ON THE GO 2017 July thru December  

On July 2, David and Kyle saw the Quakes beat LA 2-1 in SF.

OH DEER!  Early July, Amy saw an alert  deer at the Birch Road entrance to  Beebe Pond.

On Wednesday July 5 we saw DOWNSTAIRS at the Dorset Theater at 2 pm and then had dinner at The Barn in Pawlet where we always have Filet Mignon. http://barnrestaurant.com/

On Thursday July 6, 2017 Mary went to dinner with Joanne Zeili and Linda Contant. Don went to dinner with the Principes and Aleksey at the Wheel Inn in Benson, VT.

On Sunday July 9, Don & Mary worked selling tickets on the second day of the Reenactment of Battle of Hubbardton.


We then went to dinner at the Swift House in Middlebury with Karla and David


On Wednesday July 12,2017 we saw "Once" at the Weston VT Playhouse.



On Wednesday July 19. 2017 we drove 100 miles to Groton VT to spend the night at Noyes State Park, after a nice lunch in Montpelier.  The lodge can accomodate 18 guests. We and  two retired priests were staying there and we joined them for dinner and breakfast. See https://vtstateparks.com/seyon.html  It is located in the Groton State Forest.  See http://www.grotonvt.com/Recreation/Ponds/Ponds.htm


History of 39 acre Noyes Pond

At the headwaters of the south branch of the Wells River, this pond was a privately owned brook trout fishery for many years. The pond was made in the 1890’s by J.R.. Darling who operated a mill on the site. The pond changed owners many times until Harry K. Noyes of Boston bought it in 1939. Naming his holding the Seyon Trout Ranch, Noyes built a guest house and converted the Darling sawmill to a waterwheel for generating electricity. Seyon Ranch is now a day use area for fly fishing.

Note: In the early 1890’s when much of the timber in Groton had been harvested, Judge J. R. Darling had a dam constructed at the foot of “Clough” meadow forming Darling Pond. There he erected a sawmill and boarding house and began an extensive lumbering operation, under the direction of his son Robert Nelson Darling, utilizing the timber resource in Harris Gore (later annexed by the town of Groton). This was a prosperous business which he sold in 1898 to S. F. Griffith, then known as the “Lumber King of Vermont”. In 1910 Theodore N. Vail, President of American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T), purchased the property, remodeled the boarding house for a vacation home, and changed the name to “Vail’s Pond”. See his bio at http://biography.yourdictionary.com/theodore-newton-vail

A number of years later it was purchased by Mr. Peckett of Sugar Hill, NH, and then by Harry K. Noyes of Boston in 1939.

Harry K. Noyes purchased it in 1939 and called it Seyon, which is “Noyes” backwards, and it became Seyon Trout Ranch. It was a vacation home for the Noyes family, as it was for an earlier owner, Theodore N. Vail, President of AT&T.   See http://biography.yourdictionary.com/theodore-newton-vail and  http://virtualvermont.com/history/tvail.htm and also http://www.thefullwiki.org/Theodore_Newton_Vail

Mr. Noyes, in addition to building a beautiful cement dambreast which greatly enlarged what had first been known as Darling Pond and then Vail Pond, also erected a Wheelhouse at the base of the dam-breast. This was a small water-powered electrical generating plant which supplied electricity to the ranch. We never used it for electricity, but it supposedly could have been rigged up to work again.

Harry K Noyes owned Noyes Buic at 855 Commonwealth Ave in Boston.  See 1930 pictures below:


Seyon Hunting and Fishing Ranch was a business started in 1955 when my father and mother, Arlie and Marjorie Robitzer, bought the 3300 acre property from the Noyes family.

The original boarding house became a barn, which is still there. The present house may have also been a boarding house.  There is a fish hatchery on the property (probably still there), and I believe that was the work of Harry K. Noyes. My father used it for a year, but abandoned the use of the hatchery because the pond replenished itself with rainbow and brook trout found there without his assistance.

