October 10, 2011

Sunlight, And Sadness, In Vermont

It has been an unseasonably warm Columbus Day weekend in New England, but we are not complaining.  It’s another beautiful day with lots of sunshine, the perfect ingredients for a drive through Vermont. 

We started in Woodstock, one of the prettiest villages in Vermont, and it did not surprise us that the town was packed with tourists.  We bypassed the downtown area and headed for the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park.  A relatively new park created in 1992, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller is the only national park to interpret the history of conservation and the evolving nature of land stewardship in America.

The Farm At the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

Cows Are Still Raised On the Farm

Pretty Tree On the Farm
The park encompasses the home and farm of the three men who had owned this property since the early nineteenth century.  Remarkably, all three men, George Perkins Marsh, Frederick Billings and Laurance S. Rockefeller, were early conservationists, and all left behind a legacy of stewardship.  The park is a partnership with the Billings Farm and Museum, which is a working dairy farm and museum of agricultural life.

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion

Note the 1806 Date On the Gable End of the Mansion

Side Porch On the Mansion
On the way out of town, we found a great restaurant for lunch, Woodbridge Café and Coffeehouse in West Woodstock.  Haddock and chips and pumpkin pie kept us going for the rest of the day.

Pumpkin Pie May Be My Favorite
Our drive south through Vermont was a sad one as we witnessed the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irene just last month.  Flooded houses and shops, washed out bridges and roads and piles of debris were reminders of the destructive power of water.  But we also witnessed the resilience of the local population.  Signs in front lawns thanking everyone for their help lined the roads.  Highway crews were everywhere, and almost every road has been repaired, or is in the process of repair.  For a small state, Vermont has made an amazing recovery, but there is still a lot to do. 

Road Crews Are Everywhere

Repairs Are Underway

Even the Highway Department Building in Grafton, Vermont, Was Damaged
We drove on back roads and witnessed more fall colors here than we have seen in previous days.  There are lots of bright red, orange and yellow leaves, and the colors only add to the charm of the small towns and byways.

This Is the Fall Color We Came to See

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