While it was Ladies’ Day Out here in western Maine, I drove west to Vermont, to celebrate with friends in a different manner.
Brownington, Vermont, was the destination–as three of us drove north and west to converge at a friend’s farmhouse. And then the Talk Fest began.
Yes, instead of a Shop Fest, we enjoyed a Talk Fest. Of course, unless you want to buy eggs, there’s not much shopping to be done in Brownington. That’s the beauty of it. Plus, we aren’t shoppers.
What we did do, which is also a little unusual for a ladies’ weekend, was go on a quest for my ancestral roots. (Thanks B.M.D., P.S. and B.C. for humoring me)
And at the South Cemetery in South Barton, we found what I was seeking.
My greatX3 grandparents and other ancestors are buried here in a small valley below Crystal Lake (once known as Belle Pond). According to various census reports, they were farmers and I have to wonder if one of the small homes in the area belonged to them, or if there is a foundation somewhere nearby. A future hunt?
Wildflowers growing on the hill between the cemetery and road feature an abundance of Queen Anne’s Lace. Like a spray of fireworks, the fruiting structure extends in various directions.
Finding physical evidence of those who came before made my heart sing. They were here. They worked this land. They breathed this air. They were born, grew up and carved out a living here. They were farmers who sowed their own seeds. And some of them died here.
Queen Anne’s Lace is prolific in spreading its seeds by the wind.
They served their country and some didn’t return, like my great-great grandfather. And while my great grandmother was born here, she and my great grandfather moved to Massachusetts and then New Hampshire–I have to wonder why.
Some seeds land nearby; others float away in the wind. I must have inherited some of g.g.’s genes.
We’d spent enough time reading the headstones and appreciating the lives they represented.
It was time to continue our Talk Fest and take a peek at the peak’s our hostess knows so well. Haystack, Pisgah and Hor create the backdrop of Willoughby Lake.
We stumbled upon deer prints and . . .
beaver works. The latter forced us to look further, but we couldn’t find any evidence of a lodge or dam, just more beaver chews along the beach–perhaps they floated in from another locale.
We climbed the Prospect Hill Observatory and took in the 360˚ views. Rolling hills, farms, villages, mountains and . . .
Canada. My great grandfather came from Canada–perhaps right over there. I’m not sure–I’m still trying to figure out his lineage.
This print is one in a series of tracks that lead up and around the observatory. A couple of Amish families have moved into the neighborhood in the past year–a horseshoe print.
We left our own prints at the geographic survey mark when we posed for a selfie–photobombed by another lady–Brenna.
The Orleans Historical Society has protected this land and the buildings you see here. Brownington is a picturesque village located along the former stage coach route that led from Canada to Boston.
Thirty-five years ago, when our hostess moved here for a teaching job, she earned her keep by keeping an eye on this building.
Local lore has it that Twilight quarried the granite blocks and erected the building on his own. He used a single ox–on a treadmill on staging–to raise the blocks and when the last stone was placed, he couldn’t figure out how to lower the beast, so he roasted it.
It was time to go. We embraced each other and gave thanks to our hostess and host, and for our lasting friendship–as we looked ahead to next year’s gathering. Ancestors below Belle Pond, Queen Anne’s Lace, Brenna and us–a perfect combination for a Ladies’ Weekend.