There is still a small cabin at the far end of the lake -- one room with a small wood stove -- and certain of Seyon's guests loved the solitary boat ride (row boat, no motors) to their most simple accommodation.

Most guests stayed in the main house (though the Wheelhouse was also able to accommodate up to 4 persons). During the fishing season, there were up to fifteen guests at Seyon at any one time. During the hunting season, there might be a few more.

The Ranch was closed to guests for the winter and early spring during which time much work was done by my father in the way of repairs and maintenance. For a while, with the help of Freddie Braman, my father also ran a selected logging operation on the property in the winter months, but abandoned it after a few years. I am not sure why, but my mother could probably tell you. I think there was a problem with the company who bought the lumber (Weyerhaeuser)

The running of Seyon Ranch as a hunting and fishing ranch was highly work-intensive, requiring 14hour days for my parents. In addition, my sister Lyn and I worked before and after school as waitresses and chamber maids, and when he was old enough, my brother, Max, assisted my father. It was a family business, to be sure. When I left for college, Claudette Beaulieu Darling was hired to assist my mother.

Over the years my parents increased the size of Seyon to over 5,000 acres, buying up adjacent parcels of land when they became available. Though living and working at Seyon was a life my parents loved, over time my father's health made it clear that they would not be able to continue to maintain the property and continue the hard work necessary for its success much longer. With broken hearts, they sold Seyon Ranch in 1967 to the State of Vermont. My parents sold Seyon to the State to insure that the land would remain intact, and undeveloped preserving for all time its incredible natural beauty.

Seyon Ranch is now a day use area for fly fishing in season and is open year round as the only Bed & Breakfast run by Vermont State Parks.

My father and mother moved back to Pennsylvania, where we had come from, and retired to a small farm, where my father built a beautiful stone wall. A year later, my parents, missing the brisk air of New England, moved back to Vermont and later to New Hampshire, where they rebuilt together the old farmhouse in Benton where my mother presently lives, and where my father died in 1988.

From 1955 (and probably also before that time) to when it was sold in 1967, Seyon Ranch was the largest property taxpayer in the town, based on its original 3300 acres, and then on its later 5,000 acres. As one of the town’s largest businesses, its tax dollars were crucial to the Town's economy. It seems appropriate to me that among the businesses listed in Groton’s history of the 50s and 60s, Seyon Ranch should be mentioned.

Bonnie Robitzer Blau Santa Barbara, California


On July 22, 2017 Karla, David, and Erin hiked on Tim's Trail overlooking Lake Champlain.  See pictures.


On Wednesday afternoon July 26, 2017 we saw Lost in Yonkers at the theater in Weston, VT

In July 2017 Justin Newton caught this 36 inch Pike at Beebe Pond in Hubbardton, VT

Below is a view of John Hancock and Prudential from the roof of Karen's apartment at 148 Chandler near Copley Square in  Boston's Back Bay. 

And here are pictures in their apartment:

Copley Square, named for painter John Singleton Copley, is a public square in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, bounded by Boylston Street, Clarendon Street, St. James Avenue, and Dartmouth Street. It was previously known as Art Square until 1883, due to the number of cultural institutions located there at the time, some of which remain today.

The Square has a number and variety of important architectural works that have been built there, many of them now designated as official landmarks. Prominent structures still standing include:

bullet Old South Church (1873), by Charles Amos Cummings and Willard T. Sears in the Venetian Gothic Revival style.
bullet Trinity Church (1877, Romanesque Revival), considered H. H. Richardson's tour de force.
bullet Boston Public Library (1895), by Charles Follen McKim in a revival of Italian Renaissance style, incorporates artworks by John Singer Sargent, Edwin Austin Abbey, Daniel Chester French, and others.
bulletThe Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel (1912) by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh in the Beaux-Arts style (on the site of the original Museum of Fine Arts).
bulletThe John Hancock Tower (1976, late Modernist) by Henry N. Cobb, at 790 feet (241 m) New England's tallest building.
bulletThe Bostix Kiosk (1992, Postmodernist), at the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston streets, by Graham Gund with inspiration from Parisian park pavilions.

