a road trip ending in bennington, vermont

Sunday, July 13: This morning, a cool breeze wafts in through the cottage windows and I am of a mind to sleep in.  I always wake up at ungodly hours, and at 5 a.m., after tossing and turning for a bit, I peek out the window and see the beautiful light on the lake.  I grab my camera and head out to the dock in my pajamas.  The lake is tinged in pink and lavender, with reflections of the clouds on its surface.  I take some pictures and head back to fall into a dreamy slumber.

Lake Winnipesaukee at sunrise
Lake Winnipesaukee at sunrise
sunrise on the lake
sunrise on the lake
Sunrise on Lake Winnipesaukee
Sunrise on Lake Winnipesaukee

Last night, Alex and I decided we would leave this morning to go to Boston to visit his friend who is working there.  We thought we would stay the night in Boston since neither of us has been there.  But when the friend calls in the morning to say she can’t meet us after all, we decide to go ahead and leave anyway, as we told Ron and Betty last night that we were going to leave.

I think it might be fun to take a road trip through Vermont and New York, going home by way of Binghamton, New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, so we don’t have to drive back on the busy east coast highways.

After we pack up, we head to Mount Major, where we can see a great view of Lake Winnipesaukee.

View of Lake Winnipesaukee from Mount Major
View of Lake Winnipesaukee from Mount Major
View of Lake Winnipesaukee from Mount Major
View of Lake Winnipesaukee from Mount Major
View of Lake Winnipesaukee from Mount Major
View of Lake Winnipesaukee from Mount Major

As we leave New Hampshire, the sun is shining, but soon after we cross into Vermont, the weather becomes quite dreary, with heavy clouds and intermittent rain.  This takes the luster out of our road trip.  Luckily, the sun pops out a bit as we stop in the cute town of Woodstock, Vermont.

The Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock, Vermont
The Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock, Vermont

We’re enticed into The Primrose Garden Gift Shop, because Alex and I both have his Nana on our minds.  Nana (Shirley to me) loves gardening and is in hospice care at home while we’re on this trip.  Alex decides he’d like to get her a gift from this cute little shop.  We find a kind of decorative bird’s nest with some blue speckled eggs inside and we decide she’ll like this.

Primrose Garden Gift Shop in Woodstock
Primrose Garden Gift Shop in Woodstock

When we go to the register to pay, we mention that we’re buying the bird’s nest as a gift for my mother-in-law, who is in hospice care and is declining rapidly.  I tell the woman behind the counter, “My son and I came to New England to take a little break.  We were invited to stay in someone’s cottage on Lake Winnipesaukee and now we’re making our way back home.”  The woman is surprised, “Oh, you’re his mother?  I thought you were something else.”

In the Primrose Garden Gift Shop
In the Primrose Garden Gift Shop

“Really?” I say.  “You don’t think we’re a couple, do you?”  This cracks me up because I had just asked Alex the day before if he felt uncomfortable traveling alone with his mother.   I asked, “Do you ever wonder if people think we’re a couple?” He laughed and said, “No way!”  I said, “Don’t be so shocked.  You know a lot of older women date younger men.”  He thought the whole notion utterly ridiculous.

So when this woman says this, he can’t believe it.  Actually, I think he’s mortified.  Poor Alex.  The woman goes on to say, “I really can’t believe you’re his mother.  You’re doing something right.  Whatever you’re doing, you should keep doing it.  You look great!”

This comment is very nice, especially in light of the comment I got two days ago about my weight and the comment that will come tomorrow about my age (to follow in another post!).

Primrose Garden Gift Shop
Primrose Garden Gift Shop

We go on our way, leaving the little town of Woodstock and heading further south to Bennington, where we will stay the night.  We read online there are a lot of painted moose (which Alex wants to call “meese”) scattered around the town.  There is also a famous monument, apparently similar to the Washington Monument.  We vow to see the few sites there are despite the threatening weather.

We head straight for the Bennington Battle Monument, a 306 ft (93 m) stone obelisk that commemorates the Battle of Bennington during the Revolutionary War.  Sadly when we arrive, it’s too late to go to the top as it’s closing time.  The clouds and the light make it impossible for me to even get a good picture.  We do however find our first moose, painted in covered bridges.

Bennington Battle Monument
Bennington Battle Monument

We find our first moose painted in famous covered bridges from the area.

Covered bridge moose at the Bennington Battle Monument
Covered bridge moose at the Bennington Battle Monument

We find one painted cat near the monument as well.  Obviously, this town is really into painted animals.

