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To Plan A Trip

May 2024
3min read


IN VERMONT
The Ethan Allen Homestead

off Route 127, a few minutes’ drive north of downtown Burlington, is where Alien lived the last two years of his life (1787–89). He may or may not (nobody knows for sure) be buried in the nearby cemetery on Colchester Avenue along with the gaggle of other Aliens there. The site includes the restored farmhouse as well as gardens, exhibits, and an ongoing archeological dig.

Open May through October, 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. (1:00 to 5:00 P.M. on Sundays). Telephone number: 802-865-4556.

The Bennington Battle Monument

off Route 9 in Old Bennington, is where (well, near where) New Hampshire’s Gen. John Stark yelled, “There are the Redcoats and they are ours or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow.” The observation area at the top, where the view is lovely, is accessible by elevator. Once you’ve done that, as well as studied the terrific diorama at the base depicting the Battle of Bennington, drop by the Bennington Museum in the center of town. It has lots of Grandma Moses paintings.

The monument is open daily, April 1 through November 1. The museum is open daily, January 2 through December 18, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Telephone number: 802-447-1571.

The Birthplace of Calvin Coolidge

on Route 10OA in Plymouth, is, of course, a must for anyone in pursuit of the Vermont image. You can see the church the President attended, a cheese factory still run by his son, a general store, and other Coolidge-related structures—including the homestead furnished exactly as it was on August 3, 1923, when Calvin was administered the presidential oath of office by his father, Col. John Coolidge, at 2:47 A.M. (When asked how he knew he could administer that oath, Colonel Coolidge, in true Vermont fashion, reportedly replied, “Didn’t know that I couldn’t.”)

Open May 22 to October 18, 9:30 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. daily. Telephone number: 802-672-3773.

Fort Ticonderoga

although it’s across Lake Champlain in New York State, is an important place for Vermont history buffs. Captured “in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress” by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold, it’s considered by Vermonters to be the site of the first Revolutionary War battle of any significance. On display are interesting personal possessions of Ethan Alien, and every day in the summer the fort fires off its cannon and holds fife-and-drum corps performances.

Open daily, mid-May to mid-October. Telephone number: 518-585-2821.

IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
Strawbery Banke Museum

in historic Portsmouth (Exit 7 off Interstate 95), is one of America’s oldest continuous neighborhoods. Comprising forty-two historic houses (thirty-seven on their original foundations) and period gardens, Strawbery Banke is the site the first English settlers of New Hampshire chose for their new plantation in 1630. Salvaged from demolition and urban renewal in the late 1950s, it is now a beehive of activity, including special exhibits, archeological excavations, working craft shops, and, of course, tours of the restored houses and those in the process of restoration.

Open daily May 1 to October 31, 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Telephone number: 603-433-1100.

The Old Man of the Mountain

New Hampshire’s official emblem, is located twelve hundred feet above Profile Lake in Franconia Notch, which you reach by driving up the middle of the state on Interstate 93. First seen by a couple of local boys in 1805 and consisting of five separate granite ledges arranged by nature to look like a face, it’s now pretty much held together with steel cables. On first viewing it, some are moved by its grandeur; others feel uninspired. If you find yourself in the latter category, there’s always the Cannon Mountain aerial tramway nearby, to say nothing of the walking trails, waterfalls, and a natural gorge known as the Flume that everyone finds spectacular.

Available to see on any reasonably clear day. Telephone number, Cannon Mountain, Franconia Notch State Park: 603-823-5563.

The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company

sprawled along the Merrimack River in Manchester, is the most spectacular and largest remnant of New Hampshire’s nineteenth-century textile mills. In its heyday it was the largest textile manufacturing company in the world; it also once made bricks, Civil War muskets, steam locomotives, and fire engines. For a self-guided tour, start at the Granite Street Bridge and walk through the historic old brick buildings to the Notre Dame Bridge. There you might consider rewarding yourself with lunch at the Café Pavone.

Formal tours are held occasionally by the Manchester Historic Association. Telephone number: 603-622-7531.

The Canterbury Shaker Village

off Interstate 93 north of Concord, once had a hundred buildings and three hundred residents. Now there are twenty-three buildings and just one living Shaker on the premises, Sister Ethel Hudson. Besides guided tours through the stark white buildings that seem to evoke the simplicity of the Shaker philosophy, workshops are ongoing, and you can plan on a scrumptious, authentic Shaker lunch at the Creamery Restaurant.

Open May through October, 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Telephone number: 603-783-9511.

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