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Archive for October, 2014

On one of summer’s last hurrah weekends Manchester, Vermont beckoned. On September 27th we journeyed from south of Boston north-west on route 2 to 91 north through Brattleboro and on to historic and beautiful route 7 north into Bennington (a blog for another day). Following route 7a north, the old route for the most enjoyable tourist experience, we traveled to Manchester – a town filled with history, beauty, and quaint authenticity.

The old and luxurious Equinox Hotel, one of the largest and most elegant in the country, perhaps the world, takes its place in the town’s center, surrounded with wonderfully manicured green space and ancient trees you’ll want to hug. The town stretches through multiple old homes and into a pleasing commercial area where there are divine antique stores (not overly priced), cafes, indoor and outdoor, an old-fashioned country store, and did I mention outlets? I’m not an outlet shopper, but for those who are, you name it, they’ve got it.

Aside from the beauty of the area, the most significant part of the weekend was a visit to Hildene. Located on route 7a, Hildene is the former home of Todd Lincoln, the only one of President Lincoln’s children to survive and live a lucrative life. His home is situated on five-hundred glorious acres of wooded and mountain land. From every standpoint on that property, there is cause to gasp at the breathtaking views of certainly one of the most gorgeous places on earth.

The house is large but warm – it has the appearance of welcoming a family in on a daily basis. Every room feels like a place where you could curl up with a good book, a cat on your lap and a dog at your feet – it’s inviting on every level.

The cost to go into the house is $18,00 – well worth it. Aside from wandering the spacious grounds surrounded with oaks and maples, the admittance allows you to view the goat farm where charming Nubian goats make their home, and from their offerings, the best cheese is made and sold. There is also Sunbeam, a pullman car which has been accurately restored to the time of Lincoln’s life. You may go onto that luxury car, with stained-glass windows and velvety cushions to greet its once-upon-a-time travelers. The best part is the little trolley transportation which every fifteen minutes, transports you from the welcome center (near the house) to the goat farm and then to the pullman car, Sunbeam. While it would be a beautiful walk on a nice day, these places are a distance apart on the five-hundred acres and you would probably welcome the ride through the woods where chipmunks and squirrels live happily with many natural foods to munch.

The last Lincoln to live there, Peggy, died in the late 1970’s. I would have been best buddies with her – she loved to read, adored both domestic and wild animals, and had her license to fly. While I never earned a license, I took flying lessons for a short while, My love of animals and books would have put Peggy and me in a similar space. One difference, she had money, I don’t. 🙂

Going back again after Thanksgiving – they decorate Hildene for Christmas with mostly natural items found on the property. I’m sure it’s going to be a treat.

If there’s one place I would urge you to go it is to Manchester’s Hildene. That side of Vermont brushes shoulders with the state of New York – it’s heavenly.

Virginia Young – southshorewriter,com

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