Tracks We Have Crossed

by Nancy Roney

SHELBURNE VERMONT WEEKEND: Friday 22 – Sunday 24 June 2018

MVRS ran a weekend trip to the Shelburne VT area including the Shelburne Museum, recipient of the 2017 W. Russell Rylko Memorial Grant. They used the grant money to repair their 1890 Private Rail Car “Grand Isle”. At last year’s MVRS Annual Meeting the Shelburne Museum representative gave an open invitation to MVRS directors and members to come and explore the museum grounds with its many items of 19th and 20th century Americana. Several directors joined MVRS members on this trip, not only to view the train car being restored with the grant money but also to explore the beautiful area around Lake Champlain. Throughout the weekend we managed to dodge downpours. The heavens opened several times but only when we were ready to re-board the bus. The bright smiles of our passengers more than made up for any rain we encountered. Among our passengers was a couple taking a pre-wedding trip before their marriage in Las Vegas on the following Monday.

After departing Wellington our bus driver Gus took us up north to the Vermont Teddy Bear factory. A Bear Ambassador met us, and we learned what makes these bears so special. It is even possible to create your own bear. Everything is very personal at the factory and each bear is unique. All the limbs are articulated so a bear can rotate its arms and sit. The factory had many specialty bears including different occupations plus bride and groom bears, ballerina bears, etc. Bears that are damaged in some way can be sent to the on-site bear hospital to be repaired. The tour guide said some are damaged by pets or fire, and even showed us one that had had an encounter with a lawnmower. MVRS President Tracey Rylko walked away with a fine bear she named “Buddy” after a lovable pet of her acquaintance. Later in the day we checked into our hotel. Several members enjoyed the amenities, particularly the pool and sauna.

The next day we had a full day for the Shelburne Museum. The museum came about because of the Webb family, particularly Electra Webb. Over her lifetime she collected countless examples of Americana (including the American folk art of her friend Grandma Moses) plus fine art including works by Monet and Renoir. At some point she needed a place to display her collection and had the means to make it a reality. The Shelburne Museum was born during the colonial revival period when America was recognizing and celebrating its past. It was a delight to explore. The varied collections range from a gallery devoted to arms, through the many artifacts Electra and her family collected, to full-size carriages and even a miniature circus display so large it has its own building. Other historic structures included a carousel, lighthouse and the Ticonderoga, a 220 ft. steam ferry that traveled Lake Champlain in the early 20th century. A shuttle bus provided transportation around this beautifully landscaped campus of historic buildings and galleries.

At the end of each day we reminisced over a delicious group dinner in a spacious private room at our hotel, sharing stories about the day’s events.

We headed home on Sunday but broke the journey at Quechee Gorge Village. Passengers explored specialty shops and an extensive antique store. Shopping completed, our young-atheart members took one or more train rides on the tracks encircling the shops.

Thank you to the Trip Team and tour leaders who made this trip possible. Kudos goes especially to director Jeff Costello who handled all the detailed work to make the weekend run seamlessly. We visit so many wonderful places on our day trips, it’s a pleasure to go on a weekend trip and fully enjoy what a beautiful destination has to offer.

Copyright © 2000 - 2018 [Mystic Valley Railway Society, Inc]. All rights reserved.
Revised: Sep 2018