Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Long Time, No Blog.

I had an eventful fourth of July weekend.

H and her hubby were back in the country and had a wedding/vow-renewal kind of ceremony and tea and biscuits at her topiary-filled home in eastern Connecticut. I figured I would put in an appearance and B came along with me. We got in on Thursday evening after battling a little bit of traffic leaving the city on a holiday weekend. S and her boyfriend got in even later, so the four of us met for quick dinner and drinks at a restaurant not far from our hotels. In front of the restaurant was a huge banner that said, "Children Eat Free when the Red Sox win!" - which caused me to remark to B that we weren't in Kansas anymore. (B's response: In New York, if the Red Sox win, children get eaten.)

The next day, the tea and topiary were fabulous. H looked stunning in bridal white and the groom wore small sunglasses. But in all seriousness, it was a very nice little ceremony; light on God, heavy on love and the food afterwards was delicious. Towards the end of the afternoon, it began to sprinkle and one of the groom's relatives remarked that a little rain was good for fertility. I told B that I was pretty sure the happy couple had an umbrella or two.

Afterwards, we went out to a Mexican place for dinner and drinks, then to a really cute (though rather crowded after our large party tromped in) bar on the water. The food was good, the drinks were better and the company was the best. Thankfully, most of my friends kept the discussion of my ex-boyfriend's blood spattering debut to a relative minimum. When B and I left, he remarked that he had had a surprisingly good time and liked all of my friends a great deal. Hopefully they all felt the same about him.

The next day, we woke up bright and early in our comfy bed in the Hilton to road trip it up to Vermont. About a month or so ago, I saw an entry in the flickr blog about a dog chapel in Vermont, by artist Stephen Huneck. As some of you may or may not know, I have a love of random American roadside attractions. After seeing the photos on the flickr blog, I decided I had to visit and I convinced my ever-tolerant boyfriend that he too wanted to visit the dog chapel, and more importantly, he wanted to drive up there after the wedding tea.

So that is what we did.

We made it to St. Johnsbury with very little difficulty. We stopped (at my request, of course) at both of the scenic overlooks. At the second scenic overlook, we could tell that - surprise, surprise - rain would be coming in. I mean, it has rained pretty much every day in the north east for the last month, why should last weekend have been any different.

Scenic View
rain rain rain

St. Johnsbury seemed like a fairly small town and was absolutely dead on the 4th of July. There were some picaresque abandoned trains on the way into the city, which I also made the boyfriend stop at so I could snap off some photos. He won many points by never once complaining about this.

the wrong side of the tracks

The Dog Chapel is on Dog Mountain, just outside of St. Johnsbury. I believe all of the land leading up to the dog chapel and gallery belongs to Stephen Huneck. For those that are interested, the story of how the Dog Chapel came to be is all on the website. There is plenty of dog art adorning all aspects of the gallery and chapel, including dog busts, dog statues and dog benches.

The chapel is a little building off to the side of the gallery. As you walk up to the chapel, there is a sign that says, "All creeds, all breed, no dogmas allowed".

No dogmas allowed!

Inside, the walls are covered with little notes and photos of all of the dogs that were loved and have died. There is a little writing desk at the front of the chapel with paper and pens so that anyone can leave a little note.

Writing Remembrances
Writing implements

R.I.P. Sadie - now on the wall of remembrance

R.I.P. Sadie - now on the wall of remembrance

RIP Sadie - I left a picture of her in a little open spot on one of the walls

The interior of the larger chapel is filled with Huneck's art and furniture, from the stained glass windows, to the dog adorned pews, to the woodcut prints on easels in the front. It's a very pretty little spot - and it's a good thing it is, as the skies opened up and it began to pour just about as we walked into the chapel. We sat in the chapel for about 30 minutes waiting for the rain to lighten up enough that we could make a run for another building. Consequently, I have a lot of photos of the interior of the dog chapel.


Dog Pews

All of Dog Mountain was green and pretty and dotted with wildflowers. There was a wildflower walk and a scenic forest walk. B and I squelched about halfway up the hill before we decided that it was going to be too wet to take a romantic and relaxing wildflower walk.


After all of this, B waited patiently while I agonized over which prints to buy from the gallery. Everything was on sale for the fourth of July. The artist was there the day we went and he was signing books and smaller prints. I eventually settled on a set of three: two smaller prints and one large one that is signed and numbered.

Dog Chapel
even the dog got bored waiting for me to make up my mind

We were not the only ones there that day, but we were the only ones without a dog in tow. There were lots of great dogs running around, but this golden retreiver was probably the happiest.

All dogs welcome!
all dogs welcome!

After I bought my prints, it was time to go. Sally, the Hunecks' black lab - and the featured dog in much of the art - watched us go.

Leaving Dog Mountain
leaving Dog Mountain

On our way down from the mountain, we saw the Maple Grove syrup factory. Though it was closed for tours on the fourth (sob sob sob), we did stop for some maple candy, maple syrup, and maple spread. And, of course, some photos for me. It's a pity that there were no tours, as this is the only food product made in Vermont that my lactose intolerant boyfriend could sample with no cares. And yes, I did make him go to the cheese factory and the ice cream factory the next day.

Maple Syrup Factory
syrupy goodness

to be continued as I get the photos edited


  1. All of the pictures are fabulous, but I particularly love the one of the red-winged blackbird!

  2. Thanks! Those blackbirds were all over the place up there. I have even more pictures of them, but that one swooped in when I just wanted to take the dog statue! He looks angry, like all of your birds.