6-20-12, Day Off – Driving Adventure!

This is a long post with lots of pics, but hope you take the time to read!

My day started off by a suggestion from my sister and my mom as they were finishing their order from The Vermont Country Store and saw that it was in Rockingham, VT, which is not too far from where I am staying, about 35 minutes.  Ends up my ventures took me 1 ½ hrs from home base, but what fun I had and so much history!

VICTORIAN BRIDGE (or Kissing Bridge) and THE VERMONT COUNTRY STORE, Rockingham, VT

Upon pulling into the parking lot of The Vermont Country store, I saw a beautiful bridge that I had to take a closer look at before going to the country store.  The Victorian Bridge (or Kissing Bridge) was built in 1872 and then rebuilt in 1967.  Back in the horse and buggy days, covered Bridges were a popular place for young lovers courting to stop and sneak a hug or kiss.  Thus, old Vermont covered Bridges came to be also known as “Kissing Bridges.”  A slow horse, a long bridge, and a willing girl could even produce two kisses!  Now off to explore The Vermont Country Store!

 In 1945, Vrest and Ellen Orton printed their first catalog – just 12 pages and 36 products, and mailed it to the folks on their Christmas card list.  Vrest, a frugal Yankee at heart, insisted that the merchandise be durable and above all practical.  Decades later, this still holds true, and every item is backed up with their no-hassle, no fuss 100% guarantee to deliver quality products.  Today, The Vermont Country Store is owned by Lyman Orton and sons Cabot, Gardner, and Eliot, 7th & 8th generation Vermonters, and 3rd and 4th generation storekeepers.  My interest was piqued, though, when I found out this was not the ‘mother’ store!  So now my driving adventures will eventually lead me to Weston, VT.

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MEDITRINA WINE & CHEESE, MOON DOG CAFÉ and BABA A LOUIS BAKERY, Chester, VT

So I kind of mentioned before that my travels would take me to food related establishments, as those of you who know me all too well, I’m a ‘foodie!’  But before I  stopped for a bite to eat, I drove past, then backed up, to find this quaint little wine and cheese!  Oh, like I need another bottle of wine, but knowing my hubby is coming back out in August to ‘collect’ me, I figured that called for a bottle of wine – right?  Meditrina opened its doors in May 2010, and the store was brought together by three owners.  I asked one of the owners who was at the store that day, a good place to stop and eat lunch.  She suggested the Moon Dog Café, one mile down the road.  Sounds good to me!  You know, I kind of feel like Rachel Ray eating on $40 a day!  What a great place . . . an organic café with healthy salads, soups, sandwiches, baked goods, full-service natural food market and eclectic gift items.  For lunch, their soup of the day was Manhattan Clam Chowder and their curry chicken salad is their #1 seller, so I decided to go with the half soup and salad.  I was expected a small cup of soup, instead I get this wonderful bowl of soup and the half sandwich was piled high with curry chicken with walnuts and grapes – yummy!   I also did a little shopping here, and got a couple of gifts and bought myself a sari wrap.  I deserve something for all my hard work today!

Onward driving to Weston, VT, when out in the Green Mountains I came upon a building that you would not describe as the typical bakery style building.  It’s somewhat hidden by the road, which is why I needed to track back, because I missed it.  Even though I’ve never been to Italy, it’s like the stone paths you see in pictures.  With this bakery, the stone path leads up to the front door and upon entering, the bakery welcomes you with lots of natural lighting, Italian tiles, and wonderful smells from the bakery.  They’re lunch was done for the day, which is fine, since I just ate, but the bakery is open until 6 pm.  I didn’t take any pics inside, but hope to go back for their lunch buffet, which is an assortment of quiches, sandwiches and a salad bar – sounds good to me!

