Great weekend in VT., Manchester Hot Glass

Well we’re done! We promised our kids a day away to do a Blown Glass Project, and we finished it last weekend with our son and his soon to be lovely wife / girlfriend, so for now … we’re done, at least with family members doing blown glass.

We left town about 6am Saturday  and headed to Cumberland Center to pick up our son and his fiancé. We stopped at a local corner store to get a bite to eat, then head the car towards Manchester VT. for our 1pm class to blow glass. The trip took a bit over 4 hours and had us in town early enough to stop and let the fine folks at Manchester Hot Glass know we were in town and would be back after lunch for our class.

On the way into town we passed the local diner, Bob’s Diner, which is where my wife wanted to eat, so back out of town we headed. When we got there, it was pretty smokey in side, so smokey in fact, my wife asked if they could turn on an exhaust fan or 2 (her lungs didn’t deal with the smoke very well at all), which they did, and it did 2 things. It cleared up the smoke, which was HUGE for my wife and it got REAL cold fast, which is ok with my wife as well.

She had half a Reuben sandwich and a cup of squash soup, both of which she said were Awesome! Our son had  a Monte Cristo sandwich and soup, his bride to be had a half of a BLT, and some French Onion Soup, which they both loved and I had a French Dip au jus which was good, but for me the roast beef was sliced a bit thick, yeah, I like it paper thin or thinner and yes, I can be a pain in the ass. NO I didn’t say anything I eat it they way they serve it, and did so with a smile on my face.

After lunch we headed on down to Manchester Hot Glass so the kids could do they thing.

The kids had a blast and our soon to be daughter in-law, had so much fun, she is looking forward to going back with her parents.

We will be going back (My wife, me, Leo and his lovely wife), as we didn’t get to tour Abe Lincolns Son’s Estate yet.

Here are a few pic’s of pieces we’ve done so far, along with ones from this past weekend.

Oh, this is for my friend Leo

Caitlin’s Vase

Khristopher’s Bowl

My good friend Leo doing his thing. He made a Wine Carafe

Leo doing what Leo does – blowing in one end, to make the other end bigger

Andrew, Leo and Alex cutting the piece, so they can get it exposed and he can make the opening

Leo, rubbing his glass bulb, doesn’t Andrew look excited

Leo’s lovely wife, working at making her project fit into the mold. This is step 5 or 6 in a 15 or so step process.

Wine (orange juice) Carafe I just made

My 2nd piece, a candy dish

My wife’s first piece, a large drinking glass, or Vase?

My 3rd piece, my Ice Cream and Pasta Bowl

My 1st piece, single flower vase

Alex, Andrew and me, opening the end for my  Ice Cream / Pasta Bowl

Our daughter’s Candy Dish

Our other daughter, shaping her pumpkin vase

Here she is, putting the molten glass into a metal form to get the shape she is wanting

Wrong order, but this is in the beginning. Blowing air into the molten glass bulb to get things started.

Daughter coming in from outer space:)

Alex heating up daughters soon to be candy dish

Daughter making the opening for her candy dish larger

and bigger still


and almost done

Andrew heated it up, tips it down, then flips it over, and

this is the ending results

Caitlin having a good laugh, while making her vase

Ok, so you can see, but you can’t tell, it is a blast doing this. Andrew and crew are awesome and it’s something everyone should do at least once.

So we left here and headed downtown to look around. Before we parked and looked around, we headed out to Dorset Rising Bakery, which turned out to be a quaint little coffee / pastry shop in Dorset.

We proceeded back to downtown Manchester to the local book store which is just to freakin cool of a book store. A place you have to see and visit to believe. From there we hit a few other shops including a small but big Italian shop, were we ended up getting some pastas, sauces, cookies, olives and more

From here we went a cross the street to a few outdoor companies, and Christmas shop (closing), walked down towards a small park, then over to Evelyn & Crabtree :), that is going out of business so the ladies stocked up and some of their favorite things.

From here we drove up the street to show the area off and stopped at the Campus of Orvus, and hit the outlet sales store building, and picked up a few shirts and some pajamas


This is Vermonts version of LL Bean, but older, smaller, but they sell some REALLY nice stuff here folks.

For those who like to shop, there are plenty of shops here, food, candy, donuts, clothing, jewelry, furniture, cars, books, antiques, kitchen supplies, specialty shops and so much more.

Manchester, VT a bit out of the way, but worth the trip!

3rd day of 14 on the road

Hi. Well it’s been awhile and plenty has happened so let me try to catch you up on things.

The day started out with breakfast at the Colony Pancake House. It wasn’t the place we’d hope, as in we we’re looking for the place where they dress in period clothing. Now that’s not to say this wasn’t a good choice, it was. The service was friendly, the food was fine and the pricing was not shocking. Should we find ourselves in the area again, we would stop here for breakfast.

