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GROTON STATE FOREST
Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:15 pm
The Groton State Forest lies in the north central part of the state, due East of Montpelier. State Forest Road 232 runs North and South through the heart of the forest, between U.S. 302 to the South and U.S. 2 to the North. You can reach it from Montpelier by taking 2 East out of Montpelier about 18 miles. 232 is just East of Marshfield. It is just about the same distance from St. Johnsbury to the East. If you have been in the Peacham Area, you can continue South on the Peacham/Groton Road from Peacham (or the 4 corners where Peacham Road and the road to West Barnett intersect, down to Groton and U.S. 302. Take 302 West to the Groton State Forest Road (VT 232). This road is a treasure. There is a nice, small stream with a little waterfall just at the south end of the Forest Road, where you turn on, on a little stream called Wells River (which empties out of Ricker Pond just north).
The Pond is just 2 miles North of 302. Ricker Pond has all the makings for some spectacular reflection shots. We photographed it in the late afternoon. I wished I had my canoe, as the flat water looked beautiful and inviting.
About 6 miles further up 232 is the entrance to the New Discovery State Park and the Owl's Head Overlook. There are spectacular views after a short, but steep hike up to the summit. Views include a couple of large ponds (including Kettle Pond to the West), some wetlands, and mountains in the background. I’ll try to post a couple of record shots in the forum.
MAD RIVER on Route 100
Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:19 pm
Somewhere South of Granville, Alder Meadow Brook starts as a branch/tributary of the White River. It flows North along 100 until it meets with Deer Hollow Brook coming out of the National Forest and becomes the Mad River. I am unclear about exactly where this spot is, but my DeLorme map shows a “local” secondary road about 4 miles South of Warren which “feels” right. The road is just a few hundred feet and is basically a “turnoff” with a couple of picnic tables. As I drove South toward Moss Glen Falls, a splash of color behind the brook caught my eye and I pulled off into the picnic area. It was early morning and overcast and I felt that I still had good light for a while, so with a cup of fresh hot coffee, I grabbed my tripod and camera gear and decided to explore this little stream. What I found was level after level of falls and little pools and eddys everywhere. Unfortunately, I had in mind Moss Glen as a destination and only spent about an hour there. I regret that. I will go back and explore more on my next trip to Vermont. I have been identifying my photos taken here as “Alder Meadow Brook,” but now I realize from my map that it is truly the upper section of the Mad River.
This area is definitely worth seeking and spending some time with, if you like moving water and waterfalls. It could be an any time of the year photo op.
WAITS RIVER - EAST CORINTH AREA
Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:30 pm
WAITS RIVER-E. CORINTH AREA. There are images of E. Corinth and E. Topsham, Waits River and East Orange in the Contributors area. This area encompasses 4 of the “Kaplan Scenics,” and can be covered in a good day. Waits River and East Orange are best photographed in the afternoon. East Corinth is best photographed in the morning, as is East Topsham (East Topsham is one of the few locations Kaplan described as having both morning and afternoon vantage points. There are roads uphill from the village to both the East and the West. However, the afternoon view is no longer viable. Richardson Road (designated as "Welch, or Welch's Road" on internet and Delorme Maps) is a north-south dirt road that goes steeply up a hill to the South from the Powder Springs Road which heads West (then eventually North to Groton) from the center of the village. However, the former views down to the village (probably much “better” views and shots of the this particular village than the shots from behind and to the East) are now completely obscured by new growth saplings (at this writing most of them from 2 to 4 inches in diameter) where there was once a clear view. You can shoot the village from the Powder Springs Road, but not with the effect that you once got from up on Richardson Road.
