Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leaf Lookers.... that's us!

Well Terry and I have been "leaf lookers" for the last ten days. Off in our little camper again on our way to Vermont. We thought we should have gone earlier, but I had a workshop with Ann Templeton, a fabulous artist. It was great and I can't wait to paint, but had to put it off because the leaves were quickly turning. We left on Monday October 19th. Worked our way up through Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York before we finally got to Vermont. The leaves are beautiful!

We spent some time in the Shenandoah National Forest camping at the Big Meadow. It was beautiful with all of the color. I painted a little watercolor while Terry went out and hiked the trail at the Big Meadow. He came back excited because he had managed to see some larger deer with horns and even a black bear. There had been 4 inches of snow a few days before and you could still see remnants of it. I bet it was really pretty too. The weather was beautiful for us cool but not cold.

We are really enjoying this driving around by the seat of our pants. Through Pennsylvania I tried hard to get a picture of the Amish buggies. I would see one every blue moon but miss the picture. I finally got this one but missed the horses head.

In New York we were looking for a campground and went to the first one to find no one there. It was sort of being built or renovated and there was just a note on the door, we chose not to stay there. The second one we rode to we went down the back road very slowly but never did find where it was, right road but no campground. So as we are leaving to go back to I-81 we saw another sign. So... we finally found a beautiful campground by East Lake. We stayed the night there and they had beautiful stone buildings with lots of fir trees that were huge. They had lots for children to do in the summertime, pool, putt-putt golf, horseback riding and game rooms. It was really nice but had a beautiful old charm with those stone buildings.

Finally we were in Vermont! We stayed in Manchester the first night there. A really pretty old town with high end boutique shops for men and women. We also managed to make our way into the Orvis shop.... a fisherman's dream. The campgrounds are mostly closed up North after October 15th, most after September; but I think it depends on their weather. They were having beautiful weather this year so I think some were staying open longer. We still had to look to find one open.

In Shelburne we went to the Shelburne Museum, a fantastic museum. They were having a special event showing of motorcycles and Tiffany glass lamps. I was able to make lots of pictures of the 38 historic buildings that they have on the property. You were even able to make pictures inside as long as you didn't use a flash. So I really enjoyed this museum and we spent almost all day there. What we didn't realize was that it was the last normal day of the museum being open for the season. The next day they were having a Halloween party and expected 2000 people to attend.... not quite what we were looking for.

Here are a few of the things that we saw in the exhibits, they had alot of original artwork, here a Monet (Haybales), but also got to see Degas, and many others they held in their private collection. The Mary Cassatt painting was my favorite.

On our way over to the mountains of Vermont we passed by Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory. Couldn't pass that up so we did the tour and got our sample of Triple Caramel Chocolate Chunk! All it does is make you want more and go to their counter and buy another icecream treat....

We saw so many beautiful barns, bridges, and rivers. I love the silos. Some more interesting things were a beaver lodge.. but we didn't see any beavers, but we did look for them. A really neat red light, portable. Now doesn't that make alot of sense. The latest in landscape elements, the wind turbine, is popping up everywhere. I would love to have one in Ellijay to provide our power.

Vermont has lots of covered bridges and so we managed to find alot of them. They were tucked everywhere and along with the bridges we managed to find a Maple Sugar House. The lady was so nice when we pulled up and asked her if she was open. A lot of the Maple Sugar houses are privately owned by families who own the property and make the syrup. She said she would be glad to show us their "factory" if we'd like to see it. I was amazed at how syrup is made. I still thought that they put the little tin pales at the tree to collect the sap. Not so... they have tubing that goes from tree to tree and a vacuum draws it down to their collector tank. All of the tanks and cooking vats are stainless steel and I never would have thought inside their barn they had all of this equipment. She showed us everything and then offered us to taste the different kinds of syrup. That was especially nice and also not what I thought. The light to dark amber syrup is all equal, the color is determined by the weather/temperature. Each time they make syrup they keep a sample and they were just beautiful sitting up in the window with the light coming through them. I hope to paint a picture of that. The taste test was also a surprise. I have always thought that the better syrup was the dark amber.... with the taste test my favorite was the "fancy", a very light amber, the darker the amber the stronger taste and I didn't like it nearly as much. So we learned all about the maple syrup industry and couldn't leave without buying some fancy maple syrup.

Worked our way back over to Burlington and went up the islands of Lake Champlain. It was really nice and I love the older houses up North. They have such charm. We don't have anything like them down here. We left Vermont at the Canadian border and crossed over into New York again. Now we were on our way home.

Once we make the turn from being "on the way to" to "on the way back" it changes my mind to start wanting to get home. I start thinking more about the kids and Toby and, and.... we are a little more direct about our directions. We really are having fun with our camper... Terry drove 2800 miles on this trip. When we were driving out Old Bucktown Road to our home we both were looking at the beautiful leaves and Tickenettlely Creek by our home.. decided that the leaves are just as pretty here as they are anywhere!

Take care... Sally

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's Starting... Fall

Well the crisp, cool, clean air is back. I was looking out my kitchen window and there it was.... fall. Just a little more color than I thought that there had been when we arrived on Sunday. I love fall with the warmth coming from the fire in the evenings and the days where you can wear a light sweater and jeans. I'm really not a summer person. I'm now able to tackle the weeds in the flower bed and get them cleaned up. When it's hot I just don't do good with the weeds and bugs. So I thought you would enjoy these early fall pictures.

The first picture was as we were leaving down by the gate and the second one out in the back looking up the mountain.

Had to share my gourds. I picked the ones where the stems had turned brown, they are all different shapes this year. I have plans for the round one, believe it's called a cannon ball gourd. We'll see if they dry properly and don't go yucky.

Take care, Sally.....