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2 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018


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EDITOR’S NOTE

Signs of Spring

Spring is here and that means longer, brighter, warmer days. Getting through a long, tough, overcast Vermont winter can be a challenge especially if, like me, you’re the type of person who suffers from cabin fever and needs sunshine and warmer temperatures deep in his soul. Of course, that’s not to say I don’t appreciate winter in the Green Mountain State. In fact, when spring finally arrives, I can truly appreciate the new season that much more. Spring in Vermont is a time of transition. You can clearly feel winter is still hanging on just as the emerging spring is pulling you in the direction of brighter days and the delightful, natural seasonal process of greening up. Up in our mountains, the streams feed on gravity and run fast with snow melt. Our wildlife begins to reawaken to the promise of renewed abundance after all those cold months of deprivation. (I perhaps foolishly worry about the wild animals huddling under cover on our coldest winter nights.) This issue of OSV magazine reflects the transition of spring: We take a look at camping in the Green Mountains, the maritime life of Lake Champlain, Vermont’s rich heritage of country stores, and lots more. And speaking of Vermont’s country stores, along with newspapers and magazines on display, you’ll often find the latest edition of the Old Farmers Almanac on hand. The Almanac, a New England standard, was founded in Neighboring New Hampshire in 1792; it’s still going strong. We don’t know how they do it, but this venerable Almanac has a pretty good track record of accurate weather prognostications. Considering all the government and university supercomputers running various models showing localized weather patterns (and long-range climate trends), the humble little Almanac manages to do a pretty good job without the high-tech gizmos. In fact, one online Almanac visitor wrote a nice testimonial about the journal’s weather accuracy; it’s right below the 2017-18 forecast for our region: “I don’t want to know how, but you guys are amazing. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but you’re much more accurate than our area’s “Accu Weather”. Nice job, keep up the good work!” Ok, here’s what the Almanac has to say about the winter just ended and the rest of the current year of 2018. (We’re going to file away this forecast and see if its on the mark or missed it by a mile): “The coldest periods will be in late December and early February. The snowiest periods will be in late November, early to mid-December, mid- to late January, and early to mid-February. April and May will be rainier than normal, with near-normal temperatures. Summer will be hotter and slightly drier than normal, with the hottest periods in early June, early and mid-July, and early August. September and October will be slightly cooler and drier than normal.” Regardless of the Almanac’s forecast, the Nature Conservancy of Vermont has its own formula for knowing that spring has arrived: 1. Early mornings and late afternoons are filled with bird songs, 2. Buds, flowers, and sweet smells fill the air, 3. Fresh rain and misty mornings greet you, 4. A chorus of frogs echoes from the woods, and 5. Salamanders are emerging from their hiding spots in order to breed in vernal pools. No matter how you choose to recognize it, spring has finally sprung.

Lou Varricchio, editor

our s ate Editor Lou Varricchio lou@addison-eagle.com

Publisher Ed Coats ed@addison-eagle.com

Sales Staff Cyndi Armell cyndi@addison-eagle.com Heidi Littlefield heidi@addison-eagle.com

Graphics Team Design 2 Pro howard@design2pro.com

Writing Contributors Emily Curtis Cyndi Armell

To advertise in our next issue, please contact us at: office@addison-eagle.com

Published by: The Vermont Eagle PO Box 182 Elizabethtown NY 12932

We hope you enjoy spring I am happy to hear from readers with feedback and suggestions for future magazines. Feel free to email me anytime at lou@addison-eagle.com.

4 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018

and Vermont’s unofficial 5th season – MUD SEASON!


Contents

36

17 7

7

A CAMPING WE WILL GO: GETTING IN TOUCH WITH YOUR INNER THOREAU

Camping, especially in the beautiful state of Vermont, is an ideal way to escape the rat race for an overnight, a weekend, or maybe a whole lot longer.

20

12

14

34

17

VERMONT HISTORICAL COVERED BRIDGES

While the state of Vermont is home to nearly 2600 bridges, only about 106 of them are covered. The main purpose for covering a bridge was to extend the life of the structure for an additional 40 years. The authenticity of a covered bridge is determined not due to its age, but based on construction. A covered bridge is considered authentic only if trusses are used in the construction versus other building methods such as stringer construction.

MEANDERING AROUND VERMONT

Growing up it was common for my family, during the summer months, to go on “Sunday Drives”. A lunch, snacks and drinks were packed for either a river or mountain picnic. On the warm Sundays of late July and August we could be found along a river wading or fishing in the icy waters. Early summer Sunday’s we would travel to one of the many mountain summits of Vermont and eat while looking at the views of lakes and mountains. I’ve decided to take you on a drive through VT today -- buckle up.

GOOD EATS, FRIENDLY FOLKS AT VERMONT’S COUNTRY STORES

Each Vermont country store carries its own particular stock of special wares and memorable characters, according to Vermont author Dennis Bathory-Kitsz.

22

MADE IN VERGENNES: BUILDING THE FIGHTING USS SARATOGA

Shipbuilders Adam and Noah Brown of New York City began their illustrious career in 1804 at a shipyard located in a marshy area where today’s Cherry and Clinton streets meet right along Manhattan’s East River shore.

30

36

IN THE GARDEN

The Shelburne Museum of Shelburne, Vermont has long been known for its unique exhibits that have drawn people from all over. Many of these exhibits have been featured in the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education from the works of “Backstage Pass” filled with photos of the famous musicians through the ages to the recent “Sweet Tooth: The Art of Dessert” with its sweet treats for the eyes.

LAKE CHAMPLAINS WEB OF LIFE

Lake Champlain, named after French explorer Samuel de Champlain, is a 107-mile-long finger lake that could easily be called an inland sea of fresh water. As we shall learn, wildlife abounds in this great lake which borders Vermont, New York and Quebec.

SPRING 2018 | Our State Vermont | 5


We Have Everything for Spring Gardening! Bedding Plants Fruit Plants & Trees Shrubs & Ornamental Bushes Hanging Flower Baskets Gardening Supplies & Fertilizer Bark Mulch & More

Pfaff and Janome We invite you stop in take one for a test drive.

Always Your Pet Headquarters For large & small critters! Great selection of Food & Supplies. Ask About Our Chick Days for Delivery In May & June!

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2016 OurState:Our State

08/15/16

10:55 PM

Page 1

Rte. 7 South, Middlebury 802.388.3559 MON-FRI 9-5, Sat. 9-1 www.middleburysewnvac.com

At Co-op, we’re member owned and member committed. Since 1915 we’ve been providing protection for individuals, farms and businesses with a large network of local agents, fast and fair claims service, knowledge of farm safety practices and affordable rates. At the Co-op, you’re a member, not just a number.

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Memb er ow n e d. Memb er c om m itte d. 6 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018


A camping

we will go:

GETTING IN TOUCH WITH YOUR INNER THOREAU By Lou Varricchio

“C

amping in Vermont with your family and friends is an experience that you will never forget. Roasting dinner over the campfire, swimming in a crystal clear lake before breakfast or afternoon hikes on Vermont’s trail system, camping in Vermont is a fantastic adventure.” Wendy Knight, Vermont Tourism Camping, especially in the beautiful state of Vermont, is an ideal way to escape the rat race for an overnight, a weekend, or maybe a whole lot longer. You may prefer camping in a comfy RV with all the push-button luxuries or in a traditional campground cabin, or maybe being zipped-up tight in a cozy tent, or being able to park your tired bones in a Long Trail lean-to with the aromatic scent of balsam fir lulling you to dreamland. No matter which scenario works for you, Vermont has it. With 40 state park campgrounds and more

