In 2017, this post returned to the ranks of one of Faith-Filled Family’s Top Posts
Leaving Vermont and heading north to go east -Traveling State to State in the Land of Liberty
Sightseeing in Bennington, VT – Exploring the U.S.A. – One Small Town at a Time
On this virtual travel adventure, you have been more informed that our loved ones were on the actual travel adventure. Prior to our temporary address at Pine Hollow Campground in Pownal, Vermont, we had poor to no internet connections.
For whatever cyber reasons, during the actual travel adventure, I had been unable to update our loved ones using the Shutterfly share site, which had been created prior to our departure. For three weeks, our parents relied on infrequent phone calls from us, because we also had poor to no cell phone coverage. For three weeks, our friends had no idea where or how we were.
However, on September 26, 2011, I made my first entry on the Shutterfly site. These entries will help me share the actual travel adventure with you.
We all slept in this morning.
For breakfast, Gary made French toast. Belle wanted to try the Vermont pure maple syrup, which we had bought yesterday. But we made a family decision to wait for a breakfast of pancakes to try the pure maple syrup.
After breakfast, school was in session for Belle and Buddy, who spent the morning completing their school work.
As for Gary and me, we worked on finding temporary addresses for our home on wheels for the upcoming Columbus Day weekend. We did not realize that Columbus Day weekend is a popular camping weekend in the northeast. We learned that this weekend marks the end of the camping season. Gary and I did not know that most campgrounds in the New England states would close for the season after the Columbus Day weekend. Luckily, we found a campground that wasn’t book for the weekend and that could accommodate our big rig.
Bennington Potters has been in business since the Revolutionary War.
Their workshop is open for self-guided tours.
Since Fannie was with us,
we took turns touring the workshop.
Fannie waited, but not patiently. She whimpered until each family member returned to the pack.
In the workshop, we watched the artisans at each of the stations and read the over-hanging placards. The placards described what the artisans were doing.
The self-guided tour was not only educational but also entertaining.
After the workshop tour, we headed to the gift shop at Bennington Potters.
The gift shop was housed in a building dating to the 1920. This building was once a one-room school house.
The gift shop housed various pottery wares and house-hold decorations. However, not much of a shopper, the gift shop did not hold my interest for long.
While Gary, Buddy, and Belle browsed the entire shop which was housed in more than one building, Fannie and I waited outside for the rest of the pack.
We drove the dually to the first stop,
The Saint Francis de Sales Church.
The Walking Tour suggested that we park here for free.
Then, we took off on foot.
We strolled along Main Street and wandered down side streets.
We found a handful of sights on the walking tour and we ignored the other five.
Ironically, we stepped inside the Downtown Visitor Center on our last day in Bennington.
Surprisingly, our family had seen and explored most of the “Top Things to See and to Do in Bennington, Vermont”.
but our family of four and Fannie managed to spend the entire afternoon in downtown Bennington.
The afternoon hours passed quickly. The evening hours had arrived. Not wanting to end our time in downtown Bennington just yet, we decided that today was the day to eat our first meal out.
Having Fannie with us in downtown Bennington posed only a minor predicament.
We dined on pizza while watching the townspeople and tourist for entertainment in Downtown Bennington, Vermont.
Waiting and hoping for a dropped treat,
Fannie laid at our feet.
Because after dinner, our family wanted a treat.
The smell in this store was heavenly, and the chocolate treats were divine.
We walked off our treat as we walked back to the dually. Our time in Bennington, Vermont, had come to an end. It was time to return to our home on wheels.
We rode in silence and admired the scenery.
Back at home, our family of four decided that Bennington, Vermont, is a beautiful place to visit especially in autumn. Despite the fact that we had only resided in Vermont for three days, we had watched the color green gradually and magically disappear and the colors red, gold, and orange marvelously and miraculously appear each day .
For our family of four, the sights of Vermont will linger with us,
as we head to our next destination tomorrow.
