The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

immemorial lore

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself recently spent 72 hours in Burlington, Vermont after arriving here on Amtrak’s “Vermonter” line. Our desire involved being outside as much as possible, and one of the three big outdoor excursions we embarked upon was a visit to the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum on the north side of Burlington. The land here is often referred to as the Intervale, I’m told, and it was home to a Native American culture called the Abenaki. Ethan Allen was a Connecticut native who became a backwoodsman and settled on the Intervale in the late 1780’s. He was the leader of the Green Mountain Boys during the American Revolution, and is credited with leading the capture of Britain’s Fort Ticonderoga. That’s his house, pictured above.

The Intervale property operates as a public space today, has a display of an Abenaki camp, and there are miles and miles of groomed trails which you can explore. Just as we arrived, that rain storm brewing on the New York side of Lake Champlain mentioned yesterday arrived and we sheltered in a camping area for about 20 minutes while it blew through. I cannot possibly describe how utterly delicious the air smelled after the rain with all of this wet vegetation around us.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Ethan Allen site’s northern side is defined by the Winooski river, a meandering and seemingly shallow river that flows down out of the Green Mountains into Lake Champlain. It’s alternately called the “Onion River” and that’s sort of what “Winooski” translates to in the native tongue of the Abenaki. It’s ultimately about 90 miles long, and the prevailing view amongst the geology crowd offers that it predates the Green Mountains themselves, meaning that this “antecedent river” was flowing as the mountains grew around it.

Vermont is seriously interesting. If the winters weren’t so brutal, I’d have long ago moved away from New York City to Vermont.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Our Lady was occupying herself with observations of woodchucks and other animal life, whereas a humble narrator was instead making himself busy with the tripod and the camera. A raucous cacophony of bird song and cicada buzzing was hanging in the air, which had turned a bit warmer as the rain storm continued eastwards and the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself appeared from its occlusion. There was still a not insignificant amount of wind.

I didn’t get the shot of them, since I was set up for a longish exposure with an ND filter on my lens, but of a murder of what had to be five or six dozen crows were spotted. KRAWWW!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Intervale grounds at Ethan Allen Homestead, which I’d love to explore in depth sometime, offered somewhat manicured paths for visitors. A variety of landscapes are offered along this path, sometimes woodland like the one above, others are cultivated farm fields. There was a working farm there, and a field or two that were in fallow phases.

As a City boy, it would be folly for me to try to understand land management in this sort of circumstance.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One last shot from the Intervale, and this is about when Our Lady and I decided to move onto our next destination and luncheon in the City center of Burlington. The center of things, where the Burlington City Hall and governmental center is found, is called Church Street. The idea for pedestrianizing Church Street goes back to 1958, but it was accomplished in 1981. Church Street Marketplace, as it’s known, sits in the Church Street historic district of Burlington.

We got around in Burlington using ride share services, specifically Lyft. It took about 20 minutes for a car to come get us and then drop us off nearby Burlington City Hall.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a series of local shops, and national chain stores too, at Church Street Marketplace. There’s also a series of bars and restaurants. Other than eating there, we had little interest at this particular moment in exploring the area (that happened on our last day in Burlington, which will be discussed in a subsequent post.)

One observation about Burlington that I’d offer is this – they don’t have much of a street litter problem. This is a very, very clean place. Church Street is where the homeless population of Burlington seems to gather, who are allowed to camp out in City Hall park overnight. The City Hall park also has a program going which offers free food to the hungry. The trademark physical consequences of heroin addiction was visible on the faces of many of the homeless here, but there was an entirely different vibe than the one you experience on the mean streets of NYC coming from them.

Back tomorrow with more.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 29, 2021 at 11:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. my god, come back Mitch! that river probably has NO Methylethylbadshit in it at ALL!

    September 29, 2021 at 1:43 pm

  2. […] exploring the Lake Champlain shoreline in awed sessions, the Ethan Allen Homestead and Intervale in immemorial lore, Church Street and downtown in waxen mask. Burlington was analyzed during sunset in doubly potent, […]

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