, Killington – sounds like a very serious gathering of pipers with workshops and group instructions during the 2 days, but for the general public, those of you who like such music, it’s also the chance to listen to “some of the best pipers” in the world (say the organizers) in 2 concerts Saturday night August 2 and Sunday night August 3 at 7:30PM.
More information at: www.pipersgathering.org
• The President Calvin Coolidge Homestead is always a nice place for a relaxing time, when the weather is nice and they do have some additional attractions on Saturday August 2 (Plymouth Old Home Day, including a chicken BBQ) and Sunday August 3 (piano concerts at 3PM).
Related post: President Calvin Coolidge House 
• At Mount Independence Historic Site, a great place for some day hikes, it’s a “Hike into History” on Sunday August 3, at 2PM, where you can hike the Orange Trail and the Blue Trail and learn from Steve Zeoli what happened there in 1776 and 1777 during the American Revolution. You can also bring a picnic and/or hike the flat, easy Baldwin Trail (green trail) which just won the 2008 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) Leadership in History Awards (quite a mouth full!), the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. And indeed, the signage on the trail is superb!
Related post: Day Hike: Mount Independence
Champlain Valley Folk Festival – August 1-3 – at the Kingsland Bay State Park – celebrating its 25 years – We suspect it is probably a casual event… in the State Park… but there are still an impressive number of artists appearing over the 3 days (35 on the program we saw!)… so if you enjoy folk music, I hope you enjoy it.
More information at: www.cvfest.org
Directions: Take Route 7 to Ferrisburgh. From the center of Ferrisburgh, take Little Chicago Road west toward the lake. Turn right on Hawkins Road and continue for 4 miles to the Festival Entrance.
• And finally, as surprising as it may be, Les Miserables musical is playing in Vermont… from July 31 to August 23 in Weston. We’ll try to go and check this production in the next few weeks and tell you what we thought. We are not expecting the kind of production you can see in New York or London, but we’ll see…
More information at: www.westonplayhouse.org

And for continuing events:
Vermont Mozart Festival. It’s your last chance to attend one of its outdoors concerts in a place with beautiful scenery: Friday night August 1, at Shelburne Farms, and Saturday August 2 and Sunday August 3 the 2 “finale” concerts at Shelburne Farms and Stowe. We are planning to attend one of them… and praying for sunny weather;
And don’t forget the concert for kids at Teddy Bear Company Factory, in Shelburne, on Sunday. See our Event Calendar for the complete schedule.
Related posts:
Grande Isle Magic… and Jazz
Vermont Mozart Festival: Schedule
Vermont Mozart Festival: Grand Opening
Vermont Summer Festival Horseshow – 4th week-end of competition at East Dorset; Photographers: remember you can participate to a digital photography contest (see previous posting);
Related post: Vermont Summer Festival Horseshow
– And more chamber music at Marlboro Music, Marlboro College – Friday August 1 and Saturday August 2 at 8:30PM and Sunday afternoon August 3 at 2:30PM – We were there last week-end and the concert was delightful. It is worth the drive there and you can find nice romantic inns to stay at, in the area. Time Magazine says it’s “the most exciting chamber music in the U.S.”, the NY Times says “extraordinary rising stars and musical legends play side-by-side”.
More information at: Marlboro Music
Also, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment on one of these events if you have a chance to attend!

