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17 Sep 2008
Two Large Car Shows This Weekend

Car lovers have two great shows to attend this weekend. Whether you prefer '32 Highboys or Drop Head Coupes, or if you love both types, you will have a great time in northern VT this weekend.

The 40th annual Northeast Street Rod Nationals are being held at the Champlain Valley Expo near Burlington. This is one of the largest hot rod shows in the country and attracts meticulously made custom cars from the eastern half of the US and Canada.

About 45 minutes away in Stowe VT is the annual British Invasion, a British only car show that features a concours competition, driving tours, parade, display contest, costume contest, British music, British beer, and much more. It's actually a British Lifestyle Event celebrating everything British.

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn
posted by  grunhaus at  21:56 | permalink

15 Sep 2008
A Summary of Your Rights As An Airline Passenger . . .

That is the extent of your rights when you step onto an airplane (or "INto" an airplane as George Carlin liked to point out) according to Marc Britton. He should know - he's an attorney who was once General Counsel at Expedia and now runs his own legal advice website called Avvo.

He recently wrote a succinct article on this topic at the Journey etc. website

Airlines cannot discriminate against you by selling your seat to someone better looking or more pleasant. Nor can they punch you if you get on their nerves. But beyond that, the sky is the limit, as pilots like to say.

And who gives them the right to treat you like cattle? You do. When you buy a ticket, you agree to abide by their terms in the Carriage Agreement that they print on their tickets in microscopically small and very light type.

However, they are not heartless bastards. Bastards, yes. But not heartless. Maybe we should qualify that with the word "usually" not heartless. They are a slow, inconsistent, ungainly, and profitless bureaucracy. They are frightening to deal with but you don't have a choice if you need to get somewhere far within a reasonable period of time. And, like a strikingly similar bureaucracy, you do have a vote but the choices are not great and probably don't make a difference in the long run.

I wrote an article last Nov 24 about Rule 240 that gives you a little bit of a fighting chance sometimes. You can learn more about the Rule at the Peter Greenberg travel website..

Air Sickness Bag (and humor) from European flight operator Hapag-Lloyd Express

(c) 2008 except the photo Jeff Connor
posted by  grunhaus at  22:41 | 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

10 Sep 2008
Archaeology Weekend at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Hundreds of old shipwrecks lie at the bottom of Lake Champlain, well preserved by its chilly waters.

September is Archaeology Month in Vermont and there are a number of interesting events open to the public. One of the main events is this weekend at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum located near Vergennes, a few miles south of Burlington.

The museum has long been active in marine archaeology and its staff has helped in the locating and documenting of many shipwrecks lying at the bottom of the lake, some of them dating back to the Revolutionary War.

This weekend the museum will be showing three films: one about a gunboat from Benedict Arnold's fleet still lying at the bottom of the lake; the second about the birch bark canoe as used by native Americans and showing the construction of a replica of a canoe from the 1600's; and a third film presenting the findings of the Middlebury College ten year sonar survey of the lake bottom.

Visitors can work the Shipwreck Simulator to learn the skills of documenting a shipwreck site and take a behind- the-scenes tour of the Conservation Lab to meet the archaeologists working to preserve timbers from 1809 steamboat Vermont.

There will also be on-water boat excursions to the site of a shipwreck where visitors can watch a Remotely Operated Vehicle descend to the wreck and transmit back images to the on-board monitor. Space is limited on this excursion so register in advance by calling (802) 475-2022.

These events take place both Saturday, September 13 and Sunday, September 14 from 1:00pm-3:00pm. There is a discounted price for Archaeology Weekend of $10 per person, less than half the usual cost of $22 per person.

On Sunday, there will also be a canoe paddle to the site of an ancient Native American village near the confluence of Dead Creek and Otter Creek. This is a short canoe trip led by LCMM Staff Archaeologists who will show artifacts, give stone tool-making demonstrations, and lead a fish netting activity to catch the same fish species that Native Americans came here to catch centuries ago. This event is Sunday, September 14 from 9:30am - 3:30pm. $40/adults; $15/age 15 and under

In addition to these events, there are exhibits you can see including a photographs showing the seasons and "moods" of Lake Champlain taken by both professional and amateur photographers.

