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27 Sep 2008
RIP Paul Newman
I was saddened to hear today that Paul Newman has died. I never met him but our paths crossed, or nearly crossed, a few times.

The first time was when my wife and I took the kids on a driving vacation around New England about 20 years ago. We were on our way north to Quebec and stayed for a night at the North Hero House Inn. The owners had a photo album on display at the front desk. One of the photos showed Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in an old VW beetle convertible at the inn. They had stayed there sometime before we were there but I don't remember how long before.

I know the North Hero House has different owners now but if you ever get to travel there (very nice place by the way), you can ask if they still have that photo album. I doubt they do - I'll bet the previous owners took it with them. But at least you can say you stayed the same place Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward stayed.

The drive up Route 2 through the islands is OK enough. Most people think more of it than I do. The islands looks better from the water I think. Rent a boat while you are there and see for yourself. It seems to me that the islands are like flat farmland most anywhere and they don't compare at all to the mountains a short distance away. Most of the time you are on Route 2 you cannot see the water except for a few exceptions like North Hero House

That's just one person's opinion. Travel to Vermont and look at both the mountains and the islands, and you can then write to tell me I'm right or wrong.

The other times I saw Paul Newman were at sports car races at Watkins Glen NY. My brother was racing and Paul Newman had the pit garage next to my brother's team a couple of times. The last time I saw Newman race was a few years ago when he was in his late 70's. He was an excellent driver and when I was watching practice sessions, I was very impressed with how much speed he was carrying through the corners in his car. It would have been impressive to see anyone going that fast but to see someone almost 80 years old hustling a car that hard was inspiring!

Godspeed, Paul Newman. I hope you enjoyed your visit to Vermont.

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor
Advice , General , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  20:49 | permalink

21 Sep 2008
Vote for the Best Bear for the Job

Did they have to make the ears stick out so much for the bear on the left? At least the bear on the right does not have age spots.

Who is the best bear to take on a bear of a job? You decide '08 . . . vote by purchasing the Obama Bear or the McCain Bear at Vermont Teddy Bear.

I imagine the company is keeping track of which one sells the most but they don't say anything on their website about releasing the results. It would be an interesting poll.

You can stop in their headquarters store in Shelburne VT, a few miles south of Burlington. You can also tour the factory there. The website link has information about tour and store hours.

VT Teddy Bear also has a store in Waterbury Center VT which has a full selection of bears and costumes plus a Pajama Gram outlet store where you can often find some very good bargains.

If you aren't traveling to Vermont before the election, you can order online of course and put your candidate on display for all to see - much more attention-getting than a bumper sticker or lapel pin.

I hope your candidate wins but, if not, you can curl up with your "best candidate" bear to comfort you through the next four years.

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn

Shopping , Unusual , VT Products
posted by  grunhaus at  20:37 | permalink

20 Sep 2008
STOMP! in Burlington Tues and Wed
STOMP Out Loud, the famous performing percussion group has made Burlington VT its temporary home for a few weeks as it prepares to go on the road for a long tour.

They're creating and rehearsing new routines that you can be the first to see this Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts.

Go to that Flynn website for tickets.

Here is a YouTube.com video - there are many more on the site too:

STOMP started as street performers in the UK. You can read a little background on them on Wikipedia.

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn
Events , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  20:41 | permalink

12 Sep 2008
Amazing Puppet Shows Sept 12 - 21

Image from Les Sages Fous (Québec)

This is the sixth year for the Puppets in the Green Mountains festival, an collection of amazing puppet shows from around the world.

The festival begins with a two day showing by Animals of Brazil, a musical without words. More than 50 puppets are used during the production to represent the animals found the Brazilian jungle. The first presentation on September 12 is outdoors at Living Memorial Park and the second is indoors at the Bellows Falls Opera House on Sept 14.

On September 17 at 7:30 pm, there is an open symposium called "When Images Speak Louder Than Words: The Power of Visual Theater." It will be held at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center.

The next day, the Carnival of Taiwanese Hand Puppetry (Happy Puppetry Company) will give a noon performance at the Bellows Falls Opera House. At 8:00 pm on the same date, Bulgarian puppeteers will present "Daddy’s Always Right" at the New England Youth Theater in Brattleboro.

The Happy Puppetry Company from Taiwan will perform again at noon on September 19 in the Latchis Theater, Brattleboro. "Family audiences will not want to miss this. Great epics, hilarious clowning, stunning acrobatic and martial arts, are all part of the repertoire of these extraordinary wooden actors."

There are many other performances - too long a list to get into the details here. The best thing to do is to study the online schedule and plan your attendance.

Ticket information is also available on the website.

Image from Grupo Contadores de Estorias(Brazil)

(c) 2008 (except the photos) Jeff Connor
Events , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  09:30 | permalink

30 Aug 2008
There Really is a Town Named Podunk

And naturally it's in Vermont, world center of tiny towns and villages located in the middle of nowhere.

I have John Hughes to thank for placing this photo on his wonderful Megapickles website. I cropped the sign photo from a much larger photo of a nice looking field in Podunk so click on the link to see a better image.

I have written about his website several times previously because it one of my favorites and is superbly well done I think - a new photograph every day! To see a wonderful series of pastoral Vermont photos, check this month's photos. One great Vermont photograph after another.

Google Maps says there are Podunks in CT, PA, and two in MI. Two! Whoever heard of two towns in the same state with the same name?

Vermont's Podunk is located in the southern part of the state so if you are going to be in the Brattleboro, Bennington, Manchester area, you can take a nice drive in the country to see it. Don't forget to take your camera so you can have bragging rights that you have been everywhere including Podunk.

And finally, there is a website called ePodunk that I have used a few times to do some research. It has good statistics and other information on most every town and city in the US including our beloved Podunk VT.

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor (except the photo above by John Hughes,Megapickles )
General , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  18:00 | permalink

28 Feb 2008
Dog Sled Rides and Skijouring in Vermont

Photo courtesy of October Siberians

I read today that the famous Alaska Iditarod race is starting this Saturday and it lead me to thinking about all the sled dog activity here in Vermont. (Side note: many participants in the sport prefer the term "sled dog" rather than "dog sled" but you will see both terms used even by the people who run professional operations.)

In fact, if you would like to see a sled dog race and won't be in Alaska this week, there is a race you can watch at Burke Mountain Ski Resort in East Burke VT. There will be races both Saturday and Sunday.

A number of operations around Vermont offer sled dog rides and a couple of them offer skijoring too. Skijoring is done on skis and involves the dog(s) pulling the person via a harness attached to the dog. I've seen skijor racing a couple of times and it's impressive how fast they get going. You certainly don't want to fall down . . . I'm not sure the dogs would stop for a while - they're pretty enthusiastic.

The best one-stop source of information about sled dog rides in on the Vermont Outdoor Guide Association website. Atii is listed as one of the sled dog outfits but they are taking a year off from sled dog rides because they are rebuilding their group of dogs. Many of the current dogs have gotten too old to pull. However, Atii is still offering skijoring this year.

It's a unique adventure. Give it a try.

(c) 2008 [except the October Siberian photo] Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn
Advice , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  21:13 | permalink

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