QV2016: Day 7: Shelburne Museum to Kingston, NY

26 10 2016

We started the day with a 3-hour visit to the Shelburne Museum, just south of Burlington, Vermont. This is not like a traditional museum — instead, it is a 45-acre plot of land on which are housed about 40 or so buildings, such as a schoolhouse, a couple of barns, a tavern, a worker’s cottage, and so on. Other buildings have been brought in from places around Vermont, and house various functions, such as a printing house, textile gallery, smokehouse, etc. The centrepiece of the buildings is the imposing structure housing reproduction rooms of the NY home of the benefactor and founder who made this museum possible: Electra Havemeyer Webb.

It’s what’s inside the buildings that makes this museum, and a 3-hour visit could never do it justice. Inside the central building, the walls are lined with priceless paintings by Manet, Monet, Degas, Rembrandt, Andrew Wyeth, and many others. There are bronzes by Remington, and in the most modern gallery there were two current exhibitions — one of Grandma Moses’ paintings and the other of old circus posters.

In other buildings we saw amazing quilts from the 1840s onwards, carriages and sleighs, school furniture and implements, apothecary furniture, bottles and implements, a general store with all sorts of old stuff, kitchens and bedrooms of simple houses, woodworking and farm materials, printing presses, etc. etc.

Added to that we were there in Fall, when the colours were at their finest. It was a cold day, but SOOO worth it to stop there and visit a while. However, I’d recommend a day there at least — I believe you can buy 2-day tickets.

After the Shelburne, we hit the road again for the 4-hour drive to Kingston, down a lot of small state roads through Vermont (22A and 4 in particular), before getting on I-87 and heading south.

Some of my many photos from today; you can see them all here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/albums/72157674088359351/page4







Quilt made in the 1800s -- half-inch squares!

Quilt made in the 1800s — half-inch squares!



QV2016: Day 6: New Hampshire to Vermont

25 10 2016

On the road again… This time with a replacement bus (the other one had a door that came open every time we hit a bump). This bus is older, has no power outlets for charging devices (an essential requirement), and has a loud noise coming from the back wheel area. We are likely to get yet ANOTHER bus tomorrow. The organiser of our group is suitably unimpressed…

Today we left Meredith, NH and travelled just a few minutes to Moulton Farm where we saw lots of varieties of pumpkin, squash, gourds, corn, etc. And I saw a chipmunk in one of the hothouses. Their store sells amazingly fresh local produce (from their farm and others close by). I’m not a big fan of apples, but the Honeycrisp one I had was fantastic — fresh, crunchy, juicy, and delicious.

Next stop was Center Harbor, NH, home of Keepsake Quilting, one of the biggest mail order (and now online) quilting stores in the US. This is its ‘bricks and mortar’ store, and is PACKED with fabrics, pre-cut quilting kits, and quilt patterns. I only needed a couple of things, so I didn’t spend a lot here — Houston awaits!

Then it was back on the road to Burlington, VT. We crossed through the Franconia Notch and National Park, where there was snow at the higher elevations, and a little on the roadside in spots. The skies, which had started out blue and sunny this morning, turned a dirty grey, threatening either rain or snow. But fortunately, we got neither before stopping at our hotel for the night. It’s meant to get to 2C overnight with a maximum of 6C tomorrow.

After dinner with the group at the hotel’s restaurant, some of us adjourned to the hotel’s breakfast room to either learn about or work on our ‘hexie’ project (quilting hexagons [English paper piecing] for the uninitiated). I’m not a fan of hand sewing anything, so I think I be all fingers and thumbs doing this, but I’ll give it a try. Tonight I cut out my 94 hexagons, and (with the help of Janice) temporarily glued the hexie papers to them. We have 4 hours on the bus tomorrow, so if the weather is inclement, I’ll start tacking them down. This will be a long project….

Some photos from today; the rest start near the bottom of page 3 and continue onto page 4: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/albums/72157674088359351/page3




QV2016: Day 5: Lowell, MA and Canterbury Shaker Village, NH

24 10 2016

We got on the road this morning, leaving behind the luxurious ‘The Langham’ in Boston, which had been our home for the previous four nights.

First stop was Lowell, MA, just up the road a bit from Boston. We were there for a special tour of the New England Quilt Museum by the curator. The special exhibition featured at the moment is a selection of red and green applique quilts from the 1840s to 1870s or thereabouts. These are held in a private collection of some 2000 quilts, and were amazing in their colours and their workmanship. Most, if not all of them, were hand quilted and likely stitched in poor light conditions (candle light). I’ve only shown a few here; you can see the rest in this Flickr album — scroll to the end of page 1, then move on to page 2: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/sets/72157674088359351

