Vermont Scenes 2020

A snowy view on Sunset Ridge trail, about half-way up Mount Mansfield.  Jericho, VT. would be in the distance to the right, but not easily seen.  Click for enlarged photos below.  Photos are licensed: CC-SA  Attrib: Brian Chapaitis

Local Scenes

Gordon College -
Recruiting New Members

A new role for me with Wycliffe Bible Translators is something called "mobilization". We need the next generation to sign up and join our ranks to end Biblical Poverty in the world, which is actually another form of injustice. But there are very few recruiter-types in the technical domains of life, including IT services, and Language Technology software development. That's why I was invited to speak to the students studying Computer Science at this Christian school. We need dozens to come forward at this time.  Gordon College, near Manchester-at-the-Sea, north of Boston, MA.  September 2019

Student Encounters -
Sharing a Vision

Jenny, who ministered in the Philippines, shares with students the joys and sometimes the challenges of living and working cross-culturally in a foreign country. These students were the ones most interested in finding out the "next steps" in their potential missionary journeys, specifically with the Wycliffe Bible Translators, having discovered that their unique skills could be useful. All this, to build up His Church, worldwide.  Gordon College, north of Boston, MA.  September 2019

Fall Berries -
Mountain Ash

During "stick season" (Oct-Nov), the time when most trees are losing their leaves, and life is most "ugly" to look at until the fresh snows arrive, there are these wonderful, bright red berries on the trail. They are very bitter although edible, high in tannin, and they honestly do not taste very good. But birds love them fresh, and they serve as a great cold-season food for them.  Sunset Ridge Trail, Mt. Mansfield.  October 2019

Organized Fun Chaos -
Church Family Retreats

An old red barn, still in useful service. What's unusual here is the elevator ramp to the loft where traditional rectangular bales of hay are transported and then stored. If there is any moisture in the hay bales, then fermentation could occur, leading to spontaneous fires in the summer. It's more normal today to see large circular bales, plastic covered, and left on the field. With no exposure to air, they can't spontaneously ignite.  Keeler Bay, Grand Isle, VT.  September 2019

Distinct Camel's Hump -
The Beloved Mountain

Everyone in Vermont loves Camel's Hump.  At 4,083 feet, it's the third highest mountain in the Green Mountain range. Untouched by development, it is instantly recog-nizable and can be seen from so many different parts of Vermont - from Charlotte and South Hero to Stowe and Barre Town. I have it over my shoulder when sailing in Malletts Bay. A prime spot for hiking, and the open summit above tree-line offers views of the Adirondacks to the west, and the White Mountains to the east.  Taken from Mt. Mansfield, VT.  September 2019

Malletts Bay -
Water Playgrounds

My favorite sailing spot (sailboard), is Malletts Bay which has the inner and outer sections. If you look carefully (click for zoom) you will see a very thin abandoned railroad bed that took trains to South Hero island to the north. It's now a bicycle park causeway, complete with a bridge to allow boats to pass under to the broad lake of Lake Champlain. There's also a wonderful bicycle ferry at the second opening. People from the town of Colchester in the south can easily bicycle directly (north) to South Hero and various parks in that area. The New York Adirondack mountains are in the west. A view from Mt. Mansfield, (Underhill) VT.  September 2019

Organized Fun Chaos -
Church Family Retreats

Once a year, our church holds a multi-day spiritual retreat at a summer camp facility, situated on the shores of Lake Champlain. A wonderful time for spiritual refreshment, with lots of fun water activities for whole families, as we get together and dig deeper into the wonders of God's Word together. I like this picture because it catches a moment of families in fellowship together, relaxed and with all the kids running around. A very happy memory. Dunkley Gymnastics Camp, South Hero, VT.  September 2019

The Road Not Taken Before -
Times of Prayer

Spiritual retreats are a good time to pause and reflect (and rejoice!) in all that God has done in your life. Special times indeed. I walked this road on a Vermont island, during my church's family retreat. This unknown road is pretty typical of young forested areas in Vermont, and they are all beautiful with chattering wildlife.  Near Dunkley Gymnastics Camp, on Keeler Bay, Grand Isle, VT.  September 2019

