Travels around the state of Vermont. Vermont is a state in the northeastern United States, known for its natural landscape, which is primarily forested. Part of the New England region, it’s also known for being home to more than 100 19th-century covered wooden bridges, and as a major producer of maple syrup. Thousands of acres of mountain terrain are crossed by hiking trails and skiing slopes.
Jenne Farm in Reading, Vermont (The address of the Jenne Farm is 1264 Jenne Road.) is suppose to be the most photographed farm in Vermont and perhaps the world.
It even showed up in Forest Gump in a scene where Forest is running across America (and back again) and it has been used in Budweiser commercials and other movies.
I’ve seen a lot of photographs of photographers lined up, tripod leg to tripod leg, in the early morning or like in this photo, in the middle of winter. I’ve visited the farm many times (and tossed a donation in the donation box) but have never run into another photographer there. Perhaps I don’t get up early enough or these are photo clubs or some kind of photo tour.
….in the world of landscape photography, Jenne Farm becomes a sunrise mecca each autumn, a scene that so screams “quintessential New England fall” — rolling hills, weathered red barns, and an 18th-century farmhouse, all flanked by autumn leaves — that it has become, it is said, the most photographed farm in the country, perhaps the world.
“On busy days, there can easily be a hundred people up on that hill photographing everything we do, and sometimes people get confused and think it’s a park instead of a working farm and private residence. They’re always asking for the public restroom, when can they take a tour of the house, and the location of the restaurant.”
In the world of amateur photography, an iconic spot like Jenne Farm becomes “must have” shot on photographer’s bucket list. Once you’ve seen a photograph of the farm, you start seeing every where. On calendars, on post cards, on book covers etc.
Amateur photographers who “collect” these iconic spots become like a bird enthusiast tracks their life list and travel the world to check off more birds than that guy in the bird club.
Antelope Valley – check.
Grand Canyon – check
Bass Harbor Lighthouse – check
Nubble Light – Cape Neddick Lighthouse – check
Old Faithful – check
Eiffel Tower – check
The only problem is not seeing the forest for the trees or being so focused on these icons perhaps they miss other interesting places and scene that are right around them in their neck of the woods. Also standing in a line with a dozen other photographers all getting the same exact shot doesn’t lead to much individual expression or personal style your work.
The goal with any iconic spot should be to bring a unique take on the location. Difficult to do of course with a spot that has been shot to death.
My photography passion compels me to explore the world and seek out interesting places and subjects to photograph. When my wife attended a conference at the Stowe Mountain Resort, I jump at the chance to explore the area.
One of the treasures I found was this historic old covered bridge that served the railroad. The unique roof opening allowed smoke and steam to exit at the top. It’s not the only covered railroad bridge I’ve found this year.
On the Sugar River Recreation trail going from Newport to New Hampshire on the top of an old railroad grade, there is another fine example of an old wooden railroad covered bridge.
The Fisher Covered Railroad Bridge is a covered bridge in Wolcott, Vermont.
Built in 1908, it originally carried the St. Johnsbury and Lamoille County Railroad over the Lamoille River.
Now closed, it was the last covered bridge in Vermont to carry railroad traffic, and is a rare surviving example in the state of a double Town lattice truss. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974
The Fisher Covered Railroad Bridge consisted originally of a
single^ span supported by two flanking timber lattice
trusses. the timber deck structure was removed and replaced
with a steel jdeck truss structure independent
of the wood superstructure. The southerly span is supported by
two plate girders and the northerly span by four steel I-beams.
The yellow pine trusses, each of which has an extra set of
diagonal lattice members for additional strength, now support
only the superstructure of the bridge. Lateral iron rods
connect the top chords of the trusses through the apexes formed
by the upper lateral braces. Ship f s knees provide reinforcement
between the principal top beams and vertical posts near each
corner of the bridge.
The superstructure of the Fisher Bridge is 103.5 feet long overall.
The twio steel spans are 42 and 51 feet long, respectively
north and s”outh. The superstructure is_20.5 feet wide, and has
an interior opening of 15 feet for the track.
The entire bridge rests on a^utments_built of stone blocks
mortared together and capped with concrete, the lower half of
the north abutment has been faced with concrete. The steel
spans rest on a central pier built of timber pilings sheathed
with dimension stock. Concrete back-walls retain the track bed
at each end of the bridge.
On the exterior, the heavy planks pegged and bolted together
diagonally to form the trusses (and side walls) of the bridge
are sjieathed with unpainted matched spruce boards hung vertically.
Similar siding protects the ends of the trusses immediately
inside the portals. The siding flares outward toward the
bottom of the bridge to cover the bottom chords. The siding
stops short of the eaves to leave strip openings along the tops
of the walls.
The gable ends are sheathed with unpainted matched clapboards
hung horizontally, the portal openings have diagonal? upper
corners to match the interior struts. The siding flares diagonally
outward beyond the line of the side walls to meet the
A shallow-pitch gable roof covers the bridge. A .wood monitor
with louvered sides, which served as a smoke ventilator, extends
nearly the full length of the ridge. The roof and monitor are
covered with asphalt roofing paper.
Fine Art Photographs of Cows – I recently found myself in Stowe, Vermont for a rainy afternoon. My wife had a conference at the Spruce Lodge and I had the afternoon free. Fall foliage had already come and gone with the last leaves being ripped off by a breezy, stormy day. But I was determined to get out and photograph the beautiful country side around Stowe which includes many fine family farms.
