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2019 Stellafane Convention

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#1 Toups

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 01:18 PM

2019 Stellafane Convention

Springfield, Vermont, USA

August 1-4, 2019

https://stellafane.org/convention/

 

Although it appears registration won't open until about May 1st, I assume it's not too early to start thinking about attending.

 

I have never attended and am thinking of attending for the first time.  Any suggestions or things I need to know?

 

 

 

P.S. FWIW, I noticed that the Hartness House currently has rooms available.  https://www.hartnesshouse.com/



#2 Richard O'Neill

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 02:23 PM

Bring a sun hat, suntan lotion, raincoat and bug spray. BTDT many times. flowerred.gif   


Edited by Richard O'Neill, 01 February 2019 - 02:26 PM.

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#3 George N

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 04:39 PM

It's been 10 years or more since I've stayed at Hartness House -- but I enjoyed my two years there -- plus the visit to the ATM Museum there is a must.

 

As of right now.... read everything on their web-site from last year -- and make sure you understand the deal about early entry on Thursday and how you need to register for that on-line if interested.

 

Practice setting up your telescope on a hill side - because there's no 'flat' at Stellafane! smile.gif


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#4 Toups

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 05:02 PM

Have stayed at the Hartness House once unrelated to Stellafane.  Enjoyed it, it was an off-season visit and the night we were there, we were the only guests in the main house.  Had a nice dinner and tour of the museum and Porter telescope.



#5 George N

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 03:38 PM

Have stayed at the Hartness House once unrelated to Stellafane.  …..

I first went to Stellafane in 1995.... after 20 years of saying "I should go....". Friends told me about Hartness House.

Thru much of that era, the only way to get a room at Hartness House during the Convention was to "inherit" your place from one of the 'regulars' who was no longer going. wink.gif 

The place was booked full for any year in the future in which Stellafane dates were already announced. I did get a room one year thanks to getting on the 'wait list' and someone canceled.

I guess with the new ownership and other things, it is now possible to book even this year. I bet that won't hold for too much longer.



#6 Toups

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 04:08 PM

Had read that on CN before.

 

I don't know if the current owners are taking reservations that far in advance anymore.  (Not much upside for the hotel and lots of headaches and downsides booking that far in advance.)  I did notice the website until sometime recently didn't let one reserve rooms for dates that late in this year.  Now the website will let you reserve through the end of 2019 but shows no availability for any dates in 2020.  So evidently there is some window over which the website takes reservations.  Not sure if the same is true for a personal contact.



#7 George N

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 01:28 PM

.....

 

I have never attended and am thinking of attending for the first time.  Any suggestions or things I need to know?

 

 

 

....

If you are attending NEAF -- the Springfield Telescope Makers always have a big mirror-making exhibit and plenty of info about the Convention - including Members there to talk about it.

 

The biggest thing to consider about Stellafane is -- while there is plenty of good observing under darkish skies (if clear) -- the focus of the Stellafane ATM Convention is making telescopes.

 

Alas, compared to most star parties I've gone to - Stellafane have very poor light discipline - expect cars driving around and flashing you before midnight or so.

While they have added a fun "observing contest" of sorts - Stellafane observing is very relaxed compared to other big star parties. Most scope owners expect you to come up and look thru their scopes - especially the ATM ones.

 

It is spread over a large and beautiful Vermont location, and even with limited on-site bus service (daytime) expect to do a lot of tramping around on hilly terrain.

 

Driving in/out -- especially in rainy weather, can be "rough". They do a major effort to improve the so-called roads -- but be careful.

The new food vendor is great - tad expensive - but good on-site food. If you want one of the 'traditional' big Fri/Sat meals -- you need to order in on-line on the Stellafane website.

It takes more than one year at Stellafane to see the whole thing.


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#8 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 03:44 PM

I first went to Stellafane in 1995.... after 20 years of saying "I should go....". Friends told me about Hartness House.

Thru much of that era, the only way to get a room at Hartness House during the Convention was to "inherit" your place from one of the 'regulars' who was no longer going. wink.gif 

The place was booked full for any year in the future in which Stellafane dates were already announced. I did get a room one year thanks to getting on the 'wait list' and someone canceled.

I guess with the new ownership and other things, it is now possible to book even this year. I bet that won't hold for too much longer.

My wife and I were able to reserve the Wicker Room in the original mansion years ago.  We did the same for the following year.  However, the management at the time saw fit to bump people from their reserved rooms in the original mansion due to a wedding party.  We wanted nothing to do with the Hartness House after that.

Having stayed there twice, the "motel" section in the back of the mansion isn't anything to write home about.  We've been to almost every bed and breakfast in nearby Chester over the years since then but have gone back to staying at the Holiday Inn Express outside of Springfield in recent years.

 

Dave Mitsky


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#9 Toups

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 08:41 PM

I did read on CN that there were issues with past reservations and a wedding and can certainly understand why many would not want to return.

 

One question, was this with the current or previous owners/management?


Edited by Toups, 06 February 2019 - 08:42 PM.


#10 George N

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 10:55 AM

Looks like the STM's are starting to 'populate' their 2019 Convention webpage: https://stellafane.o...2019/index.html

 

So far... the best part is that the 'new' food vendor is coming back! cool.gif 



#11 roscoe

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Posted 24 March 2019 - 09:02 AM

It's rain or shine..... there is a big assembly hall to get inside if the weather's not perfect, it can be anywhere from clear and beautiful to hot and humid to cold and damp to pouring rain. It can get into the 40's at night. Bring appropriate clothes....and shoes, you'll walk a lot.

 

Cell service is spotty, the road in, as mentioned, is 'rural' as in mostly OK gravel.... do please drive at moderate speeds....

 

It is an ATM paradise, the scopes displayed for judging are often the best of the best of the ATM world, and lots of folks bring new, vintage, giant, small, and every other sort of scope, hundreds of them, and nearly every one is available for a look-through.

 

There is a big astro-flea-market, the best stuff moves at dawn, tough if you stayed up till 4 AM. 

There's camping/tenting, but...as with observing, nothing's flat.  There are trailer/camper sites.

 

The food's pretty good, most folks bring at least some of their own, water's available there.

 

Being sort-of local,  I wait till mid-week to decide, and don't go if the weather looks bad.

It's appreciably cheaper to pre-register, and quicker to get in at the gate, too.

 

Stellafane is probably the biggest 'gotta go there once' event in the Northeast, it's steeped in history, the permanent scopes there are all amazing to see, it's a gathering, as social event, a scope-show, and even a star party, but as mentioned, it;'s not a strict 'no-lights!!' event.... 

 

Facilities are porta-potties

 

It's a couple miles from town (not city, town) where all the regular stuff is available... no Starbucks, though, but a Mc-D's marks an important turn in the road.


Edited by roscoe, 24 March 2019 - 09:16 AM.

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#12 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 02:16 PM

I did read on CN that there were issues with past reservations and a wedding and can certainly understand why many would not want to return.

 

One question, was this with the current or previous owners/management?

It happened quite a few years ago so it wasn't under the current management.


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#13 Tom Dugan

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 08:32 AM

The Stellafane website doesn't have much on the camping available, other than "it's primitive". It also looks from their map like there's not just a single campground, but spread across "Stellafane East". Can you camp close to your vehicle? I see te reference to "designated parking areas", and it looks like all camping is adjacent to parking. I'd just like to be able to conveniently use my pickup as campsite storage.



#14 George N

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 10:06 AM

The Stellafane website doesn't have much on the camping available, other than "it's primitive". It also looks from their map like there's not just a single campground, but spread across "Stellafane East". Can you camp close to your vehicle? I see te reference to "designated parking areas", and it looks like all camping is adjacent to parking. I'd just like to be able to conveniently use my pickup as campsite storage.

The "parking areas" on the Map are for "day parking" for the people who do not have camping permits - they are not for camping or observing. People 'staying' at motels, commercial and state campsites, etc, park there when on site (often quite late if it is a clear night).

 

DON'T set up in the 'parking areas'. My old friend (now gone) Howie Glatter and his wife set up in one - Obsession 18 and all - and they made him pick up and move!!!

 

You can set up your telescope in the "camping areas" - or you can put your telescope on the observing field, but no camping or parking (other than drop off). Some of the camping is under trees - mostly used by those who put their scopes on the observing field - or just look thru other peoples' scopes. Other camping is very open to the sky - but not perfect ( it is a telescope makers' convention, not a star party).

 

Everything is "first come gets the 'best' site" - meaning there is something of a 'gold rush' when the place opens, with a line of 20+ waiting to get past the registration. However, it is not nearly as bad since they opened up on Thursday afternoon - and maybe 2/3 of the people come on Friday. You will find that some 'camping' is occupied by astronomy clubs and friends - same spot, year after year. While they can't kick you out - it might feel a little uncomfortable set up in the middle of some 'club area' -- or you could just join....  smile.gif

 

What I and some friends have done for years: Park on the edge of a 'parking area' right next to a 'camping area' -- set up. In my case - with 70 year old bones - I really don't want to carry a 20-inch Dob around too much, so I set up right off the tail of my trailer.

 

One issue with this - in a few areas you could get your vehicle blocked it - meaning you are 'there' for the weekend.

Bottom line: People are very friendly at Stellafane - just ask and you will get good advice. The "blue shirts" - STM club members - may seem a little 'harried' as things first open up - and they are.


Edited by George N, 02 April 2019 - 10:08 AM.

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#15 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 01:37 PM

For those of you who have never been there, here are two shots of the Hartness House and the Hartness Turret Telescope that I took last year.

https://stellafane.o...ly/htt-100.html

 

Dave Mitsky

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#16 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 04:49 PM

I got my blue postcard today.

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  • 1-Stellafane Form IMG_6909-001 CN.JPG

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#17 rguasto

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Posted 30 April 2019 - 12:03 PM

Registration just opened
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#18 George N

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 02:17 PM

Registration just opened

At NEAF they promised me that there will be weather at Stellafane this year - not sure of the kind - but there will be weather!  cool.gif


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#19 Augustus

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 03:56 PM

Just registered.


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#20 George N

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 02:05 PM

The "2019 Visual Observing Olympics: The Hidden Gems of Stellafane" observing lists are published!

 

As with last year -- there is a 'telescope' list by Larry Mitchell and a 'binocular' list by Phil Harrington. Win two pins!!!

 

The lists are pdf files linked off the bottom of this page: https://stellafane.o...-observing.html

 

I really like this new "Stellafane Tradition" -- so far I've gotten the 'scope list' pin each year. Missed doing the bino one -- but friends who did it found it enjoyable.


Edited by George N, 22 June 2019 - 02:06 PM.

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#21 Slartibartfast

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 04:38 PM

I'm registered (me + wife and kids)!  I signed up for early entry too.  I hope to get the same campsite that I did last year.  It was tucked in where the morning sun doesn't get me up too early!  cool.gif


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#22 roscoe

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 06:57 AM

I'm wondering if/how we, the CN community, could set up a visible rallying place for all of us to gather - or pass through - so as to be more than strangers in the night.... it'd be nice to actually meet many of you who have communicated here.....

 

Any good ideas??  Perhaps an early arrival could pick out a spot big enough for several chairs and/or a popup tent/shelter, and put up a sign, or whatever?  I won't be there till late aft on Fri, so many of the good flat spots are claimed by then.....  I will bring up my ATM 60, Red Molly, that (if it's not raining) I will set up out front to be a 'signpost'....

 

I'm going to post something down in the 'classics' thread, too, there's a similar thread going on down there....


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#23 George N

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 10:37 AM

I'm wondering if/how we, the CN community, could set up a visible rallying place for all of us to gather - or pass through - …..

Here's where I hang out - just North of the Bunkhouse, and South of the main observing field: https://www.flickr.c...57697276905862/

Not sure what I'm bringing this year - but if the weather is not crap it will again be my 'big red truck', white cargo trailer, and the middle of the 3 Dobs in the photo - an Obsession 20.

 

If the weather looks poor - I might ditch the trailer and 20-inch and bring a couple of old ATM scopes and maybe a borrowed Criterion RV-6..... "Retro Stellafane"?????  cool.gif 



#24 JIM262

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 11:36 AM

Just a bit of information,  Rockland Astronomy - Summer Star Party runs from July 26 to August 4 and is only about 85 miles (2 hour drive from Stellafane).   So spend a couple of nights at SSP on your way to Stellafane.


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#25 roscoe

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 08:20 PM

Here's where I hang out - just North of the Bunkhouse, and South of the main observing field: https://www.flickr.c...57697276905862/

Not sure what I'm bringing this year - but if the weather is not crap it will again be my 'big red truck', white cargo trailer, and the middle of the 3 Dobs in the photo - an Obsession 20.

 

If the weather looks poor - I might ditch the trailer and 20-inch and bring a couple of old ATM scopes and maybe a borrowed Criterion RV-6..... "Retro Stellafane"?????  cool.gif

George, does the area between your truck and the rope fence get filled up with tents and/or observers, or is it open space?

 

I'm wondering if that could be a potential CN gathering spot and perhaps tenting area?    I've usually camped down nearer the pavillion, near a spot often claimed by Terra, down near a big oak tree on the amphitheater side of the road, but it's a bit slanty down there..... (and T is 'camping' at a B&B in town this year.....)


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