Water Sports -
Family Outings

The "last gasp" of water recreation, in September, before Fall hits and the lake water temperatures plummet. Parents and kids have a blast paddling around, using equipment from a summer camp facility. Note the PFD's worn by everyone, and also a great opportunity to practice swimming skills. Looks like the birds love this dock as well, hence the abandoned broom.  Dunkley Gymnastics Camp, on Keeler Bay, Grand Isle, VT.  September 2019

Relaxing in the Sun -
Mills Riverside Park

Vermont loves recreation, and our town has lots of dedicated parks. They are well attended and free. People come and enjoy our cool and pleasant summers, walking dogs and kids beneath nearby Mount Mansfield. In the winter these trails transform into a major cross-country and snowshoe place. The entrance even has a classic wooden covered bridge to cross. Mills Riverside Park, Jericho VT.  August 2019

Exotic Flowers? -
In Vermont?

You don't have to travel to Singapore, Thailand or Papua New Guinea to see exotic flowers! And we saw some amazing ones over there. Surprise! This orchid was found, while looking for blue Hydrangeas to transplant to our front yard.  Horsford Garden and Nursery, Charlotte VT.  August 2019

Peddle Power -
Antique Whetstones

Lost are the good ol' days where you didn't need electrical power to get a task done. In this case, you wanted to sharpen your axe, because there weren't any electric or gas-powered chainsaws, either (to fell trees). If you've ever tried to chop down a tree with an axe, then you'd know how important a sharp axe is. I'm assuming this sharpener used water that was placed in the funnel up top and dribbled down onto the rotating stone. The power came from people pushing the peddles.  A mere garden ornament, Horsford Garden and Nursery, Charlotte VT.  August 2019

Opening the Red Panda -
Nepali Church Activities

Many Christians in Vermont were specifically invited to the grand opening of the "Red Panda" restaurant. This restaurant is part of an outreach extension of the Nepali Church with direct financial ties. This local church and others minister to the Bhutanese and Nepalese immigrant community, who have settled here. After the delicious Asian cuisine, and formal dedication with many attending University of Vermont professors, a few of us met with the local pastor (white shirt on right) and wife to pray over this venture.  161 Church Street, Burlington VT, next to the Flynn Center for Performing Arts. August 2019

Freedom Stories -
The Von Trapps Flee to Safety

If you visit the Trapp Family Lodge, in the main hall are a series of paintings in a storyboard format by various artists depicting the story of the Von Trap Family as they fled Nazi controlled Austria. Here they escape over the mountains by night, heading eventually to resettle in Vermont. Penniless, they survive by concert singing at various venues. They eventually start the family lodge and a cross-country ski area in the foothills below Mt. Mansfield. A popular resting place for "leaf peepers" in the Fall.  Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, VT.  August 2019

Scenes We Miss -
Close Friends Enjoying Each Other

It was only a year ago, and one could casually go on an outing somewhere, and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors, with friends. I think we all lament those days, during this Pandemic season of our lives. These young ones could be students about to attend nearby University of Vermont, having fun just before their next year of studies.  Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, VT.   August 2019

Malletts Bay -
A Day at the Park

One of my favorite parks in the area comes alive in the summertime. The bay is nicely secluded from the higher winds of Lake Champlain and the perfect spot for sailboarding. I'm one of the few remaining dinosaurs who still knows how to sail a windsurfer, in an age lost to kayakers <grin>. "We used to see those all over, around, say.... 30 years ago!" (when I was younger). The park has free admission, and is situated on a slight bluff above the water line, commanding great views of the area.  Malletts Bay, North of Burlington VT.  July 2019

Antique Cars -
An Austin Healey Lives Again!

Since we are in the "restoration ministry",  I couldn't help but photograph this perfectly restored Austin Healey MK 3000 car (1959 to 1967) while traveling with Helen to a famous tourist attraction near Quechee Lake. The British, Austin Healey's 3-litre 3000 engine and four-speed transmission with overdrive kept a good pace in the racing circuit of the day. Note the fabulous spoked wheels, like a bicycle wheel. Isn't it great that God does His renewal work to all of us in Christ Jesus? We are not just left to rust away.  Quechee Lake Village Antique Shop, near Lebanon NH.  July 2019

