Sunday, March 31, 2013

Grand Tour of Italy Day 1 and 2

I've always wanted to visit Italy. It is the home of my paternal Grandfather, Vincenzo "Jimmy" Nutile son of Pelligrino Nutile and Emanuella "Eva" Rocci.
Vincenzo is on the far right
He was born February 5, 1883 in Lapio Province of Avellino, Region Campania Italy.   He arrived in the USA in 1884. Lapio is an agricultural center in the heart of Irpinia, in a valley on the left bank of the Calore River. It's name comes form the adjective lapideus, meaning "stony" and is mentioned in a document of 894 AD. Since the year 1000 the town followed the events linked to the Filangieri Family, who owned the land for about seven centuries until 1806, the year when feudalism was abolished.

A visit to Italy has been on my bucket list. Jay and I started talking seriously about a trip last October but waited until this February to book. We checked out many tour groups but Go Ahead Tours was the only one to offer close to what I wanted to see and do with my time in Italy. Their Grand Tour of Italy sounded wonderful! So we booked!

Saturday Day 1 March 16, 2013
Dropped off Riley for his 15 day "Spa" vacation at Willow Farm in Springfield VT.

We drove to Boston from our home in Weathersfield VT (population 2600.) We left about 1 PM and hit Boston around 3:30. Dropped our car off at Thrifty Cars in Revere. And hit the airport. We chose to eat at Durgin Park. food was expensive but good and we got to watch the UMASS-UVC A10 semi-final basketball game while we ate.

We boarded our British Airways flight to Heathrow and settled in for the LONG flight over the "pond". So we left Boston at 6:55 PM and arrived in Heathrow at 5AM. But the fairly good food and free beer and wine helped to ease the flight stress; plus they were showing some pretty great films like "Trouble with the Curve", "Argo", "Perks of Being a Wallflower" and about 16 other current movies to choose from.

Sunday Day 2 March 17, 2013
Heathrow was empty and the folks that were there at the crack of dawn seemed to be all connected to something electronic except the bumpkins from Vermont who were journaling and reading the new TIME about Pope Francesco.

Out flight from Heathrow to Milan is uneventful and we are both amazed at the ease of Immigration into Italy. Yup that's you in the picture, OK, stamp, move along. No scan, no departure card, nothing. After grabbing our bags we exit customs and meet up with a lady from Go Ahead tours. She's collecting us for our bus ride from Milan to Lecco.

Our hotel in Lecco is the Hotel NH Pontevecchio, part of the Swiss Hotel Group. We meet with our mamma anatra (our Mama Duck) Misia Massa who welcomes us to Italy and assigns us our rooms. Once again the bumpkins from Vermont are in awe. The key card controls the door and the lights in your room! There is a bidet and to flush the toilet, no handle but a rocker type switch above the toilet.

We decide not to sleep and go out for a walk around Lecco.
More Images from Lecco: Lecco Day 1

We found a cute little Osteria called .COM (Cucina Orientata alMangiar and bere bene) at Lungo Lario Isonzo 15 and stopped for pizza and something hot to drink. I try out my "baby" Italian and get by pretty well (the lady spoke English anyway but it was fun to try to communicate in Italian!) We ate the pizza with fork and knife because we read in Rick Steve's book that Americans look like "monkeys" to Italians when the fold a slice and eat it with their hands. So for 19.50 euros we had two pizzas, water, espresso, and cafe americano. 

Back to the hotel for a power nap before our Welcome Dinner!
 Dinner Primo: Farfalle (bow) pasta in red sauce Secundo: Salmon with green beans and pototoes and creme brule for dessert. 
 Wine: Victoria Chardonnay and Piermonte Barbear Roche 2011.
Misia gives us all on overview of the next two weeks and explains in some detail what the optional side trips will involve. We will each get a radio (50 euros to replace them so don't lose them, OK.) She will post a poster in each hotel lobby with our schedule of times and events. So for our second day, breakfast at 7 AM and check out at 7:45. We will have a tour of the Lake Como region. We travel from Lecco to Como to Tremezzo, then a boat tour of Lake Como. The group will have some free time then meet for dinner.

