True to our usual mystery trip formula, nobody knew where they were going, so I got a lot of calls prior to the trip. “How should we dress?”; “Is there much walking?”; “Will it be hot there?” In actual fact, we had a heat wave for a whole week, and we were lucky that the humidity broke and we had a good day.
Our destination was a horse farm in Townshend, VT – Friesians of Majesty. The weather was predicted sunny and dry with temps in the high 80’s and about 30% chance of a brief shower. What a day! As everybody arrived a bit early, we got a fifteen-minute head start and had a full hour for our rest stop. I love having long rest stops because it gives me a chance to meet and greet all of our passengers. There were a lot of us this time – not one empty seat on either coach – 94 people total.
Our next stop was Basketville in Putney, VT. These folks have been in business for a long time and have baskets from around the world. The shop is on two levels and is complete with kitchen ware, furniture, baskets, toys, and some of the best fudge around. On the day of our visit, they were also hosting tastings of locally made wines and bourbon. This was just a bit of shopping and everybody seemed to appreciate the stop.
We departed promptly at 11:15 and headed for our restaurant in Brattleboro – The New England House. There was plenty of room to park our coaches and we piled into the restaurant without any trouble. We occupied two entire dining rooms and the staff was ready for us. I loved this restaurant with its exposed beams, cathedral ceilings, and country décor. We were seated at booths and tables and everybody seemed comfortable. Caprese salads consisting of sliced tomato alternating with Mozzarella cheese atop field greens was a welcome treat and the Basil Vinaigrette made a nice contrast to the juicy tomato and more bland-tasting cheese. Good choice, Randall!
The wait staff was busy with lots of bar orders and the drinks were great! Our next course was a choice of grilled Orange Tarragon Salmon, Peach Glazed Chicken Breast, or Broccoli & Cheddar Quiche with Summer Greens. I didn’t taste the chicken, but was very happy with my salmon. Dessert was vanilla ice cream topped with seasonal berry compote – yum.
Soon the time came for us to head for Townshend. Too bad, I thought, as we drove through town and discovered a town festival in full progress; no time to stop. We drove up onto the mountainside and soon found the farm. A few of the Friesian horses seemed to be very excited at our arrival and galloped in their enclosures keeping pace with the buses; one of the greeting interns said, “Oh, yes, some of them get very excited”. Everybody piled out of the coaches and we were promptly seated inside a massive show arena where dressage shows and other performances are done by the horses. We spent some time with the owners and interns who were working there and got to meet two of the most famous of their stallions – Othello and Mathÿs. We learned why these are great show horses and heard a bit about the breeding program at Friesians of Majesty.
Before long, we were led down to the nursery where we met mares with their offspring. They were so affectionate and friendly. Some were less than two weeks old. Everybody loved the animals and the horses seemed to love us. Shortly afterward, we walked back up to the show area and were seated for a demonstration of just how much these wonderful horses can do. We got to see the animals go through their paces to the rhythm of accompanying music; they danced backwards and sideways; and they pulled carriages around and through an obstacle course marked out with orange cones. The show was great; the trainers were great; and we were treated like the royalty we are. Indeed.
Back on the coach with many fond memories and a quick stop at the 1872 covered bridge at Dummerston, VT for
photos. A good day was had by all.