Made A S in the U

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than 100 private campgrounds here in the Green Mountain State, you don’t have to look very far for the perfect place where you can get in touch with your inner Henry David Thoreau. “Of course camping is not for everyone,” cautions camping expert Christine Leone. “But sometimes your family and friends really enjoy it, so you suck it up and go.” Leone’s own Dailybreak.com blog, which included a recent posting titled “17 Thoughts You Have While Camping When You Hate Camping”, was a resounding hit with her followers in search of reasons to go camping. But for those who don’t need a reason to hit the trail, read on. According to camper Laura Canning, “There are plenty of big, busy campsites and parks that are ideal for a packed family holiday, but these aren’t always the first choice when I just want to relax somewhere quiet. I look for a remote campsite with accommodations

ranging from tipis, yurts and wigwams to camping pods to lodges and caravans for hire.” Camping helps us get intimate with nature and creates lifetime memories among those who share this experience, she says. Canning likes remote camping best, and what the Brits call “caravanning” (aka RVing). “It gives you the peace and quiet of being off the beaten track, alongside the convenience of being on a proper campsite with facilities, security, and other humans once (or if) you’re feeling sociable.” Vermont State Parks, in trying to be as close to nature as possible, don’t have RV hook-ups at campsites, so you’ll have to find a private campground for your RV holiday. We should mention that dumping stations are available and RVs are welcome to drop by in our state parks. Contact the specific state park

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AUTUMN 2017 | Our State Vermont | 7


When it comes to sleeping bags, you can spend hours researching the right fit. “…The $200 REI Radiant sleeping bag as a good all-around bag… . The Marmot Electrum… you can usually track down for under $160.” While REI still has an online presence, the company has recently closed all its Vermont stores due to growing online competition. Picking out a backpack sounds The Vermont simple enough, but here again you can basics: spend a lot of cash. camping and “Kelty has solid but cheap bags that’ll hiking equipment hold what you need and won’t kill your Tents, sleeping back,” Klosowski notes. Hiking boots are another imporbags, backpacks, is what comes to our tant basic, he says. “Depending on the minds when we hear type of trip you’re taking, you’ll want to grab some hiking boots or shoes. the word camping. “This is all the ex- Your sneakers will do just fine in many pensive gear you’ve places, but if you’re planning on going buy- for a longer backpacking trip, dedicated been putting off buy ing until you really shoes are much more comfortable since Thankful- they offer more support, padding, and needed it. Thankful ly, you can get by with a lot less than you stability for your ankles as your cross think,” according to outdoors enthusiast rough terrain.” a good first and Twitter poster Thorin Klosowski. As a locally-owned eyeFinally care center, we takeold our fashioned time with “You’ll need something to sleep in, so a aid kit should be the next thing you eachpriority patient and provide qualitybackpack care you areafter lookingafor. put intheyour canteen, tent should be at the top of your list. There’s no such thing as a one-size- lunch and power bars. “Include the • Top-of-the-line: Carrera, Harley Davidson, care center, we takebandages, our time with aspirin, and gauze fits-all tent though….” As a locally-owned eye usual 12 campgrounds. Today, the original association is better known as the Vermont Campground priwith more than 70 pri campvate member camp seagrounds open for sea sonal business.

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8 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018

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here, but also toss in some hikingspecific stuff like moleskin for blisters, bug sprays, and aloe vera for burns,” Klosowski advises. “There are thousands of other gadgets, knick-knacks, and other gear available for camping, but most people don’t need… when it comes to the essentials.” And don’t forget about ticks and mosquitoes: The best spray and lotion repellents have DEET as a key ingredient. Oh, and then you’ll also need food to cook. “That part’s up to you, but meal planning for backpacking (and camping) trips is a skill in its own right. REI has a good guide, as does Backpacker magazine. Both walk you through meal planning, which is important not only so you don’t die from starvation, but also so you get the nutrients necessary for the outdoor workout you’ll be doing,” he adds.

Where to go camping

According to the Vermont Tourism and Marketing, Vermont State Parks offer a wide variety of camping experiences, from drive-in camp sites to group camping experiences and even remote, primitive camp sites.

“At our state parks, tent sites and RV sites are essentially the same thing; each has a fire ring or fireplace with a grill for cooking and a picnic table. There are no hookups in Vermont State Parks campgrounds, but there are dump stations and water spigots,” says Wendy Knight. “Vermont also has some of New England’s best private campgrounds that offer amenities and amazing locations.” What follows is a brief introduction to a few state park campgrounds and private campgrounds around Vermont. By no means complete, use it as a jumping off point to explore more sites online or visit a Vermont Welcome Center for brochures and maps. Perhaps the greatest of New England’s many outdoor enthusiasts and back-to-nature campers, was Henry David Thoreau. His 1854 classic book, titled “Walden”, continues to inspire those seeking solace and insight in nature.

There’s a special line buried in “Walden” which this writer believes sums up what camping in Vermont (or anywhere for that matter) signifies to the human soul: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” continue page 10

SPRING 2018 | Our State Vermont | 9


Below is a brief sampling of Vermont camping locales:

On an island in a lake:

Knight Island State Park, South Hero, offers remote camping only. The park is on an island and is only accessible by boat but it is considered one of the best locations for a relaxing break from every day cares. Try fishing, swimming or sunning surrounded by beautiful Lake Champlain Season: Memorial Day weekend-Labor Day weekend. Day Use Hours: 10am-sunset. 1 tent site, 6 lean-to sites. Pets are permitted throughout the park. Call (802)524-6353.

Mountaintop vista:

Mt. Philo State Park, Charlotte: Mt. Philo (nearly 1,000 feet above sea level), the 237-acre park became the first Vermont State Park in 1924. With breathtaking views of the Lake Champlain Valley and New York’s Adirondack Mountains, the park is a favorite of hikers and picnickers, and includes a small campground. The mountain was an island when prehistoric Lake Vermont filled the

Champlain Valley. Trailers not recommended. Please contact the park manager at (802) 425-2390 to register.

Moon over Bomoseen

Half Moon State Park, Hubbardton, is hidden away in the forests of 3,500-acre Bomoseen State Park sits the quiet camping area of Half Moon Pond State Park. The park is located in the dense woods of a small, sheltered basin, surrounding the pond. The campground offers camping for all tastes with waterfront sites and lean-tos and five furnished cabins. For those seeking more creature comforts, Tall Timbers Cottage, with its waterfront location and private boat dock, offers all the amenities of home. Visitors are likely to see a variety of wildlife including white-tailed deer and occasionally moose. Half Moon State Park (also Lake Bomoseen State Park) is open Memorial Day Weekend - Labor Day Weekend. Day Use Hours: 10 a.m.-sunset. Camping: 55 tent/ RV sites, 10 lean-to sites. Pets are not permitted on the sandy beach, in the designated swimming area or in day use areas

but are permitted elsewhere throughout the park. (802) 265-4242.

Presidential Timber

A trip to Coolidge State Park, Plymouth, is a trip back in time; the park remains essentially the way it was when it was first created in the 1930s. Known for its rustic feel, hillside campsites that give way to dramatic mountain views, and authentic character, Coolidge State Park is part of the 21,500 acre Calvin Coolidge State Forest, the largest state-owned land holding in central Vermont. Coolidge is the only Vermont park with an entire loop of lean-to campsites, some of which have sweeping views of the Black River valley and the Green Mountains. Many campers feel that sites at Coolidge have the best views in all of Vermont. Some visitors catch a glimpse of a barred owl, a moose, or a black bear. Nearby is the village of Plymouth Notch, the birthplace of Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States, and Vermont’s historic 1800s gold rush site (gold panning is allowed). Call 1-888-409-7579.

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10 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018


Dining guide Winter

SUGAR & SPICE Restaurant & Gift Shop Rt. 4 Mendon, VT 802-773-7832 www.vtsugarandspice.com

BREAKFAST (‘Til Closing)

All pancake items served with pure maple syrup (artificial syrup extra)

Stack of Pancakes

Our own receipe — 4 pancakes served with pure maple syrup and whipped butter

6.95

Serving Breakfast & Lunch 7am-2pm daily Breakfast all day, Lunch after 11am

2 Eggs 7.95

Bacon, ham, link sausage, hash, or canadian bacon: additional egg .95

Steak & Eggs 11.95 A real blast of protein.