Jay and I had originally only purchased the optional Lake Como Tour but after hearing about the other tours we purchased: Day 5 Gondola, Day 8 Siena and San Gimignano, Day 10 Perugia and Day 12 Capri.

After most folks left, we met up with Morgan and Jennifer, two young ladies in our group from NJ and NY. The four of us "recycled" the remaining wine and bottled waters!

Lights out at 22:06!

Ciao, Ciao
Tomorrow Day 2 Lecco, Como, Duomo, Tremezzo, Villa Carlotta, Boat Trip around Como and Bellagio

Lecco March 17 Day 1
Grand Tour of Italy
Go Ahead Tours 
March 16-30, 2013
Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
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Friday, March 15, 2013

James McMurtry Sell Out BOTH Tupelo Music Halls

James McMurtry played back to back nights at Tupelo Vermont in White River Junction VT and Tupelo NH in Londonderry NH March 8 and 9. Both shows SOLD OUT.

Friday in Vermont:
Down Across the Delaware/Red Dress/Rachel's Song/Hurricane Party/You'd A Thought/Choctaw Bingo/(New song about ice fishing)/Ruby and Carlos-aborted/How Am I Gonna Find You Now/YouGot To Me/Can't Make It Here/Levelland/Restless/Peter Pan/These Things I've Come To Know.

During Choctaw, he called people up on the stage and ended up with about a dozen-it's a lot bigger stage than Londonderry. One guy moved his guitars and opened his water bottle and drank it. Rowdy but not a real problem yet and James encouraged them big time.

Then during Ruby and Carlos someone yelled "we should have all been so lucky" just before James was going to sing it. He stepped back, strummed his guitar a bit, sang the line, stepped back and played some more guitar and then just stopped saying he lost the song. 

Later a woman pleaded with him to play it over, but he said she would have to go to Londonderry. Before "Can't Make It Here" there was a persistent heckler in the back and James asked him his name and how much he was being paid to perform which shut him up. 

In the middle of the song, the water bottle guy came up and stood in front of the stage facing the crowd and saluted. James stopped to yell at him and told him to move on. He seamlessly picked the song back up where he left it, but he was royally pissed off. The same guy also came up at some point spilling his beer as he walked on the stage and left a note on his stool before James chased him off.
Setlist in Londaonderry was the same and both shows were about 1:40.
More images from McMurtry at Tupelo Vermont
More images from McMurtry at Tupelo NH

Bow Thayer opened both nights for McMurtry. View more images of Bow at Tupelo VT and images of Bow at Tupelo NH.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Yoh Theatre Players Perform Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

The Yoh Theatre Players took on the challenge of William Shakespeare by performing Julius Caesar this weekend.
Julius Caesar (Jaired Stewart) 
Set in 44 BC, Julius Casear traces the last few days of the would be dictator. Casear would like to restore order to the vast Roman Empire. Claiming fear for the Republic several Senators plot to murder Casaer before he can become the absolute ruler.
Cassius (Ted Morley), Casca (Abbie Levison) and Marcus Brutus (Nate Hinson) 
Marc Antony (Dylan Stuntz) mourns Caesar 
 More images of the play: Photos by Nanci SmugMug

Vermont Special Olympics Winter Games at Suicide Six in Pomfret VT

The Special Olympics Winter Games Weekend happened this past weekend in Woodstock VT. The Woodstock Inn hosted many of the athletes and their families. The Inn was also the site for the Winter Games Dance on Saturday evening.
Suicide Six Ski, Pomfret VT hosted the Olympic Village and all the cross-country, snowshoeing and alpine events.

