I'm amazed at how much there is to see and do in Vermont. Wanda and Ernie, our hosts have lined up an itinerary that will shame any cruise guide...In fact I feel like I'm on a cruise. There is so much to chose from.
Our first stop this morning was the The Rock of Ages. The Rock of Ages is one of the oldest granite quarries in the US, located in Graniteville, just up the road from Barre. It's been in operation for over 125 years and is a major employer for the area. The granite quarried is used mostly for memorials and some commercial applications such as tool beds and giant paper rollers. You won't find granite counter top pieces and the like here.
First we went to the quarry where the giant blocks are cut out of the side of the mountain.
These are custom made paper rollers, one of the products manufactured at the Rock of Ages.
Next we went into the "shed" where the granite is shaped into custom memorials. The majority of all memorials are special order and custom made at Rock of Ages. In the early years Italians emigrated from Italy and did most of the sculpturing. Now days much of the work is done by laser and finished by hand. The granite is cut and polished.
These are memorials getting readied for the artwork.
Outside near the complex is a granite bowling alley. The company was going to manufacture granite bowling alleys, but determined the that it wouldn't be a good investment. We all had a try at a strike. The bowling balls were made of rubber and pretty light...nothing like a regular bowling ball, but fun.
Next we went to Barre (pronounced berry). Two major state highways highways funnel through the middle of town and go by this regal sculpture, a good example of the quality of granite that us mined just up the road. It was a busy little town. We ate our picnic lunch in the square and then headed over to the Hope Cemetery.
The Hope Cemetery is a very unusual cemetery with lots of different memorials. Some of the memorials were carved by Italian Emigrants in the early 1930's. The artists were used to carving marble in Italy which is non toxic. No one was aware of silicosis disease that is caused by granite dust in the early 1900s. Many of the Italian Sculptures died a a young age from the disease and their work is scattered through out the cemetery. These are some of the more unusual or artistic memorials:
The floors are marble and the structure is a good example of Greek Revival.
This was another busy day, and we were all happy to return to the campground for the evening. Thanks Wanda for organizing such a great day.