Sugar & Spice Pancakes 7.95

Try our Waffles Strawberries or Blueberries 6.95 Maple Walnut 6.95 Waffle and Ice Cream 8.25

Breakfast Sandwich

Omelettes 9.95

1 egg with bacon, sausage or Canadian bacon and cheese on an english muffin 4.95 With homefries 6.50

3 eggs are used. Create your own from the following choices: Ham, Cheese, Mushrooms, Spinach, Onion, Tomato or Peppers

French Toast 6.95

General Ripley 7.95

Pigs in a Blanket 8.95

Sugar House Sampler

2 eggs, 2 pancakes, 2 sausages, 2 strips of bacon. 8.95 Ask about our many choices of juices and hot beverages

3 pancakes topped with a pair of eggs

LUNCHEON

Buttermilk Pancakes 6.95

Stack of 4 pancakes with our special cinnamon and maple sugar baked right in.

We look forward to your visit!

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Pumpkin Pancakes 7.95

A baker’s dream (12) silver- dollar size pancakes, a kid’s favorite.

After breakfast check out our gift shop for all your souvenir, gift, and maple syrup needs.

All eggs (except pancakes items) are served with home fries, toast, and jelly or preserves. Egg whites available add 1.00

Blueberry Pancakes 7.95

Silver Dollar Pancakes 6.95

Come to our sugarhouse for the best breakfast around!

All sandwiches served with choice of chips or home fries and pickle.

Fillmore Salad 9.95

A large garden salad crowned with a julienne of ham, turkey & swiss cheese

Hamburger 7.95

Grilled Roast Beef 8.95

Roast beef grilled with Swiss cheese and onions on whole wheat bread

Ungrilled Roast Beef 8.98

Baco-Cheese 9.25

Roasted medium rare, served with Russian dressing, lettuce, mayonnaise or horseradish.

Downhill Deli 8.95

Turkey Sandwich 7.95

Cheeseburger 8.95

Roast beef., Swiss cheese and tomato with Russian dressing

All white meat, of course, with lettuce.

Ripley Rally 8.95

Turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese and tomato.

Reuben 8.95

The leanest of corned beef with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing

Ham Sandwiches

Plain or Grilled 7.25

Old John’s Grill 8.95

White turkey meat, smoked ham and Vermont chedder cheese grilled between slices of whole wheat bread.

Cup of Soup with Grilled Cheese 7.25 Or 1/2 turkey, ham or tuna sandwich on your choice of bread

Homemade Soup

Served after 11:00 am.

Cup 3.50 Bowl 4.25 We make our own ice cream the old-fashioned way! It makes the best sundaes, shakes or cones.

Ice Cream

Maple Crunch Sundae 6.95 Maple Syrup & Waknut Sundae 6.95 Single Scoop Cone 2.95 Double Scoop Cone 3.95

Prices Subject To Change

SPRING 2018 | Our State Vermont | 11


Vermont historical W

hile the state of Vermont is home to nearly 2600 bridges, only about 106 of them are covered. The main purpose for covering a bridge was to extend the life of the structure for an additional 40 years. The authenticity of a covered bridge is determined not due to its age, but based on construction. A covered bridge is considered authentic only if trusses are used in the construction versus other building methods such as stringer construction. The majority of the covered bridges in Vermont were built between 1820 and 1905, and were made from wood and by hand. Covered bridges are also often referred to as “kissing bridges”. As they offer some shelter from the elements and from prying eyes, young couples in love would often slow their carriages on their way through the bridges and sneak in some kisses on the way through. Covered bridges are sprinkled across the entire state; out of the fourteen counties in Vermont, thirteen of them have at least one covered bridge. Vermont has the highest number of covered bridges per mile in the entire United States. We will feature four of Vermont’s beautiful covered bridges in each issue of Our State Vermont.

Willard Covered Bridge The Willard Covered Bridge is a historic covered bridge carrying Mill Street across the Ottauquechee River in Hartland. It is the eastern of two covered bridges on the road, which are connected via a small island in the river; the western bridge was built in 2001. This bridge, built about 1870, was listed on the National Register of HistoricPlaces in 1973. The Willard Covered Bridge is located in the village of North Hartland, where Mill Street runs roughly eastward, crossing the Ottauquechee River to provide access to a few homes and businesses. The road crosses the river at a point south of Interstate Highway 91 where it is briefly bisected by a small island. The western of these bridges carrying the road is a modern covered bridge, while the Willard Bridge is to the east. It is a single-span Town latticetruss 123 feet (37 meters) in length, resting on stone abutments faced in concrete. It is 21 feet (6.4 meters) wide, with a roadway width of 16.5 feet (5.0 meters) (one lane). The gable ends project beyond the trusses, and the roof is a standing seam metal roof. The bridge sides and portals are sheathed in vertical board siding; there are two square openings cut into each side. The bridge was built about 1870; it is one of two surviving 19th-century covered bridges in Hartland. The other is the Martin’s Mill Covered Bridge, also listed on the National Register. Bradley Bridge

12 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018


COVERED BRIDGES Bradley Bridge The Bradley Covered Bridge is a historic covered bridge, carrying Center Street over Miller Run, a tributary of the Passumpsic River, in Lyndon. Built in 1878, it was the last of Vermont’s many 19th-century covered bridges to carry a numbered state highway (Route 122, now rerouted to the north). The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The Bradley Covered Bridge is located north of central Lyndon, crossing Miller Run on Central Street just south of its junction with Gilman Road. The latter carries Vermont Route 122 on the north side of Miller Run, while Central Street runs south to the downtown area. The bridge is a single-span queenpost truss design, 56.5 feet (17.2 meters) long and 17.5 feet (5.3 meters) wide, with a roadway width of 15 feet (4.6 meters). It is covered by a metal roof, and rests on abutments either faced or built out of concrete. Its sides are sheathed for half their height by vertical board siding. A sidewalk has been cantilevered out to the bridge’s east side; it is sheltered by a shed roof offset main roof. The bridge’s decking consists of wood planking. The bridge was built in 1878 by E.H. Stone. It is similar in construction to five other area bridges, whose shared characteristics include extended eaves, half-wall siding, and portals with diagonal corners. In 1973, the bridge was crossed by an over height truck, doing substantial damage to its south portal. The bridge has since then undergone restoration. At the time of its listing on the National Register, Vermont 122 was routed down Center Street, making the bridge the only 19th-century bridge carrying a state numbered highway in the state.

Spade Farm Bridge The Spade Farm Covered Bridge, also called the Old Hollow Covered Bridge is a covered bridge that crosses a storm drainage ditch off U.S. Route 7 in Ferrisburgh. The bridge is of Town lattice design built by Justin Miller. The Spade Farm Covered Bridge was originally located in North Ferrisburgh on Old Hollow Road (hence its other name). It was slated to be dismantled and replaced by a modern bridge in 1958, when a local farmer, Sam Spade, asked to have it moved to his farm. Despite the sign on the bridge stating a build date of 1824, historians say a date of 1850 is more likely. The bridge is still privately owned and is part of the Ferrisburgh Artisan’s Guild. The span underwent renovations a few years back and is now a fine example of covered bridge preservation in the state.

Maple Street Bridge The Maple Street Covered Bridge, also called the Lower Covered Bridge and the Fairfax Covered Bridge, is a covered bridge that carries Maple Street across Mill Brook off Route 104 in Fairfax. Built in 1865, it is the town’s only historic covered bridge. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The Maple Street Covered Bridge is located on the south side of Fairfax village, carrying Maple Street across Mill Brook, a tributary of the nearby Lamoille River, between the village center and Bellows Free Academy. The bridge is a single-span structure of Town lattice design, set on abutments of stone and concrete. It is 56.5 feet (17.2 meters) long and 20.5 feet (6.2 meters) wide, with a roadway width of 17.5 feet (5.3 meters). Iron tie rods join the tops of the flanking trusses to provide lateral stability, and the bridge deck is made of wooden planking. The exterior is clad in vertical board siding, which ends short of the eaves on the sides. The siding extends a short way on the interior of each portal. The bridge was built in 1865 by Kingsbury and Stone. It’s the town’s only surviving 19th-century covered bridge, and is rare in the state as an example of a two-lane bridge, built to accommodate significant village traffic. A major renovation was conducted in 1990-1991 by Jan Lewandoski. A debate continues to this day as to whether this bridge is now “backwards”. When it was washed off its foundations by the Flood of 1927 it is unknown whether the bridge was put back on in the same direction as it was originally. Some say the eastern portal now faces west, and vice versa.

