History in New England

My sister, Ruth, and I enjoyed our foray into Vermont yesterday, primarily because we were able to witness our niece’s graduation from Champlain Valley Union High School.

On the way home we spied the Vermont Capital Building dome from I-89 and exited to get a closer look (and find something to drink). It is a tiny building compared to others we have seen, including Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, South Carolina, Alabama, Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, to name a few.

This has piqued my interest in local historic sites and I’ve decided I want to visit at least two this summer before I leave New England again: The Fells in Newbury, NH; and the Plymouth Notch Historic District  in Vermont.

From The Fells website:

The Fells Historic Estate & Gardens is one of New England’s finest examples of an early 20th-century summer estate. Come and discover 83.5 conserved acres of beauty and tranquility; learn the legacy of its founder, diplomat and statesman John Milton Hay, during historic guided tours of the 22-room Colonial Revival home; explore forest succession and nature’s diversity while walking woodland trails; and enjoy the renowned gardens.

I do enjoy gardens, but even more I’m looking forward to visiting the house:

May 28-October 10, Main House Exhibit Gallery, open during Main House hours 
John Milton Hay was appointed Secretary of State in President William McKinley’s Cabinet. He continued in office under President Theodore Roosevelt following McKinley’s assassination in 1901 and served until his death in office on July 1, 1905. He was instrumental in taking the U.S. onto the theater of world politics by bartering an agreement to limit European influence in Asia, negotiating the Panama Canal Treaty, the Alaskan Boundary Dispute, and the Venezuelan Crisis. Get to know John Milton Hay, and how his early life prepared him to be a statesman and helped shape his accomplishments.

Plymouth Notch is the birthplace of Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president, a man I admire.  From the website:

The Plymouth Notch Historic District
Plymouth Notch, Vermont is the birthplace and boyhood home of Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States. The village is virtually unchanged since the early 20th century. The homes of Calvin Coolidge’s family and neighbors, the community churchcheese factoryone-room schoolhouse, and general store have been carefully preserved, and many of the buildings have their original furnishings. The President is buried in the town cemetery. A National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the village has been designated as the “Plymouth Notch Historic District” and is owned and operated by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. The site’s office, located in the Aldrich House, is open weekdays, year-round and has exhibits especially designed for winter visitors.

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I’ll have to take separate trips because they are in opposite directions from where I am, and I think it would be best to plan to spend a day on each. It would be even better if I was able to visit with a fellow enthusiast.



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