Pork, Ponies, and Pewter

Trip Start Feb 15, 2010
Trip End Feb 14, 2011

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Where I stayed
Wal-Mart (Burlington, VT)

Flag of United States  , Vermont
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My first stop of the day was to the Dakin Farm Store.  I stopped to take a look at the variety of foods they produce, things that Vermont is known for.  The shop was absolutely full of various food products made by Dakin and other nearby farms and local companies, with samples of nearly everything.  I ended up leaving with some cob-smoked ham, turkey, pepperoni, and cheddar cheese, as well as some maple sugar candy.

My next stop down the road was to the University of Vermont Morgan Horse Farm.  The farm is a National Historic Site where Morgan horses have been bred and raised since 1870.  The horse is identified as America's first breed of horse, and it is also known for being a champion horse in almost every regard.  The farm was owned and operated by the U.S. Government from 1907-1951.  The Morgan was the horse of choice for the U.S. Cavalry.  In 1951, operation of the farm was turned over to the University of Vermont, and they still maintain ownership of it today.  My visit included a short tour of the barns and grounds, after which, I was permitted to explore the farm on my own for a while and attempt to take a few photos of the horses.  Staff members were busy training the younger horses and preparing them for a future of riding, work, and competition.  While walking through one of the barns, one of the horses stuck its head as far as it could past the gate and began to gnaw on the wooden posts of the fence while staring at me.  I think someone wanted some attention.  Given the number of "Horses Will Bite" signs around the pens, I was cautious about trusting my hand near an animal that would so readily chew on a wooden fence.  I gave it a few pats on the muzzle before moving on, making sure to keep my hand far above his mouth and my arm ready to retract in case the horse got a little too curious about my flavor.

After leaving the farm, I headed into the town of Middlebury to visit the Danforth Pewter Workshop.  It's one of very few pewter shops that still makes the majority of their products using traditional methods, and I thought it would be an interesting craft to see.  I had called earlier in the day to find out their hours to come and see the craftsmen at work.  The woman at the phone gave me the hours of the shop, but failed to tell me that the artists leave a couple hours before the store closes, so when I arrived they had already left for the day.  I was able to watch a video that had been made, showing them making a few pieces, but I could have done that on YouTube.  I did end up sticking around the shop for a while looking at the various items on display and talking to the sales clerk, who had quite a few questions about my trip and what I had seen so far.  Before I left, she insisted that I pick out one of their pewter keychains as a gift.  I also decided to purchase one of their shotglasses.  A well made hand-turned pewter shotglass will make a unique addition to my collection.

The rest of the day was spent driving up to a spot to look over Lake Champlain and then through Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest on my way to Albany in New York.

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