Painted cat at the Bennington Battle Monument
Painted cat at the Bennington Battle Monument

As we’re driving into town, we come across a sprawling ruin of an old hotel, once the Walloomsac Inn and Dewey Tavern.  It looks like a haunted house, but when we ask someone walking down the road what it is, they tell us one of the owners still lives in a portion of the house.

Walloomsac Inn & Dewey Tavern
Walloomsac Inn & Dewey Tavern

In about 1770, Captain Elijah Dewey (1744-1818) built his home, Dewey Tavern.

Walloomsac Inn & Dewey Tavern
Walloomsac Inn & Dewey Tavern

On June 4, 1791, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison stayed at Dewey Tavern, while on a tour of the northern states.  After Elijah Dewey’s death, the Dewey Tavern became the Walloomsac Inn.

Walloomsac Inn & Dewey Tavern
Walloomsac Inn & Dewey Tavern
Walloomsac Inn & Dewey Tavern
Walloomsac Inn & Dewey Tavern

Across the street from the ruined inn is the Old First Congregational Church and the Old Bennington Cemetery.

Old First Congregational Church
Old First Congregational Church
Old First Congregational Church
Old First Congregational Church
Old First Congregational Church
Old First Congregational Church

The cemetery goes back to the American Revolution.  The poet Robert Frost is buried here.  He bought the plots in 1940 because of its mountain view, not surprising as he had a home in Franconia, New Hampshire and three farms in Vermont.  He also wanted to be buried behind a beautiful old New England Church.

The Old Bennington Cemetery
The Old Bennington Cemetery
The Old Bennington Cemetery
The Old Bennington Cemetery
The Old Bennington Cemetery
The Old Bennington Cemetery

Frost has been said by many to have been an atheist and scholars still argue about his religious beliefs. Though his poetry often alludes to the Bible, he was skeptical.

Robert Frost's grave, scattered with pennies
Robert Frost’s grave, scattered with pennies

Frost’s gravestone of Barre granite with hand-carved laurel leaves is inscribed, “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”  It’s also sprinkled with pennies.

The Old Bennington Cemetery
The Old Bennington Cemetery
The Old Bennington Cemetery
The Old Bennington Cemetery

Finally, after we have dinner, we drive around the town in search of more moose.  We find an array of the painted creatures in various spots around town.

Finally, we head back to our hotel as it has started raining and getting dark all at once. We pass by the catbird studio, where Alex has to take a picture.

catbird studio
catbird studio

There is nothing else we can find to do in this town, so we go back to the Paradise Inn and relax after our long day in the car.

Another town moose
Another town moose

Tomorrow we’re hoping for better weather so we can take a hike in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

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15 thoughts on “a road trip ending in bennington, vermont

  1. Your trip brought back memories of a similar trip my husband and I took through New Hampshire/Vermont areas a few years (quite a few) ago. We especially liked Bennington and have talked about going back sometime.

  2. That painted cat is bonkers, but I do like the painted moose! Your Alex tale made me smile – on a trip in Australia with my eldest son and his wife and 8 month old baby daughter, someone thought my DL was our nanny! I was 45, he was 23!! We laughed but I don’t think the DL was very happy 🙂

    1. Those painted cats and moose are all bonkers in my opinion, but they do provide some good entertainment! Haha, that’s a funny story about your daughter-in-law and the comment about her being your nanny! So funny what people say sometimes. I can’t make fun too much though because some of the things that come out of my mouth end up being totally inappropriate! 🙂

  3. Those meese in their painted pyjamas are a little weird for me, but I love the pale sunrises, Cathy. In fact I love all of the lake shots (surprise!)
    Did Shirley like her present? Wasn’t it thoughtful of Alex! I do think that it’s lovely that you can travel with your sons and be good company for each other. I can’t imagine doing it with James!
    Stay young at heart, girl. It’s obviously working for you 🙂

    1. Yes, they are all a little weird, Jo, but I guess if it makes the townsfolk happy, how can we complain? They did give us some entertaining moments, at least, which we wouldn’t have found much of otherwise! Between the bad weather and the lack of things to do, the moose gave us a few laughs.

  4. Early morning is the best time of day I think. That’s when I write usually.

    What a lovely conversation with the shop lady and a great boost to your self esteem. I would remember this comment and forget the others if I were you.

    1. Good for you, Carol, that you’re in a routine of writing early in the morning. I haven’t written anything in over a month with everything we’ve had going on around here.

      That was a nice compliment from the shopkeeper and boosted my confidence for at least 24 hours!

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