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The Vermont Mystique: Fact and Fiction in the Green Mountain State

Program Number: 2001RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/10/2014 - 8/15/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: White River Junction, Vermont
Price starting at: $845.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Journey to Vermont to uncover the truth about a state with an aura that many Americans find compelling but don’t fully understand. Through, film, music, art and back-road rambles, demystify the Green Mountain State by experiencing its well-known landmarks, hidden-away haunts and the great range of people, politics and communities that fill the spaces in between. Meet local historians and university professors who unpack Vermont’s unique history as a haven for free-thinkers. View innovative documentary films about the state’s singular spirit and discuss them with the filmmakers. Learn about Vermont native son President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge, and visit idyllic New England towns, historic homesteads and the state’s only National Park during your journey.




Highlights

• Journey to the tiny mountain village of Plymouth Notch to explore the birthplace of Calvin Coolidge, America’s 30th President and Vermont’s best-known native son.
• In a true gem among Vermont's villages, Woodstock, have lunch on the grounds of the Billings Farm and then join National Park Service staff for an exploration of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller site.
• Visit the campus of Dartmouth College to see the famous Orozco Murals and return via the homestead of long-serving U.S. Senator Justin Smith Morrill, author of the Land-Grant Colleges Act.



Activity Particulars

Some walking on the field trips. We can bring your travel seat on the field trips if needed.




White River Junction

Named for its location as the meeting place of the White and Connecticut rivers, as well as the area’s railroad lines, this town on New Hampshire’s border boasts well-preserved, rural traditions and homesteads, as well as rich ecological diversity.



Accommodations
A Roaring ’20s railroad hotel listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Coolidge
  White River Junction, Vermont 5 nights
 Hotel Coolidge
Type: Hotel
  Description: Listed on the Natonal Register of Historic Places. Located in downtown White River Junction across from the New England Transportation Institute and Museum. What began in 1849 as Junction House, a railroad hotel providing overnight stays for travelers including President Calvin Coolidge and movie star Lillian Gish, the Hotel Coolidge has carried its 1920s flavor into the 21st century with dignity. It brings you yesterday's ambiance with today's amenities and a timeless sense of personalized, caring service - all in a comfortable atmosphere.
  Contact info: P.O.Box 515
White River Junction, VT 05001 USA
phone: 800-622-1124
web: www.hotelcoolidge.com
  Room amenities: Rooms vary in the context of a country inn and all have their own character and decor. Cable TV, private bath, telephone
  Facility amenities: A gracious lobby, dining room and classrooms, gift shop.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Road Scholar Rate Please contact hotel directly for availability and rates.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Road Scholar Rate Please contact hotel directly for availability and rates.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check-in begins at 4:00 p.m. Dinner/program begins at 6:30 p.m. You will be staying at Hotel Coolidge that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at 10:30 am You will be staying at Hotel Coolidge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free at hotel.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  White River Junction, Vermont
  Nearest city or town:  White River Junction, Vermont
  Nearest highway: I 91 and I 89
  Nearest airport:  Manchester, NH
  From End of Program
  Location: White River Junction, Vermont
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Manchester, NH

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

None - Car Required
Car Rentals
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Travel Time:

 

1.5 

 

Distance:

 

76 miles

   

Manchester Airport has most major car rental companies on site.

 

White River Junction, VT

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Travel Time:

 

 

Distance:

 

The hotel is across the tracks from the train depot.

   

The hotel is within view and easy walking distance of the train station.