Sightseeing in Bennington, VT – Day 2 Exploring the U.S.A. – One Small Town at a Time
Since Vermont and New Hampshire built and continue to retain more covered bridges in a confined geographical area than any other states in America, I felt that a road trip adventure across the U.S.A would not be complete without a driving tour showcasing covered bridges in Vermont.
My Knight was not opposed to this idea, but a driving tour to see covered bridges was not on the top of my Knight’s list of sites to see in Vermont.
So, we made a compromise.
For our second afternoon of adventures in the town of Bennington, Vermont, school was dismissed early. School was dismissed early for us to have time to enjoy the adventures awaiting us for that day.
- First, my Knight, Belle and Buddy headed to the Hemmings Headquarters and Car Lover’s Store. This stop was at the top of my Knight’s list of things to see and to do in Vermont. Since Pine Hollow Campground does not allow dogs to be left unattended outside or inside their RV, Fannie and I stayed home.
- Next, my Knight, Belle, and Buddy visited the Bennington Center for Arts to explore the Vermont Covered Bridge Museum. I presumed (correctly) that gathering background knowledge on covered bridges at this museum would spark interest in our driving tour showcasing covered bridges.
- Then, my Knight came back for me and Fannie in the late afternoon to complete our adventures for that day – a driving tour of covered bridges in the area.
At the Hemmings Headquarters, my Knight, Belle, and Buddy viewed and examined
- numerous vintage vehicles;
- various collections of vintage signs, license plates, and oil cans;
- miscellaneous selections of vintage tools, automobile supplies, and replacement parts.
At the Car Lover’s Store and Sunoco Station, my family looked around at metal and neon signs and shopped for automobile art and apparel.
At the Vermont Covered Bridge Museum, my family learned what I had already researched:
- the purpose of covered bridges;
- the evolution of bridges;
- the design of covered bridges;
- the different types of trusses; and
- the most popular truss used in Vermont covered bridges:
the Town’s Lattice Truss.
However, the museum covered so much more material than I was able to research. From numerous engaging exhibits, various black-and-white photographs, and miscellaneous scale-models, my family learned more than I did. While we drove from covered bridge to covered bridge, my children shared the material they learned with me:
- unusual and unique covered bridges;
- the different types of portals; and
- the rates of tolls for covered bridges. (I found this material humorous since our family had first-hand experience with the cost of tolls in Upstate New York. Apparently, my students had not forgotten about our travel day through Upstate New York and the costly tolls.)
- Buddy shared a story about the history of a specific covered bridge in Vermont. Allegedly, towards the end of the Civil War, the Confederates raided a bank in Saint Albans, Vermont. During their get-a-way, the Confederates set fire to a large double-lane covered bridge in Sheldon, Vermont. The Confederates’ raid and get-a-away was successful, because the townspeople of Sheldon stopped to save their valuable covered bridge from burning to the ground. Luckily, the townspeople saved their bridge.
- Both Belle and Buddy wanted to retell the haunted ghost stories of covered bridges in Vermont, especially the many versions of the Ghost of Emily, who haunts the covered bridge in Stowe Hollow, Vermont.
- Belle shared how the covered bridge has inspired artists and writers throughout the years. Belle was particularly impressed with this poem:
After the visit to the Vermont Covered Bridge Museum, my family not only had learned about covered bridges but had also whetted their appetites for more. Everyone was eager for the final adventure for that day: a driving tour of covered bridges.
The surrounding area boasts five covered bridges; we visited three. We visited the three covered bridges in Bennington. Each of these bridges was built around the 1840s and rebuilt in the late 1980s-early 2000s. In 1973, each of these covered bridges were added to the National Register of Historic Places.
- was the first covered bridge on our tour;
- is located on Silk Road;
- was the only covered bridge we drove through;
- was the shortest bridge (with a length of 88 feet) we saw.
On our way to the second bridge, we drove under this modern bridge. Without our home on wheels behind us, we had no reason to question the clearance height of this bridge.
The Paper Mill Bridge
- is located on Murphy Road;
- had a nice pull-out on the side of the road, so we could get out and explore this bridge.
- with a length of 125 feet was the longest of the three bridges we saw.