After some 90 minutes or so at the NEQM, we moved on to New Hampshire and the Canterbury Shaker Village. The weather was sunny, but the wind was bitingly cold. Perfect for taking photos, but not so good if you were out in it without adequate protection! The Shaker Village tour (75 mins) was really interesting. I knew a little about the Shakers, but learnt so much more (celibacy and the relinquishing of all personal property were their two big things). We visited the Meeting House, the Laundry, and the chapel in the main Dwelling House, and the lovely Kia told their stories and answered our questions. The Canterbury Shaker Village was handed over to a non-profit organisation back in the late 1960s as their population dwindled and died out (the last one in this village died in 1996 aged 93; today, only three Shakers survive). Interestingly, unlike the Amish and similar groups, the Shakers embraced technology that made their lives easier and invented many labour-saving devices. The Laundry was a great example of that. (See https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/albums/72157674088359351/page3  for more pictures)

Our final destination today was Meredith, NH, by the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.








QV2016: Day 4: Boston

23 10 2016

Our last day in Boston today, and it was a free day for everyone. Some went to various museums and art galleries, some went to Harvard, some went shopping, some went on the hop on/off bus, some went to the laundromat, and I caught up with my best friend, Char.

She picked me up from the hotel and we went to the Boston Public Market (inside and outside stalls), and the very moving Holocaust Memorial nearby. We popped into the Union Oyster House where they’ve been shucking oysters at the bar since 1826 (in the photo below, check the concrete ‘sink’ in the curve of the bar and the rocks on which they shuck the oysters).

Then we drove to her house where I met the very adorable Whidbey, a black lab who’s an ex-guide dog, the black cats, and her husband and her son’s girlfriend. Our time together was limited as Char flies out to Las Vegas for a conference this evening. But we’ll see each other again at a conference in Florida next March. (Sorry, no photos of Whidbey — she’s VERY black all over, including her eyes, so she’s very hard to photograph. We couldn’t go outside as it was raining too much.)

After Char dropped me back at the hotel in downtown Boston, I went looking for a place to have a very late lunch/early dinner. Not much is open in downtown Boston on a weekend, but there were several places at the fringe of the financial district that were on the tourist route, so I went to one of those. I had a delightful (and small, but a perfect size for me) burger with some fiery sauce, and then the most amazing apple cinnamon thickshake — think of the best apple crumble you’ve ever tasted, add a touch more cinnamon, then some rich creamy vanilla ice cream and blend it all together… Yummo!

(Note: When Char picked me up around 9:45 this morning, the weather, while wet, was quite warm — a t-shirt and light trousers were sufficient. By 4:00pm the weather had turned quite icy, and even my rain jacket wasn’t enough to keep out the cold. I think Fall is finally setting in…)

Tonight we pack — our bags are being collected from our rooms at 7:30am and we’ll be in the big tour bus and on the first day of our road trip by 8:30am. And tomorrow will be our first real day of quilty stuff! We overnight in New Hampshire tomorrow night.

BTW, 10 of the group (out of 24) are going to the Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens ice hockey game tonight. I’ve opted out — while it’s a supremely skillful game, I find it all a bit brutal.





QV2016: Day 3: Salem

22 10 2016

Here’s a tip — if you’re not into crowds of weirdly dressed people, witches, and all things sort of haunted and magical, avoid Salem, MA during October when they have their month-long ‘festival’ of all things haunted and witchy. We were there on Friday Oct 21, right in the middle of it all, but fortunately, NOT on a weekend day when I believe the crowds are massive. It was interesting hearing about the Puritans and the witch trials while on the drive to Salem, and visiting the cemetery in town, but as far as the main streets in town went, I found it over-commercialised to the max. But hey, that’s me — I’ve never been one for street fairs, or buying trinkety stuff, so I found it interesting, but was done with it after an hour or so. We had three hours there.

Best thing was that I had lunch at a place that had poutine on the menu. I’ve never had poutine and friends have raved about it, so it was about time I tried it. The server said theirs wasn’t the Canadian variety, but I tried it anyway and it was good. The poutine I had was made with french fries, cheese curds, but instead of gravy it had a lovely spicy mess of pulled pork on top. It was very unhealthy, but damn, it tasted good!😉

Tonight we’re back in Boston for a group dinner at an old public house.

Some of my photos from today; the rest are here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/albums/72157674088359351

Very foggy start to the day. 30 mins after this picture was taken, the fog had lifted to blue skies and a warm sun. Salem harbour area.

Very foggy start to the day. 30 mins after this picture was taken, the fog had lifted to blue skies and a warm sun. Salem harbour area.

Poutine with pulled pork!

Poutine with pulled pork!

I found another long-lost sewer!

I found another long-lost sewer!

I'm sure this was a joke playing on the macabre theme of the Salem's October, but to dress a dog in a 'cadaver dog' vest just seemed really wrong to me. Real cadaver dogs are working dogs with a terrible purpose, so to do this in jest was just wrong.

