NOVEMBER 8, 2019

 Day 2 of our Western New York/Vermont Extravaganza.

We got up early, packed up, ate the free breakfast in the hotel and were on the road by 7 am, because today’s trip will take us from New York, through western Massachusetts and up the western edge of Vermont.  First stop: Taconic Sculptures


Spencertown is actually south east of Albany, and I feared I’d be starting the day off badly if the Taconic Sculptures turned out to be a bust, or worse still, impossible to find. I knew they were down a gravel road – one that didn’t appear on Google Streets. It turned out to be hilly but well maintained – more a private lane for the scattered estate homes along it. The sculpture garden is at the end overlooking the Taconic Parkway. It is a private residence, where the sculptor lives, and the public is welcomed.

The pièce de résistance in the collection stands high upon a hill and can be seen from the Parkway below. At one time you could climb up a ladder at the back and look down the Parkway through a viewing port in the top of the head. Maybe you still can, but at 8 am there was no ladder and no sign of life in the residence.

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The rest of the sculptures are also large and interesting – somehow reminiscent of Greek mythology characters. This would definitely have been worth the detour for the view alone.



LOCATION: Stever Hill Rd., Chatham – at the very end – follow the signs


Across the state line, and in to:


The hand sculpture we came to see is no longer outside the gallery, but we found this IS (incidental sighting) to make up for it! This treble clef is outside Glad Rags, on a street of old homes that have been charmingly converted into businesses.


LOCATION: 66 Church St, Lenox



Just 20 minutes north on MA-20 we come to Pittsfield, who’s claim to fame is the Wahconah Baseball Field. Built in 1919, it is one of the last remaining ballparks in the United States with a wooden grandstand, and one of just two professional baseball stadiums that faces west! (Because the field was constructed before the advent of field lighting, no harm was seen in orienting the diamond due west. Games are sometimes temporarily suspended while the sun sets! Lights were not installed until 1946. In 1989 a mesh screen was placed in center field to help shield batters’ eyes.)

What we REALLY came for, though, was the giant baseball bat, resting in the park outside the stadium. (the pile of stones at the handle of the bat is supposed to be the ball, and the shrubberies originally formed a baseball glove.)


LOCATION: 105 Wahconah St, Pittsfield


While driving through downtown Pittsfield, we realized we have been here before (spring of 2015 as we headed from Hoosick, NY to Boston, MA)- I recognize the Stegosaurus in front of the Berkshires Museum! This time we spotted a baseball cap outside the Colonial Theater


LOCATION: Colonial Theater, 111 South St, Pittsfield

The cap and this tuba were both fortuitous IS (Incidental Sightings) We were looking for a baseball sculpture (literally a baseball) that is no longer on display on Banker’s Row, and while driving around the block, came across this beauty.


LOCATION: Berkshire Music School, 30 Wendell Ave, Pittsfield

NOTE: because it was a few days before Remembrance Day – er… Veteran’s Day in the US- the War Memorial in the park was neck deep in Old Glory! As a Canadian, I’m always torn between admiring our neighbour’s flashy patriotism, and being embarrassed by it.



Our next stop was William’s College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. To be honest, I had never heard of this school. Although not one of the Ivy League institutions, it has a stellar ranking among US colleges and universities. It was established in 1793 and is regarded as a leading institution of higher education in the US. The campus certainly has an Ivy League look – beautifully maintained older buildings and grounds in a New England setting. Although the college has a vibrant collection of outdoor art, these pieces were the only figurative works.


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These might be works of art best viewed at night, when eerie blue light shoots out of the pupils!

Eyes (nine elements), 2001
Louise Bourgeois (American, 1911-2010)
granite, bronze, and electric light

Apparently a lot of people find them creepy – I found them amusing, though the eyes below do NOT agree with my comment – they definitely look UNamused!



LOCATION: Williams College Museum of Art, 15 Lawrence Hall Drive, Williamstown


Further north on US-7 we cross the State line and are into Vermont.


Another IS (incidental sighting)this one is just north of Pownall, VT at the Dutch Haven Court (One Bedroom Rentals!). We weren’t sure what Mother Goose was doing on the lawn, but she looked pretty jaunty with her crown!


LOCATION: US-7 at Dutch Haven Rd, North Pownall


Just south of Bennington VT we hit the Trifecta of IS (incidental sightings). Near the Apple Barn and Country Bake Shop we found an ice cream cone, a bear and a flower basket. In front of the Apple Barn is this nice ice cream cone.


Off to the side near the parking lot was this large bear. I’m starting to be worried about the number of bear sightings in combination with ice cream. Is this a thing? Do bears crave ice cream?


Across the street was this huge basket, which apparently is planted in the summer

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LOCATION: 604 US-7, Bennington




In the city proper, we turned left on Main Street in our hunt for one of the claimants to World’s Largest Chair. Originally built in 1969, and weighing in at 2000 pounds, this reproduction of an antique ladderback chair graced the property of Hayes and Kanes Furniture until 2000 when it was dismantled because it was deemed unsafe. At the time it was erected, it was the WORLD’S LARGEST LADDERBACK CHAIR. A couple of years after the big chair disappeared, LaFlamme’s Furniture opened at the location, and the owners, one of whom was an area native,  decided to BRING BACK THE CHAIR with help from local businesses and public support. The new chair was dedicated on December 1, 2012. Astonishingly, the new chair stood for only 20 days before it collapsed, toppled by a freak “Nor’icane” windstorm. Not to be defeated, LaFlamme’s had the chair back up within a month – and this time anchored its legs, with chains, into cement. And then – the store burned down! The giant chair somehow escaped the flames, and stood, forlornly, until February 2015, when it was moved to a spot in front of a new LaFlamme’s location in town.

