Visit with family
The primary purpose of my visit to Brattleboro was to visit with my brother Paul who I’ve not seen in several years. It was great to spend time with him, run some errands, watch a couple movies, share some meals, and generally catch up. I also got to see his cool new apartment that he had just moved into a few days prior to my arrival (he’s still working on hanging pictures). It offers about the same square footage of living space as my RV and is just right for him. He was also in charge of making sure I had good weather while I was here in VT, and I’d have to say he did quite well.
Having my other brother Dick from NH camping with me for a few days here in VT was just a bonus. He provided me with an excellent Geocache refresher course, taking me to find a variety of caches of different types, utilizing different hunting skills. It was a terrific couple days of caching, and gave me the necessary foundation that I can now use to continue the hunts on my own – hopefully with greater success.
It was very nice catching up, and I’m really glad that I made Brattleboro a stop in my new retirement adventures.
The downtown area of Brattleboro is well suited for walking around, with shops and eateries a plenty. A town of just under 12,000 people, there’s plenty to do and see in the immediate area. I spent a day wandering downtown, had a great coffee at Mocha Joe’s, then wandered through an amazing outfitters store called Sam’s that was filled with all kinds of outdoor gear. I was like a kid in a candy store!
But one of the stranger things I noticed about Brattleboro is the way they control road crossings for pedestrians. It’s funny the things you notice, but this was just too unique to not pick up on. Anywhere else I’ve been, when you want to cross a street, you hit the crosswalk button, then wait for the red light of the apposing traffic to trigger the crosswalk sign to allow for the bi-directional flow of pedestrians crossing a single direction across the street. Not in Brattleboro! Instead, traffic lights in all directions are red, right turn on red is temporarily suspended, and walk signals are opened in all directions to allow free flow pedestrian traffic to all directions across all streets. It’s a subtle change from what I’m used to, but after giving this some thought and reflecting on it, it sure does seem a lot safer for the pedestrians. Maybe Brattleboro is on to something!
Sightseeing Vermont (and nearby)
Brattleboro is blessed to have two very nice rivers run through it – the West River and the Connecticut River. These rivers provide a multitude of activities (fishing, boating, etc.) as well as some beautiful scenery. I took a bike ride on a trail that ran along the West river – very nice! I also visited a lookout point at HogBack mountain that provided scenic views all the way into Massachusetts and New Hampshire. I crossed the Connecticut River and happened to drive into Hinsdale, NH one day, and while walking around, I noticed the town post office – it has a special achievement of its own (see photo left – click to zoom in).
One of the most visited sites in VT is the Bennington Battle Monument, in Bennington, VT. A 300+ foot stone obelisk commemorates the efforts of General John Stark and 2,000 men from NH, MA, and VT who defeated two detachments of the British army in 1777 during the American Revolutionary War. Though the battle did not occur on these actual grounds (rather just 10 miles west over the boarder into NY), it was this location that contained a store of food and arms that were the capture objective of the British. Their defeat during this battle was notable, and greatly contributed to the end the war. There was also a painted moose there that was kinda cool to look at. Nothing related to the battle, but rather just the work of a local artist.
Equinox Mountain – Carthusian Monks
After visiting Bennington, I pointed the truck north to visit Mount Equinox. This mountain area has two claims to fame. First, the access road to the mountain summit is the longest (5.2 miles) privately owned paved toll road in the USA. Second, the region is home to the only Charterhouse of the Carthusian Order in North America. A large portion of the land on the mountain and valley to the south (some 7,000 acres) was donated to the Carthusians by Dr. Davidson – a chemical engineer and early founder of what is now Union Carbide. Dr. Davidson had purchased a large tract of land along the Equinox mountain to build a retirement home. He and his wife had no children of their own, and ultimately donated a large portion of their land to the order.
The commitment to live your life in silence, solitude, and free of any outside news or influence, along with the daily, seemingly monotonous routines, takes a very special person to live the the life of a Carthusian Monk. Needless to say, I did not sign up to join them while I was in the area.
I used my dash cam video along with several photos I took and put together a little video of the trip up and down Equinox. Give it a look – hope you enjoy it.
I must say, the two-week stay here in VT absolutely flew by. Hard to believe I’ll be hooking up the RV and pulling out in the morning to my next stop to my hometown of NH. Really looking forward to seeing lots of family and friends that I’ve not seen in quite some time, and enjoying the bounty of seafood the area has to offer. I’ve reached out to a lot of folks to make get together arrangements – some of whom I’ve not seen in several decades. This visit is going to be epic, and I’m truly looking forward to it. Even though I’ll be in the area for four weeks, I’m confident it too will be over before I realize it. Anyway, till then, safe and happy travels to all.