In celebration of our recent anniversary, about a week ago Lorna and I got into my old VW Beetle and putted up Route 2 toward Burlington. Our destination was Shelburne and The Shelburne Museum.
It was a truly lovely day; the air was clear, the greens of summer bright, and there was not a cloud in the big blue sky. It was a perfect day for a ride to what has become one of our favorite Vermont attractions.
We have loved that museum for many years and in recent ones have purchased a membership there. Having the membership lets us enter as often as we like within the year. Several times we have just stopped in for lunch and visits to a few of our favorite buildings, without feeling like we needed to ‘see it all’ that day. We like that idea.
On this particular visit we simply strolled around, got lunch at the Weathervane Café, and sat on a bench at the small duck pond watching a mother duck rest on the bank with her seven ducklings, only several feet from us. It was, without a doubt, one of the most relaxing afternoons we have had in a long time.
I began to ponder as we leisurely rode home ‘the long way’, as Lorna refers to it, up and over Smuggler’s Notch and through the villages of Stowe and Waterbury, just why Shelburne Museum keeps drawing us back. I believe it is because when there you seem, at least I seem, separated from ‘today’. You are somehow briefly immersed in a simpler time. You wander through an internet free, social media free era, if only for a few hours. I sometimes wonder if we realize what freedom we have sacrificed for the supposed advancements of speed and availability of communications and even of information. To me, sometimes, simpler really is better.
While at the museum you are in a time of carvers and craftsmen of wood, of blacksmiths and tin knockers, of quilters, and of artists of every artistic hue and medium. Most importantly, in my view, you are there involved in a slower, more careful time, when almost nothing was mass-produced, when food was grown and carefully prepared, not dumped from a mix or microwaved from a frozen box. Hand-stitched quilts were marveled at and cherished; everything from door locks and horseshoes to huge wagon wheels was hand made by the craftsmen of the day.
My ninety-five-year-old Mom recently visited our home. She lives on her own in sunny Florida most of the year and visits the North in the summer. She is very fussy about some things that from her life’s experience, are important to her. She is picky about what is involved in making a ‘good’ donut or pie crust and would never waste even the smallest bit of food. Her eyes are now failing, but she can spot a well-made blouse or dress, I think, from a mile away. She would completely appreciate the craftsmanship, the intricate and painstaking artistry, the careful and unhurried care of the ghosts, the contributors from another time whose wares and pieces of art are displayed at the Shelburne Museum.