I came across a herd of dairy cows gathering near the farm gate, hoping that it was getting close to milking time. One cow in particular caught my eye and I was able to capture a few nice portraits.
Managing to keep my gear dry and shooting wide open in the dark and gloomy late afternoon cloudy sky, I manage to capture this sweet face in the pasture.
This is a Jersey cow or cattle are a small breed of dairy cattle. Originally bred in the Channel Island of Jersey, the breed is popular for the high butterfat content of its milk and the lower maintenance costs attending its lower body-weight, as well as its genial disposition.
They look a lot different than the type of cow typically raised for beef such as this fine fellow below seen on a small micro farm in Etna, New Hampshire.
These cow portraits in black and white can be found in the extensive portfolios of fine art photographer Edward M. Fielding. Fine art photographs of cows and farms in New England are available as prints, museum quality framed art, canvas prints, wood prints and more as well as on products such as tote bags and decor items such as throw pillows.
I think all artists work in spurts of creativity. Periods in which the art flows more freely and successful outcomes seem to come more easily. It’s like a manic/depressive roller coaster ride when periods of little activity and success following these more successful creative periods.
I can look back to a few summers ago when I was spending a lot of time down in Connecticut helping my parents move out of their summer home to prepare for a permanent move to Florida. The time was spend cleaning, packing, taking trips to Goodwill, painting, raking etc with moments of intense exploration and photography during breaks and the trips back and forth from New Hampshire to CT.
I explored the Connecticut River Valley region around my parents house with new intensity as I might never get back to that region any time soon plus I explored towns along I91 as I traveled back and forth without the family.
Another recent period of intense creative activity occurred with a few half days in the Stowe, Vermont area. My wife had a conference to attend and I went along, spending an afternoon and morning exploring the area. I probably only had six hours total but I made the most of them and came back with a lot of great images.
Hunting around the Wolcott, Morrisville, Stowe, Waterbury and Hardwich areas of Vermont, always on the look out for vintage tractors for my ongoing series on old farm equipment, I found a bunch of great spots and tractors even though it was raining half the time.
The foliage was past peak, but in a few short hours I was able to capture some handsome cows, old barns, vintage farm trucks, several antique tractors, old abandoned houses, historic wooden covered bridge train trestles, pumpkin farms, old chicken coops as well as some cool old relics from the past. This is what I call a high target area – plenty of cool stuff to photograph.
Vermont – How does one truly capture a sense of place in photograph? That’s a good question with no definitive answer. There are no camera settings or com-positional rules that guarantee one will come back with a photograph that captures the essence of a place. But there is I think an ingredient in the recipe that is universal and that is time.
I’ve visited this old barn compound in Windsor, Vermont on many occasions in all different seasons. It’s one of my favorite spots to return to and work out the various compositions afforded by this interesting spot that most would simple drive by on their way to the “top ten” tourist spots.
To truly start to understand a place and then transfer that feeling to others in your photography required spending time in a place. When photographers fail to capture a place in their images, with the result being “ho-hum” or dull photos, its typically because they show up at a spot, say on vacation, and start snapping away before even actually seeing.
When the camera is raised to the eye before the brain actually has time to take in what is being scene, the results are typically uninteresting. Too often we photographers have limited time at a certain place and are rushed to cram in as many “hot spots” or Kodak Moment locations in a day, that we fail to return with a single excellent shot.
Capturing truly excellent images usually requires more intent and planning then what is afforded say on a bus tour through a national park. The most memorable photographs are taken when the light is at its best rather than when you happen to arrive at the location.
And I’ve found that visiting a site over time and through out the year is the best way to truly start to understand what it is you are seeing and trying to capture. Some tips for capturing the essence of a place:
Leave the camera at home on your first trip to a place. (I know this one is tough). Walk around, study all the angles, thing about where the sun is and what type of lighting will look best.
Return to a spot throughout the year.
Return to a spot at different times of the day.
Go on sunny days, go on overcast days.
Don’t set up a tripod right away. Walk around and look. See the image in your mind before selecting a lens and angle.
Bring a step ladder and view the spot from up high, bring a towel and lay down on the ground for a low angle.
Look beyond the obvious, over done shots. When the crowd looks one way, turn around and see what they are missing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 story behind Horse Barn Sunset goes something like this – we had recently moved to the Upper Valley region to Hanover, NH from Mount Desert Island, Maine. We wouldn’t have made the move if my wife’s old friend Ben encouraged her to take the job at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Ben is friend and previous co-worker from the old days in the Boston area.
Ben and his wife Ellen moved to Royalton, Vermont a number of years ago and renovated an old farm house, built a horse barn and now have a collection of horse carriages and participate in competitive carriage driving events.
They invited us over for dinner on late fall day when the beautiful Vermont autumn was still in its glory. I asked if they would mind us coming over early so we planned to get there before the sun set but it took us longer than we planned and arrived when the sun was nearly gone.
I and my camera of course, jumped out of the car and took some pictures, leaving my wife and son to handling the greetings. I managed to grab a few photos of the horse barn from the outside and inside before the light faded and then had time to be gracious to my host.
This photo from inside Ben’s fine horse barn has sold a number of times. It was a tricky capture with the dark interior of the horse barn and the bright foliage outside in the yard. It took a lot of post processing work to preserve the details of the buildings structure and even a horse in one of the stalls.
Outside the foliage of the autumn season is still brilliant in the fading sun on a wonderful fall evening in the Upper Valley, sharing a meal with friends.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?