From here we headed down to Colony Williamsburg to see  all the cool stuff there is to see and explore. A large part of the area is closed to driving traffic during daytime hours. This does make walking around a lot more comfortable and safe. There are dozens of building to check out, most with folks in period clothing, speaking much like they did back then. They provided some great insight to what it must have been like back then.

They do a great job of keeping the area clean and safe and full of things to help keep folks into all can see, do and explore. The area is surrounded by the downtown area with dozens and dozens of interesting and fun shops. Food, gifts and plenty of souvenirs to meet anyones needs.

After a few hours of exploring the area, hopping, getting some cool gifts, and some awesome Baskin-Robbins ice cream we headed  out to Jamestown to another historical area where we did more exploring and learning more about the area and the history of America. Jamestown has a very nice, very large, clean and informative staff and area.  Period buildings, fort, ships and staff there to help and answers any questions about anything you see or want to know about that time in our history.

We did choose to get a bite to eat here, which we did as much to save time as any other reason.

We left and head to Yorktown

I have many photos I will try to add in the near future. After this we headed back to our hotel for the night.

Let me tell you about our day

it started out great. Warm, sunny, beautiful in every respect. Breakfast at the hotel was ok, but hey, it’s a hotel not a restaurant.

‘After leaving the hotel we headed to our next stop – fifer orchards. The plan was to take a short walk and pick a few apples and peaches for the trip, well good plan, but that’s not what happened. First off the place was much bigger then we thought with jams, jellies, pastries, fruits and apples galore, many  varieties we don’t have in Maine. This is a good thing, we get to see and try apples and see how we stand up to others. Well they had one we don’t remember seeing in Maine – crimson crisp. Nice and hard, sweet and very tasty. With over 26 varieties of apples grown on sites there is sure to be one for everyone’s liking. We got a bunch of cool stuff here including a nice basket of goodies for our daughter for having us there in the coming days. Some apples, drinks and socking stuffers. Before we left we took some photos of the outside area which was done up big time for fall and Halloween. We said our goodbyes and left for our 4 hour drive to colony Williamsburg

oh, I should note, very nice, pleasant and very helpful folks at  Fifer’s. Not  sure if you would ever be in the area, but if you are, a must stop for sure.

Ok  so it’s now onto Williamsburg.  The drive started out nice, with parts going through small town America and some open country, then onto route 13 which takes you to the Chesapeake bay bridge and tunnel. One of the longest bridges and tunnels in America, some 13+ miles long. This turned out to be a longer drive then I remembered it to be. A straight drive of 210 + miles. Now this wasn’t an issues as we often drive many more miles on roads in our travels, BUT this wasn’t about to be like any other drive.

We got a message on the GPS that the road ahead was closed, not a big deal or so I thought. We’d simply get close drive around the issue and be on our way, yeah while not really. Turns out the part of the road that was closed was “the tunnel”, that’s right, no turning around once you are on the bridge / tunnel. Now we were ok as we hadn’t gone all the way to the bridge when we found that out. You see traffic was stoppe some 5 miles away from the bridge. We pulled into a gas station to try and get more information, boy did we get some information. Turns out traffic hadn’t moved at this point in time in over 4 hours, and they didn’t know when it might start moving again. After speaking with as many folks, truckers as we could, we decided to take a new route, yeah you guessed it, 210 Freaken miles back the way we just came. Yeah, no other route to Williamsburg other then driving back to 95 and where we started. Ok so we did find a small short-cut, but even that required us to drive back some 150 + miles before we got to it. Let’s just say, a long days drive. We should have gotten into the hotel around 4, but didn’t get there until just a bit before 11!

slept a bit late this morning, and now getting ready to start day and next 3 days here.

On the road again

well I’d say the trip started out like any other but that wouldn’t be true. With my wife’s current health issues, nothing is the same anymore. Aside from the check list which includes a lot of med’s, pumps, hoses and such things started out just fine. A bit on the cold side, but we are headed out on vacation down south to see the grandkids. Our trip will take us to Dover, DE for the first night, then onto  Colony Williamsburg for 3 days, then to Jacksonville, NC for 4 days to see our daughter, grandkids and son-in-law.  From there to Fredericksburg, va, Gettysburg, pa, intercourse, pa, then NY, VT then home.

Tomorrow’s first stop is going to be Fifer’s country Store and orchard, who knows what we might find here.

The trip in general should find us completing our Christmas shopping, some stops at wineries, bakeries,  candy stores, yarn shops, Baskin-Robbins  and NO Franchise eateries. This always proofs to be hard when we are on the road for 2 weeks.

