A Family Road Trip to Vermont to Visit An Old Family Relic Courtesy of Hemmings Motor News

Sunday, September 8, 2019
It's important in life, not just to look ahead, but also to look back on occasion to see what's behind us.  It's good to see how far we've come in life, in our goals, our dreams, our career, our struggles.....and hopefully in looking back we might feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.  If we focus too much on what's ahead of us, we can easily loose track of the things right here in the present, and might forget about the things that mattered to us in the past.
We took a little trip to revisit the past last weekend, specifically John's past. We were on a multi-stop caravan road trip to Vermont and one of our stops was at the Hemmings Motor News in Bennington.  You're probably wondering what Hemmings has to do with John's past......unless you've been around long enough to have read my 2015 post, How Old Is Old Enough To Be an Antique?   If you haven't (you can later), I'll give you the cliff notes.  My sentimental, pack-rat spouse was still in possession of his mid-1960's Western Flyer Bicycle....as of 2015 in his 60's.  If you're married to a man, or know a man, you know how sentimental they can be about their 'toys'.  Lucky for me, and thanks to John's brother, James, for suggesting it...... John was able to donate his 'antique' to the Hemmings Museum back in October of 2015.  That was the moment John and I came to the realization that we were officially 'old'.....old enough for our 'things' to belong in a museum.

 It's quite a thrill knowing such an important piece of John's history is parked in a museum, but that doesn't compare to the fun it was showing the grandkids Grandpa's bike among such extraordinary relics. When we walked into Hemmings and announced we were there to visit John's bike, the guys at the front desk assumed we meant we were visiting a bike 'like the one he used to have'.  They were surprised to learn we were actually the donors and we were visiting 'the' bike.  I'm guessing the folks who donated the other bikes that are on display don't visit theirs. Even more of a thrill was the fact that the bike was parked front and center as we entered the showroom.  I think for a moment the girls were a little incredulous over the whole thing, but seeing John's typed story about the bike attached to the fender+ really added a dose of reality.  It's one thing sharing old relics you've hidden away in the attic or hope chest, but showing the grandkids your belongings in a legit museum....well, that takes the excitement level up a notch, or two!  Now it's undeniable, Grandpa must really be old - even if he does act like a kid.

There it was in all it's glory....old streamers, saddle bag and side-view mirrors (which the guys at Hemmings so graciously re-attached), original bell...a 50th anniversary edition Western Flyer.
If you've never visited Hemmings.... or haven't gotten gas there or shopped in their amazing 'Car Lovers Oasis' of a shop, you may not realize what a terrific showroom exists out back.  Here's a glimpse of the beautiful Hemmings vehicles on display:

You can see now why it's such an honor, and privilege, to have John's childhood treasure part of such a distinctive collection of vehicles.  It's really the thrill of a lifetime!  It's almost as cool as the money he made selling his childhood comic books.  But that's another story for another time.
Life today is crazy.  We drive fast, work hard, play hard.  We're on our cell phones keeping up with everyone else's lives.  It's no wonder we hear everyone saying, "I can't believe it's September already".  We live life in the fast lane, rushing to pass anyone that is stalled or driving too slow.  I want today's post to be a reminder to slow down, and every once in a while take time to look back and savor where you came from.  Sit down and reminisce, look at old photos, rummage through your attic, revisit your past.  Take time to tell stories.  Share your history with your kids and your grandkids.  Even if you no longer possess any relics from your past, they can still live on in your memories and in the stories you pass on.  Make those relics come alive again by reliving them with the people you love.  John is blessed to have people in his life to share 'his...story' with.  Thank you Hemmings for preserving his relic in a place that's so much cooler than a dark basement or crowded garage.  You're making an old man happy and you impressed a couple little girls too!

If you haven't visited Hemmings Sunoco in Bennington...what are you waiting for?  It's located at 216 Main Street (Route 9).  A beautiful filling station, coffee shop and gift shop for any car aficionado.  The showroom is out back......just ask the clerk.  I'm pretty sure the showroom closes after Columbus Day, so don't delay.  To read my previous blog post with more of the story about John's bike and see many more cool photos of other vehicles on display there:
Thanks for stopping by Life As I See It.  Take time today to Look Back and Savor What's Behind You!


A Magical Evening in a Storybook Setting at June Farms

Sunday, September 1, 2019
They refer to themselves as a 'small, gentleman's farm located on 120 acres in New York's Hudson Valley', and while all of that is true, I refer to it as 'a perfect slice of country serenity....the type that storybooks are made of.  I'm talking about June Farms in West Sand Lake, NY.  If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I have a soft spot for country settings, so I was confident I'd enjoy June Farms.  What I didn't expect was just how much I would love it!  I'm pretty sure that everyone who visits leaves intoxicated with it's charm and smitten by the idyllic feel that June Farms provides.  It's a compilation of every perfect calendar photo you've seen and the most beautiful illustrations by storybook artists.  Every turn, every glance fills your senses with picture-perfect views that elicit sighs of wonder and a sense of instant relaxation beginning with the tree-lined drive.
June Farms was opened in 2017 by Matt Baumgartner, owner of Wolff's Biergarten, The Berlin, Bombers Burrito Bar and The Olde English Pub.  It's clear to see why every detail of June Farms is so perfectly thought out and done with such precision.  What began as a wedding and event venue quickly became a popular and unique venue for relaxing over a drink and fine food for adults, as well as a wonderful venue for families on family nights.
A large variety of heritage breed farm animals call the farm home...Scottish Highland Cattle, Shire Horses, Tamworth Pigs and Gloucestershire Old Spots, chickens, ducks, Nubian Goats, at least two cats and Frank, the farm dog.