I arrived in Waits River about 3:00 in the afternoon in October of 2004. The Waits River Road is Vermont State Road 25, which goes to the Southeast from U.S. 302 Southeast of Barre to Interstate 91. When you come into the village, you turn Southwest directly across from the church (right turn if coming from the North; left if from the South). Go the very short distance down the road and across the little bridge (see photo) and back up the hill a short way. Turn around and you’ll see the shot. There is currently some excavation being done near the area. Hopefully, there won’t be some development which will obscure this traditional scenic. My illustration does not show the power lines and utility “stubs” (a nice, bright orange) which unfortunately appear in the foreground. There is also a stop sign at the end of the road as you turn back onto the Waits River Road. I took the liberty to do some “retouching” in Photoshop to remove those items. There are a number of shot perspectives that work here, using the bridge as a leading line into the photo. This remains an imminently viable photo scenic, and is very easy to find and get to.
Ironically, I found a better shot of East Orange in 2005, probably largely due to the leaf drop. When I reached Waits River on October 9, most of the color was gone, and in its place, bare trees. This proved to be an advantage for E. Orange. This is another Village that seems “essential Vermont” to me. It is a very small village with nothing but a church, some farms and some homes. The church, however, is rather unique in that it is a multi-colored structure and a little more complex looking than the traditional “New England” white steepled church. East Orange Road goes West from Waits River Road, just to the North of the Village of Waits River. It is a small road, partly paved, partly dirt, and is a bit difficult to see. It actually has a “Y” with approaches from SR 25 from the North and from the South. Follow the East Orange Road a short distance to the village. At the church, turn left, and take the first dirt road to the left up the hill. This is called Maplewood Road and gives a nice view high above the village. However, this is one of the “Kaplan scenics” that is now marginal. Like the former view from Richardson Road in E. Topsham, there is a lot of new growth foliage which has obscured most of the former clear view. There is kind of an uneasy tension between foliage and color, which significantly obscures the view to the village and church, and lack of foliage, which gives more views, but less of what many of us come to Vermont in October to view and photograph--fall color. Worth a scouting trip and there is time during the same day to scout and probably photograph both East Orange and Waits River, though you may have to make a choice of which is more important to wait for the “magic” light.
East Corinth is a shot which should be taken at sunrise and you should plan to be in place just before. I scouted the area a day before, just to know I could get there, and to look at different perspectives. This is a shot (like Peacham Village) which is taken from an expansive farm field which is to the East of and slightly above the village. You can walk up through the field and get to the upper edge near the tree line and move around to obtain different perspectives of the church, barns and village. I wasn’t able to get to East Corinth in the morning in 2005. Unfortunately, when I did get there in 2006, most of the foliage on the hillside behind the village was gone, and the day was mostly cloudy.
East Corinth is about a mile north on the Corinth-Topsham Road which goes (at a 45 degree turn, coming from Waits River), North from Waits River Road. The East Corinth General Store is right there at the intersection. Drive through the village to the North end and turn into the circular drive for the Masonic Temple (an old church) on the Right (East). You can park there, but observe the signs about not blocking things. The field is up the hill behind the Masonic Temple and over to the right. This is certainly a very viable “Kaplan Scenic” and should continue to be for the foreseeable future. In my view, it is much better than the E. Topsham shot, so should be attempted first. There will still be time to continue the mile or two up the road to the E. Topsham morning location.
East Topsham is a location which I have some mixed feelings about. East Topsham is a mile or two north up the Corinth-Topsham Road. The “morning view” is up the road immediately to the right of the “church” in the village. Go up the hill past the house at the top and turn around. The road continues up, but is a narrow dirt road, so it will pay to find a place to turn around. I parked up the hill past the house at the top, to avoid being a nuisance to the owners of the house, and walked down to find my best perspectives to photograph the village from this side. I don’t think this side provides the best views.
It is my feeling that the best views of the village were from up on Richardson Road, up the hill to the West of, and above the village. The main buildings are now some type of bed and breakfast or shop, rather than a church or municipal building. They have been recently re-roofed with standing seam metal that is a bright red. The view which is still viable, from the hill up behind the village, offers a more cluttered view, and more of a challenge, photographically. Like East Orange, I believe that the more foliage present, the less open views to the important subject areas of the photo scenic (I was not there in the morning in 2005, when full foliage was present). Thus, I would judge this location marginal.
Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:32 pm
Tunbridge Village is another shot described by Kaplan as one of the classic Vermont photo scenics. My shot of the Village, and of an old barn referenced below, are on the contributors site. Tunbridge is the home of the Tunbridge World’s Fair, which has run continuously, since 1867. The Village of Tunbridge is on Vermont 110, in the central part of the state between Chelsea to the North and South Royalton to the South, near Interstate 89. The Shot of Tunbridge Village, is from Potash Hill Road, which starts at the cemetery, just across from the town hall, to the East. Go up the hill past the cemetery, and look back. From the farm field to the right, you can get shots of the village, and the farms and foliage on the hills up behind the village to the West, and the fairgrounds. There are a variety of shots from the farm field. Once again, I noted that this field is a cow pasture and that I would not tramp down any growing crops. Note that the foliage is growing up and that the shot may become more obscured over time by the two large evergreens in the foreground.
Another “disappointment” for me is the new, bright green “standing seam” metal roofing that is so prevalent (both green and red) on buildings in the state these days. All the village buildings and the Fairgrounds buildings are now roofed that way.
I was also able to get a shot of an old barn in a field across the road to the West, which looks like it will continue to be a nice shot for some time in the future. I would have liked to catch this shot either in peak foliage, or in full summer foliage.
There are also some opportunities to photograph the Fairgrounds. It looks like it might be a good site to visit during the fair.
To the south, from the fairgrounds, is another shot of a farm. There is also a covered bridge just south of the village.
PEACHAM - BARNETT AREA
Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:42 pm
I spent a fair amount of time in this area in both 2005 and 2006. My shots of both Peacham Village and Hillside Acres Farm are posted in the contributors area. I have to say this is one of my favorite “places” in Vermont. It still holds the old “Vermont feel” that is beginning to be lost in other parts of the state. Development has been slower here, as has “modernization.” When you arrive in the Village of Peacham, there is one very small store, and no gasoline stations, or other stores. The area is clearly rural and predominantly agricultural.
Peacham Village is the “iconic shot” here. This is the classic “New England” white church and a farm in the foreground. I am happy to report that this scenic is still very much viable and affords several perspectives from which to photograph it. While there are several ways to approach the village, I would highly recommend taking Mack’s Mountain Road from U.S. 2, just east of Marshfield. This (mostly dirt) road is easily car-accessible, and gives some great mountain views as you approach Peacham. The road ends on Church Street in Peacham. Here there is a fork in the road. Church Street goes Northeast, Past the Church and Peacham Town Hall, down to the main street. To the Southwest, the road is Academy Hill Road, which can be taken to Maple Tree Lane, and used to loop back to Mack’s Mountain Road.
The “shot” of the Village is just off Church Street. Just after you come onto Church Street, the Peacham Cemetery will be on your right and the Peacham Fire Department on your left. You may park off to the right of the Fire Station (just heed the signs that say “no parking” in front of the fire station). To the North of the parking lot is a large, farm field which goes up a hill behind the church. Walk out onto the field and you will see the views of “the shot” develop. One point to keep in mind is that much of these locations involve private property. This is a farm field and it appears that over the years the farmer has patiently permitted photographers to traipse through this meadow to get this shot. However, in 2005, when this illustration was taken, the field was a hayfield (in 2006, the land was pastured and walking on it was less of a concern, though you definitely had to watch your step). It is just good manners not to tramp down uncut hay or other crops. When entering on such property, I ask permission when possible, and even when not, I try to stay close to fence lines, in pasture land and take other precautions not to damage growing crops. Remember, while we are excited about getting a beautiful shot, this is the livelihood of these farmers.
The Peacham Village shot is one which is best taken in the late afternoon. The afternoon light here goes later than other spots because it is not so soon blocked out by the mountains.
Another shot of the Village which I have not taken but have seen several others' is from the Northeast. The Academy Hill Road turns into "Old Cemetery Road" as it crosses the main street (Bayley-Hazen Road). Continue Northeast (down the hill -- and eventually back up) on the Old Cemetery Road toward East Peacham, until you get to the top of the Hill and you will see the view back toward the Village.
