Bennington, Vermont Or Bust!

Bennington Travel Blog

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The Adventure Begins!

I finally got to visit the big “B” of the Northeast.  Yes, Bennington, Vermont!  I was supposed to see the other “B”oston six times already this summer, but it didn’t happen thanks to high gas prices, crowded schedules and other various reasons.  I am supposed to go this Fall sometime, but I fear I may never get there.  I can’t do the 50 State Project without Massachusetts, it would just be wrong as it is such a historic state.  But this blog is not about Boston as I have never been there in my life; no it is about Bennington.

 

Now, I know a few of my friends will question why I did not go to Burlington instead as Bennington is a very small town.

Scary Tappen Zee Bridge
  The reasoning is easy.  I had been to Vermont before, in fact, it is lucky number seven, but it wasn’t that lucky as the trip was not all that was desired.

 

I had originally gone up there a couple years back with friends for a snowboarding trip.  I hate the cold, thus skiing and snowboarding are not on my list of things to do, but I am a team player and decided to go along.  I am very athletic, but when it comes to snow activities, I am more suited for snowball fights (which we proved in the hotel on our balcony and beyond); snow angels and drinking hot cocoa in the lodge.  Long story short, the trip was a bit of a disaster and I didn’t even get a photo of myself while I was there.  So, that can only mean one thing.  Road trip to Vermont!

 

Now, the obvious choice would be Burlington, but I am not an obvious woman, I like to keep people guessing.

Lovely Vermont
  So, I decided that Bennington should be represented as it’s an amazing town.  Okay, the real reason I chose it was because it was close to the New York border and I had been to Vermont before and needed a photo for proof.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have love for Bennington, it just wasn’t what I expected, but I am getting ahead of myself.

 

My friend Chip who has been my lovely chaperone on most of my trips in the Northeast section of the country joined me yet again for my fun.  He was born and raised in New York, so I guess you can say he is an expert whether he wants to admit it or not.  Own it, dude!

 

We originally were going to spend the weekend there, but soon realized after some research that we may not need that much time there, we were right.

Red Berries
  So, early Saturday morning we went to Dunkin Donuts grabbed our goods and hit the freeway.  The weather was pretty nice that day as it was comfortably warm with no humidity.  In fact most of the summer had been that way so we knew it was meant to be.

 

The ride was pretty uneventful, the usual talk about our week, complain about work or school, eat, argue over the music, etc.  Finally, after a three hour drive, the signs began to appear leading us to the promised land of Bennington.  I have to say I was a little weary of my choice as we headed down the main road into Bennington.  It was pretty much one big strip mall, but I had been fooled before, so I kept an open mind.

 

Our first plan was to find the Bennington Memorial Obelisk, which wasn’t that hard to find.

Almost There!
  Just look into the horizon and look for the large grayish, thin, horizontal object and you are pretty much golden.  Well, we found it quickly enough, but unfortunately we had no idea where to find it as there were no signs anywhere.  We turned off a road only to find the local Wal-Mart.  Not exactly what I had in mind as shopping wasn’t my priority at this time, though they have great prices on Kashi.  So, we made a U-Turn in the parking lot and decided to head up the main road in hopes of finding the Memorial.  But before we could hit the main drag again our attention was distracted by a curious sign to our left.  Next to us was a Mobil station.  Now maybe you would think we were shocked by the rising gas prices, but you would be wrong.  At the Mobil station, you can get gas, drinks, snacks and guns and archery equipment.  That’s right, if you need any ammo for any weapons, the main Mobil station in Bennington is your place.  You can’t miss it, just look for the large Mobil sign with a big gun on the sign and you have found your place.
But Can I Get a Can of Coke?

 

Now, maybe this is common place to many people, but I have never seen anything like it and laughed like a maniac when I saw it.  Was this legal?  It had to be!  Was it right?  Yes, yes it was just for the laugh factor alone.  So far Bennington was looking interesting!

 

After a few snapshots, we headed onto the main road until we found signs for the historic center we had waited too long for the Obelisk and I was getting antsy, that or I had been sitting way too long.  Either way, it was an exciting moment when the Obelisk came into view.  This was the main attraction from what I had read about online and I was getting stoked.