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Marlboro Music FestivalThis posting is becoming a weekly tradition, I guess…
I hope you like it.
There seems to be a lot of music played these days in Vermont. Hey, it’s summer and concerts are mainly outdoors, it’s wonderful… except when we get pouring rain like last week-end… oups!
It reminds me that we want to give you some ideas of “summer concerts on the green” – stay tuned for this upcoming posting!
But for now, this week-end, what caught our attention:
Vermont Mozart Festival is still happening (the full schedule is on our Event Calendar page). There are more concerts to attend this week-end in one of the beautiful places the Festival chooses to play at: Friday night July 25, at the Barre Opera House (in-door) and outdoors on Saturday July 26 and Sunday July 27, concerts at Shelburne and at Stowe. We are planning to attend 2 of them… and praying for sunny weather;
Vermont Summer Festival Horseshow – 3nd week-end of competition at East Dorset; Photographers: remember you can participate to a digital photography contest (see last week’s posting);
11th Annual Green Mountain Antiques Show & Sale in Woodstock – We have not been there, but I am guessing that the event could be reasonably big, it’s in Woodstock afterall and it’s the 11th year they have it! For information, call 802-484-5942;
– The Green Mountain Chamber Festival is having concerts for the whole month of July. Friday night July 25 is a faculty concert “Immortal Beethoven” in Burlington. Should be nice!
– And more chamber music at Marlboro Music, Marlboro College – We are intrigued by this series of concerts, which seems to get great reviews. The Time says it’s “the most exciting chamber music in the U.S.”, the NY Times says “extraordinary rising stars and musical legends play side-by-side” – this week-end, Saturday night July 26 and Sunday afternoon July 27… we’ll try to go!
Harp concert, Heidi Soons, the principal harpist of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra – Salisbury Congregational Church, Salisbury, this Friday July 25; For information, call 802-352-6671;
– The Vermont Arts Council has noted this special exhibit in Dorset, “It’s all about Marble: Dorset marble heritage” on the history of Dorset Quarries and its marble industry. Only Sunday afternoon July 27;
– and for something less serious, of course the Harpoon Brewery BBQ competition is Saturday July 26 and Sunday July 27 in Windsor. Well, we like the arts, but we also like fun, so we’ll be there Sunday evening!
– And last but not least, this Saturday July 26, for the sportive crowd (very fit crowd!), it’s the 5th Annual Onion River Century Ride – 100 kms or 110 miles biking ride.

We’ll be posting more details in the next couple of days. Make sure to come back and visit us.
Also, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment on one of these events if you got a chance to attend!

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Biking in VermontWe’ve just come across this section of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce website which has some suggestions for bike tours, and we thought we’ll share it with you, because we believe they did a very nice job with it.
It presents 9 back road bike tours with very detailed descriptions of the routes and their level of difficulty; every type of cyclers is going to find one for him/her abilities. The presentation is very inviting and they made it very practical as well: each route has its own PDF for you to print and take on the road with you. We also liked the fact that they included some historic facts about the buildings and villages you see along the way… why not learn a little more about the places you are biking through as you are enjoying the landscape… and pedaling hard!
Here are the routes:
Berlin Pond Loop – 5 Miles -for casual cyclists – dirt road
Calais Historic Hamlets – about 20 Miles – reasonable degree of fitness – unpaved
Mad River Valley Recreation Path – 4.5 Miles – flat to gently rolling – mostly unpaved
Mad River Valley Tour – 16.3 Miles (5.7 Mile Optional Extension) – degree of fitness required – option more difficult
Montpelier – East Montpelier – 16.5 Miles (9.2 Mile Option) – quite hilly but can avoid the climb out of Montpelier
Northfield Tour – 12.3 Miles – 2 very steep hills – mostly unpaved
Lake Tour – 7 Miles – hilly terrain and dirt roads – Calais and Woodbury areas
Waterbury – Stowe – 22.2 Miles – few fairly rugged climbs mixed with easy terrain and exhalarating descents – half paved and half dirt road
Websterville Loop – 13.7 Miles – few good climbs – unpaved, gravel roads
In addition to the bike tours, the site has some other interesting information such as bicycle organizations, bike tours companies and even bike races.
So check it out, enjoy the tours and tell us what you thought! And check back with us soon… we have articles on the Champlain Bikeway and the famous Route 100 bike road in the works!
Link to Central Vermont Back Road Bike Tours.

