Sunday, December 08, 2013

Delayed travelogue: Keene, NH and Brattleboro, VT.

""Where the politicians go to meet the people" is the tag line for Lindy's Diner.  Moved in by railroad car in 1961, the diner has apparently been a Keene meeting place ever since.  The menu recounted visits of most every presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan.  And claimed that Hilary Clinton's failure to visit may have been the reason she didn't get the nomination.  Our waitress was less enthused about candidate visits, however.  "They take up the whole place, stay for hours, and don't leave tips."
Even before she knew if we were good tippers, we had a great diner-style breakfast.  Hot eggs, crisp bacon and amazing whole grain "homemade" bread.

 Keene is the site of Keene State University which boasts that many of its students are the first in their families to attend college. 
 I don't know who this Dana was, but I appreciated the message.

 The pub was totally inactive on the Monday we visited.
Abstracted with Photoshop, the image on the left is one of the view of Lake Stoddard.

Our drive towards Brattleboro was pretty gray and foggy.
 Lake Stoddard had several settlements around its perimeter of various ages, stages and styles.
The water was very still and provided for interesting reflections.
Even little ducks could make ripples.

Many of the houses seemed to be either second homes or three season rentals.
 The most secluded ones seemed the most likely to be occupied.

 The newer homes seemed to be on the Westernmost bank of the lake.
Progress on this house seemed to have been stalled for quite some time, although someone was still in a cheerful frame of mind!
 This rental was right on the highway rather than the lake.  Perhaps the original owner had a roadside stand of some sort.
 The old, closed bridge and the new wider bridge over the Connecticut River at the New Hampshire/Vermont border.
 The South door to the First Baptist Church in Brattleboro was enhanced by lavish, old-school brick work.
 There were several interesting galleries and shops on Main Street.
 Lots of towns that had river-based manufacturers look like this.
 Coffee and sandwich shops are a newer development.  I didn't see a Starbucks on Main Street.

 A life sized Vendor and cart graced the approach to the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center.

 As I have several friends who are "fans of cows"  I had to take pictures of the signs in front of the Holstein-Friesan Association of America.  Oddly, I didn't see any dairy farms on this entire trip.

A salmon colored house up the hill had an interesting roof line and dramatic color scheme.

Signs and graffiti were above average in interest!
 Vermont Artisan Designs and Gallery had a wide variety of objects by local artists and craftspeople. 

The terrier (left) was about 2 1/2 feet tall.  Surprisingly, the penguin (with a hole in is head, making him a bank) was about 3 1/2 feet tall. 

The porcelain cat is a saltshaker.

Mary Iselin's New Little Guy goes to show that lots of artists like sheep (and wide frames)!

Paintings by Adrian Yellow and Charles Townsend caught my eye.

As did the floating frame system and gorgeous tiger maple table.

 I felt right at home recognizing Janis Salter's bigger-than-average canvas.  The following Friday was to be an opening of a show featuring his work.
This cyclist is created from a continuous piece of wire.  She bobs and weaves!
Mr. McCallum exhibited several inspiring photographs of owls and raptors....
 And then there was this goofy rooster!  I really wanted to take him home with me.

The gallery owner told me that originals by  the primitive artist who painted the cat are rare.  Usually one only sees them in reproduction.  He often paints on antique boards.

Bruce Campbell's wire sculptures are operational.  The Ferris Wheel really spins. His doe, triceratops and giraffe don't walk, though.
 Charles Hunter's oil painting, while abstract, also gave the impression of an old photograph;  the internal conflict of representational styles was tantalizing.

I found out about Delectable Mountain via a knitting resource, and even ordered a random selection of  mother of pearl buttons.  Seeing their selection in person was kind of overwhelming.  Every horizontal space was covered with cut glass salt cellars full of sorted buttons:  sorted by size, color, material, vintage, you name it.  So many were like nothing I've ever seen.  The sorting itself must require saintly patience.

 They also carry an extensive inventory of fine silk and embroidered or embellished fabrics.  I understand that seamstresses from all over the Connecticut River Valley buy fabric here.

 The Gallery in the Woods had pieces the likes of which were totally new to me.  There was a wall of shoe-faces.  They looked so great in a huge collection, that I think it might be disappointing to "only" have a single pair.  I kept asking myself which was my favorite.

 The crow on a bench (about 8 inches tall) would also be happy in my house.  Marc Brown had been busy using found objects to make clocks.  This might be the mouse that ran up the clock...
 The hand embroidered forest critters seemed friendly and naive.

 The birds may or may not be angry, but they definitely have attitude.

 The mixed media (and encaustic) piece on the left was part of a  "Particle Collision Series."

Another embroidered pillow had a beaver that could be removed from his den.

 A collection of ceramic vessels all had women with critters on their heads.  I wish I knew what the artist was thinking.

 A pic made from part of a John Deere.
A red, crowned bird from the same artist.  Note, too, the woven/beaded flying pigs and hearts to the left.
 I don't know if the crow in the window is brass or wood.  I think his wise and curious attitude is representative of most crows.  Click on the image to see the Vermonter's idea of local weather and forecasts!

 The local theater was undergoing renovation.  The red door certainly drew attention, as did the banner for "Strolling of the Heifers" on the Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center.  There was a poster that tried to explain what it was all about, but I didn't understand.  Must check out website!
 Downtown lofts/apartments had bleak yet appealing views of the river.The day we were there, there were lots of Canada Geese resting in the water.
 The alley leading from the river view at the back of the welcoming center back to Main Street.
 This cat (?) bench will no doubt be placed somewhere more prominent once the construction is complete.
 He wasn't for sale... but I'd be glad to have him at my house, too!
 We weren't in Brattleboro at meal time... but we might hold out for the Blue Moose next trip.

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