The Old Grist Mills of New England

Old Grist Mill Vermont

Grist Mills – Before flour came in convenient sized bags and in a zillion versions like wheat,  whole-wheat, bleached, gluten-free, rye, potato, rice, pastry, corn meal etc.

Today its easy to shop for pre-ground flour.
Modern supermarkets offer a wide selection of specialty flours at your finger tips.

In the old days you had to grown your own grain, harvest it, dry it, separate the grain from the plant and take it to the local grist mill to have it ground into flour bay a water powered contraption between two giant stone disks called mill stones.  How much stone dust do you think people back then ate?

A gristmill (also: grist mill, corn mill or flour mill) grinds grain into flour. The term can refer to both the grinding mechanism and the building that holds it.

Whole communities sprang up around the available water sources and grist mills were such an important part of every day life that many have survived today and even more mill stones are around decorating people gardens or used as front steps.

Here is a collection of some of the mills I’ve photographed around New England.

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Old Grist Mill Vermont
Old Grist Mill Vermont by Edward M. Fielding

Located on Granby Road (just off Route 102) in Guildhall, Vermont, the Old Guildhall Grist Mill. In Guildhall was the Bailey Grist Mill was built below what is reputed to be the first wing dam built in the Connecticut. It was in operation until 1844. According to a petition submitted by one Enoch Bartlett to the Council and Representatives of the State of New Hampshire in 1780, the iron work, mill stones, gears, and other building materials, were plundered from a mill located on Dean Brook in Northumberland and transported across the Connecticut River for use in the Bailey mill.

More photographs of old grist mills from around New England can be found on Edward M. Fielding’s online portfolio of fine art photographs from around New England and beyond – https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/mill


Hyannis Harbor Cape Cod Fine Art Photography

Hyannis Harbor Cape Cod Massachusetts Photograph

Hyannis Harbor at sunset on a beautiful September evening showing the lighthouse and a fishing ship docked by fine art photographer Edward M. Fielding. Prints and framed art available for purchase.

Hyannis Harbor is a small natural harbor located in the village of Hyannis in the town of Barnstable, Massachusetts.  Hyannis Harbor is protected by a breakwater, is used as a harbor of refuge by coasting vessels and pleasure craft of less than 14-foot draft. A light is on the end of the breakwater. The harbor is the approach to Hyannis Port, on the west side of the harbor, Lewis Bay, and Hyannis at the head of the northwest arm of Lewis Bay.

The lighthouse is privately owned and is not open to the public. The best views are from the water or from nearby Keyes Beach.

Station established: 1849
Present tower built: 1849
Deactivated: 1929

Construction materials: Brick
Other buildings still standing: 1849 keeper’s house, 1902 oil house, cistern

Optic: Fifth-order Fresnel lens (1856)

About Hyannis:

Hyannis /ˌhˈænɪs/ is the largest of the seven villages in the town of Barnstable, Massachusetts, in the United States. It is the commercial and transportation hub of Cape Cod.

Hyannis is a major tourist destination and the primary ferry boat and general aviation link for passengers and freight to Nantucket Island.

Hyannis also provides secondary passenger access to the island of Martha’s Vineyard, with the primary passenger access to Martha’s Vineyard being located in Woods Hole, a village in the nearby town of Falmouth.

Due to its large natural harbor, Hyannis is the largest recreational boating and second largest commercial fishing port on Cape Cod, behind only Provincetown.

https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/hyannis-harbor-cape-cod-massachusetts-edward-fielding.html  

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New England Winter Scene with snow, red barn and vintage red tractor

Old tractor in the snow

Behind the Shot:  Classic New England Winter Scene

This is one of those photographs that has it all.  Snow, a great old red barn or more accurately, a maple syrup producing sugar shack and a great old red vintage tractor.

New England winter shots like these require a lot of planning.  Photographing winter in rural New Hampshire among the hills and dales, along the country lanes and over the forested mountains, can be a huge challenge in winter.

