Three reasons to celebrate this week and next:
CHILDREN, who promise tomorrow.
MUSIC, which amplifies life, along the way. 
IF NOT PEACE, at the least the possibility of reduced warfare in several regions

In keeping with the season, here are a few chestnuts roasting on an open fire for you, dear reader, in hopes they will put a (at least a small) smile on your face:
http://www.birdsonawireblog.com/1/category/christmas/1.html

This has been a tough year for everyone and we know 2012 will be difficult, as well. 
But, we’re still here, aren’t we? As long as we’re here, there's hope for a better day.  

As 2011 comes to a close, I can tell you we see a clear sign of hope up here in the woods. Our last important washed-out road reopened this week, thanks to crews that have worked 24/7 since the August 28 disaster. In spite of the Halloween blizzard, in spite of angry outbursts from some in DC who balked at funding a portion of our recovery from a 100-year flood, work crews got the job done. There may be homes, businesses and jobs lost forever, but at least MA Route 2 is open from Boston to North Adams, for the first time in almost four months. The same holds true for VT Route 9 and VT Route 4. In fact, all but a few Vermont roads are now passable or will reopen by New Years. Thank you, state road crews in Massachusetts and Vermont! You have given us very valuable presents, indeed!  

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year, with an emphasis on the happy part.

 
 
Here's the latest from the town on what's open as of today and what's still under reconstruction, following the Hurricane Irene flood:

SOUTH MAIN STREET:  
Open:  Apres Vous, Twin Valley Creations, Environmental Waterworks, Pettee Memorial Library, Constantin and Young Gallery, Village Dog Grooming, Wilmington Home Center, and the Anchor Restaurant, The Village Pub  
Opening November:  Meg Streeter Real Estate   
Work is underway: Cady and Dugan Law Office, River Bank Park  

WEST MAIN STREET: 
Open: Down in the Valley, Quaigh Design, Wilmington Candle Company, West End Antiques/Wilmington Tile, Bauman's Paints, The Wilmington Inn, 
Crafts Inn, Incurable Romantic, 1836 Country Store, Norton House
Opening Thanksgiving week:  Bartlebys Books
Opening Soon: Memorial Hall, A Place in Vermont, Jezebel's Restaurant, McBreairty's Marketplace, Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce

NORTH MAIN STREET
Work is underway and Opening Soon: Maple Leaf Brewery, Old Red Mill, Roseate Creations, Wright Gallery, Old Red Mill/Heritage Associates 


 
 
Here is Main Street, Wilmington, VT, looking east, before, during and after the flood caused by Hurricane Irene. For more photos of the after-effects of the flood, see http://www.floodstockvt.com/Why.html or scroll down this page to "Walloped by Mother Nature" (at http://bit.ly/nur5eh) to see video taken during the flood. 

Almost three weeks later, several dozen bridges remain out, some areas still have no phone or water but major roads are re-opening one lane at a time. 


For the latest on flood relief efforts in Wilmington, go to http://www.facebook.com/visitvermont
Update:
Below are a few photos taken October 1. A lot has happened in a month, but most downtown stores and businesses are empty. Some are selling off what they salvaged from the flood, but others are vacant or boarded up, including Town Hall, Dot’s, the Chamber of Commerce, Bartleby’s Books (which is under reconstruction), Norton’s Quilt Shop, Mannyu’s and the yarn shop. The Crafts Inn is open, and so is the Celtic gift shop. Mount Snow is still operating. Many businesses along Route 100 North are closed, but Dots 2, the Chinese restaurant next door to it and the movie theater are open.