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22 Jul 2007
American Society of Dowsers Convention July 29 - Aug 6

My Uncle Bill was a very likable person whom I recall as having a bemused smile on his face as though life were a mostly silly affair playing out in front of us. He and my aunt owned a women's clothing store in Worcester MA but in the evenings he sat in his favorite chair drinking a few Carling Black Label beers and listening to his police scanner (rare equipment several decades ago and I'm not sure it was technically legal at the time). We would read and talk but when the radio crackled and a voice came over it, he would cock his head and listen while carrying on whatever he was doing. I would ask him what was going on and he would explain.

Bill (I call him Bill now that I'm the age he was when I knew him) introduced me to the American Society of Dowsers . He belonged to it and told me it certainly did work and that our ancestors believed so too. Like anything, it was a skill that some people were born with and other people had to learn. You got better at it by practicing. I joined. I received an occasional newsletter but, like many teenagers, or at least the lot I hung out with, my interests changed from year to year finally focusing most of the time on such modern wonders as internal combustion powered mobile machinery, and girls.

A few years ago, those memories of Bill came back when I discovered (or re-learned) that the American Society of Dowsers is headquartered in Vermont. Danville to be specific. It's near Cabot, Peacham, and St. Johnsbury in the northeast part of the state, and just an hour's drive from where I live.

Dowsing is the ancient (and I mean ancient - thousands of years) art of finding water by walking over a piece of ground holding a dowsing stick which moves when you cross underground water. It's usually water that is sought but it can be other items too if you are really good at it. In rural parts of the world, like VT, it is how people used to find a place to dig a well. Dowsers are still in use today for such purposes.

Like any self respecting group of five or more people living in two or more places, they have an annual convention . This year will be their 47th. It is being held at Sugarbush Resort in Warren, just 20 minutes down the road from us. I should go. It would make Bill smile. In fact, he would get a kick out of it if a bunch of us went so why don't you plan to show up also.

There will be workshops, schools, speakers, vendors, the usual rigmarole you see anywhere but I think this one will be more entertaining and educational than most I can think of.

Have fun, learn some new things, and keep an eye out for people with pleasantly quiet demeanors, slight grins, and a twinkle in their eye - they may be relatives of mine.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
Events , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  21:49 | permalink

16 Jul 2007
Sailing Regatta Looking for Crew Members

Here's something different to do on your trip to Vermont: volunteer to be a crew person on a sailboat at the annual Regatta for Lake Champlain. The regatta is a fun event, not a serious race, that raises money to benefit several organizations working to help the lake. Beginners are welcome.

There is a July 20 Friday adult party from 7:00 pm to midnight (tickets at the door or online) at the ECHO Aquarium in Burlington. The party would be a fun way to wrap up a visit to the Vermont Brewers Festival (see my entry below).

The Regatta is the next day, Saturday July 21.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
Events , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  21:40 | permalink

8 Jul 2007
Solar Fest Alternative Energy Expo
SolarFest 2007 will be held Saturday and Sunday, July 14 and 15 at the Forget-Me-Not Farm in Tinmouth Vermont (Google map says it's in nearby Middletown Springs VT). Tinmouth is a few minutes north of Rutland in the south central part of the state.

This is an educational and entertainment event that last year attracted about 3800 people from many states. Now in its 13th year, SolarFest focuses on solar and wind energy. There will be dozens of workshops, about 100 vendors, and musical entertainment.

SolarFest Vendor Area

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor
Events , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  23:11 | permalink

22 Jun 2007
Vermont Alpine Slides

The Stowe Alpine Slide opens tomorrow. This is a lot of fun for both children and adults. There is a height restriction for children before they can go by themselves but usually by age six children are tall enough to go by themselves. Children under the minimum height or under the age of two can ride double with an adult.

The adventure begins with a ride on a double chair lift to the top of Spruce Peak Mountain. At the top, you will pick up a plastic sled and get on the track for an exhilarating ride that lasts about three minutes if you go down quickly. You control the speed of the sled with a stick. Pull back and the sled slows down. Push the stick forward and you speed up.

There is also an alpine slide at the Pico ski area next to Killington and just a few minutes east of Rutland in central Vermont. The Bromley Thrill Zone near Bennington and Manchester in the southwestern part of the state also has an alpine slide.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
Advice , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  08:16 | permalink

8 Jun 2007
Old Cemetary Headstones
Old cemeteries are everywhere in New England and Vermont has its share of course.

Here is the epitaph on a headstone over Anna Hopewell's grave in Enosburg Falls, in northwestern Vermont:

"Here lies the body of our Anna, Done to death by a banana. It wasn't the fruit that laid her low, But the skin of the thing that made her go."

More amusing tombstone epitaphs are at the Onward Bound blog.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor
General , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  19:59 | permalink

13 May 2007
Dandelion Festival May 19

In suburbs all over this country, homeowners are gearing up to do battle with lawn weeds this spring. The king of all weeds, the dandelion, is often number one on their hit list. But naturally, here in Vermont, we take a different tact - people here cultivate the darned thing for heaven's sake. And wouldn't you know, there's even a group of Vermonters who have a festival celebrating America's most frustrating weed. To top it off, there is another group of Vermonters who actually show up at the event. Go figure.

You should come out and take a look at these quirky folks. You'll find they are friendly and relaxed. Some of that may have to do with the fact they are drinking white wine that's made from their exalted weed.

So, while the rest of the country digs, cuts, chops, burns, poisons, and generally mutilates the poor plant, you can find a place that celebrates it with raised glass and grateful palates. This festival is a good chance for you to make an entry in your list of goofy but fun stuff you did with your time on this planet.

The festival is Saturday, May 19th at Grandview Winery from 1:00 to 5:00.Admission is free. There will be music along with other types of wines to taste. Grandview Winery is located about 15 minutes north of Montpelier. You can get directions here. It's a very scenic area to drive around exploring. I recommend a drive up through Plainfield and Marshfield over to the town of Peacham and just pick some side roads to explore. It's a lot of fun to see the beautiful vistas and farms back in the hills and you will no doubt find some good places to photograph. The area around Peacham is one of the most photographed in the state of Vermont. Cabot Cheese factory is nearby in the town of Cabot and it's worth a visit for the factory tour and cheese shop.

The dandelion blossom produces a wine that tastes surprisingly good. It is aromatic and lightly sweet. Quantities are limited and the price is about $15 a bottle.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor
Events , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  11:21 | permalink

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