Most of the time there is no place to park.  Drainage ditches line the old country roads and snow plows are apt to come by at any moment to bury your car under a pile of slush and snow.

Best to plan ahead, keep track of points of interest that you wish to return to in winter, watch the weather reports and hope and pray that the farmer doesn’t move his old vintage tractor out of position.

These aren’t movie props ya know.  Farm equipment such as this great old red tractor are working essentials to the operation of these farms such as this one in Lyme, New Hampshire with its working maple syrup operation.

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In winter farm equipment might used to move firewood or push snow out of the path to the barn. Although often an old tractor like this one, even if it is still working, is probably used mostly in the summer for hay cutting.

A few tips on photographing classic New England winter landscapes such as this:

  • Plan out your shot before walking around the scene.  You don’t want to create a bunch of ugly footprints in the snow.
  • Avoid bright sun.  Sunlight can be harsh in winter with glare reflecting off the snow.  Overcast days are great for reducing shadows and preventing highlights from creating overly contrasty scenes.
  • Meter for snow.  Don’t let your snow turn gray because you didn’t use exposure compensation.  Add a stop of exposure to make sure your snow isn’t dull and gray.
  • Keep certain locations in mind for future photo shoots in different seasons.  For example this old tractor and farm in Hopkinton, NH is on my list for a revisit once winter sets in.  I shot it in the fall, now for a winter version of this scene.

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New England Winter Photographs by Edward M. Fielding

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A horse and red barn in the middle of a snow storm in the Stowe and Waterbury area of Vermont.

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The photogenic Jenne Farm in Vermont which as graced the cover of many a calendar.

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Trapp Family Lodge, stone chapel in the woods in Stowe, Vermont.

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A scene from the secret cross country area in Lyme,  New Hampshire.  A former scout summer camp, now a warming hut for cross country skiers.

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Hanover green in winter.  A snow covered green scene with bench on the Dartmouth College campus in downtown Hanover, New Hampshire.

All images are available as fine art prints, framed prints, canvas, metal prints and more.  https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/winter

Meet one of my neighbors!

Cow portrait by Edward M. Fielding
Cow portrait by Edward M. Fielding
Cow portrait by Edward M. Fielding

Meet one of my neighbors!  I managed to get this great shot of a beautiful cow when it came over to investigate my little westie dog Tiki. Tiki thinks cows and deer and just about anything with four legs is a big dog that needs to be barked at but these gentle cows just liked to come over and investigate.

See more cow photographs here:
https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/cow

Wandering the back roads of New England

New England Photography by Edward M. Fielding

Here in the Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire around the Connecticut Rivers and in the foothills of New Hampshire’s White Mountains and valleys of Vermont’s Green Mountains, there are so many dirt and gravel back roads to lose one self.

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For a photographer chasing the brilliant changing leaves of Autumn foliage season, that brief time each fall when the forests explode with reds, oranges, yellows and green, these back roads can be a gold mine for finding compelling landscape subjects.

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Hundred year old wooden barns, stone walls stacked by farmers no doubt cursing their “rock crop” as the plowed the thin New England soil and later turned to raising sheep until the Australians killed that market and they sent their daughters down the valley to work in the mills making fabric and the factories along the river making rifles.

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Iconic Vermont Photographs by Edward M. Fielding For Sale

Blizzard at the red dairy barn.

Iconic Vermont Photographs

Decorating with local Vermont icons seems to be in mind for these recent collector from Randolph, Vermont.  The buyer selected a nice choice of Vermont seasonal landscape photographs from my collection.  I really enjoy seeing this collector curated selection from my portfolio of 100s of Vermont, New Hampshire and New England fine art photographs.  What a great eye this buyer has!

This collection of Vermont photographs reminds me of years it took to create this collection of iconic Vermont images and the individual effort to create each one.  Forget about pouring over maps and driving around to find these spot, I’m talking about putting my body and camera equipment at risk to get the shots.

