Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vermont Trips

Twenty to thirty years ago, Jean and I held a fascination for Vermont - and in fact, the whole New England area.

But several times - generally early in October when the leaves were turning - we traveled to Stowe VT.

Why Stowe?

Because of Maria von Trapp, of course! (Of “Sound of Music” fame.)

We loved driving through the State on small side roads, looking for the “ski slopes”, and the wonderful scenery. We could imagine what those “slopes” looked like covered with snow in the winter, but we never ventured there so late in the year.

The first time we arrived in Stowe, we looked for - and finally found - The Trapp Family Lodge and Restaurant. We arrived, of course, at the noon hour so we might see Maria “working the room” in the Restaurant. We were told in Stowe that she did that.

That first time, sure enough, while we were waiting for our dessert, Maria came through the room, visiting and shaking hands with her guests. She stopped by our table, and we got to speak with her, and shake her hand.

She was dressed like Julie Andrews was in “The Sound of Music”, of course - with a white apron, and white hat. Very jovial!

(This wasn't OUR picture. I got it from the Internet.)

I can’t tell you the year this was, but I DO remember that a year or so after that, we drove there again, and the Lodge and Restaurant had burned down. Later then, a NEW Lodge was built, but we didn’t go there.

This just comes to mind:

One of the times we were in Vermont, we stayed at a Holiday Inn in Rutland. While eating breakfast, coming into the room were three of the Lawrence Welk Troupe - Guy and Ralna Hovis, and Joe Feeney. They ate breakfast just across from us. We acted like we didn’t notice them, of course, but all the same, we were peeking at them - like “star struck” tourists.

I also just now remember the first time we went to Vermont, we didn’t know anything about the area then, and we were anxious to find a place to stay.

We saw a “Bed and Breakfast” style inn, and stopped by late in the afternoon - about supper time. Though it was a little early in the season for BIG business, this place was still just about full.

There was one room, however, but it was a large one for a large family, and they were holding it for a family that size. We pleaded with them to let us stay there anyway, since we were getting worried about having to sleep in the car. They said to come back in an hour of so, and if no one had rented it, they would let us do so. We did.

I don’t, of course, remember the cost, but they obviously felt sorry for us, and didn’t want us to sleep in the car, so they let us rent it.

Big relief!

(While writing this, I’m pausing several times to let my “sub-conscious memory” kick in. Sometimes it works.)

Oh…… year when we went to Vermont, we hadn’t planned on it at all.

We were in northeastern New York, at the Word of Life Camp at Schroon Lake, in the Adirondacks (just visiting, not staying). While there, we visited Lake Placid also, where the Winter Olympics had been held a year or so before. We drove right by the LARGE ski jump that was used then.

After that, we headed north to Lake Champlain, and took a ferry across to Vermont. I don’t remember exactly where we crossed, but it might have been at Essex, or farther north to Burlington VT.

There were nearly a score of cars and buses on that ferry! One of the large buses was right next to us, and as the ferry kinda “rocked”, so did the bus, and it gave us an eerie feeling.

One year, we drove north from Vermont, right into Montreal, Canada. No travel restrictions then, of course. We didn’t even need a passport.

Because of my enthrallment (it’s a word. I looked it up.) with the French language, I always wanted to visit Montreal.

You know, I guess, that even if English is the national language of Canada, the principal language in Montreal is French.

Here’s the official word on that - from the Internet:

Montreal is a cosmopolitan city. Quebec's language laws impose restrictions on outdoor signs in languages other than French so you will see few signs in English, but in the parts of Montreal where most travellers go, services are available in English. French is heard in all parts of the city but in many neighbourhoods other languages will also be heard. Only half of Montreal's residents speak French at home.

The city is on an island, actually, in the St. Lawrence River. Its population is well over 3 million - the second largest in Canada, behind Toronto, Ontario. Montreal is in Quebec Province.

(Please forgive the "dimness" of this map. I think it DOES show that the river flows AROUND Montreal. Sorry.)

It’s pronounced: Moan- ray-al (as in alley), Kay-bek. (Montreal, Quebec.) The “n” sound in Montreal is soft, and in between the “h” and “n” sound, with a nasal quality.

I don’t remember that we stayed there very long, but it was an interesting experience for me, the “wannabe French speaker”.

I JUST had a terrific remembrance about THAT trip!

The Montreal Expos, in that day, played in a Baseball park known to American baseball broadcasters as “Jerry Park”.


But, the actual name was “Parc Jarry”, pronounced “PARK jar-REE.

It was the home of the Montreal Expos from 1969 to 1976, when it was then replaced by Olympic Stadium, after the Montreal Olympics.

Here's the Right Field Scoreboard at Parc Jarry:

When we drove by Parc Jarry, we were stunned by the small size of it, being used to stadia like Crosley Field in Cincinnati, Wrigley Field in Chicago and Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.

To get back home, we took what we thought was a “trans-national highway”, that is NOW numbered Highway 401 (who knows what it might have been numbered in those days), west to Toronto, then down to Hamilton, Ontario, and on to Buffalo and home.

As reported here earlier in “New England Vacation”, Jean and I always had a fascination for New England and the Northeast.

What follows may be extraneous material for the subject of “Vermont Trips”, but it happened when we were in Vermont - and Maine.

Traveling east to New Hampshire, we ran across the Mount Washington Hotel and Resort at Bretton Woods, NH. We were not looking for it, but just naturally looked out our side windows, and “across the river and through the woods”, was a MAMMOTH hotel, sitting right on top of a mountain.

We were stunned!

This was the hotel that held the United Nations Monetary Conference, later named the Bretton Woods Conference. I had heard of that for years, and when I realized this was the site, I was “flabbergasted” (a good old Mechanicsburg word.)

Here’s the official word from Wikipedia, on the Internet:

The United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, commonly known as Bretton Woods conference, was a gathering of 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations at the Mount Washington Hotel, situated in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II.[1]

The conference was held from 1 July to 22 July 1944 in July, when the agreements were signed to set up the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

As a result of the conference, the Bretton Woods system of exchange rate management was set up, which remained in place until the early 1970s.

I now remember that the time we saw the Hotel for the first time, Jodi was with us for our New England Vacation.

Here's Jodi (left) and Grandma (Jean), with the Hotel in background

We found a lane, or driveway, and drove back to the front of the hotel.

It was awesome!

So we could say we were in the hotel, Jodi and I got out of the car and went inside - exploring the lobby. We didn’t stay long, I don’t think, but long enough to brag about it - like right now.

Well, that was New Hampshire and not Vermont, but after all, this is “free association writing”, and in that form, you write what you are thinking.

Or, at least I do.

No comments: