By Bryan Hollenbaugh —
A fantastic August day for a PCA Drive & Dine to Vergennes, Vermont! Mother Nature seemed to be at peace with the perfect mixture of sun, breeze, and countryside as 18 cars participated in a road trip along the Hudson River and over the Champlain Bridge to visit Restoration & Performance Motorcars (www.rpmvt.com).
As one might imagine in relatively nonchalant Vermont, there’s no signage as you approach RPM, just a robust looking barn which already had an immaculate collection of Porsches sitting in front as our entourage made our way to park (No doubt strategically placed to capture our attention!).
The brainchild of Peter Markowski, RPM is a collection of many priceless classics, along with several eclectic cars in various degrees of restoration and repair. Peter’s son Steve was on hand to open the shop and allow the group to freely roam through the impressive collection of mostly Ferrari and Porsche models. One-part restoration; one-part repair, and one-part retail, Steve was quick to share that selling cars is the profitable part of the business; although one might expect those who seek out RPM’s talents from across the Northeast are investing in their expertise and creativity to bring their performance cars back to life. And, as for the cars the Markowski’s purchase and invest heavily in restoring; there might also be a little labor of love that goes into it. It’s typically impressive when you see one pristine Ferrari Dino in a barn, but to see several in one collection is nothing short of inspiring.
After enjoying a tour of RPM, the group set its sights on a little gem in downtown Vergennes, the Hired Hand Brewing Company (www.hiredhandbrewing.com). Great food and just enough space to handle our group, it’s just a block off the main drag of downtown Vergennes. Among the group who made the trek were a few new members of the club, along with several club members who were able to enjoy their first D&D of the year.
Interesting enough, Vergennes is the smallest of Vermont’s nine cities (seriously, only 9 cities in the entire state!). Its population (just north of 2,000) has been relatively the same since the 1970’s, yet it’s downtown is hustling and bustling with cafes and shops. By all accounts, it appears to be a thriving Vermont “city.” And, at just over two hours from the Capital Region, it’s certainly worthy of a day trip to explore the area. Additionally, nearby Addison boasts Vermont’s largest concentration of covered bridges, for those who like to seek out landmarks.
(Photos by Stephen Pivonka, Kathy Michalek and Bryan Hollenbaugh)