Another exhibit is called Fish Stories. It tells the stories of a number of Lake Champlain’s eighty-one fish species – through a fish-eye lens. The exhibit includes paintings by local artists, recordings of “fishing stories” by seasoned Lake Champlain anglers, descriptions of Abenaki and Iroquois fishing practices, and examples of fishing equipment used over the centuries.

Maritime Machines is another current exhibit which consists of interactive stations around the museum where visitors can experience first-hand the specialized machines of the maritime trade. This includes a working steam engine of the 1893 steamboat Comet, a Windlass where visitors can actually move a heavy stone block across the ground, a set of working bilge pumps, a scale-model waterwheel powering a miniature sawmill and grist mill, bosun’s chairs where visitors hoist themselves up like sailors do, plus others.

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn
posted by  grunhaus at  20:25 | permalink

4 Sep 2008
Bike Vermont Foliage Tours

We have had several guests over the years tell us that they have taken tours by Bike Vermont and recommend the company very highly.

Bike Vermont offers 38 foliage tours and they still have some openings this year. The tours vary in length from three days up to six days, and range in cost from the low $400's to mid $1300's including lodging at some of Vermont's best inns.

Their website has a handy map with towns highlighted to see what part of the state each tour covers.

For example, the October 3 - 5 Churchill House Inn and Shoreham Inn tours have opening, and during the week of October 5 - 10 , the Historic Windsor County and Swift House Inn tours have openings.

And there is one discounted special you should take a look at: the "greatest views imaginable" on the Moose Mountain Lodge four day tour October 10- 13. The price has been reduced from $715 to $595. I wish I weren't working then - I would love to take this tour.

Other tours have openings and they do get the occasional cancellation so it would be best to call (800-257-2226) or email them to get the latest information.

I notice that they "strongly" recommend travel insurance. In fact, Bike Vermont even sends an insurance application with each confirmation. Recommending travel insurance is something I have been thinking might be good for me to recommend to our guests.

We've been running our inn about 8 1/2 years and in that time had just a very few guests who had a problem while traveling. One case involved a woman who got pneumonia while traveling through New Jersey and had to cancel her New England trip because she was hospitalized.

A few years ago, we had a couple here for a four night stay but their daughter got sick back home and they had to leave after just one night here.

There have been a few others out of thousands of reservations we've had over the years. But it's like most insurance: the vast majority of it goes unused.

Located in Woodstock VT, Bike Vermont is in its 32nd year of offering a wide range of Vermont tours during the spring and summer too. They also have tours in Maine, Ireland, Scotland, and Italy. You are welcome to ride your own bicycle but they have them available if you do not want to bring yours.

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor
posted by  grunhaus at  19:47 | permalink

3 Sep 2008
New Blog: Travel-Vermont.Net

I came across an exciting new Vermont blog recently and was highly impressed with its quality and scope. It is called Travel-Vermont.Net and is just a few months old but already has compiled a long list of articles about touring Vermont.

They are well written and usually have a good photograph to go along with them. The information is fresh and the author's insights are very helpful.

Christine Sawyer is the blog owner. She is prior resident of nearby Quebec and her blog is available in French as well as English. She and I have similar backgrounds in marketing communications . . . my status is former and hers is current - she owns Birchwood Ridge Group, a marketing and advertising firm here in Vermont. She has an interesting history you can read in the Our Story page of the website.

There is a useful and accurate Search function on the site but no RSS feed that I could find. Maybe that's just as well - I have a lot of feeds coming in. I try feeds for a while to see how often and how useful they are. The list can get long but it's easy enough to trim them from time to time.

This is an excellent resource for people planning to travel to Vermont. Over the last two or three years, I've seen about a half dozen Vermont blogs show up and then fade away after a few months. This one looks like it has staying power because it has a capable and motivated person behind it.

There is no doubt in my mind that Travel-Vermont.Net is a very valuable resource for Vermont and will help both tourists and the state's travel industry.

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor
posted by  grunhaus at  19:07 | permalink

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