Southern Vermont Covered Bridges

What can be 100 years old, has a roof, usually has a single lane, and spans a body of water? If you answered a covered bridge, you are correct. Covered bridges are pieces of history that many times are located in scenic locations.

Purpose

The purpose of a covering a bridge with a roof and sides was to protect it from the weather. It was mainly to protect the structure that supported the bridge. Without covering, the bridge might last 20 years, while covering it translated into the bridge maybe lasting 100 years.

One of the more picturesque spots. This is Arlington, Vermont. Norman Rockwell lived in this little town on the other side of this bridge in a large white house that is labeled as an inn. As the of time I wrote this, the Rockwell house is for sale.
Bridge at Arlington taken from near the Norman Rockwell House.
Vermont

Other states have more covered bridges, but Vermont can lay claim to having the most per square mile over any other state. Vermont has more than 100 surviving in total. Some you can still drive over, others you can walk over. There are sites online that recommend short driving tours that include a few of them. Some towns have more than one covered bridge. I found two in the Grafton area. According to Wikipedia these are the towns with 3 or more covered bridges: Bennington (3), Charlotte (3), Randolph (3), Cambridge (3), Waterville (3), Pittsford (4), Northfield (5), Tunbridge (5), Lyndon (5),and Montgomery (6).

The Bridge in Grafton
Looking from the other direction- Grafton
This is a second bridge on the outskirts of Grafton, near a cheese store.
The view from one of the windows on the bridge on the outskirts of Grafton. It is next to a place that sells cheese. This is a pedestrian only bridge.
Locations

There are websites that list locations and provide a map detailing where some of them are. I recommend this website :

https://www.vermontvacation.com/things-to-do/arts-and-heritage/covered-bridges

Once you click on the link, scroll down and click on another link to get a map with locations.

When I think of autumn in New England it conjures up memories of pictures I have seen in travel articles featuring covered bridges and fall foliage. It is fun to scavenger hunt in fall and winter for covered bridges in Vermont. If you are visiting Vermont or traveling through, try to locate one.

Chisel Bridge

York City Wall

What location has the longest medieval town walls in England? What place has gorgeous views from those walls? If you answered York, you would be correct.

In some sections one side does not have a railing. I believe this was from the area of the train station looking towards York Minster.
One view of York Minster from the wall with also some lovely back garden views.

York has an old section of town that is surrounded by the remains of the old city walls. You can walk around most of this section of the city on top of the wall. You will have some nice views of York Minster and other parts of the old city from the wall.

History

The original walls were built by the Romans in AD 71. However, the walls you see now were the upgrade to stone built in 1226. They are the longest Medieval town walls in England at 3.4 kilometers (about 2 miles) and are very well maintained.

Another view of York Minster from the wall
A sentry on the wall
The wall is just too narrow in many spots, so dogs are not allowed.
Visiting

It is open daily 8 a.m. to dusk. It is closed on Christmas and any days that the conditions are icy or slippery. As it is an old wall, it is not handicap accessible. Also, dogs are not allowed on the wall as most of it is narrow. Some areas do not have high ledges or railing on one side, so one has to take care. Someone with a fear of heights may not enjoy this walk.

If you are visiting York, hiking on the old city walls is a must to get another perspective on this lovely city.

One of the gates through the wall into the old section of York.

Wayside Cross

Wayside (edge of road) crosses are one type of Christian Cross that could be erected in Medieval times (5th-15th century). What do you think was its purpose?

Locations

In England there are over 350 wayside crosses. They are mostly found in Southwest England in Cornwall and on Dartmor. They can also be found on the North Yorkshire Moors. Very few are found elsewhere. Other forms of Wayside crosses can be found in other European countries such as Germany and Ireland.

Function

One function of a wayside cross was to reinforce the Christian faith amongst those who traveled past the cross. It was meant to reassure the traveler. In addition, they were way markers. They helped mark the areas that were generally unmarked routes.

Boskenna Cross

This wayside cross is at the junction of B 3315 and Rectory Rd in Cornwall. It is near the Merry Maidens Stone Circle in Cornwall, England. The head of the Boskenna Cross is circular. On one side of the head is a cross. On the opposite side is a figure of Christ with his arms up stretched and his feet pointing outwards. Some other wayside markers in Cornwall are said to have rounded heads with a cross on one side and different carvings on the other side.

This side faces someone property. It has a cross clearly visible on it.
This is the side facing the road. It is said to have a carving of Jesus on it with his arms outstretched. If you able able to see it in person you can barely make it out.

Wayside crosses are unique to Europe and the type found in Cornwall seems to be unique to Cornwall. If you visit Cornwall, see if you can spot one of these ancient monuments that has stood the test of time.

Pub Signs-The Bucket of Blood

The Bucket of Blood Pub in the Hayle area of Cornwall.

Which pub in Cornwall most likely has a name that is not duplicated with any other pub in England? The Bucket of Blood is very unique. It is a pub in Hayle that is said to be haunted and there is an interesting story behind it.

It is said an inn has been on that site for hundreds of years. It had a well from which they drew water for the inn and to brew the beer, a dark ale. Cornwall has been known for its miners, sailors, fishermen and smugglers.