SPRING 2018 | Our State Vermont | 13


MEANDERING AROUND VERMONT By Cyndi Armell

G

rowing up it was common for my family, during the summer months, to go on “Sunday Drives”. A lunch, snacks and drinks were packed for either a river or mountain picnic. On the warm Sundays of late July and August we could be found along a river wading or fishing in the icy waters. Early summer Sunday’s we would travel to one of the many mountain summits of Vermont and eat while looking at the views of lakes and mountains. I’ve decided to take you on a drive through Vermont today -- buckle up. Let’s begin this journey in Charlotte where I grew up. Mt Philo State Park was my backyard playground for hiking, sledding and snowmobiling. You can hike to the summit via the paved road or veer off onto many trails where you might veer stumble upon a cave. The views of the mountains and lake from the top are worth the hike or drive up. If you are a snowmobiler you should plan a trip up on a clear night to view the lights of Burlington to the north or just stargaze. Heading south on Route 7 in Ferrisburg is the

14 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018

Rockeby Museum an 18th- century farmstead where you can learn Vermont’s history with the Underground Railroad. When leaving the parking lot look just ahead and you will see Ollie the camel. Ollie is popular with locals and tourists and loves having his picture taken. A few miles down the road we are going to veer off Route 7 onto 22A and drive into historical Vergennes. This is the smallest city in the USA with little shops and restaurants all along Main Street with a beautiful park that holds Farmers Markets and many other events during the year, Vergennes really is the Little City with a Big Heart. Before we head back to Route 7 lets drive down and look at the waterfalls. Certain times of the year they are sparkling with lights. Just off Route 7 in the town of New Haven is Evergreen Cemetery. There you will see a grave with a window. The small square glass in the ground leads straight down to the face of Timothy Clark Smith who feared being buried alive.

Once we reach Middlebury let’s take Route 30. This is one of the most underrated scenic routes in Vermont. Route 30 used to span north to Alburg until 1926 when they changed the route numbers the drive we just made down route 7 used to be part of route 30. Middlebury is a quaint New England college town. It has a historical downtown area with shops and restaurants. While walking through town stop on the bridge to view the falls also a popular photo destination. In the early summer when the waters are high it’s not uncommon to see kayakers going over the falls. While it’s fun to watch I don’t think I would try it. For the less adventurous a stop into the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History is a must. On our way out of Middlebury we will drive thru Middlebury College Campus. Heading south out of Middlebury on Route 30 we will travel through miles of Vermont’s farmland. Here you will see old churches, barns, cows, alpacas and buffalo just to name a few things. Just relax and enjoy the scenery. As we come into Hubbardton let’s veer off route 30 to Halfmoon State Park. Once there you can rent kayaks, canoes or row boats or just hike the trails of this magical park. If you decide you want to stay a night or two they have cute little cabins to rent. Continuing along Route 30 we will pass Lake Bomoseen which is the largest lake within the state of Vermont. During the winter months you will see it scattered with villages of fishing shanties. If you would like to learn about ice fishing


stop and strike up a conversation and maybe go home with some fresh fish for dinner. Castleton is home to a Vermont State College and has a lively village center filled with a mixture of residents and students. There is something for everyone to do or eat. You will also see a lot of old churches and historical homes. In Poultney we will drive along Lake St Catherine a popular spot for vaca-

tioning and boating during the summer months. There is also a State Park with a sandy beach for day use. A great place to sit and read or enjoy a family picnic. Once we arrive in Manchester Center we will jump onto Route 7A this is “old Route 7” and a bit slower and more historical than “new Route 7”. The intersection of Routes 30 and 7A is nicknamed “Malfunction Junction” as it’s in the center of a busy town filled with factory out-

let stores which attract thousands of bargain hunters from all over. It’s also the home of the Orvis Flagship store. If shopping isn’t your thing you can attend the Orvis Fly Fishing School or test your driving abilities at the Land Rover Experience Driving School. Or go to a local eatery and watch for the many celebrities that have homes in the area. Driving out of Manchester Center you will see Hildene. This 1904 GeorgianStyle mansion was built by Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, it remained in the family until 1975. It’s now held in a trust and open to the public. Don’t miss the toll house entrance to Skyline Drive. The climb up Mt Equinox has many banked hairpin turns that leave many feeling a little queasy. If you are lucky enough to be the passenger you can close your eyes. Once you reach the summit the views across the mountain ranges are worth the drive up. If you need more history there is the Ira Allen House in Sunderland it was the home to Ira and Ethan Allen, two of Vermont’s founding fathers (and part of my family tree). This Bed and Breakfast is a designated state historical site. We will jump back onto Route 7 to finish our travels to Bennington. The

Bennington Battle Monument is the tallest structure in Vermont. Old Bennington holds some of Vermont’s earliest history it’s worth doing some sightseeing. And for the auto enthusiast check out Hemmings Motor Oasis Sunoco. Next door in the basement is the Hemming Motor News Museum it’s jam packed with vintage and antique vehicles. Thank you for joining me on this adventure. I hope you discovered some new places to visit in Our State Vermont!

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Good eats, friendly folks at Vermont’s country stores By Lou Varricchio

“My father ran the country store (in Plymouth, Vt.). He was successful; he trusted nearly everybody...” U.S. President Calvin Coolidge Each Vermont country store carries its own particular stock of special wares and memorable characters, according to Vermont author Dennis Bathory-Kitsz. “From the Connecticut River to Lake Champlain, country stores and their dedicated owners offer warmth against the blizzard, advice and a friendly ear or a stern word,” he writes in the premiere volume about the Green Mountain State’s independent rural stores, titled “Country Stores of Vermont: A History and Guide”, published by the History Press. “Neighbors meet and communities are forged beside these feed barrels and bottomless coffee urns.” Bathory-Kitsz spent several years researching fascinating background histories and preparing a tour guide to our beloved country stores. “When Hurricane Irene threatened many of these local institutions and communities in 2011, Vermonters came together, often at their country stores,” he writes. You wouldn’t think that this Northfield Falls-based author, a world-renowned musical composer, was the first director of the Vermont Alliance of Independent Country Stores in its first de-

cade of representing rural storeowners, but the association gives Bathory-Kitsz a unique perspective. He knows his country stores inside and out. While this article cannot hope to cover the same ground as BathoryKitsz’s book, we at least hope to whet your appetite and show you the tip of a wonderful, deep iceberg. But be warned: to visit every Vermont country store you’ll need to visit over 250 towns and villages and put many miles behind you before journey’s end. However, as you stop at just a handful of stores, you can sample all the good things they have to offer, from craft sandwiches and beverages to baked goods, antiques, and even friendly, neighborly advice. When it comes to Vermont country stores, most out-of-staters have heard of the wildly popular and successful Orton family business, the Vermont Country Store. Founded in 1946, the Weston, Vt.based operation, with the family’s original Depression-era country store now a crowded tourist destination (along with an equally must-see Rockingham outlet), operates a unique and well-known mail order business. The mail order print and online catalogs help export, and keep alive, the Vermont general store ideal around the world. Before we continue, some acknowledgements are in order: it’s good to know that the Vermont Alliance of Independent Country Stores (VAICS), a nonprofit organi organization, is the guiding light of most of our country stores. Its mission is to promote and en enhance country stores, while preserving their special char character, heritage and value to their local communities. But VAICS doesn’t stand alone since it’s part of the Vermont Retail & Grocers Association (VRGA). VRGA is the umbrella association

of statewide merchants and trade partners united to promote the sustainable growth of the business through the educational, economic, and public policy needs of its members. “The history of Vermont’s country stores cannot be told in a single volume, nor in a dozen,” according to BathoryKitsz. “It is the story of individual storekeepers and individual communities in the once and present most rural state of the Union.” With that said, and due to limited page space here, we offer a small sampling of Vermont country stores. If your favorite store isn’t mentioned here, we apologize in advance; to find it, please refer to Bathory-Kitsz’s Bible, “Country Stores of Vermont: A History and Guide”. This paperback book is now available in all fine bookstores, many country stores, and online. Warren Store: Warren, Vt. Getting a start in 1839, the same year African slaves mutinied aboard the infamous sailing ship Amistad, today’s Warren Store was operating as a stagecoach stop and a boarding house. “Even then it was the center of activity for Warren, bringing folks together for food and conversation and warmth,” according to a local history of the store. “Over the years, the building has been