Special Visitors -
Encouraging Travelers

The Bender Family, in between stops on their USA furlough, come by for a fun visit. Servants in medicine (prosthetics) to a difficult access country in Asia, we first met this delightful young couple while attending a CMDA medical conference in Thailand. We took them out to downtown Jericho and the Palmer Lane Maple shop for a real Maple syrup creemee, sometimes called 'soft serve' to you flatlanders <grin>, but with a higher butterfat content.  Center of Town, across from the Post Office, on Old Pump Road, Jericho VT.  July 2019

Performing Arts -
Slender and Graceful Ballerinas

Our near neighbors and good friends, the Andersons, took us out to a local ballet hosted by a community college in the area. Here we see the central character (Swanilda) of "Coppélia", played by Miss Anderson, who is their grand-daughter. With a winsome smile and an incredible stage presence, she managed to steal the hearts of the audience with poise and a mature grace. A truly amazing performance at only 14 years old!  Burklyn Ballet Theater, Northern Vermont University - Johnson, VT.  June 2019

Burlington Vermont -

Street Malls

Decades ago, the main street of Burlington, was changed to a brick-stone pedestrian mall, in an attempt to revitalize businesses there. Burlington is our largest city with a population of only 43,000, and with a wharf area on Lake Champlain. The various stores and restaurants are an easy walking distance from the University of Vermont and Champlain College, so this is a bit of a college town.  Looking south, Church Street, Burlington, VT. June 2019

Land of Lakes -
Summer Cottages

A typical pond or lake in Vermont. Often cottages are a second summer-time home for people, but lately we've seen efforts to completely winterize houses for all-year-round living, in their naturally gorgeous settings.  North Montpelier Pond, Kingbury Branch headwaters for the Winooski River, near Plainsfield VT.  June 2019

Electric Vehicles -
Essex Memorial Day Parade

Helen and I purchased an all-electric Nissan LEAF (not shown here), but the Jericho EV car community wanted us to participate in the 2019 Memorial Day Parade. I met some very interesting people at this time, and we all proudly participated in a huge parade with various high school bands, civic, and theatrical groups. Those are quite noisy, marching through the center of town. But when the EV cars roll by there is complete silence, because.... well.... these are electric cars!  Memorial Day, Champlain Valley Fairgrounds, Essex Junction, VT.  May 2019

Three Generations -

Seeing Old Friends

One of the joys of being away so long (over 3 decades) is seeing other families' children grow up. Here we see our dear friends, the Hasslers and three generations while visiting in their old-style Vermont house. Carol Hassler has a visit by daughter Hannah, and Walter.  Dr. Carol and Dr. Helen knew each other at medical school in Virginia, long before Helen and I met and married in Vermont.  Jericho, VT.  May 2019

Rustic Solar -
With Natural Framing

Solar is everywhere in Green Vermont.  Acres of solar farms; converted landfill operations; roof-top house arrays; occasional back-yard ground mounts. But this one caught my eye in the next town over. Instead of the typical metal frame to support this backyard home array, the owner went for an all natural wooden-beam structure. Quite impressive to this engineer, and we decided to go with this same local Vermont installer, based in nearby Morrisville, for our home roof-top 8 kW installation.  Near Route 15, "Grand Army of the Republic Highway", Underhill, VT.  May 2019

Antique Restoration -
Old Farm Tractors

Some people like to restore classic cars. This fellow has a thing for old red farm tractors, and restoring them back to workable condition. I just admire anyone who can reclaim something considered junk by others, and make them beautiful and useful again. There are many hours of work represented here. Christians and the Lord, are in the "restore" business as well, and often that takes lots of time.  Jeffersonville, top northern third of the State.  May 2019

Wood Stoves -
Fuel for the Winter

The least expensive heat in Vermont is by wood-burning stoves. Not so strangely, as this mode of heating your house became popular, it actually led to an air pollution problem over time in the gorgeous valleys of Vermont. This became a struggle for a State that prides itself on "low carbon" emissions in general. But the hearty Vermonter spends the summers acquiring, cutting, splitting and drying up to 3 cords of wood, in preparation for the longish Winters ahead.  Jeffersonville, top northern third of the State.  May 2019

Spotted in the Wild -
Tesla EV Repair

Here's a rare sight. Tesla has no local repair facilities. Instead when your car has a problem you call Tesla anywhere and they come running and service your car on location, usually at your house. This townhouse owner does not have a private garage, so the workman must work in the street. The problem? Some sort of total failure of the massive 85kWh storage battery ($$$) and the car will not start at this point. This Model S P85 can reach top speeds of 130 mph.  McLean VA., near Helen's mother's house.  May 2019

