Monday, February 10, 2014

Top Of A Mountain

This is a memory about travels with our Aussie Mix, Trixie,  sometimes referred to as the Trixter.

She was a lot younger then, perhaps 15 months old. She is always with us in her travels, as is her 19 year old brother Scooter, sometimes called the Scoot in those ever decreasing moments he acts the puppy.

We had just finished a rather long road trip of about a week through Maine and were picking our way back through various New Hampshire mountain towns.  The beast, a Chevy Suburban was full of the loot found along the past weeks sojourn along Treasure Road. It was in fact packed from front to back leaving but a small space for the Trixter, large enough to nap, or as she more often does stand with tongue hanging into the front seat area. We had just decided that enough was enough and we needed to stop shopping because of the lack of space. Even the roof rack was piled with some odd tables and a chair. The steamer trunk, purchased days before, was also full of smalls from various other stops. No space left for goodies.

Then we saw it. A small sign along Route 4A. It said antiques and had an arrow pointing up a road.  It was irresistible and of course we turned left onto the macadam road. Well, it was macadam for say oh a mile. Then it became groomed gravel followed by rutted trail. Steep, rough as a cob, and desolate it seemed, but Trixie, with an excited whine let us know we were at least within the range of her nose of farm critters. After more minutes of picking our way through the road that bore an ever increasing resemblance to a depleted mine field we were about to give up and turn around, but again Trixie groaned about farm critters. In unison we told her to shush and watch for a Moose. Now when we uttered this exacerbated phrase we saw no Moose and had no expectation of seeing one. Moments later there it was.

Were we ever surprised, and delighted. We took it as an omen and continued up the mountain road and about a mile on we found another sign, just like the last, pointing into a driveway. Up we went.

At the end of the driveway was a small house, two story and in need of paint, or not, depending on one's taste. To he left of the house was a building with a sign, ANTIQUES BOUGHT and SOLD, above a barn style door.

We entered the building and finding nobody began to browse. There were shelves of china, Blue Willow,  Meakin, Noritake, and Johnson Brothers to name a few. Depression and Art Glass abounded and in a nook were some tractor seats of cast iron. It was a jammed full little shop and we were admiring some 19th century wooden ware when the owner, a lady of about 60 came in and introduced herself as Emily.

We had coffee and donuts in her dining room a bit later and became fast friends. It is a side trip we rarely fail to take whenever in the White Mountains.

To see some of our finds on Treasure Road check us out on line at  

If you are in Northern New York check or shop at Glenwood Manor in Queensbury, New York 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Treasure Road

Treasure Road -- Discovery

We discovered our Treasure Road in 1971 and have been wandering it ever since.

The mapping began on a clear summer day in mid June. We were fairly new to being coupled, rather sparse in the wallet, and full of hope, dreams, and of course plans.

The road began that morning when we loaded our 51 Plymouth with a couple of bags of clothes, sandwiches, chips and a couple bottles of pop. In our pockets were about 120 dollars, (four months of savings). In the glove box we placed an envelop containing 32 dollars. That was the amount our change jar, after several months of accumulation, had been transformed into.

Now, I do not remember much about how the 120 dollars disappeared. Food, lodging, a fun park at Old Orchard all slurped it up a whole lot faster than we were able to save it. That was OK though, it was what we had put it aside for, and the fun was worth all of it. I do remember the 32 dollars demise though with great clarity. It too had a purpose, one we knew about and another we were unaware of till much later.

It was Saturday and we decided it was time to part with the 32 dollars with a purpose. We pointed the beast, that is what we called the 51 Plymouth, toward a rural Maine road away from the coast. In the back seat was a red plaid metal cylinder, our Skotch Kooler. It held a days supply of food and snacks.

About two hours later we came to an old barn next to an old house in desperate need of paint. The barn was close to the road, so close that the west lane acted as the barn's parking lot. Above the barn door was sign. It said ANTIQUES in big yellow letters on a barn board background. Furniture, jugs, bowls, bits of iron and odd assorted implements littered the yard about that barn. Off in a corner was what we were looking for.

We disembarked from the beast and walked over to get a closer look. The wood was solid, the finish frayed but we knew it was something we could work with. As we admired the piece an old fella limped over and asked, in his Maine country accent, "Can I help ya with something"?? After a few minutes of banter about the weather, the beauty of his homestead, and the great selection of his merchandise my Mister inquired about the table we were secretly pining for. He said it came from a "city house" back along the coast, Portland he thought, or perhaps Brewster, "can't remember for certain", is how he ended the memory of acquisition. In truth me and Mister care little about the back story of the piece. Such appreciation of history was something we acquired a taste for later in life. For now it was enough to want the piece for its function within a plan we had for our home.

How much are you asking, one of us said. Seventy five dollars was the response. My crest fell and I felt a squeeze on my hand. I thought to myself we will be saving change forever. All I said was Oh, that is more than we have. At that time in life I had yet to learn about horse trading, to me a price asked was the price. The Mister in our family was in much the same boat, but, he did speak up.

"Well Em, (by now we new the man's name), that is more than double what we can afford. Would you be willing to 32 dollars to hold it ? We will drive back up here in two months with the rest and pick it up ??"

The reply surprised me. Em said he would take the 32 and we could take the table, no need to drive all the way back to Maine just to make payment, just put it in the mail, postal money order for the balance. With that he yelled for his son to tie it to the beast's roof.

We took our table home, fixed its scars and over the years our family has made new ones on it that we call our own.

About six weeks later we mailed the money order and for over forty years we have enjoyed the table and continued to do business with first Em, and then his son Lucas.

Our Treasure Road has taken many twists and turns since that long ago day, but that is where it began, where we discovered it. Even though, in truth, at that moment in time, we still did not know it existed.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

No room at the inn .... ANY INN

We are pretty spontaneous when time allows .... Sometimes even when time does not allow.

A recent reservation issue, a non-spontaneous sojourn I might add, tickled our memory about a former trip along the same Treasure Road we were currently exploring.

It was a Saturday morning when we loaded ourselves into the car and pointed it northeast toward Vermont. Our intent was to explore our Treasure Road to the North and East of Burlington Vermont. We stopped in fair Haven at the Soldier, a small diner in the business district no larger than an alleyway between buildings, for some of their home made hash. A side of a eggs and a tomato juice too of course.

As we sat at a booth near the front window we watched the sun come up. It was mid May but the heat was already turned up to June with a promise of July. Well the short of it is that we decided to drive out to Wells Maine to some treasure hunting, dip a toe in the Atlantic, and spend a night.

It is often our burden to get side tracked on these jaunts, taking this or that spur of Treasure Road into some barely inhabited hill or valley. This day was no different and after several such side trips we arrived in Wells at dusk. Much to our amazement motel after motel had hung out no vacancy signs. In fact we drove from York to Rock Beach, some 50 miles further North without finding a vacancy. Turns out there was a Shriner's Convention and every room was full despite this being the off, or shoulder season.

We turned the car toward the west, found Route 4, and headed home after eating lightly at a local spot whose name has dripped away from my memory.

Now, some might call the whole affair a bummer, an example of poor planning, even the result of unorganized activity. they might even be right if they do not travel a Treasure Road. For us however this was simply another adventure, a long side journey, part of the story of our Treasure Road.

Oh .... and the day was also a success. We found a box of 16 Fenton Glass Tumble Ups in a dusty old barn at the top of a Vermont Mountain. Although not one of the originals a similar example can be seen here,

Treasure Road always reveals surprises worth the journey.