I’m sure this was a joke playing on the macabre theme of the Salem’s October, but to dress a dog in a ‘cadaver dog’ vest just seemed really wrong to me. Real cadaver dogs are working dogs with a terrible purpose, so to do this in jest was just wrong.

In case you can't read it: No soliciting. We are too broke to buy anything. We already know who we're voting for. We have found Jesus. Seriously, unless you are selling thin mints, please go away! Nobody gets in to see the wizard, not nobody, not no how!

In case you can’t read it: No soliciting. We are too broke to buy anything. We already know who we’re voting for. We have found Jesus. Seriously, unless you are selling thin mints, please go away! Nobody gets in to see the wizard, not nobody, not no how!



QV2016: Day 2: Boston

21 10 2016

This was the first day our group (QuiltVenture Tour 2016 [QV2016]) was all together. We started with breakfast at the hotel, then met in the lobby ready to start our day touring Boston. Our intrepid guide, Peter (a local historian), took us to the main sites of Boston’s history and told tales of how the revolution started and the main players. He was great! He made history that isn’t our history come alive.

I can’t remember all the places we saw, but there were lots. We stopped several times at various locations — meeting houses, cemeteries (the skull icons on the headstones were to keep the evil spirits away), Boston Common, etc. and learnt more about them. Then we bid farewell to Peter (we see him again tomorrow on our tour to Salem) and were dropped at the wharf for the Boston Tea Party re-enactment. That was really very well done, though by the time we were standing outside in the bitterly cold wind, I’d had enough (I only had on a t-shirt and a pashmina to keep me warm!); however, the history tour still had time to go; fortunately the rest of the time was inside.

Some photos from today; the rest are on this Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/albums/72157674088359351

SOS art installation

SOS art installation



Mary Goose, the REAL Mother Goose

Mary Goose, the REAL Mother Goose

The octagonal thing above the pulpit is a 'sounding board' that helped project the speaker's voice to the up to 5000 people inside the meeting house

The octagonal thing above the pulpit is a ‘sounding board’ that helped project the speaker’s voice to the up to 5000 people inside the meeting house

Dinner tonight was at the hotel’s premier restaurant. I had the New England clam chowder, the black angus sirloin, and a shared chocolate/dessert tier of goodies for dessert. Lots of laughs, and meeting old friends and new.



QV2016: Day 1: Boston

20 10 2016

QV2016 = QuiltVenture Tour 2016

I arrived in Boston this morning, from Bow, New Hampshire where I’d stayed overnight. The drive to Logan Airport, where I had to drop off the rental car, was expected to take 1 hour 45 mins. I allowed four hours… And although it took just over 2 hours, I’m glad I had that extra time up my sleeve as there were major traffic issues on I-93 South for the last 10 or so miles into Boston — it was like a slow-moving car park. Fortunately, I didn’t have a plane to catch and if I’d been late with the rental car, they’d have charged me for an extra day, so the consequences of running late weren’t too arduous.

The cab from the rental car building to downtown was $32 (including a $7.50 toll), plus tip, so it wasn’t cheap to travel only a couple of miles, as the crow flies. But it took a good 15 mins or so via the network of overpasses, tunnels etc.

I checked into the hotel and waited in the lobby until my room was ready. What a lovely hotel! We’re here for 4 days, so I unpacked everything and hung up all my clothes — the first time most have seen daylight for 10 days!

The weather was gorgeous (sunshine, 80F — in mid-October!) so I went for a walk to Faneuil Hall, then down to the harbourfront and along the walkways there. It was lunchtime and everywhere was packed with people out and about enjoying the sunshine, having lunch, walking, etc. I had a pulled pork sandwich from a Jamaican food truck near Columbus Park — delicious!

Boston seems really diverse based on the downtown population I saw and their interactions with each other — all nationalities seem to be represented, and all seem to get on with each other; there doesn’t seem to be the divide that is trumpeted by one candidate in the US Presidential election… In the hotel, there are many nationalities — the man who brought the bags to my room is South Sudanese, I saw a housekeeper of Indian or Pakistani origin in the halls, the person who checked me in was European (perhaps Russian?), and another was Australian. And that’s what I observed in just a few minutes.

Tonight I’ll have dinner with one of the other tour members who arrived from London this afternoon, and later this evening the rest of the group arrive. Already I’ve seen six of the group in the hotel lobby, so we’re nearly all here.

Here are some of my photos from my walk around Boston this afternoon; the rest of the photos are here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/albums/72157675044072645

The truck matches the trees and the sky

The truck matches the trees and the sky






Sidewalk grate -- I loved the pattern in this

Sidewalk grate — I loved the pattern in this

Update: Had dinner with one of the other members of the group who’s already here, then walked down by the harbourfront. Found an exhibit by the artist Ai Weiwei of Chinese Zodiac animal heads (the rest of the photos of the heads are on the Flickr page linked to above), spotted a likely Australian-style coffee place, and found B5, a long-lost member of our quilting and sewing group😉