continue page 18 SPRING 2018 | Our State Vermont | 17


home to the town library, the post office, community dances, a hardware store and a country store.” Flash forward to 1970. Shopkeeper Carol Lippincott decided to refashion Roy Long’s long-time hardware store into what she termed “an eclectic country store with a little something for everyone.” Within a year or two, the store was a town gathering place again with folks dropping by for a tasty deli sandwich or even a last minute Christmas gift. Country stores like this one are examples of the original “social media” concept. “Over the years, we’ve expanded our offerings, but one thing that’s never changed is the warm welcome you’ll get whenever you stop in,” Lipponcott said. Today, the Warren Store is still located at 284 Main St., right in the center of Warren. Call ahead for menu specials and other details at (802) 496-3864. Dan & Whit’s Store Norwich, Vt. Dan and Whit’s Store in Norwich is one of the handful of Vermont country stores that has a reputation beyond the state lines. The store is especially well known and lauded, above and beyond its daily service to customers, for its outstanding work for those in need. “The store participates in several initiatives designed for the benefit of the community,” according to onelongtime, loyal customer. The store is a landmark site and has served Norwich for over 120 years. To-

18 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018

day, it caters to locals and tourists of all stripes from blue-collar laborers to those of the “must have” fine-wine crowd. How many country stores can claim monthly wine tastings (the store has raised over $46,000 for charity this way), an official Pizza Wednesday ($1 per pizza sold is donated to a different nonprofit every Wednesday), the Norwich Round Up where, each month, customers round up to the nearest dollar and donate their change to a nonprofit. Of special mention is Dan & Whit’s Days of Norwich: One percent of the take goes to the Haven Program of Vermont. “Dan and Whit’s, along with about 80 other stores, donates 1 percent of sales to the local food bank. In four years we have raised over $750,000,” according to owner Dan. Dan notes that behind his successful business is a good trade organization. He applauds Vermont Retail & Grocers Association as being a big help on the dusty road to the success. “VRGA has helped us staying on top of laws, providing advice, networking and being the link between us and what is happening in state government that will affect our business,” he says. Dan and Whit’s Store is located at 319 Main St, in Norwich. For details and to take part in the fun-time wine tastings, call (802) 649-1602. West Addison General Store West Addison, Vt. While everyone calls it W.A.G.S., it’s officially named the West AdAd dison General Store. Of course after one visit, W.A.G.S. will have your tongue wagging for more good Vermont food and downhome community spirit. Located two miles northeast of the new Champlain Bridge in West Addison, comings and goings have been a part of the town’s little triangle in the highway since the first Champlain Bridge opened in 1929, according to the store’s owners. “W.A.G.S. has been servseaing the local community, sea outsonal campers, anglers, out doorsmen and tourists with food, beverages, fuel and more,” they point out.

Local resident Ed Gawlowicz has lots of praise for W.A.G.S. “West Addison General Store or WAGS as it’s commonly known as, has it all, from gas, milk, beer and camping supplies right down to its friendly, helpful staff. Don’t forget to pick up a slice or whole pie of the best pizza in town.” Locals will tell you that the store came into its own under the stewardship of Dana and Lorraine Franklin back in autumn of 1989. Today, Cheri and Scott, the Franklin’s daughter and son-in-law continue the tradition. While the owners say that many outof-towners describe West Addison as being in the middle of nowhere, they prefer to see W.A.G.S. as the center of the universe. West Addison General Store is located at Route 17W in Addison. Call (802) 759-2071 for details. Ripton General Store Ripton, Vt. When the New York Times took notice of the sleepy Ripton Country Store two decades ago, things started to wake up at the store located alongside the winding highway leading up the mountain to the Middlebury Snow Bowl ski area. “Walk into the Ripton Country Store here, and you can only be in Vermont,” wrote Times reporter Sara Rimer in 1996. “The tiny store, with its wood-plank floor and pot-bellied stove, sells bread, beer, beef jerky, locally grown organic tomatoes, ‘People’ magazine and, on a shelf near the door, beneath the Vermont maple syrup, poetry by Robert Frost. Why Robert Frost? The poet spent summers in Ripton.”


The Ripton store has everything you need to survive a long Vermont winter in the heart of the Green Mountains. Noted among the inventory and unique treasures inside the store is the one-ofa-kind antique “crank” cash register, a reminder of a vanished time long before electronic calculators did the adding up for us. But for those passing through Ripton, take a few moments and enjoy. According to the popular website “Travel Like a Local: Vermont” (travelikealocalvt.com), if you’re in dire need of a stop, keep on driving. “(Sorry)… you’re out of luck; no public restrooms here,” notes its online travel reviewer. Meanwhile, there’s still something refreshing to be said about visiting a country store like Ripton’s finest. Again, the New York Times reporter Sara Rimer chimes in-“The American landscape is dotted with chain convenience stores, offering the same mass-marketed mix of cigarettes, beer, soda and chips. The Ripton Country Store, and dozens of other stores like it in this state, on the other hand, are generally

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out of touch with modern mass merchandising. But they are not out of touch with Vermont,” she concludes. Vist the Ripton Country Store along beautiful Route 125 in Ripton. For details about this historic store, call (802) 388-7328. Taftsville Country Store Taftsville, Vt. You’ll find Vermont’s historic Taftsville Country Store in the beautiful Ottauquechee River Valley, right along Route 4 and almost midway between Woodstock and Quechee. “Our store has one of the finest assortments of Vermont cheese, including artisan cheeses, gourmet foods, pure Vermont maple syrup, wine, cigars, gift baskets, smoked bacon and ham you can find in the Upper Valley,” according tstore owners. Back in 1840, Daniel Taft and his sons built the distinctive red-colored brick store; it still serves as the heart and soul of the tiny community. And it’s one of the few country stores

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which happens to be listed prominently on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. According to the store’s published history, “The old wooden floors have been preserved along with the tin ceilings and a brick chimney that rises through the center of the ground floor. Old farm tools and collectibles line the walls.” According to Albert Einstein, time travel may only work in one direction, forward into the future, but at the Taftsville Country Store you can imagine pulling the lever back in time, for a few moments of old-fashioned pleasure in your imagination. If you can’t make it to the store, the owners will happily mail you a fascinating, free, “pure Vermont” store catalog. Just call 1-800-8540013 to order a copy. Special gift packages are available and everything is shipped via the Taftsville store. Located at 2706 E. Woodstock Rd. in Taftsville, call 1-800-854-0013 for more information.

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Dinnerware Bird Feeder Drill a 3/8 inch hole in the center of a melamine dinner plate, bowl & salad plate. Thread a piece of ¼ inch thick rope through a peg style clothespin (leave about 3 inches of rope below the pin). Thread on the salad plate, bowl and then a 5/8” by 10” long copper pipe. Thread rope up thru dinner plate and then 2nd clothespin. Shimmy pins to snap the bird feeder into place.

20 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018


D I Y Spring Home

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Thumbprint Planters Paint a stripe around top edge of flower pot. Put some paint on a paper plate and use thumbprint to make a butterfly. When paint dries use permanent marker to draw body and antennas.

Boot Planter for Door

Colorful Mason Jars

Install a metal grommet on back of each boot. Loop a piece of burlap ribbon through grommets. Place a vase in each boot heal. Fill the vase with water and cut flowers. Tie ends of ribbon together and hang on nail.

Put 2 coats of paint on mason jars. Let dry inbetween. Tape off jar with designs using Washi Tape. Paint around tape with contrasting colors or just paint on some polka dots.

Polka Dot Pin Cushion

Colander Planter

Take two 4 1/2 inch squares of muslin, decorate one with polka dots, sew together and stuff.

