Monday, August 8, 2011

A New England Summer Road Trip

About a month ago, my friend Janet and I were invited to a one-of-a-kind event in Vermont.  Her niece, a vintage-lover herself, had wowed the judges at a Shelburne Museum fund-raising event with her spectacular vintage hat. The prize for such distinction?  A private gallery tour for she and a group of friends to the Fashion Exhibit currently on display!

That's the winning hat on the left!
The invitation included not only the tour, but, hanging out with a fantastic group of women before and after the event.  The catch?  Everyone had to wear vintage.  Wait?  What's the catch?

A road trip from Rhode Island to the coast of Lake Champlain in Vermont was planned forthwith, and, we decided to make the best of the five hour drive.  We left early enough so that we drove for a couple of hours before stopping for breakfast with the locals at a little place just outside of Manchester, New Hampshire.  Luckily for us, we grabbed the last table, ate a fab breakfast and had time to take a walk through the little farmer's market nearby before heading back on the road.  Evidently they grow a lot of garlic in the area, and the market was full of it!  (I probably should not admit this, but I'd never seen garlic with the stalks on before.)

The market was at a former railroad station.  I had to pose for a goofy tourist pic - I am on the campaign trail here - VOTE FOR VINTAGE!


Janet and I both gravitated towards these spectacular handmade soaps immediately.  Not only were they beautiful and smelled wonderful, but, the woman selling them (who also makes them of course!), Sheryl, was a delight!  We spoke to her a bit and bought a bunch of soaps. (Only problem - which to choose?)  You can buy them too and you do not even have to travel to New Hampshire.  Just visit her shop on-line at Clayton's Way Farm Soaps.    (and a big PS: If these soaps are the secret to Sheryl's looks I am using them DAILY!)


The local shelter had a table set up and these three pups for adoption!  Holy cuteness!  If we had not been headed to Vermont I do not think I could have left without one!  Do not fear though, one of the three had already been adopted by 8:30 that morning and I doubt the other two would stay at the shelter for long.


After the market we hit the road again; heading north up Route 89.  After a while we realized we were both thirsty, so, seeing a gas station not far from an exit ramp, we pulled off for some bottled water.  Wait?  What was that we saw?  A sign for an Estate Sale pointing down the road from the gas station.  We got our water and headed sign-ward.

That's Janet booking it into the sale ahead of me... Ok, I admit it, I made her walk ahead of me for this shot.  What excitement!


Every time I look at that top picture I think to myself  "Wait, did I look at that?"  I love sales like these, don't you?  Stuff everywhere, most priced but not necessarily organized.  We dove in with gusto!

As with most good estate sales, it had a little bit of everything.  From large, unusual and beautiful pieces of furniture, like this art-deco styled curved glass cabinet....

...to a box of unopened cans of paint that looked like they'd been in storage since 1967.


What did I find?  Oh, just this little Heywood Wakefield side table/cabinet for $15, that's all.  (happy dance).  The pegs to hold the adjustable shelf are with it, I had simply removed them all as we were getting ready to pack this into the trunk. 




What else?  An instant collection of 1950's game boards (for the shop), 1966 Twister, some vintage game pieces for my collages and the perfect "Strangers on a Train" eyeglasses, complete with one lens cracked.  Creepy or what?  These are going in the shop.  Someone will replace the glass, and, that mid-century abstract patterned eyeglass case is killer!  For all above?  $3. 

Janet looking the stylish urbanite in her vintage 1970's caftan in the Vermont countryside!


You might think we were done at this point, BUT, au contraire!  After that little set-up you saw in the first pics, there was an entire barn of stuff across the street!

Truthfully, the barn was more interesting than full, but, what a treat to just be able to walk inside a gorgeous Vermont barn like this!  Look at those rafters!  Oh, and that three-piece rattan set in the foreground?  $25 for all.  Thankfully we did not have my Jeep or I would have been cramming  it inside and making Janet ride on the roof rack.


The barn did not disappoint when it came to great "stuff" to look at.  One item of note: this mid-century deco-styled Whitman's Chocolates store display.  How does this even get to a barn in the Vermont countryside?  You gotta love an estate sale!


The barns are more carefully crafted than the birdhouses in this neck of the woods but they each have their beauty and their charms.  So, with our loot in hand, we gleefully head back towards the highway until....

Yup, I got pulled over for speeding.  In my defense, it was a rural area that transitioned into a thickly settled area right after coming over a hill where a speed trap was waiting.  In my post-estate finds exuberance, I was a little lead-footed.  I tried to be as polite as possible (and not let the officer see that we were documenting the event for the blog) and thankfully, I got a warning.  Phew!