More images from the Special Olympics: Photos by Nanci SmugMug

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C. Everett Koop Memorial in Woodstock VT

Saturday at the First Congrational Church of Woodstock VT, hundreds turned out to honor Surgeon General C. Everett Koop who died on February 25, 2013 at his home in Hanover NH at the age of 96.
In attendance were his family members including Cora Hogue whom he married on April 17, 2010. She was a former staff member of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.
Representing President Barack Obama was current Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, she presented a flag to Mrs. Koop.
More Dr. Koop Memorial Images: Photos by Nanci SmugMug

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Lebanon Opera House Hosts Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby brought his unique sense of humor and comedy to the Lebanon Opera House on Friday night March 8. Tickets went on sale months ago and even though the prices were some of the highest offered by the Opera House (up to $150 per ticket) the show sold out the day it went on sale, very quickly. 

The lucky 830 patrons got hear Dr. Cosby pontificate about various subjects including a few jokes about New Hampshire's "Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later" license plate or is it "Pay Me Now and Die?" said Cosby. The full house was laughing most of the night.

Upon arriving in the Upper Valley, Dr. Cosby gave the President of Lebanon College a call and invited Dr. Ronald Biron and his family to attend the evening's performance. Dr. Biron gave Cosby a sweatshirt from the college which Cosby proudly wore during his show. The Biron family got to watch  Cosby from the best seats in the house, the side of the stage!
Prior to performing his SOLD OUT Upper Valley show, Dr. Cosby joined 145 VIP guests at the Mascoma Bank for a 'Meet and Greet' Reception. Here folks got to shake hands, share hugs, and listen to some great stories from Cosby's long career.

More performance images: Photos By Nanci SmugMug

Next up at the Lebanon Opera House Travis Tritt March 22 Tickets are on SALE NOW!

Bill Cosby
A Kirschner Concerts Production
Lebanon Opera House, Lebanon March 8, 2013
Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
For the Lebanon Opera House
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Americana At Home with The Buskers and Sweetgrass

TheLebanon Opera House "Home" Free music series continued last night March 7, 2013 with The Buskers  and Sweetgrass in Americana @ Home. The @ Home Series, a series of free performances by regional artists sponsored by Lebanon Opera HouseCitizens BankLebanon Rec Department . 

The Buskers tap the street music tradition for which they are named, then go far beyond, with serious musicianship, a sense of humor and energy to burn. The band first met at an open mic in Bristol, NH in 1993.   Kathy "KZ" Sommer, who now lives in northern New York, plays acoustic and electric violins and mandolin with high energy, genre-defying abandon.   

Craig Jaster (piano, bass, accordion, percussion) taught jazz piano at Plymouth State University from 1999-2004 and has performed with a number of jazz artists including Delfeayo Marsalis, Philip Hamilton, and the late Big Joe Burrell.  

Paul Hubert (guitars, harmonica) has performed extensively as a solo singer/songwriter.  He also plays trombone and composes for The Baker Valley Band, a central New Hampshire  wind band.  
Tonight on drums Lebanon's own Tim Gilmore, who has played with, among many others, Tower of Power, Marian McPartland and Lester Bowie sat in with The Buskers.

More images of The Buskers: Photos by Nanci SmugMug

Sweetgrass has quickly emerged as one of the upper valley's hottest bluegrass-country-gospel groups. Anchored by Nancy Wood on vocals & mandolin and Dave Clark on string bass & vocals, ignited by sensational finger-picking guitarist Mike Wood and with Steve Hennig on banjo and vocals providing a strong updraft  - this group is on fire! 
Dave Clark
Dave Clark plays stand-up bass and sings for Sweetgrass.  "I didn't know I had a deep connection with bluegrass until I had the opportunity to play with Nancy and Mike Wood and Steve Hennig. My grandfather was a coal miner in Kentucky, and this band gives me access to the hardships and the joys from my Appalachian past."  Dave is a singer songwriter, and also plays guitar and sings in JukeJoynt and The Kerry Rose Band. Dave also sings choral music with Wrensong, The Handel Society, and is in the choir at the St. James Episcopal Church in Woodstock.
Nancy Wood
Mike Wood
Steve Hennig and Nancy Wood

More Sweetgrass Images: Photos By Nanci SmugMug

Each band performed for about one hour and the audience could be heard stomping their feet and clapping their hands throughout both performances.