Wrap colander handle tightly with twine once covered tie off add a dab of glue to secure. Knot a yard of twine at each end of handle. Repeat with other handle. Line colander with sheet moss add soil and plants. SPRING 2018 | Our State Vermont | 21


MADE IN VERGENNES: BUILDING THE FIGHTING USS SARATOGA By Lou Varricchio

S

hipbuilders Adam and Noah Brown of New York City began their illustrious careers in 1804 at a shipyard located in a marshy area where today’s Cherry and Clinton streets meet right along Manhattan’s East River shore. The brothers learned their trade as carpenters and then applied their talents to the lucrative business of building merchant sailing vessels. But when a second war against Great Britain broke out in 1812, they offered their services to the fledgling U.S. government to build new warships, especially on the Great Lakes and northern waterways. Early in the War of 1812, the brothers built several man-of-wars at their Manhattan outfitters — the USS General, USS (John) Paul Jones and USS Yorktown, among others.

22 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018

But in short order, Adam and Noah were summoned by Uncle Sam to the northern border to quickly build several large, lake-going warships on Lake Erie, as a British fleet was already plying the giant lake. But in early 1814, the brothers were ordered by the government to return east to the Vermont border with British Canada. There, the brothers were to immediately begin the construction of a squadron of warships for the U.S. Navy’s rising star, Captain Thomas Macdonough. A native of Delaware, Macdonough had inspected the deep basin of the Otter Creek, located just below the falls at Vergennes. A small yard was already established and Macdonough’s soundings of the creek showed it was an excellent

place to launch ships on Lake Champlain, well hidden from British spy vessels trespassing on the American lake. Having just departed the famous USS Constellation (the U.S. Navy’s oldest ship still on display in historic Baltimore) in June 1812 as second lieutenant, Macdonough got a promotion and reassignment four months later to Burlington on Lake Champlain. The young master had a tall order to fill as American’s Second War of Independence (as it was then called) erupted: rebuild a Lake Champlain fleet not seen since Benedict Arnold’s Revolutionary War undertaking. Macdonough took command of two sloops, the USS Growler (which was later captured on the lake and renamed HMS Finch by ill-fated British Captain George Downie) and USS Eagle, both moored at Vergennes. The next task was to summon the Browns after their work for the U.S. Navy on Lake Erie wrapped up. Macdonough laid out the plans to build his fleet with a fast, sleek flagship; it would be a corvette which he already planned to christen USS Saratoga. He also wanted the Browns to build him


a new USS Eagle (II) and — in a strange reversal of maritime engineering — turn one of America’s first commercial steamships, S.S. Ticonderoga, into the military schooner, USS Ticonderoga (whose wooden ribs are now on display in Whitehall, New York). Work on Macdonough’s flagship got underway in the Vergennes basin on March 7, 1814. Named after the twin 1777 battles in nearby New York, the Saratoga had a

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displacement of over 700 tons, was 146 feet long, with a beam of over 36 feet and a draft of 12 feet; she was ideal for the shallow water of Otter Creek or sailing craftily close to the lakeshore if need be. With a compliment of 212 men, 18 cannons and 8 big guns, America’s first USS Saratoga of its type was big and it was loaded for bear. In fact, she was so well built that she looked much like a vessel built for battle on the seven seas. Meanwhile, at the north end of Lake Champlain, up the Richeleau River at Île aux Noix, Saratoga’s match was also under construction: the similar-sized warship HMS Confiance, under the command of H.M. Capt. George Downie, a veteran of Gibraltar, was every bit the contender for commanding international access to Lake Champlain. Macdonough was charged with rebuilding a Lake Champlain fleet not

seen since Benedict Arnold’s Revolutionary War undertaking. The Browns were tasked with first building Macdonough’s flagship to be named the USS Saratoga — the first vessel of its type to bear the proud name of fighting ships named Saratoga. Called a corvette, USS Saratoga was 143 feet long, sleek and loaded with guns and cannon. It was launched on April 11, 1814 where it began its duty on the lake, patrolling for British. Aside from a few minor incidents, the Saratoga did not see battle until a few months later. On Sept. 11, it took part in the maritime phase of the Battle of Plattsburgh. According to the Dictionary of Naval Fighting, “on the morning of 11 Sept., when (His Majesty’s) Commodore George Downie led the British squadron around Cumberland Head (on Lake Champlain), Macdonough was ready. As British brig HMS Linne approached firing range, she opened the action with a salvo toward USS Saratoga. All but one of the projectiles fell short; and that

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SPRING 2018 | Our State Vermont | 23


solid shot was all but spent as it landed on the American corvette, bounced across her deck and smashed a wooden poultry cage freeing a gamecock. The indignant rooster took to his wings and landed in the rigging. Facing the British warships, the cock defiantly called out challenge to battle. Macdonough himself aimed a long 24-pounder at the bow of HMS Confiance, pulled the lanyard firing Saratoga’s first round and gave the signal, ‘close action!’ The shot cut the British flagship’s anchor cable, ripped up her deck and smashed her helm. Then, all the American ships opened fire.” Macdonough’s great victory in Plattsburg Bay forced the British fleet to retreat to Canada. Even though the Dec. 24, 1814 signing of the Treat of Ghent ended hostilities in this, the second and final phase of America’s move toward total independence from Great Britain, the fighting continued until Feb. 18, 1815. After the great Lake Champlain engagement, Macdonough was given various commands including that of the USS Constitution in 1824. But the commander had contracted tuberculo-

sis, and he grew weaker by the month; eventually, he gave up command of the Constitution. He died aboard a ship at Gibraltar in 1825 at the age of 41. What became of Macdonough’s

USS Saratoga? Following the Battle of Plattsburgh it was laid up at South Bay in Whitehall, New York, and later sold for scrap-the same year Macdonough passed away across the Atlantic.

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338 Exchange Street, Middlebury 388-4937 Mon. – Fri. 8-6 Sat. 8-5 Sun 9-4 24 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018


Enjoy some Spring Foods

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Lettuce

Rhubarb

Asparagus

Flower Petals

Fennel

Radishes

Sweet Peas SPRING 2018 | Our State Vermont | 25


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our and Pub burgers Fare Items! Bring a friend, your appetite Bring a friend, appetite Bringyour aand friend, yourand appetiteDinner and is served nightly at 5pm All of our All entrees burgers of ourand entrees (dine in only) the will to crush your enemies. the will to the crush enemies. willyour to crush your enemies.

TheLunch bar opens at 4:30pm is daily served nightly at 5pm isLunch served from 11am-2:30pm isdaily served daily from 11am-2:30pm Lunch isDinner served from 11am-2:30pm

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Located in Shelburne Village, inside the recently renovated, historic Shelburne Inn. Located in Shelburne inside historic Shelburne Inn. The cozy barVillage, opens at 4:30pm for the cocktails. The cozy bar opens at 4:30pm for cocktails. is served seven nights a weeka beginning at 5pm Dinner isDinner served seven nights week beginning at 5pm 5247 Shelburne Road, Shelburne VT 802-985-9877

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26 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018

5247 Shelburne Road, Shelburne VT


253 Main Street Vergennes VT 802 877 9991 ur

e u ha ee re ared ith re h, oca i redie t a d i ired traditio a re ch a or he a ia ce i ar , e ui e a d i iti re a a d e o e e e e e i a ee ro e er atio are u e ted 253 Main Street Vergennes VT 253 Main Street Vergennes VT ac hee i802 tro t co 877 9991

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Our menu has been prepared with fresh, local ingredients and inspired by traditional French flavors.The ambiance is warm, genuine and inviting…relax and enjoy. Open seven evenings week from 5pm - 8:30pm. Reservations are suggested.

Our menu has been prepared with fresh, local ingredients and inspired by traditional French flavors.The ambiance is warm, genuine and inviting…relax and enjoy. Open seven evenings week from 5pm - 8:30pm. Reservations are suggested.

253 Main Street Vergennes VT

802 877 9991

Our menu has been prepared with fresh, local ingredients and inspired by traditional French flavors.The ambiance is warm, genuine and inviting…relax and enjoy. Open seven evenings week from 5pm - 8:30pm. Reservations are suggested.

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802 877 9962 SPRING 2018 | Our State Vermont | 27


Hardwood

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RHUBARB BREAD In a medium size bowl mix: 1 ½ cups brown sugar 2/3 cups oil 1 egg 1 c. sour milk (to sour milk add 1 tsp. vinegar) ½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda (dissolve in milk) 1 tsp. vanilla 2 ½ cups flour 1 ½ cups diced fresh rhubarb (or frozen, well drained) Pour into well greased (even top edge) med. sized loaf pan.

