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Vermont foliageFall is definitely here in Vermont! A couple of fresh nights this week and the first maple trees turned red and tonight frost will have more leaves turn red, no doubt. A nice premise for a nice week-end.
And to celebrate Vermont foliage season so dear to all of us, there are many things to do here. Of course you can go canoeing and kayaking on lakes and rivers (I will write about it next week) or hike or do a lot of other outdoor activities. But there are also some special events and festivals this week-end:
Apple picking : You are invited to participate to the annual contest « Apples to iPods » which takes place in many orchards again this year. If you find a wooden iPod in a tree at one of the participating orchards, you’ll win a real iPod. More info at: Vermont Apples.
Vermont Life Wine & Harvest Festival – Mount Snow Valley –September 25-27, 2009: It’s the second year of this event, where you can participate to cooking demonstrations by local restaurants, wine and cheese pairing presentations, wine pairing diners at some local restaurants, etc. Specialty food makers, cheesemakers and craft artists will show their products. And of course, there will be music, jazz trio and acoustic roots band… Don’t miss a Vermont style breakfast on Saturday or Sunday morning, with maple syrup (I am sure) and products (bacon and sausages) from local company Vermont Smoke and Cure, or the BBQ and Blue Grass diner on Friday night. The event is listed as one of the top ten Fall events by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce this year. More info at Vermont Life Wine & Harvest Festival.
Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom Annual Fall Foliage Festival – September 27 – October 3, 2009 – Towns and villages of the region offer a variety of activities during this week : food events, visits, music, etc. More info on the site of the Chamber of Commerce.
5th Annual Burlington Book Festival – September 25-27, 2009 – A book fair in Burlington is always a good excuse to come and wander the nice streets of this nice little Vermont town we all like (see our last year’s article on Burlington). Many authors will be there, there will be new and used books, free appraisal of rare books and more. More info at Burlington Book Festival.
6th Annual Vermont Fine Furniture & Woodworking Festival – September 26-27, 2009 – In the Southern part of the state, woodwork and nice furniture lovers won’t miss this event. More than 50 furniture makers and woodworking artists are expected. You can even watch Barre Pinske carve a bear on site. More info at Vermont Fine Furniture & Woodworking Festival.
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum – Archaeology Week-end – September 26-27, 2009 – South of Burlington, near Vergennes, it is the annual archaeology event at the museum. You can do a tour on the lake to see a shipwreck (Saturday 1pm), or enjoy presentations, movies and more. More info on the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum website.
Biking tour – South Hero and Grand Isle – September 26, 2009 – And for cycling amateurs, the Montpelier Section of the Green Mountain Club organizes a 25-mile loop in this beautiful region of Lake Champlain Islands, north of Vermont. For more info, contact: Mary Garcia at (802) 229-0153 or Mary Smith at (802) 505-0603.
– And don’t forget to read the last issue of Vermont Life magazine (we are not paid to promote it), for more info on a lot of outdoor activities you can do this Fall here, or just for the pleasure of looking at the beautiful photos they have throughout the magazine! Vermont Life Magazine Current Issue.

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green_mountain_film_festival_575This week is the Green Mountain Film Festival… But we are taking the opportunity to also bring you information on other film festivals or film series throughout the state of Vermont this year. After all, the ski season is almost over, and spring is not quite here yet. It’s the perfect time to go to the movies!

12th Annual Green Mountain Film Festival – March 20-29 – Montpelier
Hundreds of screenings. A very interesting selection of movies in several avenues.
See the complete list of movies with dates of the screenings, summaries, and links to reviews. Make sure to buy tickets early, some movies are already sold out.
Locations: Savoy Theater, City Hall Arts Center and Kellogg-Hubbard Library
Official website:  Green Mountain Film Festival

Reel Paddling Film Festival – April 4 – Colchester – 8pm
The Reel Paddling Film Festival is showing the best paddling films of the year from around the world.
Location: McCarthy Recital Hall – St. Michael’s College
More information at: Reel Paddling Film Festival – Vermont