Tonights meal was at China House in Dover, pretty damn good for a local Chinese restaurant. My wife has shrimp lomen which she said was a 7 out of 10. She did say she feels that way-le’s in auburn , me is she favorite. I had sweet & sour chicken beef fried rice no onions, and I can say,  8 of 10, the beef pieces were very large and even more tender.

Oh, lunch was at chillers in NJ.  I had breakfast, French toast, with flaming banana’s. Would have been awesome, if they cleaned the grill or just not cook them on the same spot they also were cocking the home fries with onions and green peppers.

Our first night we stayed at home2go in Dover, very nice, pretty clean, nice area, just a short drive to the historic downtown. We went downtown last night and checked it out. Very nice walkway with bike and walking paths, water,  black cranes and other wildlife. Downtown was empty, not a sole in sight, very strange, but we guessed they don’t work sundays . . . Lucky them.

To be so beautiful …

To be so beautiful, but out of my reach. 

So close and yet so far away.

The other side of the room, might as well been across the universe. How could I do something so wrong as approach her, in all her beauty, her slender, but curvy body was screaming out to me, but I was frozen and couldn’t move.

I know it was wrong but I just had to hold her in my hands, if only for a short time. I decided to give it a try. What was the worst thing that could happen

As I approach, my hands started to sweat, and my body started to shaking, but there was no turning back. As I reached out to grab her, out the corner of my eye, there tattoo on her slender body were the words I long to see, “This pen is sold by DBS”, and it was at that moment, I knew how to get my very own special pen.

Manchester Hot Glass … so much fun

Hi. We finally got all our days to line-up so we could sneak away for a few days of fun in Manchester, VT. Part of this was going to Manchester Hot Glass to create some pieces of history. … Ok, so just a bowl, carafe, and candy dish but it was a ton of fun and history of ours,  Andrew is a riot, but helpful and all around nice guy, and his support staff is top notch.

We left Friday afternoon with friends, Norma and Leo and headed to Manchester, VT for 3 days of fun and relaxation. The weather was supposed to be wonderful – sunny and in the low 70’s and now I can report, it was wonderful. The drive was pleasant and a great chance to see things “Off the beaten path”, that you (others) might not see, if they didn’t go places with me, as it’s the only way I drive (when possible)

Even if you don’t do your own Blown Glass piece, stop by just to look over the many pieces done and for sale.

Manchester, VT is a wonderful little town with great shops, eateries, homes and places to see and tour.  This includes the estate of Abe Lincoln’s son

Here is a short list of several other great places to go.

The Equinox Preservation –

Southern Vermont Arts Center –

The American Fly Fishing Museum –

We stayed at the Lodge at Bromley –  located in Peru, VT, which is about 10-15 miles outside of Center Manchester, VT and located at the base of Bromley Mountain Ski area. The gentleman who worked nights, was pleasant, helpful and a bit of a car buff, which turned out to be fun for Leo, as Leo owns a 1966 Chevelle and the 2 went back and forth about cars most of the night, while the rest of us were playing pool. The lodge has rooms with great views of the Green Mountain Range and likely parts of NY.

There are dozens of places to eat in the area so don’t worry about eating. The first night we ate at The Perfect Wife Restaurant. The service there was HORRIBLE.  We stood at the main desk waiting to be seated or acknowledged and nether happened for several minutes. I went over to the area where it looked like the staff was, only to be ignored. I looked at them as they walk past, and asked if we could get seated or if we seat ourselves, no response. I then said if they couldn’t answer me, we would just sit at the table next to me, as it sat 4 people … We sat down there and watched them continue to ignore us, all while looking at us, pointing at us and saying “I don’t want them” and things like that. No, wrong, Leo did wash before we got there so he wasn’t him that stopped us from being help and the ladies looked wonderful, crap  that leaves just me that might have been the issue.

We did finally get someone to come over to help us. She was friendly and helpful. The food was ok. I had a Prime Rib Roast Beef Sandwich, (good) my wife had  buffalo chicken mac & cheese (ok), Leo had Nacho’s, (ok) and Norma had (I can’t remember, but I do remember she didn’t eat it all).

The bill for Leo / Norma was wrong, but she did fix it quickly.

For what it is worth, it get’s high grades from most (local) folks, so it might be good, but with dozens of places to eat in the area, we would try another place before going back.

The next day started out with breakfast at the hotel (go in town to eat a lot more options) After breakfast we headed down to Manchester Hot Glass for our class.  All I can say is we had a Blast!