Among buildings no longer standing are:

bullet Chauncy Hall School (c. 1874, demolished 1908), a tall-gabled High Victorian brick school building on Boylston St. near Dartmouth St.
bullet Museum of Fine Arts (1876, demolished 1910) by John Hubbard Sturgis and Charles Brigham in the Gothic Revival style, was the first purpose-built public art museum in the world.
bullet S.S. Pierce Building, (1887, demolished 1958) by S. Edwin Tobey, "no masterpiece of architecture, [but] great urban design. A heap of dark Romanesque masonry..."
bullet Hotel Westminster, Trinity Place, by Henry E. Cregier of Chicago in 1897.  Now replaced by the northeast corner of the new John Hancock Tower.

A remarkable number of important Boston educational and cultural institutions were originally located adjacent to (or very near) Copley Square, reflecting 19th-century Boston's aspirations for it as a center of culture and progress.These included the Museum of Fine Arts, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School, the New England Museum of Natural History (today's Museum of Science), Trinity Church, the New Old South Church, the Boston Public Library, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Massachusetts Normal Art School (today's Massachusetts College of Art and Design), the Horace Mann School for the Deaf, Boston University, Emerson College, and Northeastern University.

Known as Art Square until 1883, Copley Square was originally cut diagonally by Huntington Avenue; it took its present form in 1961 when Huntington Avenue was truncated at the corner of Dartmouth Street, the Square partially paved, and a pyramidal fountain sculpture added. In 1991, after further changes including a new fountain, the new Copley Square Park was dedicated. The nonprofit Friends of Copley Square raises funds for care of the square's plantings, fountain, and monument.

The Boston Marathon foot race has finished at Copley Square since 1986. A memorial celebrating the race's 100th running (in 1996) is located in the park, near the corner of Boylston and Dartmouth streets.

John Singleton Copley See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Singleton_Copley

John Hancock and Prudential Towers in Copley Square

Prudential Tower in  Boston is not quite the tallest building in the city - that honor goes to the nearby  John Hancock Tower by about 40 feet - but the Prudential Tower in Boston's Back Bay is without a doubt the most significant skyscraper transmitter site in New England.

The Pru went up in 1964, and it was almost immediately put to use by broadcasters. The Archdiocese of Boston put WIHS-TV (Channel 38) on the air here in October of that year, and the TV station would remain a tenant for another eight years, most of that time under its new calls of WSBK.

FM radio came to the tower a few years later; as best we can figure out the timeline, WBCN (104.1) was the first FM station up here, eventually moving its studios into the penthouse level of the building as well. WCOP-FM (100.7) and WWEL-FM (107.9) joined the rooftop crowd sometime in the seventies, moving from the towers of their sister AM stations, WCOP 1150 in Lexington and WWEL 1430 in Medford. Emerson College's WERS (88.9) spent most of the seventies and eighties up here before moving to One Financial Center in the nineties, and in 1981 the roof also became home to WMJX (106.7), the former WBZ-FM (relocating from the WBZ-TV tower in Needham, which we'll examine in depth next week.)

Around the time of WMJX's arrival on the roof, the tower sprouted a master antenna, the six-bay panel just below the first level of guys. The master antenna was - and still is - home to 100.7, 104.1, 106.7 and 107.9.

The TV antenna at the top of the mast has a story of its own: after WSBK departed the Pru in the early seventies, moving to the new candelabra tower in Needham, its space - including the transmitter room just down the hall from the swanky "Top of the Hub" restaurant was eventually taken over by new sign-on WQTV (Channel 68).

Much more recently, Greater Media (which owns WMJX) has relocated three more of its FM stations to the Pru from the "FM 128" tower in Newton. WTKK (96.9 Boston), WBOS (92.9 Brookline) and WROR-FM (105.7 Framingham) now use that ERI panel antenna mounted below the second set of guy wires.