Hirschfield International Film Series – Middlebury – April – May
The 2008-2009 Film Series still has some showings in April. You can see these films on Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm.
Upcoming showings:
April 4: The Band’s Visit (Israel, 2007, 87 minutes) – Winner 2008 Un Certain Regard – Jury Coup de Coeur, Cannes; Winner 2007 European Film Award; Winner 2007 Grand Prix at Warsaw International Film Festival. In English, Arabic, and Hebrew.
April 11: Zodiac (US, 2007, 158 minutes) – Nominated 2007 Golden Palm, Cannes.
April 18: City of Men (Brazil, 2007, 110 minutes) – Nominated for 2008 Cinema Brazil Grand Prize. In Portuguese with English subtitles.
April 25: Syndromes and a Century (Thailand, 2006, 105 minutes) – 2007 Winner at the Asian Film Awards; Nominated 2006 Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival. In Thai with English subtitles.
May 2: Duchess of Langeais (France, 2007, 137 minutes) – Nominated 2007 Golden Berling Bear, Berlin International Film Festival.
Location: Middlebury College’s Dana Auditorium on College Street
Cost: free
More information: Middlebury – Calendar of Events 2009

Central Asian Cinema Film Series – Asian Cultural Center of Vermont – West Brattleboro
A pretty amazing program of movies on Central Asia. Who would have thought that you could view so many movies about Central Asia in Vermont?
These are feature movies, subtitled in English, preceded by a short introduction and followed by a discussion.
It is a little difficult to identify the movies on the events page of the website, as 2007, 2008 and 2009 events are all mixed together on the page.
Here is the list of the upcoming showings.

white-mountains-kyrgyz-movie-75Saturday, March 28, 2009 – 5pm
The White Mountains, a film from Kyrgyzstan by Melis Ubukeev
(62 minutes, 1998, subtitles)

 

land-of-the-fathers-movie-75Saturday, April 4, 2009 – 5pm
The Land of the Fathers, a film from Kazakhstan by Shaken Aimanov
(85 minutes, 1966)

 

aksuat-movie-75Tuesday, April 7, 2009 – 6pm
Aksuat, a film from Kazakhstan by Serik Aprimov
(80 minutes, 1997)

 

little-angel-movie-75Tuesday, May 5, 2009 – 6pm
Little Angel, Make me Happy, a film from Turkmenistan
(88 minutes, 1993)

 

daughter-in-law-movie-75Saturday, May 9 – 5pm
Daughter-in-law, a film from Turkmenistan
(75 minutes, 1963)

 

kosh-ba-kosh-movie-75Tuesday, June 16, 2009 – 6pm
Kosh Ba Kosh, a film from Tajikistan
(1993, 98 minutes)

 

hasan-arbakesh-movie-75Tuesday June 30, 2009 – 5pm
Hasan – Arbakesh, a film from Tajikistan
(1965, 91 minutes)

 

the-orator-uzbek-movie-75Tuesday, July 7, 2009 – 6pm
The Orator, a film from Uzbekistan
(90 minutes, 1998)

 

youarenotanorphan-movie-75Saturday, July 11, 2009 – 5pm
You are not an Orphan, a film from Uzbekistan
(75 minutes, 1963)

 

beshkempir-kyrgyz-movie-75Tuesday, August 11, 2009 – 6pm
Beshkempir, a film from Kyrgyzstan by Aktan Abdykalykov
(77 minutes, 1998, subtitles)

Location: 814 Western Avenue, West Brattleboro
More information  and story lines at: Asian Cultural Center of Vermont – Events

2nd Annual Vermont Samurai Kaiju Film Festival – October 23-25, 2009 – Brattleboro area theatres
A festival of Samurai and Kaiju films in Japanese. Kaiju, in Japanese, means ‘mysterious beast’ and refers to a film genre that started in the 50s. The Samurais are Japanese warriors. Schedule to be announced
More information at: Vermont Samurai Kaiju

Other film series or film festivals we missed – we’ll bring them to you next year… promised!

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour – February 2009 – Burlington
The World Tour brings a selection of around 30 of the best outdoor life films from the Banff Film Festival.
More information at: Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour

Stowe Mountain Film Series – December to March 2009 – Stowe
Stowe Mountain Resort brings you a number of films on skiing.
Main location: Spruce Base Camp, Stowe Mountain Resort
More information at: Vermont Ski Museum events

Women’s Film Festival – Brattleboro – March 13-22, 2009
An annual festival of documentaries and feature films made mainly by women, highlighting women’s lives around the world and telling women’s stories.
It was the 18th year of that festival. Proceeds go to the Women’s Crisis Center of Windham County.
Locations: Three downtown locations close to Brattleboro’s Amtrak station.
More information at: Women’s Film Festival

