Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Whimsical Walk

We greeted the morning in Charlotte, Vermont at my sister's co-housing community, which I have written about here and here. Before dawn male cardinals whistled loudly defending their territories. The song sparrows too. A dozen crows cawed loudly to each other, discussing the days plans. Eventually they departed the tree at the edge of the field in ones and twos. This is still farm country, so the crows have plenty of fields to ply their trade.

After a breakfast of cereal with fresh milk from Dawn the Jersey that lives here, we drove up the road to Shelburne Farms. This 1,400-acre environmental education center on the shores of Lake Champlain was once a summer estate of the Vanderbilt-Webb families. Even in its early days in the late 1880s, the estate was created as an agricultural demonstration area. Donated to a non-profit in 1984, the place remains an educational working farm.

Shelburne Farms, The Farm Barn,
Constructed in the 1880s as the headquarters for the model agricultural estate;
The view is to the east toward the Green Mountains

A network of trails, maintained for the public,
winds through the property, with views to the west into the
Adirondacks of New York
and a sweeping view of Lake Champlain

Some of the winding trails offer a bit of whimsey. We hiked up Lone Tree Hill, past woodland carvings, and through Whimsey Meadow. Aria was happy to be with us on the walk, but her arthritis and weak hips kept us on the shorter trail route.

At the base of Lone Tree Hill
 
My nieces looking across to New York from atop Lone Tree Hill

 Whimsey Meadow

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