After this we dropped the girls off so they could shop and we went to play frisbee golf. We did this for about 2 hours then headed back to pick up the girls for lunch. We went to a pizza / pasta house right near where they were shopping – The menu is deep and very tasty (what we had was tasty)

A Ham Pizza a Tomato and chicken Pizza and a Mediterranean wrap. Everything was eaten with thumbs-up appeal. After lunch the girls went back shopping and we went to hit little white balls and play a few more rounds of frisbee golf. The course at Hunter Park is nice. the front 9 holes are an easier play then the back 9, but that is for a few reasons. The signage on the back 9 isn’t as good, and the fields weren’t mowed so finding our frisbees wasn’t also easy.

After about 2 hours we left to go pick up the girls and headed back to the hotel to freshen up before heading into town for a nice meal. Andrew suggested Yea Olde Tavern, and glad we listen to him. Let it be known, Leo didn’t enjoy his meal as much as he’d hope. This was because he was considering 2 different dishes, and thought he was getting dish #2,(Pot Roast) but ended up with dish #1, (Chicken Pot Pie) while good, he was looking forward to dish #2. He and the waitress got things a bit confused, but Leo has to take some of the blame as he ordered dish #1, but he thought he was getting #2, and she thought he ordered #1. Leo said he was fine with the chicken pot pie, but after eating it, said he should have said he wanted the Pot Roast … his wife and my wife both had Mac & Cheese with Applewood smoked bacon and lobster and one hell of a smile on there faces. I had Filet Mignon with Bearnaise sauce which was outstanding!

There are dozens of fine $$$$ restaurants in town, and many very nice $$$ restaurants in the area as well, and yes, plenty of $$ eateries too, so do some research, ask around, you’ll be glad you did. For what it is worth, last time here we eat at the, and that was a great meal!

The day was coming to a close and a long day it had been. We went back to our hotel and played a few games of pool then called it a night.

The next morning was set aside for breakfast in town, (at Up for Breakfast, which is up-stairs on Main Street, Downtown)  picking up our glassware then heading over to Quechee Gorge and then King Arthur Flour. Our time at Quechee Gorge was longer then planned so the gorge, and ice cream was all we did, and we decided it was time to head home.


Been to and headed back – Manchester glass

I have been here 4 times now, and we’ll be heading back again this weekend with some dear friends.

The first time, it was my wife and I and we purchased a nice vase and asked about doing it ourselves. We like the answer and we went back a few months later to try our hand at making something. I then went back with our youngest daughter, then months later with our oldest daughter, now back again with friends, and if I’m lucky, back again with our son and his girlfriend.

Here are a few photos of some of what we’ve done so far

The fine folks here, are just that “Fine”. Andrew is a hoot, but also kind and caring. He has stayed in touch via email and a phone call or 2 to check up and see how my wife is doing. his assistant is a young lady who is growing as a glass blower. She is kind and inquisitive and hard working.

Manchester, VT is a wonderful area with all kinds of great shops, restaurants, things to do, very cool book store, and as my family will tell you, I didn’t just write that last line. I only do books with lots of pictures, but this book store is really neat. 3, 4, floors of books, magazines, clothing and so much more. It’s located in the top half area of the downtown. There are 2 areas that can be and are, the downtown in Manchester. One appears to be the older part of town, with great shops and easy walking. the other part, seems like an extension of the downtown with newer shops and models looks and brand names.

I hope to post something maybe over the weekend while we are there or once we get home.

Recent trip to Northhampton, MA., Yarn Store

My wife said she was feeling up to it, and really wanted to get out of the house and asked if I would take her to a yarn shop she’d read about, I said sure, where is it? She said “I’m not sure where, but it’s in Northhampton, MA?” I did the old google maps and found out it is about a 4 hour drive south of here. I told her this so she could decide if it was something she could do 4 hours down a few hours there, and 4 hours back, and she said YES, so we went. Well worth the trip for her, so, well worth the trip for me. It might be the largest one we have been to, and we have been to well over 40 shops on the east cost.

After a few hours here we headed back home, and along the way decided to stop and get a bite to eat. We came across The Chateau Italian Family Restaurant, and real glad we did, as it was easily one of the finest Italian Restaurants we have been in, and yes, like yarn shops, we have been in many Italian Restaurants

YES, go out of your way to eat here, you will be glad you did.


For those wondering why it’s called …

“Offthebeatenpath …” it’s because to get to most of the places I go, I take back roads so I / we can see more of this great country.

I would put some of the routes in the posts, and I have, but not knowing where you are coming from makes it hard to give you driving directions. And sometimes, they are just – Back roads.

Back roads = less traffic, less gas stations, less places to stop to eat or pee, but much more relaxing.

Remember, like I tell my kids and wife occasionally, “no, we’re / I’m not lost, we’re taking a little adventure”.