(And perhaps you've heard the old joke about the best aspect of the view from the Pru - that it's the one spot in Boston where you don't actually have to look at the Pru)

Here's what it looks like to the west, dominated by the Mass Pike Extension that actually passes directly beneath the Pru. That's Fenway Park at the left, and in the haze off to the right you can just make out Boston University astride Commonwealth Avenue. Somewhere in there is the old WBUR (90.9) tower. (It was, alas, too hazy to get a good view of the WBZ complex out on Soldiers Field Road...)

On August 1, 2017 a eight of us had dinner at the Lake House.  Mary, Don, Aleksey, Ryan, Caitlin, Karla, David, Erin Below are four of us.  The next day a tent was erected for our 60th Wedding Anniversary.




On August 2, Karla, David & Erin Principe, Aleksey Magno, plus Ryan &  Caitlin Whitney climbed Haystack Mt, about 1 hour south of us in the Taconics.

On Saturday August 5, 2017 we celebrated our Golden (60th) Wedding Anniversary at Beebe Pond. 60 relatives and friends attended.

We celebrated our Golden (60 years) Wedding Anniversary at Beebe Pond on Saturday August 5, 2017

Click here for slide show.

Anniversary Present Surprise!  We received the lovely Lazy Susan, below,  from our good friends Steve and Sandra Earl.   (SONDERGELD FAMILY      EST. 1957)



















At 11 am on Saturday. August 12 we went to a Memorial Service  at 11am for Bev Grald in East Middlebury. At 5:15 pm we attended the annual meeting of the Eagle Rock Racquet Club held at the home of RJ and Linda Contant.

On Monday August 13 Don , Mary plus Sherry and Mike Boudreau plus Karla and David Principe had dinner at the lovely Red Clover Inn, below, in Mendon, VT.

In 1849  the Ripley family of Rutland, Vermont constructed a summer retreat and 200-acre farm on the property that would become the Red Clover Inn.

Nearly 75 years and several owners later, General F.J. Woodward purchased the property. The General and his wife added bedrooms to the residence, and Woodward Farm on Woodward Road was born. They planned the extensive development of the acreage, including tennis courts, a swimming concourse, bridle paths, spacious lawns, apple trees and evergreens.

Eventually, the Woodward family moved on and the Farm fell into neglect. The area was so remote and unattended that a monk, who wrecked his private plane in the mountains near Killington, was passed over by a sizable search party even though the wreckage was only 30 feet from the old farm.

Rising again, the Farm on Woodward Road was reopened by the Montgomery Family as the SATCO Lodge in the 1960s – 1970s. Mr. Montgomery was believed to be a former CIA employee. Through their travels, the Montgomery’s adopted five children from Southeast Asia, and named the property “SATCO” as an acronym to represent their children’s countries of origin.  

Bonnie and Dennis Tallagnon purchased SATCO Lodge in 1977. Their additions to the Carriage House and Farmhouse are chronicled in the photographs currently displayed in our living room.  Equestrians, the Tallagnons kept horses in what used to be the space for pigs and sheep. The staff of the day fondly remembers the years that the Tallgnons lived in the Lodge and raised their family.  

The Red Clover Inn was named for the State Flower of Vermont, chosen as such to represent the delicate purple-red flower that graces Vermont’s fields early in the summer, distinguishing the landscape. The Tallagnons’ relentless work and devotion to their Inn is evidenced in the present time, where loving touches and dinner recipes today honor their memory. 

Preparing menus, stirring the coals in the hearth, cleaning rooms, mowing lawns and shoveling snow, planting gardens, retrieving mail: these are just some of our daily chores as we prepare to welcome guests with open arms and open hearts. A walk up the drive gives us a look back in time at the stately Farmhouse, graceful and strong, rising to meet the forest and framed by the rugged Pico Mountain.

The Red Clover Inn at the old Farm on Woodward Road is a timeless and effortless home, away. Purchased by the Tyler and Hill families in 2009 and tastefully updated, this special spot for romantic getaways and delightful cuisine has been informed by history and cultivated with care for nearly two centuries. We hope you join us soon.

