It’s that time of year when some of us grab one last opportunity to sneak away for a couple of days before the school year starts again.
My grandparents’ youngest kid was in college in 1968, so they weren’t under the same pressure to get out of town — or, more accurately, the same pressure to get home again.
Still, they chose the end of August for a brief break, heading north to escape the steamy temperatures of Stamford in the summer.
And, because we wish we were there instead of here, we’ll tag along.
My grandparents (and presumably my great-grandma with them) had made a similar trip to Vermont the previous August. I’ve written already about the car trouble they encountered there.
Apparently they loved Vermont enough not to hold that against it. They were back again the following year for a whirlwind three-day, two-night visit.
The Candlelight Motel in Arlington, where my grandfolks stayed that first night, is apparently still in business and looks charming enough.
Nowadays, the nearby attractions include a recreation of Grandma Moses’ studio, as well as the Norman Rockwell Gallery. As an artist, my grandpa would have found both destinations of interest. I’m not sure either one was there in 1968, though.
The next day found them heading north along the western side of the state, through Rutland and Proctor, home of the Vermont Marble Museum … then across the state to the villages of White River Junction and Quechee, on the New Hampshire border … with the day ending not far away in Woodstock.
(The name “Woodstock” still meant “Vermont” to a lot of people in August 1968, not yet having been co-opted by Jimi Hendrix or Charles Schulz. I think the Woodstock Motel might still be in business, but if it is, it doesn’t seem to have a website.)
On the 22nd, they headed back home, stopping along the way in the town of Chester and presumably admiring the granite houses there. They were back in their own beds that night.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the big trip. I’m sure my grandpa took some, but to my knowledge, they’ve not been scanned in. My grandpa took a lot of pictures in his 90-plus years, and we’ve generally focused on scanning in the ones with family members, not the ones with scenery.
I’m sure Vermont in the Sixties was even more placid and rural than it was 30 years later, when I visited once or twice. If I couldn’t be there in 1968, it would be nice to see pictures of it. Maybe I’ll check the family photo albums next time I’m in the same room.
(I did find this picture on Flickr. I suspect my grandpa, a fan of trains, would have liked to have taken it. Perhaps he saw the same station, or even the same train.)
Rural Vermont might have been an especially appealing place to be in the summer of ’68.
In a year of war, assassinations, riots and unrest, Norman Rockwell’s America seems — at least in retrospect — like a welcoming place to which to escape.
Alas, the real world called my grandparents back, as it calls so many of us back at the end of August.