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THE VERMONT COUNTRY STORE ‘Mother Store’ and WESTON MILL MUSEUM, Weston, VT

The Vermont Country Store in Weston opened its doors in 1946 to compliment the mail-order business.  The Weston shop was the first restored rural general store in the nation.  Little did I know that I would also find the Howe Scale Museum here, as well as some pretty neat toasters from the past!  The first scale was patented by Thaddeus Fairbanks to meet the demand of Vermont farmers that started growing hemp for ropes and other products.  I bet Mr. Fairbanks had no idea how popular his scales would be with the hemp growing business!!  With that being said, in 1856, Frank Strong and Thomas Ross started the Howe Scale Company.  The scale was to the late 18th century as the laptop and I Pads are to us today.  The ‘Toasters of Yesteryear” were pretty neat too!  The Vermont Country stores remind me a lot of Duluth Trading, and how lucky we are to have the first Duluth Trading Flagship store in my hometown of Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin!!  Only difference between the two, I had lots of snacks in The Vermont Country stores, which kept my energy levels going!

 My main reason for visiting Weston, VT is I heard from one of the locals in Chester, VT that there was a running flour mill not far from The Vermont Country Store.  It’s actually only a two minute walk from the country store, so I ventured to see if it was open, and it was!  I was lucky to find the local tinsmith at the museum working on some of his projects.  For those of you who don’t know what a tinsmith is, they are also known as sheet metal workers, who create and repair items made of tin and other light metals.  I shared with me a little bit about the history of the Weston Mill and said it was badly damaged by the floods caused by hurricane Irene.  It has been fully restored, and is one of the very few operating water-powered gristmills in the country.  Beginning July 2nd, they will begin milling flour on the weekends and giving tours, but I had the luxury of having a private tour to myself of both the downstairs and upstairs.  It was amazing and absolutely beautiful!

Well, this was my last stop, so I thought, until upon my drive back, I came upon a sign that said Grandma Miller’s Homemade Pies, which is also sort of like a cross between a motel and B&B.  Now when you see a sign that has ‘Grandma’ on it, you know you just have to stop, so I did!

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GRANDMA MILLER’S HOMEMADE PIES, South Londonderry, VT

Well, this was my last stop, so I thought, until upon my drive back, I came upon a sign that said Grandma Miller’s Homemade Pies, which is also sort of like a cross between a motel and B&B.  Now when you see a sign that has ‘Grandma’ on it, you know you just have to stop, so I did!  Come to find out, the place I stopped at was not where the bakery production was done; it was 7 miles down the way.  So the very nice woman gave me a map and I ended up at this really neat old barn that was converted into a bakery.  What I surprise when I walked in the door!  This was not only the production facility, but a full retail shop as well, and a quaint seating area to enjoy some fresh pastries.  David Nunnikhoven is the owner of Grandma Miller’s Pies and was done with production for the day, so I was lucky enough to get my own private tour of the bakery.  It was amazing, and his daughter, makes homemade ice cream as well and is for sale at their retail store and at farmer’s markets.  Since I was a bit famished, I decided to buy some treats to taste test when I got home.  I have to say my favorite was the morning glory muffin, which is the best I have ever had!

Well that is really it for today, really!  Heading back to Wilder and resting up before my venture to White River Junction, which is only 5 minutes away.  I was told by the baker at Grandma Miller’s Pies, to check out the Bakers Studio, which is to have some amazing bagels, cakes, cookies and pastries.  Will write more tomorrow.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melody
    Jun 23, 2012 @ 15:45:26

    What a beautiful area! I love stopping at places like that! So quaint and homey!

    Reply

  2. Kathy
    Jun 22, 2012 @ 13:12:51

    Pam,
    What an awesome journey. It sounds like people are really friendly out there and willing to share their stories. Great pictures and storytelling on your blog. Very interesting

    Reply

    • Pam Barnes
      Jun 22, 2012 @ 17:36:40

      Hi Kathy!
      Glad you enjoyed reading about driving adventure on Wednesday. I took me five hours to write my post for that day, as it takes awhile to upload pictures and to write a little bit about them.

      Reply

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