Pancake Fellowship -
Local Taverns

Once, when it was easy to just go to a restaurant, we invited Ben and Sarah Courtemanche and their children out to brunch after a church service. Here we see daughter Corinne, admiring a local tavern's pancake artwork. It was/is so great to get together with people and "catch up". The challenge nowadays is to recreate these moments in the new realities that we face today. The Courtemanches are one of two couples on staff with the Navigators at our church, and live near Bolton Valley. Jericho Café and Tavern, Jericho Corners, Vermont. January 2019

Farm Creations -
Ski Art

I was picking up a very used, Weber Gas Grill for the house, following a Vermont Craigslist listing. This wonderful barn was adorned with some nice local art by the owner, creatively utilizing lots of old cross-country skis. Nowadays the "farm" was mostly about harvesting maple sap and processing (boiling down) to maple syrup for local resale.  Jeffersonville, not very far away from my house via country (dirt) roads, in the shadow of Mount Mansfield.  May 2019

Private Collections -
A Snowshoe Museum

In a back shed at "Daniel's Sugar House" the owner showed off his large collection of snowshoes both old, handmade ones, and the modern mountaineering kind. This photo doesn't even capture half of what I saw there, and this was just a hobby, not a real museum. Note the antique wooden staved sugar-maple buckets. Some people collect stamps, right? Everyone needs a pastime of sorts.  Jeffersonville, not far away from Mount Mansfield.  May 2019

Classic New England -
Quaint Churches

Driving around the country-side one encounters beautiful, yet simple, church structures that are somewhat isolated, in very idyllic mountain settings. And always with a church steeple. This one was just begging to be photographed <grin> for some calendar. I have no idea what the congregation is like in this one, as I was just driving through, on the way to Morrisville. Sometimes the congregation is so small that they struggle sustaining a pastor's family. Nonetheless, they carry on. Route 15, outside of Hyde Park near the Lamoille river, Lamoille Valley Church of the Nazarene.  June 2019

Babbling Brooks -
Summer Rains

There's not much of a Spring season in Vermont. Around two weeks of mud and then instantly "Summertime"! Everything turns green, with some flowers, but not in abundance. A casual stroll through a forest preserve near our neighborhood greets the ear with noisy water cascades from the Winter snow melt.  A forest somewhere, June 2019

Land of Lakes -
Summer Cottages

Besides giant Lake Champlain, separating Vermont from New York State to the West, there are countless tiny lakes and ponds around the place. Most are surrounded by quaint summer cottages which could be owned by out-of-state visitors wanting an escape from their "big city" life.  North Montpelier Pond; a casual view while driving by on Route 14, north of Plainfield, VT..  June 2019

Equestrian Delights -
Grazing Horses

Many a Vermont country road takes us where we need to go next on an errand, and I never tire of the views while travelling. If one isn't doing Dairy Farming, then it's all about horses. I couldn't pass on this idyllic scene on the way to our State Highway, and eventually one makes it to the "Big City" of Burlington.  Near Juniper Knoll Farm, Brown's Trace Road, Jericho VT..  June 2019

"Rosy-Fingered Dawn"
(Homer) - Good Morning!

As an early riser, sometimes I'm greeted with the most spectacular sunrises, right over Mt. Mansfield as seen from our house porch. Celebrate God's marvelous creation, since life doesn't really have to be this way... but it is! Amen! Sunrises also remind me that as Christians we get to start over again, no matter how badly we messed up the day before, God perpetually restarts, renews, and strengthens us for a new day ahead.  Our backyard, in Jericho, VT.  April 2019

Helpful Neighbors -
Flower Friendships

When Helen broke her arm, it seriously set back her plans to beautify our house with flowers. Here we see our neighbor, Sharon Anderson, with grand-daughter "Ina" having fun together, while helping plant fresh flowers in our back-porch flower pots. We live in a great neighborhood, where people look out for one another.  Our back porch, Jericho, VT.  June 2019