 
Driving Directions
  From the East (Boston and Manchester airport) Take Interstate 93 North to Interstate 89 west. Continue until you cross the Connecticut River into Vermont. Get off immediately at first exit, White River Junction, Interstate 91 North. Keep right as you join Interstate 91 and get off immediately at Exit 11, White River Junction. Continue straight through first traffic lights. Go down hill 1/2 mile and straight through second traffic lights, following sign to White River Junction. Continue 1/4 mile to dead end and turn right. Hotel Coolidge is on your right.
  From the North (Burlington VT) Take Interstate 89 South. Get off at the Interstate 91 interchange just before you go into New Hampshire. Follow signs and keep left for Interstate 91 North. Then keep right as you join Interstate 91. Get get off immediately at Exit 11, White River Junction. Continue straight through first traffic lights. Go down hill 1/2 mile and straight through second traffic lights, following sign to White River Junction. Continue 1/4 mile to dead end and turn right. Hotel Coolidge is on your right.
  From the South Take Interstate 91 North into Vermont. Get off at Exit 11, White River Junction. Continue straight through first traffic lights. Go down hill 1/2 mile and straight through second traffic lights, following sign to White River Junction. Continue 1/4 mile to dead end and turn right. Hotel Coolidge is on your right.
  From the west Take Route 4 east through Vermont. When you reach White River Junction village, continue straight through traffic lights instead of turning left over bridge, following sign to White River Junction. Continue 1/4 mile to dead end and turn right. Hotel Coolidge is on your right.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Afternoon Arrival 4-6 pm / Dinner at 6:30 pm followed by orientation
(Sunday, August 10)
   
 Afternoon: 4:00 - 6:30 pm—Room check-in and Road Scholar registration. If you arrive early, we’ll store your luggage while you go exploring. You’ll receive a nametag and information packet when you register. (Early check-in may be available in some circumstances.)
 Dinner: Dinner is at 6:30 pm in the Hotel Coolidge dining room. If you arrive by Amtrak (approximately 6:30) don’t worry, we’ll keep your meal warm while you settle in.
 Evening: Following dinner and dessert, you’ll be welcomed by our Program Coordinator. We’ll discuss the logistics of the week and the program itinerary for each day, and introduce ourselves to each other. The rest of the evening is free time, and our staff can recommend things to do in the area if you’re looking to go out. The historic village of White River Junction sits at the crossroads of the White and Connecticut Rivers and there’s nothing like taking in the scene on a lovely evening.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Coolidge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Lecture on Vermont history/Field Trip to Calvin Coolidge birthplace/Evening Movie
(Monday, August 11)

Note: There will be some walking in the village of Plymouth. One building has somewhat steep stairs.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room
 Morning: Our day will begin with a lecture/presentation about Vermont history by noted historian Cyndy Bittinger, former director of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation and professor at Vermont Community College. Cyndy will begin our weeklong exploration of the mystique of Vermont by examining the unique story of the founding of the state, Vermont’s longstanding reputation as a haven for free thinkers, and the contributions to the state’s history and character made by women, Native Americans, and African Americans.
 Lunch: Lunch in hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon we’ll take a field trip to the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in picturesque Plymouth Notch. We’ll be met by Bill Jenney, director of the site, who will give us an overview of the buildings and landscape features of the site. Then you’ll be free to tour the site on your own, with the guidance of program staff. The site includes Coolidge’s boyhood home, his Summer White House, the village meeting house, a replica village store, and the Plymouth Artisan Cheese factory, which was started in 1890 by Coolidge’s father.
 Dinner: Dinner in hotel dining room.
 Evening: A new collaborative documentary film project explores Vermont’s iconoclastic spirit: where it comes from, how it shapes our present, and how it lays the groundwork for the future. We’ll watch Part 1 of “Freedom and Unity: The Vermont Movie” and have a discussion with award-winning filmmaker Nora Jacobson.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Coolidge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Field Trip to Woodstock/Dana House Museum/Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park/Billings Farm/Historic Murals talk
(Tuesday, August 12)