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ThanksgivingThanksgiving is about great food and family fun. For this festive time, we’ve tried to find some fun things to eat and to do in Vermont. Here are our top choices:
1- Forget all the hard work and try one of these restaurants… if you are in Southern Vermont. I am relying on this article of Suzanne Donahue, who is suggesting three local restaurants with nice food and wonderful settings: the Four Chimneys Restaurant in Bennington; Arlington Inn in Arlington and the Ye Olde Tavern in Manchester Center. Let us know what you think!
2- Discover the 19th century traditions of Thanksgiving at the Billings Farm and Museum. Enjoy a visit with costumed guides and watch their demonstration of the preparation of a traditional 19th century Thanksgiving meal in the 1890 Farm House.
3- Sunday November 30, 7 pm, at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier. Attend a Gospel Choir concert in Montpelier… in the spirit of the Holidays. “The gospel choir and band combines soul, jazz, original and traditional gospel music to produce an exuberant sound”, they promise us.
4- Saturday November 29, 11 am in Randolph. Be kids again… or bring your grand-children to a delightful marionette show. The show “The Hobbit” is the newest production of the No Strings Marionette Company. The reviews are great!
5- Indulge with chocolate turkeys (for something new): Lake Champlain Chocolates has them for you.
6- Personally I prefer cheese to chocolate! Why not make your Thanksgiving supper special and discover some of Vermont artisan cheeses for the occasion? See our recent article for a list of Vermont award-winning cheeses.
7- And if you are in Putney, take part in the 30th annual Putney Crafts Tour, which happens there every Thanksgiving Week-end. The Vermont Shepherd cheese company is just one of the 27 participating “artists”!
8- And last, but not least, get some special wine for this Thanksgiving celebration. It seems that this “poor girl gourmet” blogger knows her wine and she is recommending the Apple Maple Wine and Cassis Wine from Putney Mountain Winery for Thanksgiving. Why not try it?

And on this note, happy, happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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Samuel de Champlain - battle against Iroquois - Ticonderoga 1609
At 7pm tonight, October 24th, at the Vergennes Opera House, is the film premiere of “Champlain – the Lake Between” by filmmaker Caro Thompson. Samuel de Champlain seems to be quite a celebrity these days here in Vermont but also in Quebec and in New York State. 400 years ago, when he traveled these regions, he probably did not imagine he would be so popular centuries later… As Quebec celebrates the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec city by Samuel de Champlain and as New York and Vermont prepare to celebrate the anniversary of the discovery of Lake Champlain by the French explorer next year, a lot is being written and discussed on this subject: conferences, movies and documentaries, books…
Tonight, Caro Thompson explores Samuel de Champlain’s legacy, the relationships between Natives and Europeans (the fur trade was essential to both the French and the Natives) and the history of the military forts (Lake Champlain was indeed a very strategic region at the time of New France). “The lake between” is the name native Americans had given to the lake… There will be a discussion with the filmmaker and reception. The documentary will also be broadcasted on Vermont Public Television, with a broadcast premiere on December 3, 2008, at 8pm.
More information at: Vergennes Opera House – Film premiere of “Champlain – The Lake Between”

In the past few weeks, there have been other events of interests, a recent conference in Vergennes on first contacts between Europeans and Natives, a presentation at Champlain College by the historian Willard Sterne Randall, TV programs on Quebec television, articles in Quebec newspapers and the New York Times… but if you missed them, you still have a chance to be part of this discovery experience.

Here are a few events to watch for:
– October 30 in Albany, Pulitzer prize winner David Hackett Fischer is presenting his new book: “Champlain’s Dream”. A superb book!
Details at: “Champlain’s Dream” – Book presentation
– July 2-5, 2009: Champlain College is organizing an international symposium called: “When the French were here”.
Details at: Champlain College – “When the French were here” – Conference
– And right here at Travel-Vermont.net, we are organizing a summer 2009 historic tour “When this land was called New France…” … 6 days of historic exploration of this beautiful region (Quebec, Vermont and New York State)… Samuel de Champlain’s explorations, the way French settlers lived here, the forts and military actions… in English or in French… In partnership with Ipswich Tours and History Traveler, the official travel organization of the History Channel, and one of the events of the Quadricentennial of Lake Champlain.
More details at:When this land was called New France“.

