Spring also means that the CCC Road will soon open.

A Vermont local along the CCC Road.

A Vermont local along the CCC Road.

Discovering Vermont is an adventure best unveiled while travelling the back roads without a map.  Here at the October Country Inn, we love back road travel whether it be by car, bike, or on foot.  So, if we’re sitting around after breakfast discussing the day’s sightseeing options, don’t be surprised when we suggest you check out the nearby CCC Road.  This road’s name is derived from the Civilian Conservation Corps–because they built it.

Remains of an old CCC shelter at the trailhead to the Shrewsbury Peak trail.

Remains of an old CCC shelter at the trailhead to the Shrewsbury Peak trail.

After the stock market crash of 1929, and the country’s drastic economic depression that followed, then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt formed the CCC in order to put the unemployed to work.  Known as “Roosevelt’s Forest Army,”  over 3 million needy young men were provided shelter, 3 meals a day, some education, and new skills while carrying out forest conservation projects in thousands of camps all around the country.  The CCC Road was one such project, it was built in the early 1930s joining the CCC camps  in Plymouth and the Shrewsbury.

ccc road mapThis road, closed during the winter months, is roughly six miles of decent hard-packed dirt that runs from Route 100 just south of Woodward Lake in neighboring Plymouth, across the Plymsbury Plateau and ending in North Shrewsbury where it’s a short trip to Rutland and points west.  Although you can stop anywhere along the road and pull off, there are several places you can get out to walk and explore. At one mile is Tinker Brook State Natural Area. Access is on the south side at a curve in the road (there is no sign, only a small pull off for parking). A short walk in takes you to the hiking shelter.  At 2.0 miles (one mile east of Tinker Brook) is the east access to Shrewsbury Peak.  At 2.9 miles (1.9 miles east of the east Shrewsbury Peak access) is a gated access on the north side of the road. On the south side of the road is a small pull-off and access into the Plymouth Wildlife Management Area.

When Spring comes to Vermont, kinetic garden art emerges.

gardengirlIt’s been a long, cold Winter at the October Country Inn, and the nearby communities of Woodstock and Killington.  Now that the sun has climbed higher into the northern sky, daytime temperatures climb into the 50s, and 60s, and the snow is rapidly receding.  It’s time to start thinking about gardens, and no Vermont garden is complete without at least one unique whirligig spinning in the wind.

highflyerWhirligigs, objects that spin or whirl, usually powered by the wind, are often whimsical combinations of a weathervane and a pest control device.  The word derives from two Middle English words: “whirlen” (to whirl), and “gigg” (top) or literally “to whirl a top.”  The origin of whirligigs is unknown but there are several illustrations of the Christ child holding a whirligig.  George Washington is said to have brough one home from the Revolutionary War.

Whirligigs are a form of American folk art.  Here in Vermont, Russell Snow, of Waterbury Center, a seventh generation Vermonter and retired engineer, is an internationally known master of this folk art genre.  Snow delights in making

Russell Snow in his workshop with one of his whirligigs.

Russell Snow with one of his whirligigs.

whirligigs that emphasize movement.  His figures are mechanically complex with several perfectly formed figures performing a variety of actions.

April is a good month to visit the October Country Inn and take advantage of our Spring two-night special.  While you’re here, visit the Vermont Folklife Center.  Maybe, like George Washington, you’ll bring a Vermont made whirligig home with you.