Tada!
  I was even more stoked when we parked the car and found out that it was only $2 to get to the top.

 

We had to buy the tickets in the gift shop which was actually pretty smart because you will most likely want to buy something.  I did!  It was a pile of chocolate doo with almonds for my roommate, Noah.  The chocolate was imported from Belgium, so you know this product was top notch!  The woman who we bought the tickets from for the obelisk suggested I wrap it in toilet paper if it was a gift.  You know, I liked her style!

 

When we got to the obelisk I was a little disappointed to see there was an elevator, I was kind of looking forward to the walk after being cramped in a car for a while, but I guess the majority of the people wouldn’t be able to make the trek.

Something Taller Than Chip!
  Still my vote is to leave the steps open for the adventurous types such as myself.  But if you take the elevator it is a quick ride up, less than two minutes and the guy in the elevator knows a lot about the history, though you can’t learn a lot in a minute in a half.  I have to say I was a little surprised at how small it was at the top.  I don’t know what I was expecting really, but it was cramped with windows facing four directions.  I guess I was expecting a little more, but Chip reminded me that the whole purpose was the view.  So, I shut up and looked through the windows and enjoyed the states of New York, Vermont and Massachusetts.  Does staring at the state of Massachusetts count as going there?

 

When you turn one of the small corners there is a large pipe that had graffiti all over it of people who signed their names.

Welcome to Vermont!
  I don’t quite understand the desire to do that, but I have to say I was intrigued by one that appears to be written in Chinese, it was pretty sweet and you don’t see it everyday, so I had to document it.

 

Chip and I stayed up at the top of the obelisk for 10 minutes trying to milk our $2.  Even though the view is quite pretty, after 10 minutes, you have seen it all.  So, after Chip took my camera, reached his full arm out the window and took a photo out of the window (I almost killed him), we headed down the elevator and decided to take tourist pics outside of the Monument.

 

The sad thing was we both realized that this whole excursion which was one of our main focuses only lasted 30 minutes tops.  Not good, we still had a good 6 hours to fill!  So, we decided it was time to move on to our next expedition; The Apple Barn.

We Couldn't Get the Whole Memorial In...

 

Now, most people may not get excited by a country store, but being someone who was raised around homemade good markets, I knew this would be a winner.  Also, the Apple Barn had gotten favorable reviews online and their website showed that they make homemade apple butter.  Sold!  Apple Butter is pretty much life to me and hard to find in NYC. 

 

I have to say the Apple Barn was pretty large and had a great selection of canned, goods, butters, baked goods and of course maple syrup.  Of course I had to buy maple syrup, the thing is, I don’t even like maple, but I was in Vermont and missed syrup the first time around.  I ended up spending way too much money, apple butter is expensive!

 

If you are in Bennington, I recommend you stop here.

The Apple Barn
  It really is a nice shop with a lot of options. My only complaint was there was supposed to be a cornfield maze, but we couldn’t find it.  Again, we would have to come up with something else to do as we were running out of options.

 

We figured the Bennington Museum would keep us busy for a while.  After we parked our car we headed up to the front of the building to buy a ticket.  Chip was stunned to see a statue by the front door.  He had heard about it online but had no idea that he would be running into it in Bennington.  I have to say it was quite curious.  I really don’t want to go into too much detail about it as with all fine art, it is better for the viewer to make an opinion as we all have different views.

The Statue Entitled, "The American Spirit." Indeed!
  Let me just say, I was pretty proud to be part of “The American Spirit.”  Well, for the most part.  Another part of me was disturbed.  Maybe, just maybe I was just disturbed to begin with and my artistic eye is severely messed up.  I have no idea; you be the judge.

 

So, after a few snapshots of the “masterpiece” we headed in.  The Bennington Museum houses the largest collection of Grandma Moses paintings and memorabilia along with artifacts of Bennington and Vermont history.  It is in a two story building and has many different items on display, though be prepared, it is a small museum and won’t really take more that an hour to get through.  It may have taken us a bit longer as they were having a concert that afternoon with a pianist from NYU who was playing a concert of sorts.

The Bennington Museum of Fun!
  I have to say, his Stravinsky section was most impressive. 