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I remember my feet slowly slipping across the wet, slimy rocks at this covered bridge and waterfall in Thetford, Vermont as I was lining up the shot.  I keep thinking, unless my boots grip something soon, I’m going over the falls.

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This shot is just over the Connecticut River from Vermont in Etna, New Hampshire.  A big old red classic dairy farm with Dutch style room on a farm just outside of Hanover, NH and Lyme, NH.  A stones throw from Norwich, VT.  Well sane people were at home by the wood stove watching the weather reports, this guy was hiking over, dodging snow plows and then wading knee deep into the snow to compose the sticking image of a classic red New England barn against the snow covered landscape complete with billowing snow.  Thank goodness for my weatherized Canon 6D and a handy wipe to clean the lens.

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The iconic old red mill in Jericho, Vermont is a bit of a trek to find but the danger involved in getting this shot involves a busy thoroughfare more than anything else.

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This shot of a red barn in the late afternoon with the reflection off the Connecticut River involved a bit of maneuvering.  First spotted I had to find a place to park the car on busy Route 5 which follows along on the Vermont side of the Connecticut River.

The I had to hope the guardrail and disappear into the under brush while my wife worried about me back at the car.  To get into position for the reflection to look right I braved the tick infested vines, mud and the remnants of an old barbed wire fence.

Coming back up the bank I had to negotiate the slippy mud, thick underbrush and untangle the barbed wire from my leg before it dug in deep enough to require a tenus shot.

I’ve tried to return to this spot other years but never seem to have found the same area.  Might have been a lower water level that allowed me to get this great Vermont scene.  Just goes to show you,  take the shots when you see them.  You might not be back to the area or even be able to capture the same scene again.

The Barns of Vermont and New Hampshire

Family farms sporting traditional and historic wood framed New England barns and stables still dot the New England landscape in Vermont and New Hampshire.  The barns,  most painted bright red against the summer time green landscape, the brilliant orange, brown and red colors of autumn and the white snowy landscape of winter.  But you can find other colors such as white or “hasn’t been painted in decades” gray.

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A fine white barn in South Woodstock at the Green Mountain Horse Asssociation. Founded in 1926, GMHA is the nation’s oldest continuously operating horse association whose mission is to provide and maintain opportunities for educational and competitive activities for diverse equestrian disciplines. Emphasis is placed on equestrian trails preservation, horsemanship and youth education.

The facility, located in South Woodstock, Vermont, offers a wide range of events to hundreds of equestrians each year in dressage, driving, events, hunter/jumpers, and trail riding. GMHA is dedicated to preserving trails and open space for equestrian use, and the trail network covers over 400 miles.

The 65-acre facility includes stabling for 196 horses, four all-weather arenas with European Geo-Textile footing, a spectacular cross-country course, and driving hazards.

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In Enfield, New Hampshire right next door to the historic Shaker Village is a wildlife refuge and this building is part of the maintenance crew’s facilities.

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One of the most photographed farm spots in Vermont if not the world.  When you think of Vermont, the image that enters your brain might just be Jenne Farm.

Jenne Farm is a farm located in Reading, Vermont. It is one of the most photographed farms in the world, especially in autumn. The farm has appeared in magazine covers, photography books, and a Budweiser television advertisement; it has also served as a setting in the films Forrest Gump and Funny Farm. Photographs of the farm have appeared on posters, postcards and wall calendars.

Despite its fame, the private farm is located along a dirt road and is not heavily promoted. The only sign indicating its presence is a tiny board along Vermont State Route 106 advertising maple syrup.

The farm became noted for photogenic scenery about 1955 when a photography school in South Woodstock discovered it. Later, it appeared as an entry in a Life photo contest, on the cover of Yankee magazine, and in Vermont Life.