Camel's Hump -
Third Highest Mountain

Sigh.... Camel's Hump has a special place in my heart (Brian), since ages ago, Helen and I hiked up to the summit by a far lesser-known trail at the time. It was our first "date" out, having been introduced by a mutual friend the night before. On the way down, I suddenly knew by God's inspiration, that I had met my wife to be! Seriously, God spoke to me, and said: "This is the one I have picked out for you", and the rest is family history <grin>.  Camel's Hump, as seen from Mt. Mansfield, the highest mountain in Vermont.  September, 2019

Becoming Whole -
Isaiah 40 Foundation

The President of Isaiah 40 Foundation, Alex Cameron, came with a team to speak to the churches about Spiritual wholeness. A former business leader, now turned Anglican pastor, Alex takes delight in seeing people realize that Jesus is bigger than they thought and that the Holy Spirit can bring lasting transformation in their lives. He has a particular passion to see Christian leaders whole and healthy in their ministry. Alex and his team taught many lessons relevant to today's very complex and broken society. Ascension Lutheran Church, South Burlington. October 2019

Green Mountains Stowe
Side - Early Fall

Balmy summer gives way to crisp air and colorful scenery. It's as if the trees want one last moment of glory before "stick season" comes; the time where the trees shed their clothes. All just before the next winter wonderland of white. This view is special because it's the other side of the Green Mountains from where we live. Stowe Toll Road, Stowe Vermont.  September 2019

Bargain Hunting - Ski
Equipment Swaps

The ski industry is a large part of the Vermont state economy and Ver-monter's do their part to keep it going, along with all the tourists. Nearby Colchester High School had a ski swap, where locals buy and sell used ski equipment from each other. Local ski shops take the opportunity to unload last year's inventory as well. Having long since ditched my ancient 30 year-old equipment, it was time to renew for me. The biggest shock was how short the skis are nowadays. An old ski instructor once said: "Wow.... I haven't seen anyone ski like you do, in..... what? 30 years??  Colchester, VT. October, 2019

Music Arts -
The Frevo  Ensemble

Music and the arts are a big thing in Vermont. "Frevo", a four person ensemble plays at various venues, especially in the Fall/Winter season. Here the musicians entertained us with pieces from Piazzolla, Gismonti, and even the Beatles. Frevo was recorded on Derrik Jordan's World Fusion show earlier this Fall and they played three of Derrik's wonderful world fusion pieces. We are blessed to have Steve (clarinet) and Bonnie (cello) Klimowski  attend our Jericho Church.  UWC "White" church, Westford, VT.  October, 2019

The Craft Industry -
Champlain Valley Artisans

Helen checks out hangings of hand-drawn scenes of Vermont with a shop from Pittsfield, New Hampshire. Signed India ink on white parchment. Once a year in the Fall, artisans will come to sell their creations, just in time for presents to friends and relatives for the Christmas Advent season. I can imagine that this time of the year is the biggest for their retail sales and makes or breaks their entrepreneurial business. As for me, I befriended delightful Rosemary Chimbganda (African Authentics), selling stone art from Tanzania. We invited her to stay with us, next year, and I think she will accept. Artist: Gene Matras. Champlain Valley Fairgrounds.  October, 2019

Mountain Views - Sights for Inspiration

The Green Mountains as seen from Mount Mansfield, the tallest mountain in Vermont. The Long Trail was created between 1910 and 1930, and is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the United States. It follows the main ridge of the Green Mountains from the Massachusetts-Vermont line to the Canadian border as it crosses Vermont’s highest peaks, including Camel's Hump, and connects to the Appalachian Trail heading down to Georgia. Some of my (Brian's) best devotional times are spent at a place called "Cantilever Rock".  September, 2019

Strange Fall Trees - The
Mountain Ash

Hiking in the Mountains, allowed me to reacquaint myself with unusual vegetation in my "home" country. For decades I've taken in the splendors of tropical paradise on the Equator. All over Mount Mansfield were groves of these bright red berries, and in my embarrassment, I had to ask a Park Ranger what the trees were. The Mountain Ash. Fall is a very colorful time of the year.  September, 2019

Fall Foliage - Rife with

The tourist high season in Vermont. It's difficult to get a hotel room at this time. People flock to New England to take in the breathtaking views, especially from the mountaintops, and even the most casual drive to the grocery store is a feast of color. If a strenuous hike is beyond your abilities, then there's always the ski gondola at Stowe Resort to take you up the mountain.  October, 2019