Boadway, E. A., Pinel, Stephen L., The Tracker
ORGAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY'S 58TH NATIONAL CONVENTION
EACH FEBRUARY IN THE LATE WINTER, as the sun rises higher in the sky and the days grow longer, a strange phenomenon occurs in the sugar maple (i.e., Acer saccharum), a tree indigenous to the Green Mountain State. While the nights are cold and the days warm, a sweet sap begins its journey up and down the mighty trunks of this revered species, known also for its spectacular red and orange colors during foliage season. Long before "white" Europeans settled the area that later became Vermont, the Abenaki Indians knew that this delectable sap was unmatched for its succulence and intensity. Some older residents of the state still call it "Vermont Scotch," suggesting that it compares favorably with Johnnie Walker Blue. For two and a half centuries, Vermont maple syrup has held a hallowed place among the harvest of the Northeast, and no trip to the Green Mountain State is complete without a generous shot of this mouthwatering delicacy on a piping-hot stack of griddle cakes or French toast. But a trip to Vermont offers far more than the tantalizing taste of "Northern Comfort." No individual could possibly drive north on Interstate 89, passing the communities of Sharon, Royalton, Randolph, and Montpelier, and not be overwhelmed by the breathtaking beauty of the countryside. Vermont has one of the smaller human populations of any U.S. state, so Homo sapiens have left a smaller footprint here than in most places. Sweeping vistas of unblemished scenery, pristine lakes, majestic mountains, and abundant wildlife have been untainted by humankind. You will see deer, ground hogs, pheasant, turkeys, and if you're lucky, perhaps even a moose or a black bear. This is not to suggest that Vermont is uncivilized. There are a few commercial thoroughfares - Vermonters disdainfully call this "sprawl" - but it is not the norm. Montpelier is the only state capital in America without a McDonalds. Now isn't that refreshing?
Vermont is also known for other hallmarks, including its covered bridges. These astonishing examples of country architecture - the "covers" keep snow and water off the wooden trusses - are engineered to support twenty to thirty times their weight. They first appeared in the late eighteenth century and became increasingly common during the nineteenth. Today, 106 of Vermont's old covered bridges remain. Vermont is also one of the antique capitals of the world, with hundreds of shops located throughout the state. If you're a collector of virtually anything - coins, furniture, glass, postcards, pottery, rugs, or even stereoviews - there's a better-than-average chance you'll find a treasure somewhere in the state. Pick up a copy of Antiques & Museums in and around Vermont, the 2013 dealers' directory, or ring Mary Fraser at (802) 875-5944, and she'll be happy to send you an advanced copy. (By the way, Vermonters still answer the phone when you ring. They are happy to speak to you, even if they've never met you!) Plan also to visit Ben & Jerry's for the best-ever "iced cream," the Cabot cheese factory for the state's tangiest cheddar, and Vermont Teddy Bears. In our age of government dysfunction, a sputtering economy, and life's uncertainties, Vermont is about basics. A trip to the Green Mountain State is just what the doctor orders!
Welcome, dear friends, to the Fifty-Eighth Annual Convention of the Organ Historical Society, running between Monday, June 24, and Friday, June 29, with an optional day on Saturday, June 30. After several urban conventions, many OHS members will relish a return to the picturesque villages of New England, where the Society got its start in 1956. We last visited the Green Mountain State in 1972, and while much has changed in the intervening forty-one years, the natural beauty, salubrious lifestyle, and splendid organs haven't. Plan your trip with a few added days either before or after the convention, and explore the many attractions available in one of the more sought-after travel destinations in the United States. …