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Stowe, Vermont and Waterbury, Vermont have many old farms and old barns including this small horse barn on the way from the Ben and Jerry’s factory and on to the ski resort town of Stowe, Vermont.

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This newer classic New England red barn in Etna, New Hampshire, part of Hanover, NH – home of Dartmouth College, beautifully sits on a hillside over looking the small village.

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In the backroads of Vermont, far from the last waypoint on the map or GPS, wonderful old wooden barns in their unpainted beauty can be found among the brilliant fall foliage.

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A collection of old New England barn buildings with a single red door beyond.  This amazing complex of old barns is found right off the main road in Windsor, Vermont – the birthplace of the state.

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden

We used to live on Mount Desert Island, Maine and we knew one of the caretakers of the Rockefeller’s properties. Got a private tour of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden one foggy summer day. The gardens are full of ancient statutes and artifacts brought back from a Honeymoon in Asia, including this wall that surrounds the garden. The perfectly smooth gravel road is a service road. Not really part of the garden but still kept in perfect shape by the staff.

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Asian inspired garden walls of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden, Seal Harbor, Maine on Mount Desert Island just outside of Acadia National Park.

The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden is a private garden in Seal Harbor, Maine that was built by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and her husband, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in the 1920’s. The garden was designed by Beatrix Farrand and blends Eastern and Western landscape traditions in a summer season display. A book was recently published by David Rockefeller, son of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and current owner of the garden and its surrounding lands.

Skiing at the Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe Vermont

One of the most beloved movies of all time, “The Sound of Music” starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer came out in 1965 but is still a belo

Based on the memoir “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers” by Maria von Trapp, the movie was based on a real life family. And you can hang with decedents of the Trapp family at the Trapp Family Lodge and resort in Stowe, Vermont.

What is the sequel to the movie “The Sound of Music”?  The Trapp Family comes to America, tours as a singing group. After living for a short time in Merion, Pennsylvania, where they welcomed their youngest child, Johannes, the family dicovered the mountains of Vermont that reminded them of Austria and they settled in Stowe, Vermont, in 1941. They purchased a 660-acre (270 ha) farm in 1942 and converted it into the Trapp Family Lodge.

In the video above, see if you can spot the maple sap lines along the trails leading down to the Trapp Maple Sugaring House where the sap is boiled down to syrup.

Today the Trapp Family Lodge is a full resort with an Austrian flair.  Accommodations from Villas to condos to a hotel with activities from hiking, spa, horse-drawn sleigh rides, Austrian Tea House and even a craft beer brewery and pub.

In the 60’s, fresh from college skiing at Dartmouth, Johannes Trapp is credited with starting the first Nordic ski center in the USA.   Today the cross-country skiing facilities at Trapp Family Lodge have been ranked in the top 50 Nordic ski centers in the country.

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Trapp Family Lodge features over 37 miles of groomed trails and 62 miles of backcountry trails suitable for cross-country skiers of all ages and abilities.   They even have some snow making on the race trails.  You can rent equipment at the resort’s Nordic Center, which includes a retail shop, and take a  exhilarating trip to Slayton Pasture Cabin where you can warm up on the hearth of a roaring fireplace and replenish your energy with homemade soup, sandwiches, and hot chocolate.

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The journey to Slayton Pasture Cabin may be long, but it’s worth it. You’ll know the minute you walk in.

This rustic and cozy log cabin is the perfect rendezvous spot for lunch with family and friends. Take a seat by the hearth of our roaring fireplace and savor some homemade soups and sandwiches.

Then enjoy a hot chocolate, which is the perfect way to warm up after a long day of skiing. Slayton Pasture Cabin is open from 10:00AM-3:00PM daily during the winter months.

We recently took a trip up to Stowe and the Trapp Family Lodge.  Its just over an hour up Rt 89 from the Upper Valley to Stowe.  An exit at Waterbury with all of its foodie attractions including the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, Cabot Cheese outlet, Lake Champlain Chocolates and the Cider House.

