It only took us about three hours to fill up the propane tank, fill up the Mothership and drive the 115 miles to Springfield, VT and Tree Farm Campground. It was the first time since NJ we had added fuel to the Mothership. It's definitely different than last year's trip to Alaska!! We have filled Libby four times in that same time span as a result all of the driving around the states we have visited.
Tree Farm Campground is deep in a pine forest full of very tall pines trees, probably 80-100 feet tall. We have full hook-ups with 30 amps and a limited cable but absolutely no way to get through the trees to the satellite which would probably be OK if the cable had ESPN and TNT which it doesn't so we will miss the SEC baseball tournament and softball super-regionals this week-end.
Springfield is a small village (pop. of 9,078 in 2000) that was at the center of the Precision Valley region, home of the Vermont machine tool industry in the first half of the 20th century. This prominence began in 1928 when James Hartness came to Springfield, became president of the Jones and Lamson Machine Company, and ushered in a new era of precision manufacturing in the area. During World War II, the area was so involved in manufacturing precision tools for the war effort it became the seventh most important bombing target in the country.
James Harkness served as Governor of Vermont 1920-1922. He was also involved in amateur astronomy. His daughter, Helen, was married to Senator Ralph E. Flanders and became an internationally recognized ballad collector and authority on folk music, publishing nine books on the subject. The Harkness House is now a Historical Site.
Springfield also was and is a hotbed of amateur astronomers and has been home to the Stellafane Convention
annually since 1926. Stellaphane was started by the Springfield Telescope Makers which is a club of amateur astronomers established in 1920.
Thursday we went on a drive to view the countryside. We started by driving down to Chester Depot, about nine miles from Springfield. The villages such as Chester or Springfield are only a few miles apart, separated by rolling hills covered with forests. It appears that most of Vermont is this way with large towns or cities few and far between. I guess that explains the almost complete absence of chain stores, none of the villages are large enough to support them. There is a McDonald's in Springfield and we saw a Subway in Weston but that is the only chain companies we saw in about 70 miles of driving through several villages.
From Chester Depot we went to Grafton to see the Grafton Village Cheese Company. Again our efforts to see a factory process was thwarted as the factory had been moved to Brattleboro and only the retail operation was open in Grafton. We did sample the cheese though and bought a little bit. It is some very good cheddar!
We then went to Weston to see the Vermont Country Store
, which is a very popular place and has all kinds of old time and new stuff, just about anything you could think of. On the way to Weston, about half of the drive was a gravel country road. We did pass the Hidden Farm Alpaca
farm and a wild turkey (not the liquid kind) on the trip. We got pictures of the alpacas but not so fortunate on the wild turkey - it was fast!
On the way back to Springfield we encountered a road closure as they cut down a tree and let it fall across the road and then used a bulldozer to push it off the road. Luckily we were only delayed about 15 minutes. We have seen a lot of construction since arriving in New England. Springfield alone has at least four different projects going that we have seen and no telling how many we haven't.
When back into Springfield, we went to see the oldest one room schoolhouse in Vermont, the Eureka Schoolhouse
, which was built from 1785 to 1790. It was moved to its present site and restored in 1968. Next to it is the Baltimore Covered Bridge which is also covered at the same link.
We don't have plans to do anything but camp this weekend. We have been the only RV in the campground, except for the seasonals, but as I write this on Friday afternoon, it is quickly filling up. This is the first big camping week-end of the season. That is one reason we are staying this long here. Sites are difficult to come by on this week-end.
We actually didn't do anything this week-end but goof off and enjoy camping, grilling out a few times and then today I went into town a purchased a 1.8 pound lobster to assuage Doris' addiction. I guess we will be OK now for a few days!!!
Tomorrow we head to Colchester, VT which is just above Burlington on Lake Champlain.