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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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Vermont Granite Museum - BarreWith Fall approaching, the buzz here in Vermont is definitely about foliage, but we’ll have a special article on foliage activities in the next few days.
For this week-end, still lots of things to do for the pleasure of all:

11th annual Barre Granite Festival – Barre – Saturday September 13, 10am – 3pm – Stone carving, music, history lectures, photography exhibit, Chicken BBQ lunch, tours of the Hope Cemetery are all on the program! We are definitely going to check it out! Afterall, people come to Barre from far away to see the delightful granite sculptures of the Hope Cemetery and the granite quarries. And Barre is – to our knowledge – the only Vermont county with a published article in National Geography!
More information at: Vermont Granite Museum – Granite Festival

7th Annual Small Farms Food Fest and apple picking – Shelburne Orchards – Sunday September 14, 11am – 5pm – You can enjoy 80 acres of apple trees, 10 acres of which have organic apples, you can enjoy the panoramic views of Lake Champlain, and you can enjoy the special activities on that Fest day: live music, haybale maze and special foods. Sounds like a fun Sunday afternoon!
More information at: Shelburne Orchards and Small Farms Food Fest

14th Annual Burlington Latino Festival – Burlington – September 10-14 – Lots of Latino music. The main event is Saturday 13, at the Boathouse, downtown Burlington, starting at 10am, with music bands from 6pm to 10:00pm and even a boat cruise on the Spirit of Ethan Allen III at 10:30pm to 12:30am!
More information at: Burlington Latino Festival

42nd Annual Bennington Car Show – Bennington – September 12-14 – 100 acres of antique and muscle cars for antique cars’ lovers!
More information at: 42nd Annual Bennington Car Show

Puppets in the Green Mountains – 10 locations in Bellows Falls, Putney, and Brattleboro – September 12-21 – Looks like an amazing event. It is the 6th edition of this international festival of puppet theater, with 8 groups from 7 countries – Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Sweden, Taiwan, and Vermont – 22 performances in total!
More information at: Puppets in the Green Mountains

Vermont Humanities Council events – Windsor – Sunday September 14 at 3pm – For history lovers like me, the Vermont Humanities Council is presenting 400 Miles Down the Connecticut River by Michael Tougias, author of fourteen books about New England.
More information at: Vermont Humanities

Lake Champlain through the lens – Lake Champlain Maritime Museum – September 6 to October 29 – A juried photography exhibit with participating professional and amateur photographers. Admission is included in the admission to the museum.
More information at: Lake Champlain through the lens

Hey, don’t forget to write to us with your comments!

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Swimming - Lake
Something for everyone, from fishing to outdoors sports, gastronomy, history, music and more!
9th Annual LCI Lake Champlain Bass Open – Sunday August 31 – Competitive bass fishing. You bring in your 6 best Champlain bass and there is $3,000 for the winner. The rumor is that it is one of the top 10 attended events in Vermont (dixit a fisherman).
More information at: Bass Open Tournament
5th Annual Plymouth Folk & Blues – Saturday August 30 and Sunday August 31 – 2 to 5 p.m. at the historic Plymouth Notch (President Calvin Coolidge Homestead). One of the Top 10 Fall Events, selected by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. Once again, a musical event in this pleasant country place, with local and nationally known musicians. The concerts are free and there is a BBQ at noon on Sunday at the Wilder House restaurant. Too many musician names to mention but there are people like Craig Bickhardt, a hugely successful songwriter who has written songs recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, B. B. King, Alison Krauss, and many others, Alastair Moock has won top honors at many of the country’s most prestigious contests and Nashville star Mare Wakefield, who has been called the sonic love child of Emmylou Harris and John Denver.
More information at: Plymouth Folk and Historic Vermont Sites
16th Annual Echo Lake Road Race: East Charleston – Saturday August 30 – 9 a.m. – You can choose your race: walk, run or bike, 5 or 10 miles on dirt roads around the lake.
More information at: Echo Lake Race
Presentation on Ethan Allen’s writing: South Woodstock – Saturday August 30 – 2 p.m. – For the history lovers, J. Kevin Graffagnino, Director of the Vermont Historical Society discussed the prolific and passionate writer, Ethan Allen, leader of the Green Mountain Boys and hero of the battle of Ticonderoga. An historic person difficult to miss if you are interested in the American Revolution history of the region.
More information at: Vermont Humanities
13th Annual Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival: Bennington – Saturday August 30 and Sunday August 31 – 10-5 p.m. The Vermont Chamber of Commerce awarded this event as one of the Top 10 Summer Events in Vermont. We don’t always agree with their selection, but it is definitely a unique subject for a festival.
A number of restaurants offer a vast variety of garlic-inspired foods. Live music can also be enjoyed throughout the event.
More information at: www.lovegarlic.com

Hope you enjoy the long week-end! And as usual, we would love to hear from you: suggestions, questions, comments…

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Lake Champlain Bluegrass FestivalPhoto courtesy of Adam Frehm

New this week!