Once we we ditched the coppers, it was a short drive to our hotel in Burlington.  We showered, changed and zipped up to Shelburne to meet our hostess and the rest of the women who had been invited on the tour.  All were dressed in fantastic vintage and vintage-inspired outfits!  Even the two women who were each in their 9th month of pregnancy dressed to the nines; one even managed to find a true vintage dress for the occasion!  Here is the group walking through the endlessly beautiful grounds of the Shelburne Museum to the exhibit gallery.

Some of you may have already seen this dress posted on Facebook when I found it for my friend Janet.  It fit her perfectly and really shows off her curves!  Doesn't she look great with all her matching accessories?  Vintage fabulous!

I chose a 1960's ensemble so that I could wear my resurrected chiffon dress (thought I'd ruined it but saved it!) with an Evelyn Varon hat I'd bought from another Etsy seller last year and had not yet had a chance to wear.  Coupled with my cherry red 1960's bag from Savers, I was ready to go!  (I went with contemporary shoes because the day required too much walking for risk of pain...)


I could not take photos inside the exhibit hall, but, here we are heading into the building with our guide.  If you wish to read all about it and see some pics from the inside, click here.  For you fashionistas, one especially nice section of the exhibit revolved around seven antique bodices that were given to FIT students as part of a competition to see who could design the remaining ensemble to match the bodice.  Each was given a budget of $300 and the finalists selected were all on display in the exhibit.  For more details, read here

Here is the complete group of women who participated in the tour.  Our hostess is in front in the Hawaiian dress and killer red t-straps!  What fun I had meeting these women.  They all seemed to be very friendly that day, I wonder how they will feel about me once they see I've plastered their lovely faces and pregnant bellies all over the web?





This crowd does not take a bad picture!  The docents were beside themselves that the pregnant women turned down the shuttle-bus ride, but, we were all enjoying the breezes and fresh air at this lovely location.


Next we were off to the Inn at Shelburne Farms for over-priced drinks and lively conversation on the lawn overlooking Lake Champlain.  Seriously, does it get better than this?

Several of us were able to stay for dinner. We were seated in this elegant dining hall at the inn, the former agricultural estate and summer residence of one of the Vanderbilts, with grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and now a place on the National Historic Register.  The food served here still originates from the active farms on the property.  To read more about the history of the place, click here.


Me and Janet; the road trip partners in crime.


The next morning we returned for brunch with Janet's niece, our hostess who arranged the whole trip.  We were able to walk through the gardens and appreciate the beauty of this location one more time before heading homeward.


To break up the drive home, we stopped at a large antiques mall in Quechee, Vermont.  It is located right near the gorge and is a great destination if you are in the area.  There is also a wonderful Farmer's Diner at the same location.  We'd planned to eat lunch there but were both too full from brunch!

Just love this photo.

(Tay, this is for you!)

I really wanted this Irwin Whizzer Fan in the box - great graphics!
There were many many things at the mall I would have liked to buy, but, I limited myself to only three things.  An antique Japanese print for my husband (put away to be framed before Christmas) and two 1940's brooches for the shop.



Janet agreed to stop by and surprise some of my family in Vermont who live very close to Quechee.  They were good sports about us dropping in unannounced, but, I am not sure how much their good nature will last when they see I have plastered their photos all over the web as well.  We'll see....

Janet took a photo of all of us - so great to see everyone!

A gorgeous quilt in-progress by my cousin Jeannie...

A quick pat of the dog and we were on the road again....
After a fun but short visit we were back on the road for the long drive home.  What fun we had in a short period of time!  Thank you to Kimberly for putting everything together and Janet for putting up with me!

A stunning quilt made by my cousin Judy.

4 comments:

  1. Your cousins' quilts are fabulous! Do they show or sell them?

    Thanks for the armchair (desk chair) tour. When our kids were younger we spent a week in VT every summer, several times on Lake Champlain. It is such a beautiful area, I always started looking at real estate, thinking we should move up. Then I reminded myself that we were seeing it in midsummer and I might feel differently about it in February and March!

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  2. I know, the quilts are fantastic, aren't they? I think they should sell more but they like to show them and give them as gifts - Judy made Bill & I a Queen sized quilt as a wedding gift!

    ...and agreed about the weather. We were saying the same thing while there! You have to be a skier so that you are happy in all seasons up there!

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  3. What a joyful road trip! You and Janet are a great pair-- you both looked wonderful!
    Don't forget-- I owe you lunch for the transport of the glider! See you next week? Debxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, will see you next week - and I will take a hot fudge sundae as my thank you too! :-)

    ReplyDelete

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