Today began with a visit to Billings Farm. Mostly, it was just a tourist farm with displays of farming activities and chance to see cows in a barn. However, this was originally the property of an early pioneer, Mr Billings, who was also one of America’s great conservationists and philanthropists. Philanthropism has always been a much stronger part of American culture than it ever has been in Australia. One of his grand daughters eventually married into the Rockefeller family. I would never have connected the two, but the name of this farm is also linked to the city of Billings in Montana where we once finished a driving trip that started in Las Vegas, Nevada.
We had lunch in the little town of Woodstock. I was imagining that we would be able to relive the 1960’s hippy days and have naked women swimming in the creek with flowers in their hair. Instead. this Woodstock was in Vermont. The other town of Woodstock of the 1960’s was in New York. This little town was a very cute with a covered bridge, a quaint country store and some nice little places to eat. In the local park, the kids were having another bake stall. I bought a a T Shirt from the Hockey Team’s stall and now when I go to Gym, I’ll stand out in a green shirt with the initials ‘WJH on it (Woodstock Junior Hockey). Ice hockey of course! We were intrigued to find a dozen or so varieties of Australian wine for sale in the Country Store – all of which were at least $3 cheaper than the price we would have paid back home.
It is only a few weeks before Halloween and many places here are decorated with pumpkin displays. We see them all over the place as we drive by. There must be millions of pumpkins grown in this part of the USA and correspondingly, an enormous amount of pumpkin pie eaten. Most pumpkins here seem to used for sweet dishes (pumpkin pie, ice cream and other deserts) rather than being eaten as a vegetable as we do at home.This display was at our hotel.
i found our afternoon stop to be incredibly interesting.We visited the home and birthplace of Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the United Staes. He had been vice president and came to the Oval Office in the early 1920’s when President Harding died in office. I expected to just see his home, but the whole little village in which he was born still exists – the barn, church, his father’s house behind the general store as well as his parents second house. Apparently, the housekeeper of the family had kept all of their belongings and so the entire family history was available to see. This is a real-life story of a boy who grew up from a very humble beginning (the son of a store keeper) moving on to success as President.
After checking into our hotel in Ludlow, VA. we visited a Vermont Country Store. This rambling store was in its original building and dated back to the 1850’s It would then have stocked everything from hardware to clothing but these days it stocks a more modern variety of merchandise. It was so interesting that we ran out of time tying to see everything in stock. I bought a new hat and a few gifts for people at home. Our dinner was at a restaurant next door where we had one of nicest meals on this trip; roast turkey.