The Pony Barn serves as a country-stylish, wood-beamed, magazine-worthy space for sipping a cocktail as well as a beautiful setting for a  private party.
 Inside The Pony Barn.....

Cooking is done in the outside kitchen.  The menu, though small, is filled with delectable choices unlike any option found at your average chain restaurant.  In addition to the regular menu, this particular Thursday featured a family buffet with pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and watermelon....$12 for kids, $15 for adults.  It was a one-time fill up and a very reasonable and smart option for kids.  John ordered a personal brick-oven, farm-to-table pizza.  I ordered two appetizers to share - Whipped Feta with honey, sumac and mint with a baguette and the Cheese Platter with 3 local cheeses, gherkins, beets, fig jam, sliced apples and a baguette.  Both were amazing and enjoyed by all.  In addition, the menu also offers Helen's Hummus Plate, Duck Egg Salad Sandwich, Kale Salad, Grilled Cheese Triangles with fig jam and Burgers.

We'd been talking about planning a visit to the farm most of the summer.  Thursdays are Family Night on the farm and unlike other evenings, Thursdays are filled with kid-friendly activities.  This particular evening there was a bounce house, face painting, organized games, and pony rides.  We brought along our daughter, granddaughters and a friend.  We got there just before 5:00 when the farm opens and made the wise choice to eat first.  By 6:00, the food line was quite long.  While waiting for our meals, the girls had their faces painted by the amazingly talented Bebhinn Francis.  Kids could choose from a variety of colorful options, small and large, costing $5 and $8.

After we ate, we spent some time exploring the farm.  Guests are encouraged to wander the farm and meet the animals.  Farm tours were available (by way of golf cart) for $10 per adult, kids were free.  We chose to enjoy the ride and have a personal, narrated introduction to the animals.  Max was our friendly and very polite tour guide, who had a sincere passion for the farm and its animals.  We began our tour at the stables where we stopped and fed the horses.

Next, down the hill and long gravel path we passed the Scottish Highland Cattle. Just around the bend, Max let us off our chariot and into the pasture where he called to the small herd of friendly miniature Nubian goats.

Once we said good bye to the kids, we were back on the trail to say hi to the chickens and one feisty rooster.  The girls got a kick out of learning how to 'look big' to intimidate him.  Back on our little limo and off we went down the trail, past the ducks and cattle, and Max dropped us off for the girls 'pony rides'.

 Pony rides were $10 per child and consisted of a long, 'two-times around' ride on a full-sized horse.  There was a slight wait for our turn, but so worth it.

 Since there was going to be a wait for the pony rides, John and I decided to head back to the Pony Barn.  It was a healthy hike, and as soon as Max drove away, I wondered why I had him leave me. I feared I might not make it back to The Pony Barn.  Surprising even myself....I made it back and lived to tell the tale.  Most people 'choose' to walk the farm, others take the golf cart ride and some choose the $30 horse-drawn buggy ride.  There's no bad option here but we loved our time with Max who was such a gracious and patient tour guide.  In fact, every staff member we encountered, including the parking attendants were positively welcoming and wonderful.
By the time the girls finished their rides and got back up to The Pony Barn, there was just enough time and daylight for some farm-to-freezer pops by Market Pops.  Underneath a large tent, families could enjoy a game of corn hole or ping pong.  Behind The Pony Barn were a variety of organized games including sack races and tug-of-war.

Honestly, I couldn't think of one thing that would have made this evening any better...well maybe having a separate cashier for non-food purchases.  Matt Baumgartner has put together a magical venue at June Farms, from the pristine pastures to the perfectly manicured grounds, immaculate facilities, fresh flowers, friendly animals and relaxed pace.  Visitors feel a palpable drop in blood pressure and quickly settle into the calming, serene atmosphere of June Farms.  My only regret is not getting there sooner.  June Farms also offers lodging!  Can you imagine waking up here? Whether you're looking for a great date night or a special family night experience, you'll feel right at home at June Farms.

You've still got time to check out June Farms. For more information check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JuneFarmsNY/ or their website at www.junefarms.com.   June Farms is open Tuesday-Saturday, but check their calendar (below next photo) before going because they are sometimes closed for private events.
Thanks for stopping by Life As I See It.  It's so much fun exploring and sharing places like June Farms.  I know you'll love it too!


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