September 28, 2013 — My wife and I have gotten to the point of exploring New England where our road trips are less like cozy adventures into the vaguely known and more like treks down memory lane. Take yesterday’s ten hours through the northwest corner of New Hampshire and up the guts of Vermont. We saw the Phineas Gage Monument, Queen Connie, the Bowman Mausoleum, the mummy grave, the Jumanji mural, and skirted other sites that we’ve been to and which I’ve made big deals out of on this site and in print. And that was without trying. We didn’t even stop at most of those places this time. Just waved and reminisced.
But we haven’t worn out New England’s asphalt yet. We’re still find thing to see in the spaces in between, as well as new things happening to old sites and new sites that weren’t there last Fall.
And now’s a great time to see them. Fall’s out there. Peak foliage in the more northern climes, hay bale sculptures in commercial parking lots, scarecrows tied to street signs, pick-your-own-pumpkin patches and the gorgeous hand-painted placards that announce them, haunted house advertisements, Main Street festivals…little of which you’ll see in the below photos because we’ve definitely become a little jaded and don’t need to jump out of our car very time we see a white steeple against a russet hill or a scenic highway overlook or a giant hay bale sculpture made to look like a white tiger. Ok. We probably should’ve stopped and taken a photo of that last one.
Below are some of the highlights that we did take pictures of, though.
The residents of Keene, New Hampshire, have turned the Jumanji mural—the one left over from when the Robin Williams movie filmed there—into a roadside memorial for the recently deceased actor. According to the white poster board in the upper left of the above picture, plans are underway for a memorial plaque.
Still in New Hampshire at this point in the trek, in the town of Surry, to be specific. I'm just going to steal the same caption I used on the socials yesterday when I posted it there, but with fewer type-o's: New Hampshire's Ichabod Crain is no Ichabod Crane, but any excuse to visit an old cemetery.
First thing on the docket in Vermont was a pair of gravestone-like markers that memorialize the spot of a child born to a family kidnapped by Abenaki Indians. These things have been around since the end of the 18th century and have some interesting iconography on them. A topic for another day, though.
Two of probably three dozen scarecrows that covered the town of I want to say Bradford, Vermont, but which I'm not sure because there are quite a few towns that do this in New England. And God/Samhain bless every one of them.
Love this time of year. These kinds of adverts are all over the place. The two above photos show two sides of the same sign, and if you look closely, you'll see an actual graveyard in the background of the one with Beetlejuice's even crazier cousin. Style points.
This site was our tentpole for the trip. I'm a big fan of Woodchuck cider, especially their Fall blend. They only just over the summer built a gift shop/tour center at their headquarters in Middlebury, so that was definitely on my list to see this season. Long story short, we carted a lot of alcohol out of this place to transport across state lines. Will do a full write-up on the experience soon...just need to sample all the different varieties we bought.
While in Middlebury, I couldn't pass up the chance to visit an old friend, Amum-Her-Khepesh-Ef, the two-year Egyptian mummy prince buried in a Christian grave. Hadn't seen him since the New England Grmpendium days. Still one of my favorite sites in New England.
But it was this unexpected moment that made the trip. I mean, I saw a lot of amazing things that I knew I'd see—a giant white ape holding a car, hills colored in a way that they look like they should be on Mars, a monument dedicated to a 170-year-old head wound, a massive metal factory floor dedicated to getting you drunk on old apples—but while visiting the mummy grave, we came across a young girl in a white dress all by herself playing a violin in the graveyard. I'd call her a ghost, but I don't think ghosts need music stands. I'll think about this image forthe rest of my life.
And, at some point in the trip, eye-exploding sites like this became commonplace. Because Fall is awesome and human beings suck at living.