Red Clover Inn Woodward Family

On Wednesday August 16 Don and Mary saw the Music Man in beautiful Weston VT.  See Pics of Weston.

Mildred Ellen Orton (February 9, 1911 – May 6, 2010) was an American businesswoman and author who co-founded the Vermont Country Store with her husband, Vrest Orton, in Weston, Vermont, in 1946.

Orton was born Mildred Ellen Wilcox at a farm near Manchester, Vermont, on February 9, 1911.She was the youngest of three siblings born to her parents, Erwin and Maria Hamilton Wilcox. Wilcox graduated in 1930 from Rutland Business College.

She married her husband, Vrest Orton, in 1936.[1] The Ortons launched the original Vermont Country Store catalog business in Fall 1945. The couple opened the Vermont Country Store in 1946. The store was a replica of an original store that Vrest Orton's father had owned and operated in North Calais, Vermont. Mildred Orton co-ran the business until her retirement in 1978.

In 1947, Mildred Ellen Orton authored a cookbook, Cooking with Wholegrains, featuring whole grains instead of white flour. Orton developed her recipes utilizing stone ground grains from a gristmill in Weston, Vermont.  Stone-ground grains were then introduced as a prominent product at the Vermont Country Store and catalog.[1]

Mildred Ellen Orton died at her home in Weston, Vermont, on May 6, 2010, at the age of 99.  She was survived by her son, Lyman Orton, who now runs Vermont Country Store; stepson, Geoffrey; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Her husband, Vrest, died in 1986.

On Wednesday August 30, 2017 we saw O Neil's tragedy of a dysfuctional family (Long Day's Journey into Night) in Weston VT.  Well done ... but so sad!

September is time to Clean Up The Beach in California.  See Meet David Sondergeld

In mid September 2017 we had breakfast at the Birdseye Diner in Castleton.  When we returned to Beebe Pond, our Blue Heron caught some small animal at our waterfront, while a plastic white egret observed.


On Saturday October 14 we drove to Boston for three days to attend the Annual Meeting of the Society of Actuaries.  We visited Karen and Duncan's apartment in Scully Square and had lunch nearby.  We stayed at the Sheraton and had dinner with the Board of Governors that night at the Smith and Wollenski Castle.  On Sunday we had lunch at Karen's apartment which included Eric, Cindy, and Alexei who were in Boston looking at BU and MIT for grad school for Alexei.  On Sunday night we had a Past President's dinner at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. On Monday we attended the SoA meeting and had dinner with Karen at the Prudential "Top of The Hub"..  We also enjoyed seeing Walt and Millie Rugland who were there and are shown with us below. On Tuesday, October 17, we flew to Naples.  Helena Fine, our driver, flew to Boston to drive our car to Naples, FL.

























Legendary Fats Domino died 10/r/2017.  See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/27/opinion/jon-batiste-fats-domino.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

He quit school at age 14, and worked days in a factory while playing and singing in local juke joints at night. In 1949, Domino was playing at the Hideaway Club for $3 a week when he was signed by Imperial record company.

He recorded his first song, "The Fat Man," in the back of a tiny French Quarter recording studio.  "They call me the Fat Man, because I weigh 200 pounds," he sang. "All the girls, they love me, 'cause I know my way around."

Among the early rockers, Mr. Domino was rivaled only by Elvis Presley in record sales. He dominated Billboard magazine’s pop and rhythm-and-blues charts from 1955 to 1963. Moreover, Mr. Domino’s signature piano triplets — three notes for every beat — became the basis of rock and pop ballads for the next three decades

His dynamic performance style and warm vocals drew crowds for five decades. One of his show-stopping stunts was playing the piano while standing, throwing his body against it with the beat of the music and bumping the grand piano across the stage.

Domino's 1956 version of "Blueberry Hill" was selected for the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry of historic sound recordings worthy of preservation. The preservation board noted that Domino insisted on performing the song despite his producer's doubts, adding that Domino's "New Orleans roots are evident in the Creole inflected cadences that add richness and depth to the performance."