Related articles:
– Middlebury College’s professor Christopher Shaw has canoed the path taken by Samuel de Champlain this summer.
Read his September 26 article in the New York Times: Champlain’s Shores
– In the Boston Globe, March 9, 2008: “Champlain was here” … on the exploration of the coast of New England, all the way down to Cape Cod
– In the Times Argus, March 16, 2008: “A bold arrival, an obscure end for French in Vermont”
“Champlain names his lake”, a presentation by historian Willard Sterne Randall, from the Champlain College will air soon on Channel17 TownMeeting in streaming video. Check: Town Meeting Digital Television Conversion
– You can already see a presentation he did on Jacques Cartier and French explorers at: “Jacques Cartier and fool’s gold”
– The documentary “Facing Champlain, A Work in 3 Dimensions” by award-winning Quebec filmmaker Jean-François Pouliot can be seen at the Centre d’interprétation de Place-Royale in Quebec city
Details at: Centre d’interprétation de Place-Royale
– Map of Samuel de Champlain’s voyages
Lake Champlain… New France

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Quebec flag
The French Heritage Days starts on Friday night, July 11, from 6 to 9PM, in Vergennes, with the Veillée, a traditional French Canadian supper and traditional music and dance with the Club Carrefour, from Quebec. That should be so much fun! Everything we dream of for a traditional French Canadian supper is on the menu for sure… “French onion soup, pea soup, tourtiere (traditional meat pie), chicken pie, sheppard pie, apple pie, blueberry pie, tarte au sucre (sugar pie)”… that was the list Marguerite, the organizer of the event gave me… Carbs count? You got to forget about those for one night for sure!… afterall, the hard-working farmers in the harsh winters of Quebec really needed these calories… but it should be delicious…
Then, on Saturday July 12th, a number of events and activities are taking place in various Vergennes locations to be enjoyed by the whole family: reenactors of French soldiers, French Voyager, Comte de Vergennes, and Samuel de Champlain, fencing demonstrations, story tellers, waiter’s race, etc. … and lots of music (fiddle and accordion)!
As you can see, Samuel de Champlain is already a star this year at the French Heritage Days, even though the 400th anniversary celebration of his discovery of Lake Champlain is only next year: there will be a lecture by Julie Dowd, “They Walked with Champlain” at the library and a Samuel de Champlain historical interpretation at the bandstand.
And last but not least, the Vermont French Canadian Genealogical Society will be there to help you trace back your French-Canadian ancestors, if your name happens to be Sénécal, Gagné or Gagnon! And on that subject, I need to open a little parenthesis for those of you interested in tracing back your ancestors to France. I came accross this France Guide website yesterday, which has a free ancestry search tool to just do that: simply type your name and it will give you the names of French ancestors who came to North-America! You can click here to access the free ancestry search tool. Nice, no?
Well, to conclude… we have not attended this event before, so we don’t know how well attended it is and what its “quality” is, but we’ll be there on Saturday for sure (too bad we cannot make it Friday night!).
What we know though is that it seems to attract more people every year and it has also been chosen as the “signature event” of the summer celebrations for the 400th anniversary of Lake Champlain next year.
So, if you drop by, make sure to tell us what you thought!

Schedule for the French Heritage Days in Vermont – July 11-12, 2008

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Hubbardton reenactment
Sunday morning – July 6, 2008 – Battle of Hubbardton reenactment

Fourth of July’s week-end is hardly over that we are already thinking about next week-end! Summer is here and Vermont has so many events and activities to choose from! It seems particulary true for the upcoming week-end of July 12-13.
So, we thought we would share our initial thoughts with you, the few events which garbed our attention, and which we will write more about as the week progresses.
Vermont Mozart Festival – a renowned festival for musicians, will have its Grand Opening next Sunday night at Shelburne Farms. We’ll be there!
French Heritage Days, Vergennes – an event more popular every year, for the people like me who enjoy Quebec food and music, and a lot more! We’ll be there as well, on Saturday.
– the Mountain Bike Festival in Waterbury July 12 and 13 – for the more sportive among us!
– the Vermont Summer Festival Horseshow – the start of six weeks of top equestrian competition in the beautiful Green Mountains scenery;
– the Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival – 25 hot air balloons will launch Friday at 6:30pm, Saturday at 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 6:30 a.m.!
So… come back and visit us for more detailed information and all the relevant links. And don’t miss our upcoming story on the Best Maple Cremee in Vermont as well!