Any day I’m not hiking I take a trip around the campground and out onto Vermont Route 7a for a look down the Battenkill River.
The river is normally very low going by the campground so it isn’t a place you can put in a kayak. But in large rains, like the one they had just before I got here, the river front campsites get flooded out. You’d never know it to look at the Battenkill today.
Some days, instead of stopping at the bridge and turning around, I continue on to The Sugar Shack. As you can see, they have pies, fudge, maple syrup, jams, cheese, Maple Creemees, Cider Donuts AND A Norman Rockwell Exhibition. What a combination huh?
I had no idea what a Maple Creemee was until I came to Vermont. But I learned quickly in St Johnsbury that there is quite a competition among those who make maple syrup for the best creemee.
A creemee is soft serve ice cream piled high and mixed with maple sugar and/or maple syrup. Yes SWEEEET!
I try not to walk over too often but sometimes I just need a Dreemee. That would be a creemee plus cider donut. Totally a sugar attack.
There are two buildings on the Sugar Shack Property. One is this retail outlet and one is the barn in which they process the maple tree tappings.
Inside the main building they sell all the things mentioned above and more. The bakery making those delicious donuts is right there.
One side is all the goodies and on the other side is all things Norman Rockwell: prints, cards, books, magnets, bookmarks and on and on.
Did I mention Norman Rockwell puzzles and prints?
Did I mention books and cards?
Off of the Rockwell store area is the exhibition which focuses on the work he did when he lived here in Arlington from 1939 to 1953.
He used over 200 local people in his work. This is the centerpiece of the exhibition. On the wall are pictures of the people and the paintings for which they modeled. It really is very interesting.
Four of his most famous works, The Four Freedoms, on the left in this photo, were painted in Arlington during WWII when Rockwell lived in the house by the covered bridge shown in an earlier post and in the second picture below.
This is one of my very favorites of his work showing him painting himself.
The florescent lights made it very difficult to take photographs of the framed pictures.
You can see Rockwell’s house through the bridge and beyond the church. What a sweet little area it is. The home is now an Inn and retreat center with no public admittance sadly.
I really loved this. The painting is of Mary and Norman Rockwell welcoming their oldest son Jarvis home for Christmas of 1948.
According to the information in green on the painting glass, their middle son Thomas is on the opposite side of Norman and their 3rd son Peter at the far left. Norman said he liked his neighbor little Sharon O’Neill so much he portrayed her as twins. She looks to be 6 or 7 there which would make her around 80 years old this year if she is still living.
And wonderfully, Grandma Moses who visited the Rockwell family often and lived in nearby Eagle Bridge, New York is there in a black dress with lace collar.
The major Norman Rockwell Museum is located in Stockbridge Massachusetts where he moved after leaving Arlington in 1953. He died there in 1978. I’ve always loved Rockwell’s work and wish I’d realized that the major museum was only 70 miles south.
Somehow I did not take a picture of the barn where the maple sugar is processed. I can’t remember why but it may be that there were too many cars in front of it. So I’ve taken this one from their website but clearly it is taken during sugaring season with the smoke and stacks of firewood though no snow on the ground.
Inside during off season is the equipment used for boiling down the sap and on the opposite side is a small seating area for viewing the excellent video on Rockwell’s life and art which runs continuously in a loop
Lots to see at The Sugar Shack.
Try not to visit as many times as I did to eat creemees and donuts. It’s a serious problem when the Sugar Shack is right next door and you can walk there.