7th Annual Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival – August 8-10, in Alburgh – If you like bluegrass music, this is your week-end. Pray for good weather so you can enjoy all the outdoors concerts. And if you are not familiar with the event, take a minute and look here on the Vermont Life Magazine website, at this slideshow with music (scroll down the page and be patient, it takes a little while to load) … Looks and sounds like lots of fun.
More information at: www.lakechamplainmusic.com
51st Annual Antique & Classic Car Show – August 8-10, in Stowe – It’s the big and famous antique car event of the summer at Stowe with around 850 antique, classic and collector cars expected.
More information at: www.vtauto.org
– The schooner Lois McClure is coming back home to Burlington – Saturday August 5, Perkins Pier, Lake Champlain, Burlington, 5PM. You may have heard that the Lois McClure has been traveling to Quebec city (and other places on its way down the Saint-Laurent and the Richelieu river) early July to represent Vermont at the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec city by Samuel de Champlain. It’s back home and invites you to bring your picnic and enjoy dessert this Saturday early evening.
Bicycle Film Series at the Savoy Theater, Montpelier – For the cyclists discouraged by the rain! Saturday August 9: The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di biciclette) (1948) – director: Vittorio De Sica (view the trailer) and Sunday August 10: Jour de Fête (1949) – writer and director: Jacques Tati. On your way, you can even admire some modern sculptures inspired by cycling, in front of several Montpelier buildings or inns!
– And finally, if you really enjoy wine tasting and want to offer yourself a very special treat, there is a very special wine week-end cruise – one-and-half day with an overnight – on the beautiful Moonlight Lady, hosted by Dellie Rex, senior Wine Instructor at New England Culinary Institute. The cost is $399 per person.
More information at: www.vtwinecruise.com

And for continuing events:
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
Vermont Summer Festival Horseshow – 5th 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 8 and Saturday August 9 at 8:30PM and Sunday afternoon August 10 at 2:30PM. 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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Harpoon Brewery barbecue competitionPhoto: Saturday afternoon, July 26 at the Harpoon Brewery barbecue competition

Thanks to all our readers for your interest and your comments.
And for those of you who may have missed one of these, here were our most popular articles for the month of July:
1- Harpoon Brewery BBQ competition
2- Fun things to do in Vermont in summer
3- Battle of Hubbardton reenactment
4- Vermont Summer Festival Horseshow – July 9 – August 17
5- Things to do in Vermont – Week-end of July 12-13

Well, it’s a new month with still lots of fun things to do here in Vermont! Hope you’ll be with us.

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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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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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Tiger LiliesSummer is definitely here and Vermont is still booming with activities and festivals. Anywhere you stay, you can enjoy music or historic narrations or military reenactments or food festivals!
So, as you plan the upcoming week-end, here are a few events we noticed:
Vermont Mozart Festival is in full swing with both adults and kids concerts this week-end;
25th anniversary week-end of Billings Farms, Woodstock – July 20 – with lots of activities planned. The Vermont Fiddle Orchestra will perform at 1 pm, and Robert Resnik & Friends at 3 pm. There will be free ice cream and cookies throughout the day. And Governor Jim Douglas will be there (2 pm)!
Mount Independence reenactment and encampment “Soldiers Atop the Mount” – it’s the major activity of the summer for the site;
7th Annual Killington Wine Festival – July 17-20
Vermont Brewers Festival – July 18-19 – Rumor is that the Brewers Festival in Quebec is better but…
30th Annual Middlebury Summer Festival on-the-green – July 13-19 – Vermont Public Radio (VPR) gave a nice preview last Saturday of some interesting musicians participating to the event, such as some celtic and some Quebec traditional music groups;
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, near Vergennes, has a fun small boat race on Sunday (3 miles rowing or paddling) attracting around 50 participants and a small crowd of roughly 200;
Vermont Summer Festival Horseshow – 2nd week-end of competition. Interestingly, the Northshire Digital Arts Center holds a digital photography contest for all attendees and participants of the horseshows. Check rules and prizes here.
David Maxwell – Bennington Center for the Arts – The concert will be recorded for a future album. The organizers say that critics and fans think David Maxwell is one of the finest blues pianists alive.
Marlboro Music – Marlboro College, Malboro – We don’t know the event, but the organizers are quoting the Time to have said that it is “the most exciting chamber music in the U.S.”
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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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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Fourth of July celebrationsIt’s time to celebrate Fouth of July all accross the country. Here in Vermont, there will be parades and fireworks in a number of towns. But we have identified a few other Fourth of July events for you.
There are two events worth noting at State Historic Sites which we already mentioned in previous posts:
– At the President Calvin Coolidge Homestead, celebrations for the birthday of the only U.S. president born on the Fourth of July. There is chicken BBQ to enjoy for lunch there at the restaurant!
– At Hubbardton Battlefield site, it is the annual Battle of Hubbardton reenactment this week-end, July 5-6th, with the actual battle reenactment taking place Sunday morning from around 8AM to 10AM. The battle is the only American Revolution battle which took place in Vermont. The date was July 7, 1777. Interestingly, at 4PM on Sunday afternoon, at the Old Constitution House in Windsor, a messenger will arrive to announce the Battle of Hubbardton and the American withdrawal from Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga – just like the messenger did on that day of July 1777 when he announced the news to the constitutional delegates.
And…
– The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is at the Shelburne Farms tonight (July 4th) and if the weather is good, the program will end with musicians playing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture while you enjoy the fireworks!
– For the very serious crowd, at the Bennington monument, like every year, an actor will read the Declaration of Independence at 1:00PM.
– Reading the Declaration of Independence is also part of the family celebrations at the Billings Farm and Museum today!
So, to all of you, have a very happy Independence Day!

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