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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by popscycle, Apr 24, 2014.
You're getting color! Love that shot
Thanks you! A 'Nor'easter' just blew in from the Atlantic mucking up my plans to get to the areas of peak color this week. I wonder if I can find the old rain duds somewhere in the remaining pile of moving boxes.
Sugar In The Hills: About a week back, I was wandering around the hills in southern VT and came upon a bridge out detour. Imagine my smile when the detour pavement turned to gravel shortly past the sugarhouse shown below.
I must admit the big smile turned to one of concentration when I got into the trees and found the gravel got rather loose, damp and rutted like a washboard as it climbed. After a little uphill stuttering, we got up to the top and found another tiny sugarhouse.
Other than that, we didn't see much of anything except great gravel and trees until we got through Jacksonville, VT. Sometime after that, I cam across this nice scene and stopped for a stretch.
and then it was back down into MA heading into the Hoosac mountains.
Five Dollars and A Jug Of Rum: I think it was sometime around 1995 when I first rode by the stone ruins shown below, wondering what was there. For years thereafter, the question lingered.
Another thing I tend to wonder about is how villages and towns get started. The catalyst is generally location (e.g., high ground) and resources, especially water that can be adapted for powering grist and sawmills. On looking this particular structure over more carefully, I saw there was a brook (i.e., Weaver Brook) running through it with remnants of an upstream mill pond. Was this mill a catalyst for settlements in the area?
This was what I was thinking about while eating a ham sandwich down the road in Grafton, VT.
While eating lunch and thinking about these weighty things, I noticed someone go into the historical society building several houses down. That prompted a move down the street after lunch.
Fortunately, the society's administrator, Maureen Fletcher, was in the building and took time to explain how the town started and how it got it's name. What I learned from Maureen was that Grafton VT was named after Grafton MA. Grafton, VT, was originally named Thomlinson (from a 1754 charter granted by the British governor of NH) and was first settled in 1780. By 1791, the 500 plus people decided the town should no longer bear the name of John Thomlinson (who never came there) and decided to sell the right to rename the town at auction. John Axtell won with the high bid of 'five dollars and a jug of rum' and he renamed the town Grafton, after his MA home town. Wondering what caused the town to grow, Maureen explained that it was the discovery of a soapstone quarry and mill down the road east. She said I might have seen the stone remnants of the mill. A trip to the back room and old photographs solved the long standing mystery.
I was able to confirm that we were talking about the same thing. The stone ruins I wondered about all these years were those of a woolen mill built in 1836 for a cost of $31,000. That mill is shown below in a photo I estimate was taken in the mid 1800s during one of its successful periods.
The mill went through multiple owners, some of whom were successful and some who weren't. After the mill was destroyed by fire in 1878, the top half of the structure was razed and it was turned into a saw and grist mill, shown below.
Thus, another mystery solved. The ruins once held a woolen mill, grist mill and sawmill and gave impetus to growth of Grafton and its easterly village of Cambridgeport.
So, chasing down the story behind Grafton, VT, being named by "Five Dollars and A Jug Of Rum" led to my understanding of this structure. The stone ruins are located at coordinates 43.151202, -72.555445.
With the season for fresh, local sweet corn coming to an end (possibly the last week here), I was back there again today, Shane, to pick up more of their butter and sugar corn. I didn't have my camera and had to rely on the iPhone for the following pics.
The stand is an extension of one of their barns. Inside looks like this:
Just across the road is the family farm house. This is the 10th generation on the farm.
Colours in the first pic just POP John. History lesson about mill and pics of both it's configurations very interesting. Thanks.
Excellent background. Extra thanks for providing coordinates of all these interesting sites. This is my riding area too!
Very cool John - thank you for the follow up! Are they cured meats hanging from the ceiling?
What you see hanging is called Indian corn, which is a variety often used for fall decoration. Although edible when cooked, Indian corn is often grown as a part of fall harvest to look good next to pumpkins, sweet corn gourds and in seasonal displays. It was historically cultivated by native Americans in New England, who taught early settlers how to grow and use it.
More Autumn Color: Same lake in Stoddard, NH but taken from a different spot.
And just as spectacular. What a great place for fall colour pictures. Love the reflections on the lake.
What Did I Do? It was one of those days with one of those rides on one of those roads where you ask yourself, "Does it get any better than this?" or, "What did I do to deserve such a great day? " The picture below illustrates.
A really smooth and fast road with good visibility, no cars, no slow-moving and noisy cruisers, cool and crisp air with temps in the high 50s/low 60s, no wind, the smell of fall in the air and no major aches and pains. Life is very good.
Addenda & Errata - Three Inns: Below are pics of three New England inns, taken sometime in the last two or three weeks. The first of these is Moore's Inn in Saxton's River VT at coordinates 43.138638, -72.512916.
The second is the Benjamin Prescott Inn in Jaffrey, NH, at coordinates 42.800622, -71.986812. Shown below, the Prescott Inn was once the home of one of America's premier scientists, Vannevar Bush.
The third inn is back in Saxton's River, VT, at coordinates 43.138804, -72.507564. Shown again below, we have previously posted about this inn HERE.
Trying to catch up on pics taken in the last 30 days that might be of interest.
That is a fine looking piece of tarmac
Yes, that is a very sweet bit of roadway, shown again below.
Fall Harvest On The Farm: It's that time of year, time for pumpkin pie, apple cider, wrapples, apple pie, pumpkin bread, apple cinnamon rolls, apple danish and all things to spoil your diet.
Picture taken today riding out to get the last of the farm's butter and sugar sweet corn. A frost killed the season at this place.
Where are the combines and hopper wagons and semi trucks full of soybeans? Must be nice to have rural roads without harvest traffic this time of year.
The General Store Chronicles - Hancock Market: This Hancock Market (ca. 1879) is located on Main Street in Hancock NH, at coordinates 42.972813, -71.982425.
As small town/village stores go, this one is yet another gem and a very good place to stop The store is very clean, bright, very well-stocked and the service is great. Ownership recently changed, going to the couple who run the Hancock Inn across the street. This suggests a continuance of this fine store and that it will remain one of our top stopping places.
We have always stopped here in the morning for a coffee break on the way farther north into NH; however, never around meal time. Should that happen, we'll probably go to the Fiddleheads Cafe next door to eat, which is highly regarded in these parts.
The wife wants to go there for lunch on one of our outings and we'll report back. I'm thinking Kevin will want to try it on one of his trips back this way.
I really appreciate this thread, and the GPS coordinates. I was near Albany on Saturday, grabbed an airbnb and set out early on Sunday for a wrapple, then headed to the Harrisville Mill Villiage. While walking around I met a man who's grandfather, father as well as himself, worked at that mill and lived in the house you photographed here, obstructed by the foliage on the right:
Always a treat when you run into someone with first hand knowledge of a place you are visiting. What beautiful roads, even from within a car. I wish I didn't have to drive through New York City to get there. Living on Long Island has its challenges when it comes to day or weekend trips. Won't let that stop me, and thanks again for this thread.
Corn and soybeans being harvested and taken to silos and grain elevators are the stuff of my IL youth. They were apparently also once a thing in parts of thie area below (i.e., CT River Valley area) , given these rusting silos by the big grain elevator adjacent to the Greenfield RR yard.
In other, non-river-valley areas of the region, large stones and rocks in fields made agricultural farming more difficult and less profitable. The region grows rocks like Idaho grows potatoes when freeze/thaw cycles push them upwards, which is the reason for all the stone walls. As far as corn goes, I do think the sweet corn grown around here is better than what I remember eating back in IL. As far as riding goes, I don't miss elevator traffic.