Thursday, July 17, 2014

Region One Rally - Burlington, VT

We only experienced a few sprinkles all weekend, but this rainbow found our pot of gold (silver?)

How do you spell relief? WBCCI!! The Region One rally provided a reason to break away from the ordeal of managing our water damaged home. The rally was held in Essex Junction, Vermont which is just outside of Burlington on the shore of beautiful Lake Champlain. 

As usual, we decided to avoid highways even though doing so would add an hour to the trip. Most of the route is very familiar because it was the course we traveled when my father and I drove to Chelsea, Vermont to hunt deer. It has been many years since I traveled this route and I was happy to see all the familiar towns. Mostly, there is evidence of increased prosperity. It seems there are fewer dilapidated buildings and many more show evidence or gentrification. Sadly, the absence of cows on the hillsides was disappointing. Forty years ago it was true that there were more cows than people in the Green Mountain State. We saw a few farms that still had cattle, but they were not dairy cattle. We didn't see a single dairy cow while we were driving in Vermont.

Despite the lack of cows in the pastures, we enjoyed the vernal foliage. It glistened as the fog in the Connecticut River valley lifted and allowed the light to reflect and refract from each sliver of fresh greenery. 

We arrived at the Champlain Valley Exposition Center early in the afternoon. Tye and Mary greeted us at the gate and ushered us on to the field where we joined dozens of other Airstreams already established on their campsites. At 4PM we gathered for happy hour where we renewed friendships with fellow Cape Cod Unit members and made new acquaintances with other Region One members.

Everyone enjoyed a communal breakfast on Friday morning followed by a short meeting to conduct the business of the WBCCI Cape Cod Unit. After the breakfast meeting everyone dispersed to explore the attractions of this scenic area. Sarah and I chose to visit the Shelburne Museum.
Shaker barn at the Shelburne Museum, Burlington, VT

Like so many who live in a place to which tourists flock, we had never visited the Shelburne Museum. We were put off by the price of admission, but we realized we might not be here again so we bit the bullet. We were rewarded when we paid our admission when we learned that the price included readmission the next day. That was a good thing since after five hours on the first day we had not even seen half of the museum. Returning the next day, we spent another six hours taking in the remaining parts of the museum.
The beautifully landscaped grounds hint at what one can expect inside the buildings that house the many collections of art and memorabilia
The museum has something for everyone. There are exhibits of fine art by Monet, Degas and Wyeth. Then there are the eclectic collections; quilts, hooked rugs, tin toys, pewter, horse drawn carriages and buggies to name a few. The collections are housed in 18th and 19th century buildings that were brought to the grounds and restored to near original condition. 
"The Last Drop" by Charles Marion Russell. One of the many exquisite bronze "Western" sculptures on display.
Hooked rug by Patty Yoder

One of the most pleasant things about touring the museum in early June was that the lilacs were in bloom. There are over 700 lilac bushes on the grounds. It seemed that each of the more than 80 varieties had its own particularly fragrant perfume. 
Sarah and I both enjoyed the lilac scented air that permeated the grounds of the museum
The city of Burlington was hosting a jazz festival and we eagerly made the short trip from the exposition grounds to enjoy the music. The pedestrian streets were alive with thousands of people, food vendors and multiple stages whereupon many musicians provided nonstop entertainment. In addition, many cafes presented music on their stages. 
Fine music on the streets of Burlington, Vermont

As usual, the camaraderie of fellow Airstreamers made for a memorable weekend. We look forward to our next WBCCI rally.

Stay tuned.