Note: We'll be walking a lot today, though the terrain will be mostly flat.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Our daylong adventure starts with a journey to Woodstock by a curious route. Imagine that you’re Frederick Billings, prominent 19th-century railroad magnate and ardent conservationist, returning home from New York and making your way the 14 miles from the train station in White River Junction to your rural retreat. First stop in Woodstock, county seat or “shiretown” of Windsor County, is the Dana House, home of the Woodstock Historical Society. We’ll have a guided tour of their museum, a small gem of New England material culture featuring antique furniture, fine art, clothing, textiles, silver, and ceramics.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch at Billings Farm and Museum .
 Afternoon: Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller is the only National Park in Vermont. The estate was home to three generations of leadership in environmental stewardship, beginning with George Perkins Marsh, who published what is considered the first book on environmentalism in 1862. Across the road at Billings Farm and Museum you’ll get to explore the agricultural heritage of Vermont and New England.
 Dinner: Dinner in hotel dining room.
 Evening: Discover hidden stories in the historic murals that grace the hotel’s Vermont Room. If you want to get a head start on the back story, read the Wikipedia entry about Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Coolidge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Lecture and Walking Tour on Cycles of Community/Free Afternoon/Evening Movie
(Wednesday, August 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Lecture at hotel on the history of White River Junction, Vermont.
 Lunch: Lunch in hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: This afternoon is free for you to explore on your own (Information, brochures, and maps available at the hotel) or to relax. You can continue to explore the village, or venture further afield into the neighboring towns and the surrounding countryside. Shops, museums, galleries, fishing and swimming holes, and many other attractions are easily accessible from White River Junction.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Enjoy the second part of our cinematic exploration of what makes Vermont distinctive. John O’Brien is well known for his “Vermont Trilogy,” three movies that playfully and lovingly highlight traditional Vermont folkways and characters that are being eclipsed by the pace and interconnectedness of contemporary life, featuring many local nonprofessional actors. John will be on hand to talk about the motivations behind his movies.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Coolidge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Lecture on Grace Coolidge/Field Trip to Dartmouth Orozco Murals/Morrill Homestead/Norwich University/Evening Dancing
(Thursday, August 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Cyndy Bittinger returns to begin our day with a profile of First Lady Grace Coolidge, a fascinating woman primarily in the spotlight during the 1920s, known both for her stylishness and for her humanitarian work. Then we’re off on another ramble, starting with a short trip to the campus of Dartmouth College to view the astounding murals by Jose Clemente Orozco depicting “The Epic of American Civilization.” From there we’ll make a brief stop in Norwich, Vermont, the original site of Norwich University, the oldest private military academy in the country, originally the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy, founded in 1819. Then we’ll proceed to another state historic site, the estate of Renaissance Man, Lincoln ally, and creator of the Land Grant College system Justin Smith Morrill. In addition to being a significant education reformer, Morrill was well versed in architecture and botany, as you’ll see at the Homestead.
 Lunch: On the grounds of the Morrill Homestead, across from the iconic Strafford Town House, built in 1799, one of the most photographed buildings in Vermont. Food will be provided by the Hotel Coolidge.
 Afternoon: From the Morrill Homestead we’ll travel to the present campus of Norwich University, a distinctive college shared by military academy cadets and civilian students. We’ll spend most of our time at the university’s new Sullivan Museum and History Center, guided by program staff.
 Dinner: Dinner in hotel dining room.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening of traditional song and dance with one of the region’s fine Celtic or contra bands. At the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Coolidge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Breakfast/Musical Presentation/Departure
(Friday, August 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: The emphasis on music, storytelling, and history continues on our last morning. We’ll be entertained by the wit and wisdom of Vermont’s popular troubador-legislator, Senator Dick McCormack. Dick is a longtime veteran of both state politics and the performance stage, and he’ll enlighten us about the always fascinating dynamics of Vermont politics, past and present.
 Lunch: Bag lunch served to take with you. Check out of hotel by 11am. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys!
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  White River Junction, Vermont Vermont Dept. of Tourism and Marketing
Vermont Dept. of Tourism and Marketing 6 Baldwin St., Drawer 33 Montpelier, VT 05633-1301 Phone: 802-828-3676 E-mail: info@VermontVacation.com If you would like to order a travel packet to help plan your next trip to Vermont, use our on-line form To order your travel packet by phone, call our toll-free number: 1-800-VERMONT (US and Canada) For additional information, visit www.vermontvacation.com
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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