 

After about another hour and a half we had nothing to do again.  No offense to Bennington, it just wasn’t as happening as the reviews made it seem and we were having a hard time filling a whole day.  Who ever was in charge of their tourism board did a great job! 

 

My long list of things to do that was very quickly becoming a short list.  Chip and I decided it was time to visit Robert Frost; well at least his grave site.  I am not a huge graveyard person and this was on the bottom of my list, but we were getting desperate!  Now, I don’t know a lot about Robert Frost, all I really know was that he was a depressed American poet, who had a lot of tragedy in his life.

Is That George Bush in a Dress?!?
  I have never been much into poetry unless it is in the lyrical form of music.  It appeals to my sense more, but I will save that for my thesis paper, you are here for Bennington.

 

At first, I thought that finding Frost’s gravesite would be hard to find which actually excited me as it would be like going on a scavenger hunt (no offense to the Frost family).  So we entered the Old Bennington Cemetery and we were off!  The scavenger hunt was soon over as there were bright signs with the announcement, “Robert Frost’s Grave” pointing you in the direction of where he was located.  Not cool! So we walked 50 feet into the cemetery, paid our respects and turned to each other with a look of desperation. 

 

Finally, I came to the decision that famous people aren’t the only people who deserve recognition.

That Makes it Easy!
  There were many people buried in the Old Bennington Cemetery that had fought in the Revolutionary War.  As I began to walk around I was amazed at how old some of the gravesites were.  Half of these graves were older than most of the states on the West Coast.  I mean California and Oregon became states in the 1850’s and these graves were from the 1700’s.  It was kind of mind blowing.  It was the same way I felt when I went to London a few years back.  England was having a crazy history hundreds of years before the United States of America had come into being. 

 

I could have stayed in the cemetery a little longer, but Chip isn’t a cemetery man at all.

Robert Frost
  I’m usually not either, but for some reason the history really hit me this time.  That and I couldn’t stop thinking about how one day everyone has to end up here, well, not the Bennington Cemetery.  At one time, the deaths of these people affected someone so much and now a 150 years later, there is no emotional connection any longer for these people.  They are just a grave marker for their silenced life that has long past.

 

Whew, time to bring the mood back up; what a downer! Chip and I decided that we were getting really hungry at this time as Dunkin Donuts can only fill you up for so long.  But first, we would visit at least one of the covered bridges.  I had never seen one before as we don’t have many or any on the West Coast, I have no idea.

 

It took about 5 minutes to get to one of them from the cemetery.

Older Than States of Oregon and California!
  I have to say it didn’t have a lot of wow factor for me.  It pretty much was a barn on a road.  We have a lot of barns in Oregon.  But still, the East Coast is known for these things, so I needed to pay my proper respect.  We parked the car and decided to snap a few photos.  While taking the required photos for my project I spied a path down to the water below.  It appeared as if many people had been here before, so we thought why not?  On our way down, I noticed plants that appeared to be nettle.  I remember nettle from when I was a kid.  It hurt like hell if you touched it.  I remember being in the woods as a kid with my brothers and cousins and we would try to throw each other into it before getting thrown in ourselves.  Stupid, yes!  Fun?  Absolutely!!!  There is nothing like the metallic burn of nettle, so I lifted up my arms so as not to get hit and I was on my way!  It was a very scenic spot actually; very quiet except for the occasional sound of a car going over the bride above.
Covered Bridge
  It really minded me of my childhood on my grandparents’ farm growing up.  That was a blast from the past!  So after about 10 minutes, I decided that the bugs were getting a little aggressive and that I needed to leave before I lost a few pints of blood, I am small; I don’t have a lot to spare.

 

We headed back into town to try to find something to eat but on our way there we ran into another covered bridge.  It looked exactly like the one we had just left, in fact I tried to convince Chip it was the same one and we had been going in circles.  He didn’t agree.  I had to argue, it looked the same!  So we ended up looking at the photos we had just taken to make sure that it was indeed different.  It was!  Chip suggested I take a photo.  I didn’t see the reason as I thought it was the same one we had just been to!

 

Finally, we headed downtown to satisfy our hunger.