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At Stowe we paid our $25 per person trail fee and set off for the Slayer Cabin which makes a great halfway point on a loop up and down the mountain.  Its a tough climb all the way up to the cabin but homemade soup ($13 for two smalls and a large bowl for the teenager), outhouses and a warm fire makes a nice stop.

In the winter of 1968, the Trapp Family Lodge Cross-Country Ski Center opened as the first full service center of its kind in North America. With success came longer trails and construction of the Slayton Pasture Cabin (built in 1971) as a destination lunch and warming facility. Today, the Slayton Pasture Cabin serves soups and sandwiches next to a roaring hearth to guests who are ready and eager to make the 10 kilometer round excursion. For many skiers and hikers, the iconic Cabin represents a special achievement while providing an intimate glimpse into the past of Vermont ski history.

Unfortunately the recent weather – dump of snow and then a couple of warm days followed by cold nights – left the Haul Road trail on the way down rather icy.  I ended up walking down a few sections because the trail was shear ice.   But over all we always enjoy our trips to this beautiful piece of property in the mountains of Stowe, Vermont.

On the way home who could pass up an opportunity to visit Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream factory in Waterbury, Vermont?

Winter Trip to the Cilleyville Bridge

Here in New Hampshire we recently experienced two blizzards within days with a bit more snow in the forecast. We had more snow this week then we’ve had in two years! So I’m feeling a bit of pressure to get out and photograph it.

The tricking part is finding the time between A. Being ordered by the Governor to stay off the roads unless its an emergency B. Shoveling out the driveway and C. Simply timing the weather.

Yesterday was 18 hours of snowfall, yesterday clouding and digging out but today was a great sunny winter day with temps in the mid-twenties which is down right balmy if you are well dressed. I decide to take a trip to a small covered bridge in Andover, NH called the Cilleyville Bridge. It always has a big American flag hanging on it so I knew that would look great against the snow. Here is what it looks like in the summer months:

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According to the local historians, the structure was built by a local carpenter by the name of Print Atwood. He was assisted by Al Emerson and Charles Wilson. Local folklore suggests that during construction, Emerson and Wilson became upset and cut some of the timbers short, causing the bridge to tilt. On the other hand, engineers might suggest that the tilt is caused by the very nature of the Town lattice truss design.

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The bridge was the last covered, and probably the shortest built in Andover. It was bypassed in 1959 and restricted to foot traffic. Located in the Cilleyville section of Andover, it was originally known as Bog Bridge. A Cilleyville Bridge was nearby, spanning the Blackwater river.

After it was torn down in 1908, the original Bog Bridge became known as the Cilleyville Bridge. The roof was reshingled in 1962 at a cost of $600. On March 9, 1982 the roof caved in from excessive snow load. The town repaired it in July 1982 for $3,400. The bridge was the model for the Shattuck murals of typical New Hampshire scenes which were once located in the State House in Concord. The Cilleyville Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

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It was a great day out.  The sun warmed up the roads and melted the snow and ice so the drive over the foothills of the White Mountains on 4A was pleasant and I stopped along the way to photograph around the Shaker Village in Enfield.

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The only problem I ran into was that the snow was so high it kept getting into my 10-year-old Sorrel tall winter boots. I had to reach into my boots and pull out handfuls of snow from time to time which soaked my jeans. But at least it pushed me over the edge as far as buying a new pair of boots which I’ve been putting off. The heels on my old boots were basically gone and there were slashes in the sides. What I liked about the Sorrels was they were easy to slip in and out of and I could use them with snow shoes. What I didn’t like was the laces which never stayed tied and eventually I just removed.

I ordered a new pair of these boots from Kamik which are similar but don’t have any annoying laces. Kamik is a Canadian brand and if its anything the Canadian’s know about, its cold and snow. My son has had a pair of these for a few years and likes them.

 

More Covered Bridges: http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/covered+bridge