OTHER SHOTS AROUND PEACHAM. From the bottom of the cemetery across the road from the Fire Station, you can photograph the long view, with a long lens (at least 300 mm) toward South Peacham and get a couple of farms on the distant hillside.
BARNETT & HILLSIDE ACRES FARM. Take Church Street on to the Main Street (Bayley-Hazen Road), and turn right. Follow it south and at South Peacham, it turns into Peacham-Groton Road. There are several views off toward the East of distant mountains and fields. You can also take Stone House Road West off of the Peacham-Groton Road and go up the hill past the house and there are pretty open views from those fields, again to the East.
At South Peacham, turn left and go to West Barnet. Just past West Barnett, is Stevenson Road, to the North. Turn onto Stevenson, and take the first road to the right. Just up the road is a small cemetery on the right. From the cemetery, you have some pretty spectacular views of distant farms on the hillside. Go back to the main road in West Barnet and continue East on West Barnet Road (there is a rather confusing intersection a short distance outside of West Barnet. Be sure to turn right and stay on West Barnet Road at this intersection). Continue on to Barnet Center Road. You will come to a right turn (North) and over a small bridge onto Barnet Center Road. Go up the hill and through what appears to be a very small village (a church, etc.), and on to the top of the hill.
To your right, you will see the next “Kaplan iconic scenic,” Hillside Acres Farm. Again, this is still a very viable Vermont Scenic. You can photograph this scenic from a variety of perspectives along Barnet Center Road. One problem, here is finding a place to park that is off the road. The road is very narrow and the visibility from both down the hill and up over the top is limited. We were able to find a spot to park in a sugar lot just off the road to the left (West), and walk along the shoulder to photograph the farm. To the south are some pretty impressive views of “Harvey’s Mountain.”
RE: Hillside Acres
Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:27 am
Andy, there is another good shot of Hillside Acres Farm from the Garland Hill Road. Take it from West Barnet Village. Just before you reach the Cloud Brook Road there is a long shot of the farm and Barnet Center.
RE: Mad River
Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:37 am
There is a divide near the North Hollow Road where the planted spruces are. Anything north of there is the Mad River and anything south of there is the White River. As a kid my folks would take us to that picnic area. We would try to get the southern most picnic table. There is a pool behind it. It doesn't look like much, but it 6 feet deep near the falls.
RE: Mad River
Posted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:47 am
I believe there is a shot of that pool on the Vermont Gallery (Landscape) on my Website. Top row, far right column in the thumbnails.
Posted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:00 pm
Last year I photographed the Peacham church scene and the scene from the top of the hill, but I didn't do the cemetery. I might go back this year to photograph the view from the cemetery and I was wondering if you know if this is a morning or late afternoon shot? I have seen some versions of this shot on the web and one of them had a fog bank so I was thinking it is probably a morning shot? I was wondering what you thought.
Thanks in advance,
Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:36 am
The view toward South Peacham from the Cemetery is to the Southwest. So, I would think you would get the nicest light and light angle in the morning. Likewise, the shot from East Peacham down on the village should be a morning shot, too.
RE: Groton SF / Ricker Pond
Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:26 pm
Andy, my favorite shot at Ricker Pond was early in the morning. It was 38 degrees and my fingers and toes were freezing but the fog rising of the pond was fantastic. I almost missed the steam rising from the Wells River. Don't forget to look downstream even if you are captivated by the fog over the Pond.
A word of warning on Owl's Head
Posted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:07 pm
A buddy and I decided to shoot from Owl's Head at dawn, and arrived to find the gate was LOCKED.
It's a good trek up the road to the parking, then the quarter mile climb from there. Suffice to say, we had a serious change of plans. We headed back north to Peacham Pond, and were greeted by the sound of loons on the water. Not close enough, unfortunately, to photograph. After shooting the misty pond, we headed south to Ricker's Pond, with the misty pine trees to shoot.
The Owl's Head area opens later that morning, but unless you're prepared for a hike at dawn, make other plans.
Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:30 am
Given some of the recent posting activity here and on the foliage forum, I thought it was time for another permanent ("stick") Location Post here.
