Over the week-end, I stayed close to home.
On Friday I visited St. Johnsbury’s Emerson Falls which is at the local Hydro plant but they have not taken any advantage of the falls. There is no trail and they are very hard to see. It’s a shame. The first look I had was through the trees and that’s the only view I got of the long falls. They sure look lovely through the trees.
I nosed all around and found this view further up from the side. This is not the area I saw through the trees.
Then I managed to get up even further and walk out on the end of whatever this concrete thing was and take a selfie of the river before it went over the falls on its way to the hydro plant.
After this not so successful falls search I went to find the Municipal Forest.
I’d never heard of “Municipal Forests” before but it seems many towns in Vermont have them. They are as they say, a forest, owned by the town, with walking trails throughout. I think it is a wonderful idea for keeping some public wilderness available for residents. The Saint Johnsbury Municipal Forest is 110 acres. It was hard to get a good picture of the posted map with the glare of the sun.
I started out at “you are here” of course and headed up the black trail known as the logging road. It is clear that this land has been logged but that was quite a while ago I learn from the history.
When I ran out of trail I retraced my steps and took the red trail off to my right. The highest point in the Forest is 920 feet and in winter would overlook the town and the river but it is green summer green. There are no views.
The trails pass through Norway Spruce, white pine, cedar and hemlock as well as deciduous trees. The paths are flat in some spots but mostly short and some steep hills. A stream flows through.
The address of the Municipal Forest is Almshouse Road. When I read that, I wondered if they’d had a home for the indigent here. I found out that Seventy two acres of this land used to be the Almshouse town farm that enabled the poor to work on the farm in exchange for room and board. Now isn’t that a smart idea? Why don’t we have such things now for our homeless?
In 1922 the Saint Johnsbury Women’s club started a reforestation project on the land that was no longer farmed. The first year white pines were planted and in successive years 20,000 trees were planted each spring. These are the current forest trees, some nearly 100 years old now. What a great thing, to plant 20,000 trees a year!
After walking the red trail to the yellow trail to the top of the land and finding no views, I came back down the red trail almost to the beginning and turned off on the blue trail to head down to the river.
The river section was wet and over grown but walkable.
And I was rewarded with several views of the Moose River which flows right behind my site. It looks bigger here.
When I got home, it was the same river I could see from my bedroom window.
I just love it! I hear it singing all day and all night.
On Saturday it was back to the Farmer’s market where the produce is fresh and lasts an entire week without fading. More tomatoes.
More greens and broccoli
This vendor sells the most delicious focaccia bread. It is way too large for me to eat alone so I’ll have to give some away.
Wish I’d taken this picture before I took a slice out of it for lunch. It was very pretty as you can mostly see.
After my visit to the Farmer’s Market, I put my purchases in the car and took a walk around town.
Pretty substantial building for a coffee shop.
As I walked by these interesting buildings, I realized I should have gone to the Saint Johnsbury Welcome Center first and gotten an historic tour map so I’d know what I was looking at. But the buildings were interesting even without knowing. They seem to like big buildings running around corners.
Love the clock which was keeping correct time.
First time I’ve seen anything other than & Sons. About time.
Love this little ad on. Wish they’d been open when I came by.
Three buildings were of special interest to me. The first was the bookstore I talked about in a previous post. I love independent books tores.
The second is the Saint Johnsbury Athenaeum built in 1871 and recently fantastically restored. It is the town library and what an elegant one it is with its upstairs Lecture Hall, original woodwork and stenciled ceiling. There is an art gallery inside which is home to a collection of Hudson River School originals. No photography. I learned that this National Historic Landmark is the oldest art gallery in the country in its original setting.
I took one step in side and this is what I saw.
Those are wooden floors not a striped carpet.
Isn’t it amazing?
The restoration was fabulous. I could have stayed all day.
On down Main Street I passed a number of impressive churches.
Grace United Methodist Church. I later learned it has a window by Louis Tiffany in the south wall. Should have picked up the walking tour brochure. tsk tsk
St Andrews Episcopal church 1878. This looks seriously “New England” to me.
I wasn’t able to get an unobstructed view of the North Congregational Church due to all the trees and my wide angle lens. Also built in 1878, it looks like the Congregationalists had a wealthy congregation. The church is huge.
I’d noticed in driving around New England previously that Congregational churches were very common. I’d not seen them any where else.
I walked around the church to see the architectural details.
I’d love to see the inside but the doors were not open.
Walking around the side I had my back to what turned out to be full scale Chartres Labyrinth in their side yard.
I love labyrinths! We had a classical one mowed into our lower field on the farm.
It had been many years since I’d check the World Wide Labyrinth Locater on line to see if there were any in the areas I was visiting. But now one has just turned up. How great!
A labyrinth is not a maze. There is one way in and one way out. It is a contemplative walk to the center for meditation and back out again into the world.
I walked it slowly, thoughtfully. It felt wonderfully calming and peaceful. Many thanks to the Congregational Church, which has become my 3rd favorite building in town, for bringing this practice back into my life. Seems the perfect thing to do again next Saturday after visiting the Farmer’s Market since I can easily walk back up here.
Two additional things of interest I saw on my walk back to Ruby. I’d never seen a Police Pick up. Have you? Maybe in Montana? But in Vermont? But why not? Gotta love it.
As of July 22nd Vermont had the highest number of people vaccinated of any state. They also have the 2nd lowest number of deaths from covid. Could there be a connection? Only Hawaii has fewer deaths. Is this why? Walk in vaccination. No questions. No charge.
At this point, I’m 1/3rd of the way through my month here and haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of all I want to do.
I’m also going to have to post faster. I’m already nearly 2 weeks behind again.
Next post, 6 state parks in one day! Whew!!