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www.RutlandDowntown.com SPRING 2018 | Our State Vermont | 29


In The Garden T

he Shelburne Museum of Shelburne, Vermont has long been known for its unique exhibits that have drawn people from all over. Many of these exhibits have been featured in the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education from the works of “Backstage Pass” filled with photos of the famous musicians through the ages to the recent “Sweet Tooth: The Art of Dessert” with its sweet treats for the eyes. Now with the changing of the seasons comes a new exhibit, “Into the Garden” which will feature works of art from the past five centuries. Paintings, bedding pieces, even quilts will be shown that have been inspired by the beauty that spring brings. Having all those old pieces, many having traveled from exhibit to storage and back may make you wonder how they can still look so breathtaking? That’s where the work of conservation comes in. Nancie Ravenel has been in the field of conservation for 26 years

30 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018

and has been working for the Shelburne Museum since 1998. In that time, she has worked on many of the pieces that have been in prior exhibits. While springtime flowers are no stranger to the museum grounds, “Into the Garden” will be the first exhibit of its kind featured at the museum as are many of the pieces expected to be on display. Through Nancie’s slideshow presentation as part of conservation month, she featured upcoming pieces that have been damaged through exposure by sunlight, water damage or just the toll taken from the passing of time and the work that goes into turning back the clock. One piece that was featured was Abigail F. Ward’s hair work “Floral Tree” that dates to around 1857. The picture features a tree in full bloom made from human hair, held with brass beads and shaped with iron and steel wiring. What makes the piece unique is that the name of the

people that had given locks of hair were written on the wooden backing, many of them children. Though while the hair wasn’t turning grey at 161 years old, it was showing its age. Conservation is a delicate art and must be done carefully to avoid creating any more damage and making more work for themselves. The screws that were holding the shadow box closed for example had to be carefully removed, one even having to be dug around to get out to keep from destroying the main structure. Once they were able to get it open without damaging the piece or making a split in the wooden backing worse they could move ahead safely. Unlike how we shampoo and condition, to clean and mend the hair art it must be done using dry methods then go through a gentle grooming, all while using magnification to see exactly what is being done. Once every hair was back in place, they isolated the silk backing used as the


background using polyester film to treat some water damage that occurred behind in the shadow box. What is a polyester film you might ask? Polyester film is a piece of polyethylene terephthalate that has been stretched to a thin light-weight material that is known for its high tensile strength and transparency, perfect for preserving an aging piece of silk’s structure. After some repairs on the water-damaged frame made with silver leafing covered in a gold varnish, they were able to fill in the split in the back and use new longer screws to secure it to the plexiglass and make it exhibit ready. So far it sounds as though conservation is all about fixing pictures, well, not quite. While many of the pieces that are featured will be pictures made from materials like hair, cloth and even oil paints, there is one unique piece that will be featured that is fit for one of the most anticipated topics that comes with spring and will be on many women’s minds. What you may ask is that? Why weddings, of course. One of the main pieces to be featured is the elegant wedding dress that was worn by Lucy Warren Atwater when she married James Henry Sherrard in Montreal,

Quebec on July 24, 1898. Believed to be a design of French origin, the bodice would have been ideal for a spring wedding with its embroidered roses that matches the ones on the sleeves and the looped silk ribbon bordering the edge of the front of the skirt and going back towards the train was decorative for the time like the way lace is on many wedding dresses today. Now about to be featured on its 120th anniversary of being worn, it needed some work. Seams in the bodice had been let out, possibly to allow another family member years later to wear it, eyelets were missing on the waistband of the skirt and the silk that had been treated with metal salts to weigh it down which in time causes silk to rip, in this case it was on the hip. It would be a challenge, but one the conservation team would accept. Measurements of every individual parts were taken and illustrated before anything was done to know exactly how the dress was meant to look so they could stay close to its original form. Once the details were recorded, a thin lightweight material of sheer fabric called polyester organza was used to continue page 32

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mend the rip without causing more damage to the silk. If done correctly, the silk’s weaving will stay intact and outlast the organza until it needs attention again. Looking at the after photo in the slideshow, the rip that had been an eye sore was no longer noticeable and ready to be mounted on a cus custom-shaped mannequin torso to give the visual effect of what it might have looked like when Lucy wore it as she eagerly awaited her march down the aisle. Yet while you prob probably won’t notice the conservation work that has gone into this beau beau-

32 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018

tiful piece of history, there are some thing that will stand out. When you first see this dress you’ll no notice two things, how it captures a beauti beautiful moment in history, and how tiny it stands. During the slideshow, they had a picture comparison of one of the interns who stands at 5’10 stand beside the dress. At first glance, it looks as if Lucy might have been a child bride. While many of us know that wasn’t unheard of then, rest assure Lucy was 34 when she got married, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Much like the first buds of the daffodils, this exhibit will signify to all that spring is here at long last. March 17th is opening day in the Theodore H. Church Exhibition Wing and will be open to all until August 26th. If you think that’s too soon, don’t be sad. Riding into town on June 23rd will be “Playing Cowboy: America’s Wild West Shows” and goes until October 21st. So, if you wish to enjoy “Spring’s inspiration” and then take in a show from one of America’s most iconic historical periods, the Shelburne Museum has it all for you and a MerryGo-Round that will come with the May flowers too.


Vermont leads the United States in per capita farmers’ markets. At the markets there are organic fruits and vegetables, locally raised meat, and many handcrafted goodies among the wares. Many markets have live entertainment, and all offer a fantastic way to support the local economy. MIDDLEBURY FARMERS’ MARKET Location: Marble Works parking lot Dates Open: Saturdays - May 5 through October 27, Wednesdays - June 13 through October 10 Hours: 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM SHELBURNE FARMERS’ MARKET Location: Parade Grounds Dates Open: Saturdays- May 26 through October 13 Hours: 9:00 AM- 1:00 PM RUTLAND COUNTY FARMERS’ MARKET Location: Depot Park Dates Open: Saturdays and Wednesdays, May through November Hours: Saturday 9:00 AM- 2:00 PM, Wednesday 3:00 PM- 6:00 PM

BRISTOL FARMERS’ MARKET Location: Bristol Town Green Dates Open: Saturdays Hours: 11:00 AM- 2:00 PM VERGENNES FARMERS’ MARKET Location: Vergennes City Green Dates Open: Thursdays, Mid-June through October Hours: 3:00 PM- 6:30 PM BRANDON FARMERS’ MARKET Location: Brandon Central Park Dates Open: Fridays, Mid-May through Mid-October Hours: 9:00 AM- 2:00 PM CHARLOTTE FARMERS’ MARKET Location: Charlotte Town Green Dates Open: Saturdays, July through October Hours: 9:00 AM- 12:00 PM.


Sugar on snow

Sugar on snow is a tradition in Vermont and it is a true cultural experience that has been passed on for generations.

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34 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018


Sugar houses all over Vermont host Sugar on Snow Parties. Some serve a bowl of sugar on snow with a dill pickle and a donut - that will cut the sweetness of the syrup. Want to host your own Sugar on Snow Party here is what you will need to do: 1 quart Vermont Maple Syrup ½ tsp butter Packed snow or well crushed ice Heat syrup and butter watching pot; turn down heat, if it threatens to boil over. Test with a candy thermometer until it reaches 234 degrees. Remove from heat and cool slightly Test if syrup is ready by spooning a Tbs over snow. If syrup sits on top of snow, and clings to fork like taffy, its ready. Pour in “ribbons” over the snow packed bowls.

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Lake Champlain’s Web of Life

“This planet is an exquisitely arranged and interconnected system. What’s controlled in one place is going to have consequences in another place…” Marjorie Harris

Lake Champlain, named after French explorer Samuel de Champlain, is a 107-mile-long finger lake that could easily be called an inland sea of fresh water. As we shall learn, wildlife abounds in this great lake which borders Vermont, New York and Quebec. Over thousands of years, the lake’s large basin has hosted a prehistoric lake, called Lake Vermont, as well as an incursion of cold, Atlantic Ocean salt water more than 10,000 years ago, called the Champlain Sea. The Champlain Sea phase of the Champlain basin was created when the surrounding land had been depressed well below sea level by the weight of the immense Ice Age Laurentide glacier. Fossil evidence, such as Vermont’s world-famous fossil “Charlotte the Whale”, indicates that whales, as well as other ocean-going critters, once swam in the now vanished Champlain Sea. As the land eventually rebounded, it shed the ocean water and eventually formed the fresh-water lake we know, and love, today.