Many of you know that Arnold Kaplan has joined us here and will be making a regular, monthly post of one of his "iconic" Vermont photos. Many of the most notables are found in the area around "Woodstock" including "Sleepy Hollow Farm" (the Gray Farm), featured in the June Kaplan post, and the most famously photographed farm in the world, the Jenne Farm. Kaplan's "Sugarhouse" and "Weatherfield Birches" are near the Jenne Farm. The "Sleepy Hollow Farm," "Lee Farm," and "Pomfret Highlands" are all near Cloudland Road, which, itself yields some pretty amazing photos, as well as the Village of Woodstock, and the Billings Farm.
Earlier this month, our own PWT gave some splendid information and directions to Eshqua Bog, where the "Showy" Lady's Slippers bloom in June.
I have to confess, I haven't spent as much time in the Woodstock Area as I would like. The majority of Arnold's photo-scenics seem to be clustered around this area and the only one of them I have personally captured is "Sleepy Hollow." The challenge, for me, is that Woodstock, itself, is one of the most congested areas during the foliage season, and very difficult to find any lodging, affordable or otherwise. I can see that I need to find an alternative location nearby and spend some fall time their soon.
Any information, comments or other "finds" in this area would certainly be welcome.
Phil: I am going to reproduce your post on the bog here as its own title. Hope you don't mind, but I would like it to be part of the permanent library of directions/information.
Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:31 am
From PWT post, June 2009: (Lady’s Slippers)
"I went down to the Eshqua Bog in Hartland, VT to check out the rumor that there were Showy Lady Slippers there. Wow are they ever! They are in just one small area, but there are a lot of them. There were still quite a few that hadn't bloomed yet so there should be plenty to see next weekend and maybe the weekend ater then. The trail to the Bog starts on the Garvin Hill Road. There are 2 major ways to there. Driving route US 4 west from Quechee to Woodstock, turn left onto the Happy Valley Road that is next to the Taftsville Country Store and drive that to the end at the Harland Hill Road and turn right. Drive until you see the Garvin Hill Road on the left side and turn left onto the Garvin Hill Road. Drive past the Dunham Hill Road and look for a small parking area on the right. The trail is 50 feet past that parking area. There are signs. If you are driving route US 4 east through Woodstock Village, at the east of the village route US 4 takes a hard left turn. The Hartland Hill Road is at the top of that hard left turn, so basicly just go straight onto the Hartland Hill Road and drive that until you see the Garvin Hill Road on the right side and drive that to the parking area. When hiking the trail look for a bench and then look to the left for another trail going over a boardwalk. That is where the Lady Slippers are."
David Middleton, in his "Photographer's Guide to Vermont," also gives this little Bog, owned by the Nature Conservancy, a thumbs up. He notes that the approximate blooming times are:
Pink Lady's Slippers - Early June
Yellow Lady's Slippers - mid-June
Showy Lady's Slippers - third week of June
SLEEPY HOLLOW FARM - (The Gray Farm)
Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:47 am
This is an "Arnold John Kaplan" iconic photo-scenic. It was featured in the June, Kaplan Iconic Post of the Month over on the Foliage Forum. You can see this classic photograph in Arnold's "Yellow Book" (the current version ships with a DVD slide show with his photos, as well as in "David Middleton's "Photographer's Guide to Vermont." Google "Sleepy Hollow Farm Vermont" and you will get some 30,000 hits, showing that there are numerous, creative views to be captured of this very photogenic scene.
As comments on the Kaplan Post, and in my PDF on photographing Vermont note, the scene has changed from some. The gravel drive, which in some photographs, has been made to appear as a road which continues on to somewhere (it actually end just beyond the barn), is now gated with an electronic gate, replete with security cameras. The gate makes it more difficult to capture Arnold's icon shot, but it still can be photographed from the public road.
The gate/camera combination is, no-doubt, there for a reason. Presumably owners got tired of everyone traipsing all over their property. Privacy really is something we all value, so please show some restraint when visiting this property. I was able to photograph it, gate and all.