|Welcome Center in Vermont|
|Buffalo Bob Holden|
|The grave markers of Buffalo's Great Grandparents|
|The Holden Homestead|
|One of the lovely old homes in small town Vermont|
|Inside the Country Girl diner|
|A popular cooling off spot for the youth|
When Jan and I first came to Alaska, some 39 years ago, we had to take a ferry from Prince Rupert, British Columbia to Juneau, and another ferry to Hoonah. There are no roads to Hoonah, it's on an island. The few roads in town were basically mud, with a smattering of gravel and had craters in them that could float a boat. After traveling across the country from South Carolina, there was really no place left to drive. In order to get to the farm where we would reside for ten years, we had to take a boat. The only road there was from the tabernacle to the fields, a rocky ox cart pathway that was only suitable for running a tractor or horse drawn wagon, and even then it could jar your teeth out with all the ruts, bumps, roots and boulders. It definitely wasn't fit for automobile travel. I didn't realize until it was no longer an option, that I really missed the freedom of driving. I had withdrawals, much like when I quit smoking. I used to dream of going south and driving a car.
Well, at the beginning of the month, because of the generosity of a friend, I was able to fly to the East coast and drive west, all the way to Colorado Springs. I flew in to Hartford Connecticut and rented a car from the good folks at Budget Car Rental. I had gone through the Costco Travel site and got a discount, something I'll be sure to do again. The folks at Budget set me up with a Volvo four door vehicle complete with built in GPS, something I highly recommend if you're going to be traveling in areas that you are unfamiliar with. It relieved me of so much stress, wondering where to turn or how much further I had to go. The Volvo was such a fine car too, very comfortable.
I met up with my good friend Buffalo Bob in Brattleboro Vermont and followed him to his home about twenty miles away. Buff lives on a couple of acres of land in a hunting cabin that his father had built back in the 1950's at the end of a dead end road. There are a few other cabins scattered up and down the road and the entire area is surrounded by woods. I was surprised to see just how much of Vermont is wooded. I didn't run across any really large towns, but about every five miles or so there would be a village or small town. Most of the buildings are fairly old, dressed in white with dark green shutters and trim. Very neat, very rustic. In the three and a half days I spent with Buffalo, we covered probably a fifty mile radius. We stopped in at an antique store where he had purchased a new wood cook stove which he used to fix breakfast one day. We often took one of the many gravel side roads to go view some sight or another.I was surprised at the number of apple orchards in the area. I was also somewhat surprised that I never saw any deer the whole time I was there, although Buffalo assured me they were around, just wary. I did spot several flocks of wild turkeys though, something that we don't have here in Southeast Alaska.He wanted me to see the grave markers of his great,great grandparents. The grandfather's name was Squire and his wife's name was Lucy. On Lucy's marker it reads, Lucy, wife of Square Holden. For whatever reason the name was never corrected and I guess she will forever be remembered as the wife of Square Holden. I guess that's not all bad. Sounds like an upright kind of guy.
We got out on several occasions to walk around the woods and check out various sites. I noticed that no matter where we went there were stone walls. Years ago, when the first white settlers arrived, the ground was so rocky they couldn't use it for farming unless they first removed the rocks, which were plenteous. Rather than pile them up, they made fences, I guess to mark their property or separate fields. Bob says that you could walk for miles in the woods and find endless stone walls. One other thing I noticed, which was much less attractive, was thousands of yards of blue plastic tubing that is being used to transport the sap of the maple trees to the place where they make maple syrup. Gone are the days when they would tap a tree and hang a sap bucket. Now the trees all sport a tube that connects to an even larger tube that runs down hill into the collection point. It was rather unsightly and I was disappointed to see it, but I guess that's considered progress.
In our travels we stopped at several diners. We dropped in at the Country Girl cafe in one of the little towns and had a delightful meal. The place was really hopping and it was obvious that the locals enjoyed patronizing the diner. The outside looked like a really large Airstream trailer and inside it reminded me of a fifties diner. It was quite fun, and the food was good.
Buffalo took me to a spot where a small, swift running creek cuts through the limestone rock and forms several deep pools and chutes, much like a water park. There is a stationary ladder set up at the main pool with a sign stating that the ladder is just there so people can get back out of the pool instead of trying to slide down the chute to the next pool, which is probably a good thirty foot drop. The sign also states that over twelve people have died there and they discourage people from swimming there.
For three and a half days we drove around and talked and looked at various places of interest. Buffalo was my tour guide and I got to see things that I normally would have missed had I been on my own. I ate fresh tomatoes from his garden that actually tasted like a tomato should taste. I listened to his stories and enjoyed his hospitality and then it was time to move on to my next spot on the map, Marcellus New York. I'll do a post about my short visit there, hopefully in the not too distant future.