Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Impromptu Valentine's Downtown Excursion
Sunday this year has not been our usual day to ride - but Zoe came over early on Valentine's Day.. helped me finish up chores so we could get in the saddle for a journey downtown -- a just for fun do something different expedition. Springfield Vermont - the town I live in is a kind of depressed and forgotten little gone by mill town curiously bi-sected and di-sected by many rivers and streams - the biggest of which is the Black River. Sometimes the water runs under the many old buildings and storefronts. There are lots of steep hills within town, lots of bridges, a small main street where a few years back - we had the honor of hosting the Simpson's, a big block party and the movie premiere. During 18 seasons of The Simpsons TV series, the fictional Springfield's location had never been identified. Several of the Springfields aross the nation made videos to defend their case for being considered Homer's "real" hometown. Now we know-- it IS here.. Springfield Vermont. So that little tidbit might just give you a clue of the town I live in :)
Contrary to what we were expecting.. the horses wanted to take their time on the way down.. strolling at a leisurely pace down the highway. We wanted to make a loop which came up through main street - so we headed up Hospital hill and down Park Street hill, past Zoe's old school-- you can see down over the bank.
Many of these old buildings are empty.. in a way it's too bad as they are examples inside of some fine architecture.
Looking across at the back side of Main Street - the river is between. The Miller Art Center is up on the hill with the big pillars.
We cross the bridge to get onto Main Street-- you can see how the main part of town is divided with a noisy series of waterfalls - now frozen. They are called Comtu Falls - Great Noise.
The main intersection of downtown Springfield. I have seen photo's of this area from the past with the old hotel (since burned down) -- the stabling area for horses with hitchrails along the front. No evidence of that era now.
Along the storefronts of town. Usually, when we trot downtown - we travel on the other side, but I want to stay on the side of the river today. Just ahead - it is not so noticeable unless on horseback or walking, but another river crosses under main street to meet the Black River.
There was once an ancient old tall building here- but one year Springfield took on a large "pretty up the town" project.. and razed the building, built this 'park'. It does give a nice view of the river here - look how frozen it is. I am always amazed by how all those buildings back directly up to the river. Humans just don't let much get in the way of their plans sometimes, and build over, under - where-ever.
pedestrian bridge to gain access to the Fellows Gear Shaper building.
Coming up onto the big falls and leaving the 'city' proper.
busy intersection.. with Springfield Plaza, McDonald's, and gas stations. We cut through the plaza to avoid all the lights - but we have crossed there many times in order to return home through North Springfield (straight ahead from here)
we need to cross the Black river once again - then it's clear sailing home .. now the horses are ready to travel fast and we trot and canter up the highway.
Not our usual woods, trail and mountain views- but fun in a peculiar way :)
I did take some video of some of the trip -- Vermont is beautiful .. so if you are planning any trips this way, do not let the town's scenery deter you !