These shows are FREE with donations accepted for the bands.
The next FREE @Home concert will be held April 4 at 7 PM Featuring:
Cabaret @ Home with Fuzzy Logic and Wet Paint Players Call 603-448-0400 for more info! 

Americana At Home 2013
The Buskers with Sweetgrass
Lebanon Opera House, Citizens Bank, Lebanon Rec Dept.
Lebanon Opera House, Lebanon NH March 7, 2013
Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
For the Lebanon Opera House
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hartland VT Annual Town Meeting

Damon Hall was packed Tuesday morning March 5 for Hartland's Annual Town Meeting. The Town Manager, Bob Stacey presented a powerpoint that opened with a little brevity.

Windsor County Side Judge David Singer answered questions about the Windsor County Court House Renovations Ballot that voters have been asked to vote on by Australian Ballot.

And the Town honored Sue Pelton for her 10 years serving as the Town Lister. A very busy day for the voters in Hartland VT.

Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
For The Vermont Standard:
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West Windsor VT Annual Town Meeting

The residents of West Windsor gathered at Story Memorial Hall on Tuesday morning March 5 at 9 AM. They gathered to particiapte in a time-honored tradition on Vermont Town Meeting. The hall was packed but this reporter thinks even at 9 AM town folks were thinking about adjourning for lunch next door at the church.

Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
For The Vermont Standard:
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Boston Bruins Alumni Play in Woodstock VT

In a benefit for the Union Arena in Woodstock VT, the Boston Bruins Alumni played against the Bear Squirt Invitational Coaches on Saturday March 2. Bruins legends on ice were Terry O'Reilly and Rick Middleton. Brad Park was the honorary coach (and watching over his grandkids) during the game. The Squirt coaches lost 17-4.

More images: Photos By Nanci SmugMug

Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy 
For The Vermont Standard: 

U-12 Girls A/B Champs--Woodstock Junior Wasps


The Woodstock Girls Junior Wasps raised their championship banner on Saturday March 2... Congratulations!!
More images: Photos By Nanci SmugMug

Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy 
For The Vermont Standard: 

Reading VT Honors Robert Allen-40 Years of Service

The Town of Reading honored Robert Allen at their Annual Town Meeting on Saturday March 2. Robert has volunteered his services with the town for 40 years. He was first elected as a Selectman in 1973.

More images: Photos By Nanci SmugMug
Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy 
For The Vermont Standard: 

Reading VT Annual Town Meeting

Reading VT Town Meeting 

The Reading VT Town and School District Annual Meeting was held on Saturday March 2. Reading is one of a few towns that still conduct their Town Meetings by voice vote rather than Austrian Ballot. The voters were called to decide on twenty town Articles including Article 6 appropriating $531,755 to be raised by taxes for the Selectmen’s Budget.
On the school side, voters were asked to appropriate $898,120 for the next school year.

More meeting images: Photos By Nanci SmugMug

Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy 
For The Vermont Standard: 

Reading VT Pancake Breakfast

RFD Ladies Auxiliary Host A Pancake Breakfast 

The Reading Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary hosted an All You Can Eat Pancake breakfast prior to the Reading Town Annual Meeting on Saturday March 2. About 50 people attended from 8 AM until the Town Meeting Start of 10 AM. The menu included pancakes with maple syrup, eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee and juice. The voters in attendance had full bellies and were ready to face the twenty town articles and the Elementary School Budget meetings.

More images: Photos By Nanci SmugMug

Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy 
For The Vermont Standard: 

Singletons' Opens in Quechee VT

Singletons' open a second store, 
this one on Rte 4 in Quechee VT!

Singletons first store has been in Proctorsville for decades. The owners decided to expand and build a new facility in Quechee. The store had a "soft" opening Friday March 1. The owner told this reporter that a GRAND opening is in the works, maybe in a couple of months when the "kinks" are worked out!

The store is bright and stocked full of local products at very reasonable prices. The deli counter will be a highlight in this new venture...the signature sandwiches are to die for!
More images from the opening: Photos By Nanci SmugMug

Singletons Opens
Quechee VT March 1, 2013
Copyright ©2013 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy 
For The Vermont Standard: