Friday, August 7, 2015

Arlington, Vermont - Home of Norman Rockwell

Our first stop in Vermont was the town of Arlington which was chartered July 28, 1761, as part of the New Hampshire Grants.  In 1777, Arlington became the first capital of the Vermont Republic.

Our RV park was called Camping on the Battenkill which is the local river.

The pups liked the park because there were lots of wet places to investigate. 

Just a short distance from our park was a store that featured many of the illustrations Norman Rockwell completed over his lifetime.  He used the people of Arlington as inspiration for his works and paid a going rate of $5.00 to anyone who posed.

The woman, Rose Hoyt, who is captured in the Freedom of Worship illustration wrote about how her face became part of his work.

I remember one night in 1942 - we didn't even have electricity then - Norman just stopped by the house and asked me if I'd be willing to pose for Freedom of Worship.  Norman always would be very particular about what he wanted and he'd explain everything. He'd spent about a half-hour taking photographs, and then he'd later paint from those.  Norman said he could get more expression out of people that way, and the short time needed for photography was really the only way farmers, loggers, carpenters, mothers and his other neighbors in Arlington could take off from their everyday lives to pose.  Norman painted his background first and left spaces for the people, and when he'd get them right he'd put them in. Norman always made sure his models were comfortable  and at ease.  He asked me if I'd mind holding a rosary in Freedom of Worship.  When I told him that since I was Episcopalian I didn't know much about the Catholic religion, he asked, "Well would you mind being Catholic for a day?"  I told him I didn't mind - there's only one God.

About this illustration  Norman Rockwell said, " As a kid, I used to contemplate myself in the mirror, wondering if I were handsome. The model, though, for this picture is Mary Whalen, who was the best little girl model I ever had.  She could assume any expression I requested: sad, merry, joyful, wistful, disdainful. Her body was as expressive as her face.  I think that I should not have added the photograph of the movie star.  The little girl is not really wondering if she looks like the star, but just trying to estimate her own charms."
You could spend hours in the shop looking at all his illustrations.

  Rockwell lived with his wife and three sons in Arlington for over 14 years and many of the townspeople remember him and posing for his art.

A few miles outside of where we were staying is a town called Manchester Village that was very impressive.

This is a very fancy hotel in the center of the town.  It is called the Equinox because it is named for the mountain behind it.

The homes were stately and beautiful with gorgeous flowers in bloom everywhere.  

This one was for sale and cost over a million dollars.
Many of the homes were very large.

Another few miles past Manchester Village is Manchester Center. It has some quaint touches but is much more modern than the village.

It is also the home of a huge outlet mall.  The shops are scattered all over the town and a map listing is needed to find all of them.  While checking them out, looking for sales, we came across an Armani outlet store.  Yes, even the designer Armani has gone local retail.  Well, I couldn't pass that by since I'd never been in an Armani store so I dragged the Captain in with me.  There were two sales personnel (dressed professionally in black) talking to this older woman who had an ugly little beady-eyed black dog with her, and the lady was going on about her latest trip to Europe with her husband.  She acted like she had money so the sales personnel ignored us.  While perusing the store I noticed a short-sleeved grey two tone top that was quite attractive and it was on a rack that touted a 70% discount.  My kind of sale!  I looked more closely at the top, admiring it greatly, until I saw the price tag.  It was only $750 on sale.  The Captain heard my audible gasp (I'm sure the sales ladies did, too) as I motioned him over to see the price.  He was amused.  I decided since it was so expensive I needed to find out what material it was made from so I checked out the clothing tag.  It stated the top was 'Made in Italy' and the labels for material and care were all in Italian.  I assume that means it was 'dry clean only'.  We left the store quickly while the older lady continued to brag about her trip.  But I wondered as we walked away........if she was that rich to travel to Europe why was she shopping at an Armani outlet store.

While in the area we did some extensive hiking on the Equinox Mountain. 

The buildings below are a monastery.

Our hikes were tiring and the weather was in the upper 80's but the views were worth it.
Lucy riding back after a long day of hiking.

One of our days took us to the town of Bennington to see an historic spire in the heart of town.

It was erected in honor of Brigadier John Stark and the 1400 New Hampshire men who came to Vermont in 1777 to aid in the defense of the newly established state of Vermont.  It is Vermont's tallest structure.

This cast-iron cooking kettle was captured from the British at the Battle of Saratoga.  It weighs 400 lbs and hangs in the center of the lobby inside the monument. 

The monument is 306 feet tall made from a blue-grey limestone. You are able to ride in an elevator close to the top to get some lovely views of the countryside.

This is the Covered Bridge Moose that was created for the Bennington Moosefest 2005.
Speaking of covered bridges....

Our other significant stop while in the Arlington area was at The Chocolatorium.

Oh my............

The chocolate was delicious.  
This is Cocoa, a chocolate teddy bear commemorating the 100th anniversary of the lovable stuffed animal.  He was created in their candy kitchen and is 5' 8'' tall, weighing 100 lbs.  Although he is not for sale, his estimated value is $1,695.
Had to end this blog with this catchy tee shirt we saw in one of the stores.  We are having a wonderful time in Vermont and are looking forward to our next stop in Randolph.  Peace!


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