Scenic Vermont
  I have to say the main area is quite attractive and clean; I found myself quite impressed.  One thing I did find odd was that in many places there were statues of people doing various everyday things; cleaning windows, reading newspapers, waiting for a bus.  These things were everywhere and at times a little disturbing.  Sometimes the people looked possessed, especially the children and other times, I almost believed they were real people.  Besides people, they had a lot of colorful moose hanging around.  Things in downtown Bennington were getting strange.  Still, everytime I saw one of these odd statues, I had to take a picture.  It just seemed wrong not too!

 

After taking a few photos we searched the streets for food.  I have to be honest with you, there wasn’t a lot of options.

Yum, Apple Barn Pastery
  Pretty much bars and pubs.  That and everything was closed already.  Hmm…  So, we figured we would go with the pub.  I have to say, for pub food it wasn’t that bad and they even had healthier options which I liked after chowing down on fudge and pastries from the Apple Barn all day.  Chip went for more the heart clogging artery menu, bold choice! 

 

After dinner, we realized that we pretty much were done in Bennington and as we had a long drive back.  But before we left we spotted one last crazy police office statue. It was too whacky to leave without a pic.  We tried to make it seems as if I was being arrested but it looked like the officer was grabbing my butt.  We also tried to make it look as if we got into a fight, but this cop statue was just too happy and friendly to make a good photo!  Oh, well, at least we had plenty of Apple Butter and various baked goods to keep us satisfied for the drive home.

Scolding These Horrific Looking Children

 

All and all, Bennington was an okay experience.  It wasn't a hopping place or anything, but the people were extremely nice.  Seriously, I didn’t meet a mean one in the bunch, which is always a plus, especially after living in NYC.  So, now my official picture of Vermont has been taken and I have made her an honest woman in the 50 State Project.  Life is good, again!

binky says:
One day I will get up to Burlington, don't worry. But if I had, I would have missed the magic of Bennington.
Posted on: Sep 18, 2008
B-Town says:
So you made it to Vermont.. finally. Hope you enjoyed your stay, even w/all the ups and downs and lack of things to do. Should've made the hike to Burlington. And I'm so sorry for updating my VT blog so late so you didn't have anything to go on. I haven't been around as of late - long story. But if you ever make the trip back here again, you'll know where to look now.

~L8r G8r~
Posted on: Sep 18, 2008
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The Adventure Begins!
The Adventure Begins!
Scary Tappen Zee Bridge
Scary Tappen Zee Bridge
Lovely Vermont
Lovely Vermont
Red Berries
Red Berries
Almost There!
Almost There!
But Can I Get a Can of Coke?
But Can I Get a Can of Coke?
Tada!
Tada!
Something Taller Than Chip!
Something Taller Than Chip!
Welcome to Vermont!
Welcome to Vermont!
We Couldnt Get the Whole Memorial…
We Couldn't Get the Whole Memoria…
The Apple Barn
The Apple Barn
The Statue Entitled, The American…
The Statue Entitled, "The America…
The Bennington Museum of Fun!
The Bennington Museum of Fun!
Is That George Bush in a Dress?!?
Is That George Bush in a Dress?!?
That Makes it Easy!
That Makes it Easy!
Robert Frost
Robert Frost
Older Than States of Oregon and Ca…
Older Than States of Oregon and C…
Covered Bridge
Covered Bridge
Scenic Vermont
Scenic Vermont
Yum, Apple Barn Pastery
Yum, Apple Barn Pastery
Scolding These Horrific Looking Ch…
Scolding These Horrific Looking C…
Cow Pie!
Cow Pie!
Graffiti in other Languages is Fun!
Graffiti in other Languages is Fun!
Can I Count This as Going to Massa…
Can I Count This as Going to Mass…
The View Down From the Obelisk
The View Down From the Obelisk
The Bennington Obelisk being Built
The Bennington Obelisk being Built
Uh, Okay...
Uh, Okay...
Apple Barn Bear
Apple Barn Bear
Subway in a House
Subway in a House
Sleepy Babies
Sleepy Babies
Get Your Own Paper
Get Your Own Paper
Is That Assault?
Is That Assault?
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Bennington
photo by: binky