Hello everyone – This Friday, February 15, we came out of our winter hibernation and the shop is open again from Friday through Monday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

During our winter break, which started at the end of Martin Luther King Day, Linda went on a buying trip to New York City, which followed an earlier one to Atlanta, Ga. Hopefully she found lots of goodies you will enjoy later this year when you pass by the shop.

The winter is definitely off-season for us, which in theory means there’s time to indulge in those deep projects that you don’t have time for later on. One of those things on the list for me has been to fire up the blogging and general web/social media/YouTube interaction.

So I have a few ideas about what to blog about in addition to what’s special or noteworthy at the shop. More on that in a moment. What I’m starting with is an idea to tout the area of Sunderland (where we are), Arlington and Manchester. OK, even Sandgate. There’s so much fascinating history here. The best overview I’ve seen is one written by William Budde, who is the Russell Collection curator at the Martha Canfield Library in Arlington. Titled “Arlington: The First 250 Years”, it’s chock full of information about the early days of Arlington, the Revolutionary period, the 19th century and industrialization, to Norman Rockwell and recent times.

Fr instance, did you know that Arlington was a hang out for the Allen brothers, Ethan and Ira, who played such a pivotal role in Vermont’s history (and more on them when we do a piece on our next door neighbors, the innkeepers at The Ira Allen House).

While in Arlington, they were friends with Remember Baker, who ran a grist mill where today The Mill sits on the Peter Brook through East Arlington. New owners Joshua Sherman and Carolyn Blitz have created a recording studio and performing space. Baker was killed after the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, but the really interesting period was in some ways the years that preceded that – when Vermont was being fought over by competing land grants from New York and New Hampshire. That’s one of those below the radar sagas in American history – and every place can have claim to that – that on closer inspection get more and more fascinating. Vermont could easily have ended up in one state or the other, instead of a separate entity.

Anyway, just the start of a little mini-series on Arlington, Sunderland, Sandgate and maybe Manchester too, now that I’ve joined the Manchester Historical Society. I always loved history. It’s always amazing how rich everyplace is with it. All the more reason to pln a day trip or weekend getaway to come through here.

~Andrew McKeever