My family pointed out the chosen truss design for this bridge: Town’s Lattice. This type of truss design only has diagonal timbers without the use of vertical timbers.
After discussions on covered bridge designs and sharing a few covered bridge stories (gathered at the museum), each of us wandered around, through, and on the bridge
Buddy took the most active form of investigation and exploration of covered bridges.
Meanwhile, Belle chose a more artistic approach to the investigation and exploration of a covered bridge.
To investigate covered bridges, I chose to photograph my family on, in, and around the bridge.
Once I zoomed in on the covered bridge and noticed Buddy photographing me.
At the Paper Mill Bridge, Gary investigated the surrounding area and found a wayside exhibit,
describing the historic Paper Mill and the use of hydroelectric power dating back to 1907.
The Henry Bridge
- had the lowest height clearance of the three bridges we saw.
- had the best view of the Walloomsac River.
After a morning of traditional class work, an outing to view vintage cars, a field-trip to a museum, and a tour of three covered bridges, our family chose not to drive into the town of Arlington to view the last two covered bridges on the driving tour.
After the Henry Bridge, we headed back to our home on wheels. Our family of four and Fannie was ready to call off the adventures for that day.
I’ll see you one more time in the interesting and intriguing town of Bennington.
Welcome to Pownal, Vermont! Another temporary address in another small town on our adventure across the USA.
You, like us, might have several questions about Pownal, Vermont.
Have you ever heard of Pownal, Vermont? Have you ever been here?
We had not heard of the town of Pownal before our road trip adventure. We chose to visit Pownal, because
Pine Hollow Campground lured us in with this line, “Big Rigs Welcome and Pull-Thrus Available.”
Where is Pownal?
Pownal is in Bennington County in southern Vermont. It is located where “the Berkshire Hills meet the Green Mountains.”
What did our family of four find to see and explore in Pownal, Vermont?
However, we did uncover interesting historical tidbits about Pownal, Vermont. These tidbits of information provided a springboard for several American History lessons and also an idea or two for reading assignments.
- Benning Wentworth (we’ll hear this name again) granted a charter for this town in 1760 during the French and Indian War.
- The town of Pownal was involved in the infamous witchcraft trials. We asked ourselves many questions about the witchcraft trials in Vermont, and were able to answer our questions with research. We asked even more questions about the story of Widow Gregor. However, after our research, our questions still remained unanswered. A history lesson on Widow Gregor remained a mystery.
- During the American Revolutionary War, the town of Pownal was divided between the Loyalists and the Patriots.
- At different times, James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur taught school in North Pownal at “The Academy”.
In 1851, Arthur was appointed principal of “The Academy”.
- In the mid-1800s, the economy in Pownal was based on textiles – cotton and wool.
- In 1910, Lewis Hine, the great child labor photographer, photographed a 12 year old girl named Addie who worked in a cotton mill in North Pownal. The simple but profound caption for the photograph read, “Anemic little spinner.”
- In 1998, the photograph of Addie was chosen for a U.S. stamp. Addie’s photograph serves as a reminder of the passage of the first child labor laws. Click here if you would like to see a picture of Addie and read her story.
- In 2007, a book titled Counting on Grace was published. This book is a fictional account solely based on the photograph of Addie. This book was written by Elizabeth Winthrop, a great grandniece of Theodore Roosevelt. Although the book is a fictional account, Winthrop spent a great deal of time researching mills, child labor, and life in the mid-1800s in Vermont.
- In 2011 before our road trip adventure, I purchased Counting on Grace not because I knew anything about the book, but because it was included on more than one reading list. At the time, I did not know that my students would be reading this book set in North Pownal as they traveled across the USA and made a stop in Pownal, VT. At times, we homeschooled our way across the U.S.A. with stepping stones that were miraculously placed.
Since we didn’t go on a sightseeing adventure in Pownal, what did we do?
Three of us spent the mornings studying. And our family of four traveled 10 miles north every afternoon to explore the interesting town of Bennington, Vermont.
I’ll see you next time in Bennington. Be sure to wear your walking shoes.