Domino became a global star but stayed true to his hometown, where his fate was initially unknown after Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005. It turned out that he and his family were rescued by boat from his home, where he lost three pianos and dozens of gold and platinum records, along with other memorabilia.

Many wondered if he would ever return to the stage. Scheduled to perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2006, he simply tipped his hat to thousands of cheering fans.

But in May 2007, he was back, performing at Tipitina's music club in New Orleans. Fans cheered — and some cried — as Domino played "I'm Walkin'," ''Ain't It a Shame," ''Shake, Rattle and Roll," ''Blueberry Hill" and a host of other hits.

That performance was a highlight during several rough years. After losing their home and almost all their belongings to the floods, his wife of more than 50 years, Rosemary, died in April 2008.

Domino moved to the New Orleans suburb of Harvey after the storm but would often visit his publishing house, an extension of his old home in the Lower 9th Ward, inspiring many with his determination to stay in the city he loved.

In October 2017I noted the following pictures of Jan and Georgia Pollnow.  I hired Jan as an actuarial student when I first joined Hartford Life in Boston probably in 1964.  Jan was the first actuarial student at Hartford Life to become an FSA.

On Tuesday August 7, 2017 we visited a home in the Pelican Marsh area of Naples to see a display of Orchids.

In November our world traveler grandson Ryan Whitney visited the Great Wall of China.

On Sunday November 12, 2017 we drove to Turner River Road (The Ditch) and saw some birds.  We then drove to Everglades City.  Saw some damage from Hurricane Irma, learned the Rod and Gun Club was not open today, so had lunch at the City Seafood on the Baron River.  Don had Stone Crabs and Mary had Chicken Fingers.  See some pics.

Eric, Cindy and Alexei sent Don a loverly Red Neck Tank Top for Don's birthday.  Don had dinner scheduled at the Ritz, on 11.13.17 like last year, with cousin Doris Bell & a friend Mark Boyer but Don did not get past his second drink.  He went to the hospital with a TIA. a small stroke.  After a few tests he was released and was home by 11 pm. .  Below is is last year's picture.










On Wednesday November 15, 2017 The painting, called "Salvator Mundi," Italian for "Savior of the World," is one of fewer than 20 paintings by Leonardo known to exist and the only one in private hands. It was sold by Christie's auction house, which didn't immediately identify the buyer.

The highest price ever paid for a work of art at auction had been $179.4 million (152 million euros), for Picasso's "Women of Algiers (Version O)" in May 2015, also at Christie's in New York. The highest known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million (253 million euros), for Willem de Kooning's "Interchange," sold privately in September 2015 by the David Geffen Foundation to hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin.

The 26-inch-tall (66-centimeter-tall) Leonardo painting dates from around 1500 and shows Christ dressed in Renaissance-style robes, his right hand raised in blessing as his left hand holds a crystal sphere.

It far surpassed Picasso’s “Women of Algiers,” which fetched $179.4 million at Christie’s in May 2015

Picasso painting The Women of Algiers

We had Dinner, below, with Steve and Sandra Earl at Andre's Steak House on 11.15.17.

On November 24, 2017 THANKSGIVING, we invited ourselves, as we  do every year, to the home of Doris Bell, Don's cousin in Ft Myers, FL.  See many pictures.

Top           Jeff & Deb                      T J        Ted          Max     Tom & Brenda           Mike & Mary   Bottom            Mary     &                  Don                    Doris             Kate                   Gail

On December 24, 2017 a Pileated Woodpecker landed on one of our Pine Trees by the Gazebo of our neighbor (Phil Rollman) in Hubbardton, VT.  Perhaps he came to visit the carving we have in our Library


We had Christmas Eve Dinner at the Principe's with Karla, David, Katie, Zach and Erin.  We then when to the Carol Sing at the Breckenridges ... terrific as always.  Here are Alan & Eva:

We had about six inches of snow on Christmas.
 Garage/Pool Room      Back Yard



This site was last updated 07/06/18