Guest Author - Brenda Potter Reynolds
Although Camp Meade doesn’t open until mid-May, Gus spends his winters planning new projects, Lori said. By February, he and Clara are on-site, preparing for the upcoming season.
After visiting the Victory Museum, members of the tour group explored the grounds, enjoying the warm October day and peering into the interior of the military vehicles. Virginia and Helen had their photo taken in front of the towel-toting ambulance and reminisced further about WWII.
Camp Meade, located in Central Vermont, is minutes away from Vermont's capitol, Montpelier, as well as attractions Ben & Jerry's and Lake Champlain Chocolates in Waterbury. There is no reason to go elsewhere for entertainment, though; touring the Victory Museum could easily take up an hour or two. A number of military vehicles parked on the grounds beg to be checked out. Among those on display are an F-86D Sabre Jet Korean War fighter, an AT-11 1941 Beech Trainer, and a 1942 Stuart tank.
During the day, there's a swimming pool, and in the evening, a campfire to gather around. Don't stay up too late, though; reveille sounds at 0800 hours, and a complimentary cafeteria-style breakfast is available 7 to 10 am in the Canteen. When I was there, breakfast choices included cold cereal, hot cereals, juice, and homemade bread and muffins from a local bakery. If you're lucky, you'll get to visit with one of the Gosselins while you eat. The dining area is decorated in the style of the period, with World War II posters, photographs and model airplanes. Adjacent to the Canteen is a game room, with a pool table, piano, a ping-pong table and board games.
As with the rest of Camp Meade, you can tell that a lot of care and research has been involved with the Victory Museum. Life-sized replicas of Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Douglas MacArthur stand guard in one room; in another, a moving display explains how a blue star in the window meant that a family had a loved one fighting overseas. A gold star meant that a loved one had been killed.
Video and audio presentations present the headlines and scenes of the Depression and World War II.
When you've finished the tour, stop in at the gift shop where you'll discover old-fashioned toys andgames along side Camp Meade souvenirs. You'll also find a selection of books and videos for sale.
Even though I wasn't born until well after World War II, I enjoyed the sights and sounds of Camp Meade as much as the visitors who had memories of that era.
A visit to Camp Meade makes learning about the 30's and 40's as much fun as reminiscing about them.
Update: Unfortunately, Camp Meade is no longer open. The new owners decided not to remain open as a museum/motel.
See the first part of this article here
This article was originally published in the Grapevine magazine.