The story is the innkeeper went to draw water, but instead drew blood. Upon search of the well a corpse was found. It is said the identity was unknown.

They say at night footsteps can be heard on creaking floorboards. There have been reports of people seeing ghostly figures crossing the road and then disappearing.

They say during the reign of King George III the name of the Bucket of Blood was changed to the New Inn. That lasted for about 250 years. In the 1980s the owner changed the name back to its original name- the Bucket of Blood.

I asked locals where the well was. They pointed me out to a well across the street and around the corner. However, a person who worked at the pub said there is no longer access to it. It is under what is now the ladies restroom/loo.

This inn serves nice meals. They do not serve puddings/desserts. If you are in the Hayle area make a stop at the Bucket of Blood. Its worth the trip. Ghost sightings are not guaranteed.

Green Man- Washington D.C.

Where can you find Green Men grotesques in Washington, D.C.? They aren’t on a church. The building is apropos though. Can you guess where?

Once I get started on something sometimes I can not stop. I had a long weekend, so I decided to drive down to D.C. to see some things I have wanted to see for a while. One thing I searched for were some more Green Men. I found two Green Men and one Green Lady on the U.S. Botanical Gardens building in Washington D.C.

Like the ones in New York City, this one has a leaf forehead.

The one above has plants around his face as most if not all green men have. However, it has a plant mustache and beard. It also appears to have horns, unless someone has a better idea about what plant that may represent. His expression is more jovial.

The one above is more serious. Could that be cat-tails coming out of his head?

Green Lady

I think this is the first Green Lady I have seen in person. She has a human face that is surrounded by plants. It is more like she is wearing plants about her face and head. It appears she is wearing a crown on her head.

Can you find a Green Man or Green Lady near you? One may exist and you may not even be aware.

The Green Man- NYC

Who can be found on many buildings in England? Whose image adorns the face of some buildings in Germany, France and others places? It is the Green Man.

Did you know it also can be found on buildings in the United States? There are at least three locations where the Green Man can be found in New York City. Below are some grotesque-like images I found on one Manhattan building.

The man above looks like he is gasping for air. Maybe he is affected by the pollution? Or is he simply sticking his tongue out at those passing by?
This guy does not look impressed. These Green Men all have foreheads made of leaves.
This Green Man seems to be laughing at those passing by.

See if you can find any Green Men in your locale. There seem to be more of these around than people know.

Sinterklaas

What is a kid-friendly event leading up to Christmas? What event would anyone feel comfortable at? It combines traditions of multiple cultures and appeals to all age groups? It is Sinterklaas.

The original tradition of Sinterklaas was imported by Dutch settlers to the Hudson Valley over 300 years ago. Rhinebeck and Kingston, NY, which both had Dutch settlers back in the day have modern takes on the festival that are nondenominational and inclusive. All are welcome.

When

Both Kingston and Rhinebeck, NY have this festival and parade. In 2019 Kingston’s festival and parade is on Saturday, November 24th from 12 to after dark. Rhinebeck’s Sinterklaas festival is on Saturday, December 7th. They close down Market Street most of the day in Rhinebeck for this event.

They sell a variety of items in tents along the street including luminaries and head wreaths.
Events

Activities abound throughout the day. There are many events for children at both locations. Some involve crafts. In Rhinebeck they had story time, The Pocket Lady, the Snow Queen and King, and other activities. I attended the event in Rhinebeck in 2018. There were events happening simultaneously at different locations around Rhinebeck so I could not catch everything. That gives you options to choose from. Check the calendar of events when it comes out.

Batala performing in front of Beekman Arms, America’s oldest operating inn.

They also had a variety of music events in churches around town and outside along Route 9 and other locations.

Performers in front of Beekman Arms on Route 9.
One of the performances held inside a church
Food
Gigi Trattoria’s food table on the street. This restaurant has great gluten-free pizza.

Rhinebeck has some nice restaurants that are open all day to stop in. Last year an Italian restaurant on Route 9, Gigi Trattoria, had some amazing hot chocolate. Another restaurant, Foster’s , had a food truck with London Broil sandwiches, clam chowder and other items. I had no issues eating a late lunch at an Indian restaurant on Market Street. There were tables available.

Parade

Everything culminates after dark with a parade. Many objects are illuminated. Different cultures and traditions are represented.

Chinelos Dancing from Mexico- This is event is multicultural and inclusive.
Dressing for the occasion

This event is worth driving to and seeing as much as you can. I was there most of the day in Rhinebeck. If you have children, its a can’t miss event. I highly recommend it for people from NYC and elsewhere looking to have a day or weekend escape from the rat race in the country.

Sinterklaas in the Dutch tradition. He wears bishop like clothing.
More Information

For more information check these websites out or search for another closer to the event. As of when I posted this only the dates were listed not the schedule of events for 2019.

For Kingston’s Sinterklaas: http://www.sinterklaashudsonvalley.com/sinterklaas-kingston/

For Rhinebeck’s Sinterklaas: http://www.sinterklaashudsonvalley.com or check out their Facebook page.