36 | Our State Vermont | SPRING 2018

By Lou Varricchio

Of course Lake Champlain is smaller than the Great Lakes to the west, but some, including politicians, have tried to dub it as the fifth Great Lake to little avail. No matter, Lake Champlain is still considered to be a “great lake” being 435 square miles of surface water. The lake is also deep, being approximately 400 feet at its greatest depth with a “crushing” pressure, at least for unprotected humans, of 173.4 pounds per square inch. Today, the modern lake varies seasonally from about 95 to 100 feet above sea level. A rich variety of life exists in Lake Champlain ranging from the microscopic to the megascopic. Plankton, fish, turtles, snake, birds and mammals abound although their long-term survival will depend on water quality and human stewardship of this, Vermont’s greatest freshwater resource.

Microscopic life According to the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP), invertebrate phytoplankton and zooplankton make up the very bottom of Lake Champlain’s food web or food chain. The LCBP notes that these microscopic floating plants, animals, and bacteria are the most numerous and most simple organisms: “Complex predator-prey relationships lead to the top of the food web—predator fish such as largemouth bass, northern pike, lake trout, and salmon, and the people and animals that fish for these species. Forage fish, such as smelt and minnows, link the plankton community and the predator fish. Most fish, including predatory fish, feed directly on the plankton community when they are young.” Plankton communities may not be visible to the human eye at first glance, but they play a vital role in Lake Champlain’s web of life. Phytoplankton are microscopic plants and need sunlight for photosynthesis which converts solar energy into nutrients, such as phosphorus, for the micro plants to grow and thrive. Too much phosphorus, from human sources, can upset side the balance leading to excessive, and often dangerous algal blooms. Alongside phytoplankton are populations of zooplankton, the “animal” kin of phytoplankton. They are singlecelled critters which prey on phytoplankton and other microscopic organisms in the lake. “Large populations of zooplankton-eating (zooplanktivorous) fish will reduce zooplankton populations, which will result in less predation pressure on algae (phytoplankton). As a result, water clarity may decrease or more algal blooms may occur,” according to the LCBP. One downside to this lowest rung of the food web is the fact that invasive zebra mussels in Lake Champlain do not eat


in excess of 4,000 pairs,” an LCBP study indicates. “On Young and Four Brothers Island” cormorant guano has caused extensive defoliation which has negatively affected the nesting habitat for other birds.”

Fish

cyanobacteria (the plankton which creates the deadly algae blooms in the lake). This reduced competition allows for cyanobacteria to flourish and bloom. Another alien invader to enter lake water is the spiny water flea. Not a true flea, this tiny crustacean can outcompete the native plankton, “potentially affecting the entire food web,” according to LCBP researchers. Amphibians and Reptiles Lake Champlain and its surrounding area has a robust population of amphibians and reptiles which survive the cold northern winters of the lake region. LCBP lists 21 species of amphibians and 19 species of reptiles, with species currently listed as threatened or endangered. “Exotic reptile species which have escaped captivity have been found on several occasions, although to date none has established a population,” according to several studies of lake wildlife. “In Vermont, the five-lined skink is presently known from only one locality,” says the LCBP. “Vermont timber rattlesnake populations were decimated out of fear, for bounties, and by destruction of habitat. Only two known populations remain in the Vermont-portion of the basin. Spiny softshell turtles in Lake Champlain are genetically separated from Great Lakes populations, and have been found only on the Vermont side of the Lake and in some Vermont tributaries. In Vermont, map turtles are restricted to Lake Champlain and the lower portions of its tributaries.”

Birds When it comes to our feathered friends, diversity abounds around Lake Champlain. LCBP indicates that there are over 300 species of birds including both aquatic and terrestrial varieties. The lake provides an ideal home for birds and researchers have been found them all to either breed, overwinter, or pass through the Champlain basin on migration. However, we should note that several bird species are listed by New York, Vermont and/or Quebec as being either endangered or threatened. When it comes to double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus), not everyone is in agreement: they are considered a nuisance species by some and are certainly one of Lake Champlain’s most notorious birds, according to the LCBP. “Cormorants were first recorded in Vermont during the 1930s. In the 1970s they were seen near Young Island in Lake Champlain and in 1981 35 birds were recorded. Today, the number of nesting cormorants on Lake Champlain averages

It’s no wonder that recreational fishing tournaments are popular up and down Lake Champlain. More than 90 species of fish have been identified in the lake and surrounding tributaries, that includes 78 native and 15 non-native species. Best known by anglers are Lake Champlain’s large and smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, chain pickerel, brown bullhead, channel catfish, yellow perch, lake trout, landlocked Atlantic salmon, rainbow (steelhead) trout, brown trout, and rainbow smelt. According to the LCBP, the comprehensive 2010 Strategic Plan for Lake Champlain Fisheries will help ensure the health of lake fish for years to come. The plan includes a guide for fishery management programs for the lake and tributaries as well as how to deal with alien invaders and suppress current populations of nuisance species.

Invertebrates Invertebrates, including mussels, aquatic snails, and insects are a vital spoke of the Lake Champlain’s web like ecosystem. “Surveys and studies of aquatic invertebrates in the Lake Champlain Basin have focused on freshwater mussels, dragonflies and damselflies, and for terrestrial species, butterflies, moths, and beetles (particularly ground beetles and tiger beetles),” according to the LCBP. “A rare dragonfly, the clubtail, is known from historic records to have inhabited the southern Lake Champlain Basin.” It’s amazing to realize that 14 native freshwater mussel shellfish species live in the lake, yet all of these native mussel populations are threatened by a single alien invader, the zebra mussel. “Zebra mussels compete with native mussels for resources and habitat and they also suffocate native mussels by attaching to their shells,” adds the LCBP. “(While another alien invader,) the Asian clam… was found in 2010.”

continue page 38 SPRING 2018 | Our State Vermont | 37


How you can help save Lake Champlain

Mammals Lake Champlain is home to 56 species of mammals with six of these species considered threatened or endangered. We may not think of bats as lake denizens, but many make the lake region their home. Since 2006, white-nose syndrome, a killer fungus, has affected bat colonies around the lake. Sadly, this bizarre fungus has killed off nearly 90 percent of the regional bat population. As LCBP notes, “Population decreases of this magnitude could be beneficial to bat prey species (mosquitos and other insects).” Another concern for other mammals in and around the lake is so-called chronic wasting disease. As yet untreatable, this fatal disease affects deer, elk and moose. For now, the disease has gone undetected in the Lake Champlain area. Scientists are on guard and are partially optimistic about preventing it from breaking out the area of the lake.

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To help preserve Lake Champlain’s wildlife for you, your children, and future generation, the Lake Champlain Basin Program recommends personal actions which contribute to healthier, more diverse lake: · Whenever you can, use conservation practices on agricultural lands. Install a rain barrel and/or plant a rain garden. · Plant native trees and vegetation along shorelines and river banks to help hold soil in place and reduce erosion. · Properly maintain your septic system, especially by pumping it out every few years. · Wash your car with non-phosphorus and biodegradable soap on your lawn rather than on your driveway so that excess water and detergents can soak into the grass. · Test your lawn and garden soil before fertilizing. Laws in New York and Vermont prohibit the use of phosphorus fertilizers, and do not rake your yard waste into nearby streams, lakes or stormwater gutters. · Leave grass clippings as mulch on your lawn. · To learn more, visit the Lake Champlain Basin Program website at: http://www.lcbp.org Source: Special thanks to the Lake Champlain Basin Program, a Congressionally-designated initiative to restore and protect Lake Champlain and its surrounding watershed, for assistance in preparing this article. The LCBP is based in Grand Isle, Vt., on Lake Champlain.

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