Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stage 2: Bellows Falls to Rutland, VT.

Most of this part of the trip is along SR 103, which varies in quality somewhat, but represents some wonderful scenery. One landmark of particular note along this route is The Old Rockingham Meeting House, the oldest public building in original condition in Vermont. It recalls days of old in New England, when town meetings and church services were held in the same building and there were only homesteads, not concentrated towns and villages like we’re used to today. The late 18th century structure is a rare standing example of Georgian architecture, and it comes complete with its original box pews and ornate woodwork. Like all early New England meeting houses, the Old Rockingham building served both the religious and the governmental life of a widespread community, much like an assembly hall. It was visible for miles because of its hillside location, and provided an important social monument in early town life in Vermont.

I’m hotelling it from here on, but I’m excited that I’ll get to see Erica for dinner in the evening. Erica is an alumna of mine and a veteran of my 2002 trip leading students to France. She lives near Rutland and works at Castleton State College. With so many of my students in their twenties now, it’s a rare treat to be able to connect with them in person unless they happen to live nearby. I’m very much looking forward to spending some quality time with a student I’ve not seen in entirely too long.

I expect I'll get to see some of Rutland before dinner. The original Rutland was chartered in 1761 as part of New Hampshire land grants given by Provincial Governor Benning Wentworth. Almost immediately, however, a controversy arose with New York, who claimed the same land grants under the name of Socialborough. This dispute ultimately led to settlers of the territory to form the Republic of Vermont (statehood would follow). I find this interesting because we have talked tongue-in-cheek for some time about encouraging western Massachusetts to secede from the state and join with Vermont, with whom we share a great deal of culture and social values than we do with our more urban brethren to the east. Vive la Republique!

1 comment:

Architect Rutland said...

I've always wanted to do more travelling when I was younger but never got round to it. I was always too busy and now when I look back, it's definitely one thing I regret. I'm hoping when I finally retire I can make up for it and go to visit some beautiful places that I've never been to before. I definitely enjoy reading what people get up to on their travels though and hopefully I can pick up a few ideas.