The new chair weighs 3000 pounds and the seat is made of marine-grade rope, to resist rot and mildew.

Bennington - chair.jpg

LOCATION: 239 West Main St., Bennington


Not larger than life, but too funny to pass up, was this example of street art – a metallic green moose with a side car and a really ferocious look in his eyes.


LOCATION: 318 North St, Bennington


At the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce, we were treated to a sampling of past street art projects


LOCATION: 100 Veterans Memorial Dr, Woodford


Arlington, VT

So, you notice there’s no picture here. That’s because the Arlington Cheese House, which was a sad, tacky, crumbling yellow building that looked something like a cheese wheel, and had an adorable mouse on top, has been taken over by the dreaded  gentrification of buildings. Sure, its bright and cheerful and no longer looks like the wares will give you food poisoning, but why, oh why, did you have to do in the mouse? BRING BACK THE MOUSE! BRING BACK THE MOUSE! (every one together now) BRING BACK THE MOUSE!




The Southern Vermont Arts Center sits on a rolling acreage north of town, up a winding road through a beautiful, but under utilized sculpture park. It could be, and hopefully will be, so much more.


The Muse by Jack Howard Potter (above) is probably the most striking peice in the collection, but another, depicting a three torsoed wolf which I assume was Cerebus, was also exciting (though not larger than life)

LOCATION:  930 Southern Vermont Arts Center Dr, Manchester



This driftwood horse stands outside Manchester Square Shopping Center.


LOCATION: 442 Depot St, Manchester Center



I want to say what a beautiful two days we had driving through the Catskills and up through western Vermont. The weather was unseasonably warm with highs in the teens (though one gentleman  at the Southern Vermont Arts Center tried to tell us that it was ALWAYS like this in November, and he couldn’t understand how anyone could live in Canada – so cold. Someone in Vermont actually tried to sell that!). Although the maple leaves had all fallen, the oaks (of which there are MANY) held stubbornly to their leaves, which were are a deep, burnished copper colour. The scenery was breath-taking; maybe better than in summer, when the leaf cover blocks the view. We could see the hills rolling off in the distance. On this day, we pulled over into a rest stop, sat on the open hatch of our car and ate sandwiches, while the sun beamed down on our faces. Heavenly!



More IS (incidental sightings)  MAC Steel is the home of this Minion.


And this… robot?


And this…………….. sculpture?


LOCATION: 286 N Main St, Rutland


Just two minutes up the road, another big chair. So many Big Chairs!


LOCATION: 1094 US-7, Rutland




Pittsford has it’s own street art project. For some reason they chose hearts. We only found three, but the rest may already have been auctioned off.

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The heart in front of the Library seemed fitting with a wise owl.


We continue up US-7 through Pittsford to the New England Maple Museum, where this sweet jug awaits us. The label says 217,600 fl. oz. That’s a LOT of maple syrup!


LOCATION: 4578 US-7, Pittsford



Another big chair – this one a brightly painted rocker.


LOCATION: 22 Park St, Brandon



OK. Now I want to acknowledge that my wife does a lot of work finding these locations, makes all the notes and plots out routes for my treasure hunts. But I think she could do better. For example, her notes simply said ‘Gorilla’ for this attraction. REALLY?!! Gorilla! That’s all it got? Not Giant Gorilla Holding up Car ? Shear sloppiness!


LOCATION: 2829 US-7, Leicester



This location is a bit off the beaten track, plus our GPS decided to take us on an unnecessarily winding and scenic route on the way in, but the straight, no-nonsense route on the way out. I love this squirrel in a onesy – I want one!


There is also a companion skunk – smaller, but still large enough.


LOCATION: Country Store and Deli, 1457 Lake Dunmore Rd, Salisbury



Another jug of maple syrup. The walls must be REALLY thick, cuz this only holds 1 quart! (the one in Pittsford held 1700 GALLONS!)


LOCATION: Dakin Farm, 5797 US-7, Ferrisburgh



Who can resist a giant Teddy Bear! This fellow appeared to be waving us down to come see the Vermont Teddy Bear factory .Pretty cute bears – if I was American Military personel I would HAVE to buy one of these bears in camo.


LOCATION: 6655 Shelburne Road, Shelburne


I’m not sure this really looks like a toy Jack – too many arms (are you old enough to remember jacks?) but it’s a pretty cool sculpture re-purposing hydrants.


LOCATION: 5347 Shelburne Rd., Shelburne



It was getting pretty dark by the time we got to Burlington, and every second we spent stuck in traffic made it less likely that we would get to the Peter Toth Indian in Battery Park, but I still had to stop to check out what looks like a high-speed, low-drag wrist watch.


LOCATION: 210 Shelburne Rd, Burlington


The Peter Toth Indian stand proudly in Battery Park, and there was enough ambient light to get this picture. Toth has carved at least one indian head in each of US states, plus several in Canada, in a career spanning 45 years. Click here for more info on Peter Wolf Toth


LOCATION: 1 North Ave, Burlington



No trip through Vermont would be complete without a stop at Ben and Jerry’s. We arrived just before closing, and chowed down on some Cherry Garcia (me) and Bourbon Brown Butter (the wife). My wife said it was the best dinner so far! For those who don’t know, Ben a Jerry’s started out nearby in Burlington Vermont. We were hoping to find a large ice cream container here, but because we were so late, and obviously the last customers, we just didn’t have the nerve to ask for a tour. Oh dear – we will just have to come back another time! We did find the lid for the giant container though.


LOCATION: 1281 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Route 100, Waterbury


We drove on to our hotel in Montpelier, and that was the end of day two. A mere 480 km, but lots of stops. Today is Election Day in the US. Let’s see what happens.



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