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Swimming - LakeThere are lots of fun things to do in Vermont in the summer. Here is for starters:
– Go to one of the 89 swimming holes – ponds and rivers – listed on this website. Make sure to watch their slideshow, it gives you a great idea of the look of the different places (names are on the photos). Great for a hot day!
– Go to one of many outdoor concerts of the Vermont Mozart Festival or the Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival;
– Watch antique cars at the 51st Annual Antique & Classic Car Meet, in Stowe on August 8-10;
– Eat a maple cremee: you got to have one if you are in Vermont in the summer… Make sure you get the ones made with real maple syrup and not just the flavor! We’ll give you some addresses soon, but for now, let’s mention Morse Farm, up County Road, near Montpelier, that’s the place everyone knows;
– Go to the Harpoon Brewery BBQ competition in Windsor on July 26-27; 40 teams from all the country will compete!
– Get a Vermont Brewery Challenge – Official Passport and visit all 18 great micro-breweries in the state of Vermont; Get a stamp at each and you can win prizes!
– Go and watch the Challenge Race at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, near Vergennes on July 20; it’s a 3-mile race of around 50 small boats. Should be fun. Around 200 spectators usually attend. And may be even more fun, on Saturday 19 (today!) there is a duct tape boat construction and race there!
– Attend your first Thunder Road night in Barre (not NASCAR racing but close!) – every Thursday and occasionally on week-ends;
– And if you are into American Revolution history, go to one of the reenactments/encampments which take place at different historic sites along the summer: the Battle of Hubbardton early July, Mount Independence encampment this week-end, Bennington in August…
What do you think? Fun enough?… Anything fun we should add to this list, leave us a comment and tell us about it!!

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Round barn VermontLast week’s quiz did not get the level of answers we expected! So, this week, we made it much, much easier. Come on… tell us where is this wonderful renovated round barn. You cannot find many of those around! And we’ll tell you more about them next week, when we explain where this one is.
Clues:
– it is now a public building,
– it is close to Burlington.

Click here to log in your answer as a Comment!

Answer to last week’s quiz: We were at the corner of Road 73 and road 30 on our way to Mount Independence State Historic site. And the 4 large windows? There are the proof that the building used to be a one-room school, because in the 20s-30s, Vermont passed a law forcing all schools to add 4 large windows to their building for better light. Check around and you’ll notice some of them still used as public buildings or sometimes converted to private residences.

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Mount Independence - bridgeMount Independence which is also known as Fort Independence is a wonderful hiking opportunity as well as a pleasant walk for those less eager to tackle the 400 feet of decent and re-ascent to the shore of the lake. There are some easy trails with great historic signage and a couple of true day hiking 3-mile long trails. There are also great views of the New York side of Lake Champlain and Fort Ticonderoga.
The top of the mount is where the traditional star shaped fort, hospital, and some of the living quarters were located. This area is all very accessible by almost completely flat walking after rising about 50 feet, gently, from the back of the museum. It is a well-maintained crushed slate and can be walked in sandels… Don’t miss the 0.25 mile spur out to the cannon emplacement which has a dramatic view across the lake of Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Defiance as well as a great vantage point to visualize the bridge which once existed across the lake. We also really enjoyed visualizing the hospital from the well preserved foundation and reading the historic descriptions of the various points of interest. It is very well done.
The other trails all take you down the mount to the lake shore and back up. It is a fascinating “easy” hike by hiking standards but it is no longer a crushed slate walkway. Its typical “Long Trail” style path but with the addition of marked points along the way where vistas or artifacts of the fort remain. One of the best spots is at the end (aren’t they usually?) where the bridge connected across the lake and you can now look “up” and across to Fort Ticonderoga and visualize the way it may have been back in 1776 – 1777. There is a monument and very pleasant picnicking area just up from that spot about 100 yards where the first cannon emplacements were once located.
Our “hike” which included the full circle of the walking tour on the top last about 2 ½ hours and was broken up with many minutes of enjoying locations and reading about the object or site that we were viewing. I would recommend this hike/walk for families since there is so many times that the “next thing” is just a few minutes away and should keep the kids very interested for the 2 – 3 hours. Also, anyone capable of rising the 50 feet to the circular path on top should not be intimidated with that walk (maybe 45 mins at a leisurely pace) as it is essentially “flat as a pancake” up there.
You are truly hiking into history. Enjoy!
The official website of the Mount Independence State Historic Site.

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Hen of the WoodThe Hen of the Wood was again noticed last week, and by noone else than the Mark Bittman, who writes for NY Times’ dining section. Nice!
The title of his article definitely caught my attention: “Revitalized Eating in Vermont”. Seems like some other gourmets agree with our team (see our posting on “Waterbury award-winning restaurants“), and believe that there is now some nice gastronomy in Vermont!
I will let you read the article but in summary, he mentions “3 wonderful eating experiences” he had in Vermont last week-end:
– the Hen of the Wood,
Clotilde, a 70-family community supported agriculture operation,
Ariel’s in Brookfield.
Ariel’s? Interesting… The owners have another restaurant in Montpelier called Ariel’s Riverside… We were there the other day, and were actually disappointed that the owners had decided to change the menu from the BBQ place we loved (Finkerman’s Riverside) to this fancy, somewhat expensive, undifferentiating menu… oh well…

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Helen Sung jazz trioWe attended the Vermont Mozart Festival’s Wednesday (July 16) event, Grand Isle Jazz with the Helen Sung trio. What a fabulous location right on a point into the lake, with water on three sides, and such a majestic historic building – the Lakehouse – on the site. And the weather was perfect.
The music and acoustics were wonderful. Helen Sung and her trio were light and airy, just coooool jazz, on the porch of this fabulous landmark of Lake Champlain. If Samuel de Champlain had landed here last night, he never would have returned to Quebec. There is no doubt. No seriously….
Ms. Sung can best be described as “fluid” in her style. Constant, great sound coming out of the group, and headlined by her technically excellent piano technique. “Watch the left hand”, I said to my wife Christine. “She is as strong on the left as the right”. That’s top notch playing…on any stage. Superb!
This time, we had our picnic and took in the whole location and let the music just top off the night and it did. We are looking forward to more of these great “experiences” for all of our senses. You should as well.
A special note for history lovers: Grande Isle Lakehouse, built in 1903, is actually one of the few remaining historic lakeshore hotels in New England. It is now used for special events… and weddings! Quite majestic indeed!
You can read more on its history on this website.
For the complete list and schedule of the Vermont Mozart Festival concerts, check our Event Calendar page.

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American Revolution reenactment camp This weekend, July 19 – 20, is the Mount Independence Encampment and Re-Enactment “Soldiers Atop the Mount”. If you haven’t been to one of these before, don’t miss it. You can walk through the American and British camps, see the reenactors in action, watch them execute some military tactics and artillery demonstrations, listen to a couple of concerts (a short concert by Seth Warner Mount Independence Fife and Drum Corps on Saturday afternoon at 2:15 pm or the professional brass quintet Brass Connection on Saturday night at 7 pm, for Dixieland, swing and Broadway tunes). And if you enjoy walks and hikes, check out our upcoming posting on the trails we hiked there a few weekends ago. The new Baldwin Trail is particularly remarkable. It now has great interpretive signs along its 1.6-mile route (it even got an award for it recently!). It is wonderful.
This event is really a continuation of the wonderful Hubbardton Battlefield reenactment which we attended on July 5 -6. While no “field battle” actually occurred on Mount Independence (since the fort was abandoned during the action starting with the capture by the British of Fort Ticonderoga on July 5-6, and culminating with the Hubbardton battle mentioned above), the fort is a fascinating story.
The fort was built as an enhancement to the French-built Fort Ticonderoga by the US revolutionary army. The encampment and cannons were impressive and the fort design really interesting. The encampment this weekend will not only provide real life portrayal of the camp life as it would have been in 1776 – 1777 but will also include some artillery demonstrations, including probably some cannon firing demonstrations (if they get the cannon), just like the action the fort saw during the American Revolution war. Such action did not take place early July 1777, as we all know that the fort was abandoned at that time, but later that fall of 1777 when the Americans tried to recapture the fort from the British. There was cannon bombardment from the lake and across the lake from New York State as well as return fire from the British, probably using US cannons.
Major General David Bernier will be providing a wonderful narration of military tactics as well as the story of the abandonment of Fort Ticonderoga across the lake by the Americans, fleeing across the bridge between the two forts (did you know that this bridge ever existed? I didn’t), and the “botched” mid-night escape of the Mount Independence fort. Discussion of the range and strategy of the cannon fire of the period will also be discussed as only the Major General can do. Hope you enjoy it!
The official site of Mount Independence State Historic Site.

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